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Eurotunnel Property Owners Club


bixy

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We know that Eurotunnel are in deep financial trouble but they now seem to be intent on committing suicide. Or perhaps the property owners sector doesn't matter to them. The latest letter from Eurotunnel tells me that "the cost of travelling will not increase as a result of the withdrawal"[of the POC]. Strange then that the cheapest fare they are offering equivalent to the former POC long stay fare, that is to say: fully flexible, travel any day,  any time, amendable without penalty, is £313. Maths was never my strong point, but this seems a trifle more than the POC fare of £139.

There are various cheaper offers on the website but they are all hedged round with conditions regarding time/date of travel, penalties for cancellation, amendment etc. None of them are in any way equivalent to the old POC fare.

Am I alone in thinking that this a commercially inept move and that I and many(most?) former POC members will go elsewhere once we have used up our free points?

Patrick

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I Agree!

I only subscribed to the POC about 6 weeks ago, they took my money and then write and tell me they are taking it off their pricing schedule. How annoyed! It's now with my lawyer who will be writing a rather stiff letter to them. They must have known at the time I joined they were closing it down. As you say, regular customers are the ones that will suffer, but do they care?

Greg

 

 

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I suspect that this brilliant new strategy by Eurotunnel will be a source of great satisfaction for their competitors. I believe that Eurotunnel had in excess of 4,000 regular travellers tied to their service via the POC.  If these customers used their service an average of only 5 times per annum this would equate to an income of about £2.8 million that they are now abandoning.  In reality the figure is probably much higher.

The group of travellers using the POC are likely to be the most assiduous in searching out the best deals because of the frequency of their journeys and will be looking elsewhere.  Furthermore, members have enjoyed the advantage of flexibility which has been extremely valuable to those of us who get delayed by trying to repair a wall or fix the plumbing just before we leave.  With the loss of that flexibility we may as well use the cheaper options and ensure that we arrive on time rather than risk paying extra charges to Eurotunnel.  Speedferries are offering a return ticket for £50 with a £10 fee for any amendment to the booking. 

From speaking to a member of staff at the Eurotunnel call centre it was apparent that they also fear the effects of the new pricing policy and the abandoning of the POC. Having travelled back from France via Eurotunnel last night it was apparent that customers were feeling very frustrated when they arrived early for their planned, after midnight, crossings (to get the cheaper rate) and were unable to change to an earlier one. 

Like many other members of the POC, I regret its demise  and will now have to shop around for the best deals for our frequent trips to France.  However there is a bright side to all this. With the loss of a number of P&O Crossings it is important that there is strong competition for these routes and the Eurotunnel policy is likely to have the effect of strengthening the position of its competitors by abandoning £2.8 million+ for them to seize to help improve their own services. Why Eurotunnel should want to do this escapes me.

Peter

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Peter

I agree, it's almost beyond my comprehension why Eurotunnel would want to cheese off it's frequent travellers.

Maybe, as promised in the letter we received, the new arrangements will be as good as the POC. However, the early booking deal being offered for next year is not as good as the POC deals so we must assume, in the absence of any other information, that this is as good as it gets.

Like you I'm looking at the alternatives. With the number of crossings I make I have to get the best deal - the POC benefit of full flexibility and Club Check-in was worth £££s. Like all good things I guess it had to come to an end - but - I almost never travelled on a full train, in fact probably never. Therefore my income was pure profit - even if their new pricing policy drums up extra income, they could still have had my custom which would have continued to be pure profit.

Why wouldn't they try to keep us - one of life's mysteries.

Best Regards

Alan.

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The demise of the POC and Points Plus is a pity but Eurotunnel are a commercial organisation and if they believe they will make more by dropping the schemes that is what they will do. After all their raison d'etre is to make money with the services they provide only to achieve that end.

They are in desperate trouble with insufficient income to meet interest payments on the debt. This shows the folly of such major projects being carried out by commercial enterprises rather than Government, but I have no doubt at all that if the French and English Governments had carried out the project the cost over run would have been even greater.

Latest reports seem to indicate that they will increase their focus on freight services to the detriment to passenger travel so we can expect further deterioration in service.

I have used them fairly often but have never really been a fan. I believe that their attitude towards private travellers has been apalling for many years. Their insistence that you should travel only on the booked shuttle or pay a surcharge (although to be fair the staff often do not impose that) but refuse to compensate a like sum when they do not run that shuttle is quite unreasonable. They make it as difficult as possible to actually speak to someone, and even when you do eventually get through to them it is on an 0870 number. That means if you complain you are paying them to do so since they earn income from the 0870 number.

One other point. For the Points Plus service an annual fee had to be paid. Not much I accept, but has anyone seen anything about a refund for the unused term. No, of course not.

At the end of the day all we poor passengers can do is to stop travelling with them, and if that cannot be avoided, then at least refuse to shop at the terminal where they make a good part of their profits.

I will probably travel by air more often now as the extra cost of using the Shuttle (forgoing the occasional free trip with Points) means that it is as economic for me to fly and hire a car rather than drive down to Provence.

Otherwise, it's back to the ferries for me. I know they cost as much and take longer, but I have had enough of Eurotunnel and it will be a pleasure NOT having to do business with them.

Andy
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Andy

I'm sure they believe they will improve either cash flow or profit by dropping the scheme - whether they are right or not is of course another matter!

For me the POC was good value at a price I was prepared to pay. At those prices I travelled whenever I had the opportunity - at a higher price I'll think twice and I know from analysis of my travel patterns that I travelled far more frequently after the POC was introduced than before. Additionaly without the flexibility of the POC tickets I won't have the opportunity as often - I always knew that if I got stuck late at work on a Friday night I could either just turn up late or travel the next day.

I'll be interested to see if time reveals why they've chopped the old scheme before anouncing replacements.

Best Regards

Alan.

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[quote]Andy I'm sure they believe they will improve either cash flow or profit by dropping the scheme - whether they are right or not is of course another matter! For me the POC was good value at a price ...[/quote]

I'm new on this forum, just do not know all discussion boards and just posted elsewhere an update on Eurotunnel's frequent customers problems. I think it was under travelling to France, but it hasn't appeared yet. Inside Eurotunnel there is nothing known yet at the customers services level about the fate of corporate accounts of frequent customers like POC. Points Plus and other such "gimmicks" have been abolished because the new management decided that it was too expensive. You might have received a similar letter. The rates for 2005 are £98 for 2-5 days (4 nights) and £149 for more than 4 nights. The deadline for booking all travel at this price in 2005 moved from 3 NOV 04 to 31 JAN 05 yesterday (5 NOV 04) after I complained on 2 (to contact us) and 3 NOV (to CEO) about the impossibility to book on-line for 2005. I checked today and I get again

No scheduled shuttles.

when trying to book in March 2005. It worries me because I have been weekly shuttling since mid 1997 and need the punctuality and good service at the affordable prices we had in the past.

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Welcome to the forum Shortway. Unfortunately the date of 31 January only applies to bookings after 18th March 2005  for the Early Booking offer, should you wish to travel between the 5 January and 17 March the offer closes 4th January.

I think the Eurotunnel Early booking fares are very expensive when you read the small print. Take someone wanting to book a crossing after 17 March and like many people may wish to change the date nearer the time. The fare for 5 days plus is £179 plus an amendment fee of £30 and for certain dates in July or August a further £20 supplement making a possible total for an early booking fare £229. With these types of fares Eurotunnel are obviously only interested in the freight and coach traffic.

Let's hope with less people crossing the channel and the low cost fares of Speedferries that the operators will be forced into a price war for 2005 as over capacity will still exist.

Baz

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Yes, like you Baz, I did the sums on what superficially seem moderately reasonable offers but after the calculations, come out far from reasonable. Unlike you, Andy,I am a fan of the Shuttle. I believe it has transformed cross channel travel. Unfortunately, Eurotunnel has never managed to stagger clear of  its debt mountain. Yes, of course they have taken this move to try and increase income but I don't see how it will. In my own case, I tried to renew my membership in October and pay for the forthcoming year's travel but was unable to, due to the cessation of the POC. Having had to rejig my travel plans I now find I am paying £300 less for next year's travel. Admittedly this partly due to using my points for free travel but two of my trips are with another [cheaper] operator. Is Eurotunnel hoping that every other former POC member, apart from my good self, is incredibly stupid and will cough up for more expensive, less convenient, less flexible fares? I think not. So, as I say, how is this move going to benefit Eurotunnel?

I have known for some time that Eurotunnel is keener on freight than on passenger traffic but what, I wonder, does a lorry have to pay to travel on the shuttle. Does anybody know? My guess is that it pays nothing like the appropriate fare given the size and weight involved - not perhaps much more than a car in peak season? Does anybody know?

Patrick

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Hi again!
I have been travelling weekly (except my hols)  since mid 1997 and since I am (or should I say was) a great fan of Eurotunnel. I became even shareholder in 2001, more like supporting a charity than having any illusion to get money out of it. I was at this disastrous AGM on 7 April 04 in Villepinte near Paris, where 3% of the shareholders (called by the press the rebels) ousted the board.  Besides the board, quite a number of previous high level management disappeared.  The new management found the “gimmicks” like POC, Points Plus, corporate rates too expensive and abolished it from one day to another without having any serious replacement besides their statement to make it like no frills airlines. They got an “expert” in change management in and the only change that happened is that the whole base of regular loyal customers is destroyed. That we would not lose on this like they stated in letters/messages to us is not correct. Like you, we have to pay from £20 to £140 more and that if we check before the dates indicated on their website. That means for me some £4000 at once. They can forget that.  This morning I could not order on-line any ticket in 2005 because the timetable didn’t function.  This new management made a major mistake. I told them how the number of bookings will go down, how I can’t stop my colleagues-team members from starting to take the ferries (again). It’s sad, very sad, not the least for the staff, who build up for years these groups of customers that constitute about 50% (I estimate). That will certainly not be replaced from one day to another by rail and more freight traffic. They went down from some 46% market share to 38% market share for trucks. It’s foolish (FYI the Motley Fool UK is having since years a discussion group on Eurotunnel. I don’t know if links are working from this site, but have a look if you’re interested
http://boards.fool.co.uk/Messages.asp?mid=8872889&bid=50356&days=7 and you may better understand Eurotunnel's problems)

 

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Bixy,

 We took a 7.5 tonner twice last year on the chunnel, it cost £350 return.

Turn up and go within I think 72 hours of the date stated on the booking. It was very quick with no waiting at all and a hostess serving tea/coffee etc in the 'mess' car.

On one of the trips, rather strangely a German VW Polo came across on the 'freight' train. I wonder what he paid ?

Cheers

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I wonder if anyone has had the same problem as me with their POC letter?    It quite clearly states that I have a poits balance as at 14/09/2004 of 7092 points.  Great I thought, I hadn't realised that I'd let them build up so much.  After booking 2 short stays, I had a new balance of 8 points!!!  Looking closer at the letter, I saw that it was not my membership number so I was looking at someone else's balance - That's like getting somone else's bank statement!! Customer Services could not explain but am I alone in this or is the error widespread??
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[quote]I wonder if anyone has had the same problem as me with their POC letter? It quite clearly states that I have a poits balance as at 14/09/2004 of 7092 points. Great I thought, I hadn't realised tha...[/quote]

It seems a bit bizarre but when I called with a query about this and quoted the number on the letter I was told that wasn't my membership number it was an administrative number of some sort. On checking on my card I found it had mostly the same digits in the same place and order but some differences. Beats me why anyone should have a system which did that, but no matter, it'll all be water over the tunnel soon anyway.

Steve.

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