Virgin fare rip off

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RAM

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CBR-SYD-CBR

Oubound flight showing as $129.00, return flight $126.21. Total = $258.00.

This isn't the only problem I can see with the VA website at the moment - CBR to SYD is showing as 30 minutes and the return SYD to CBR as 1hr 30mins. :confused:

Must be the cyclonic jetstream created by all that hot air rising from Parliament Hill!
 
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RAM

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medhead - I had contact from the VFF rep in Sept 2013 when I sent them a list of things that didn't work properly on the VA web site, this was one of them, the VFF rep let me know that the list formed a report that he/she made and had passed on.

and was subsequently filed in the next decade drawer?

Sounds like an ideal short video for the ABC consumer show - The checkout.
 

Bolthead

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I experienced this on Thursday when I booked a happy hour return flight from SYD-OOL. The first sector SYD-OOL was $59.00 as advertised however the OOL-SYD sector was $57.30. At first I thought, 'you beauty'... just saved myself $1.70. However at checkout it was $118 in total. (excluding CC fees). It didn't bother me because it was only $1.70 difference and in the end I did pay the advertised price. However this doesn't make it right and it must be fixed. As previously mentioned you would think it would be an easy fix.

However, despite all the flights I have booked in the past 12 months this is the first time I have come across it.
 

RAM

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I experienced this on Thursday when I booked a happy hour return flight from SYD-OOL. The first sector SYD-OOL was $59.00 as advertised however the OOL-SYD sector was $57.30. At first I thought, 'you beauty'... just saved myself $1.70. However at checkout it was $118 in total. (excluding CC fees). It didn't bother me because it was only $1.70 difference and in the end I did pay the advertised price. However this doesn't make it right and it must be fixed. As previously mentioned you would think it would be an easy fix.

However, despite all the flights I have booked in the past 12 months this is the first time I have come across it.

It is so easy to jump to conclusions.

Everyone is assuming that it is sloppy programming. It could be a deliberate fraud.

The great aspect if computer programs (OK I go mod - apps) is that their maths ability does not decrease as the day goes on. 1+1 always equals 2. In some of the examples quoted the final fare is more than the sum of double the largest single fare cost. Provided everyone's memories are half right then this looks more serious.

From an auditing perspective the EDP check of fares sold vs money collected would show up instantly and be flagged. If not the audit firm (multinational accounting company with anxious insurer looking for any excuse not to pay indemnity) is seriously mucking up.

However, if as has happened many times but virtually never gets reported, as companies do not like to admit how poor their internal controls were or how the incessant cost cutting had led to low to no due diligence, this could be the work of some internal IT staff or a talented hacker.

Consider this - how many of you are somewhat perturbed at the time but then think well it is still much cheaper than Q and then just forget it? It looks as if it has been set to be less than the magic $10 amount (you will not believe how much money has been spent on market research worldwide on how to rip-off people without annoying them to the point they switch product).

So if some innovative person/people have set up a sub-routine that randomly generates an additional amount (that is the lower of X% of the total fare or $Y) to charge you. This new amount gets paid to some other ledger account that is legitimate (ie: it has a reason to exist) and then when the amount swept to it reaches a certain level it generates a payment to an outside entity. This happens, I've picked up similar creative programming way back.

Where to from here? How about all of you email VA with the info you've posted here citing this thread and let's see what happens?

Can I claim a reward? I'm not greedy VA, say 957,623 points.
 

stoneman

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And I thought it was me! I booked a few flights from happy hour too, inc SYD-OOL and I must admit I looked twice at the costings, but just continued on as it wasn't much and I needed the flights.
Referring to my thread ( Get your head around this ... ) IMO there has to be something wrong with the website and also some staff as I mentioned. How strange ?? :confused:
 
D

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It could be a deliberate fraud.

It might be, but my money is on VAs useless IT dept. It's well documented how pathetic VA are at firstly, identifying their glitches and secondly, fixing them!

It would be easy to squawk conspiracy to defraud, but in all honesty they'd done themselves over as often as they've done us over. I just think they refuse to spend the dollars needed to have a good IT dept.

That's not saying I defend them, just me giving my opinion. Of course they need to fix it, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
 
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I must confess I have never really checked before (but do not usually book VA); however, I did a dummy booking CBR - MEL - CBR for next week and the difference was close to $3.00 ($478 as the total owing as against $289 + $186.16). The error seems to be in the actual flight cost as the taxes add up correctly. Not overly happy!
Wasn't there a court case (US?) a few years back where a bank employee/s rounded up the cents for transactions and made millions.

May be way around it is to book a return trip as two one ways (domestically)
 
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medhead

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I must confess I have never really checked before (but do not usually book VA); however, I did a dummy booking CBR - MEL - CBR for next week and the difference was close to $3.00 ($478 as the total owing as against $289 + $186.16). The error seems to be in the actual flight cost as the taxes add up correctly. Not overly happy!
Wasn't there a court case (US?) a few years back where a bank employee/s rounded up the cents for transactions and made millions.

May be way around it is to book a return trip as two one ways (domestically)

Two one ways means 2x $7.70 if wanting the credit card points. Not to mention that it is only the return leg where the price is lower. A one way prices as per the advertised price, and is not $2-$3 lower.

That was the plot of the movie Office Space.

Yes, but somewhere I remember an actual case. I used it for a case study but it was about 15 years ago probably!

Older than 15 years, earliest account going back to 1978. But Snopes doesn't say if it's true or not.
snopes.com: The Salami Embezzlement Technique
 

RAM

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Yes, but somewhere I remember an actual case. I used it for a case study but it was about 15 years ago probably!

The fraction of a cent in interest calculations was (is?) a favourite story in Uni lectures both accounting and Computer Science. The one I was told went back to the US and the early days of mainframes (1960s). The interest calculation may generate a figure like $234.45 on the ledger but the actual amount calculated may have been $234.451649872 for example. The amount below the cents level was swept into a legitimate but irregularly used ledger account (such as asset revaluation reserve) and once it got to a big enough amount then would get reversed out of it and paid out.

A more AFF style (don't get angry get ahead...) one.

A senior IT manager who looked after a mid-sized company's mainframe was thought to have over-heard he was going to be sacked. Each day there was a back-up taken on tape and the tapes were then moved off-site for safety (in event of fire etc). This was very early 70s. No RFIT access cards just physical keys.

The IT guy was a jack-of-all-trades, including it turned out an able electrician. Some months after he was fired there was a problem and the back-up tapes were brought back on-site to restore the system.

The tapes were useless, totally scrambled.
So the previous days tapes were brought back. They too were useless. This process went on for apparently over 60 days of tapes being brought back in before someone twigged there was a serious issue.

Instead of bringing the tapes back they got IBM to test the next tape and it was useless too. In fact every tape going back to a few days before the guy was sacked was useless. Trouble was they did not know why. Thought just a coincidence. IBM called into site to check tape machine, and it was perfect. But when the IBM guys got back to their office they found that their equipment, test tapes etc were also useless.

Much head scratching, the only thing that could ruin the tapes like that was a strong magnetic field. So it was arranged for them to come back the next morning and check. Nothing found but tape made that previous evening was also useless despite machine checking out perfectly.

Took days more, meanwhile company virtually paralysed as system nearly 3 months out of date, no billing, no stock control nothing.

Finally someone worked it out. Tape backups done every evening, it was now late winter. So despite being a typical 60s office set-up with lots of windows, it got dark so the lights got switched on. It turns out, they never proved it but strong suspicion that the sacked guy did it, someone had created a strong enough electro-magnet by looping wire around the exit door from the facility, not the door directly into the mainframe room but a door along the corridor leading to the car park that the courier always used to take the tapes.

The wire was hooked up to the light switch so that when the light switch was turned on not only did the hall lights come on (as they were needed late in the afternoon as it was autumn) but the magnetic field was created.

That was why the first time IBM came in to check the equipment out and run tests all their equipment/test tapes etc were fine as the lights were not on, but as they were there for a lengthy period, by the time they left the lights were on and of course they wheeled their gear out through the door to the car park.

It was never pinned on the sacked manager.
 

Meggsy

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We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties with the way taxes are being calculated on return fares, which is resulting in a minor discrepancy between the fare that is displayed and the correct applicable fare for the return leg of your journey. Despite this, please be assured that the Booking Summary you accept is displaying the correct tax calculations and final price for the return airfare selected. We apologise for any inconvenience and are working to rectify this matter as soon as possible.
Just noticed this at the top of a rewards booking I was trying to do. Wonder if this is linked to what you folks have been highlighting.
 
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RAM

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We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties with the way taxes are being calculated on return fares, which is resulting in a minor discrepancy between the fare that is displayed and the correct applicable fare for the return leg of your journey. Despite this, please be assured that the Booking Summary you accept is displaying the correct tax calculations and final price for the return airfare selected. We apologise for any inconvenience and are working to rectify this matter as soon as possible.


Just noticed this at the top of a rewards booking I was trying to do. Wonder if this is linked to what you folks have been highlighting.

It could be the answer but the differing amounts suggest it is either:
Deliberately untrue, or;
VA are really that bad and have major IT issues, or;
There is fraud and they do not want to make any acknowledgement of it.

It would be worthwhile (for those with the time) to do some dummy bookings in VA and using matrix to see for same fare codes what the taxes generated are from both.
 

eastwest101

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Someone has obviously let off a firecracker underneath the VA IT team this morning, they should have fun explaining their little discrepency to the ATO, or may be a windfall? Who knows? Certainly not the auditors considering this has been on again off again since Jan 2013.
 

Denali

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I propose VA can keep my $2.40 in exchange for the 23million points they gave/took off us earlier this month.

Seems fair.
 

jneufeld

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Just noticed this at the top of a rewards booking I was trying to do. Wonder if this is linked to what you folks have been highlighting.

I would say that this disclaimer would be a direct result of the action of members here. I for one shot off a sternly worded email to JB on Saturday night about the issue as well as lodging an ACCC complaint.
 
D

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Someone has obviously let off a firecracker underneath the VA IT team this morning,

Funny thing about a firecracker.......makes a lot of noise and smoke for a very short time. It's never worked previously and I doubt it'll work this time. Let's face it, a few rounding issues is no where near charging people 2 and 3 times for the same fare and then taking a month or so to reverse the transactions and that didn't stop them. BTW, my bookkeeper was tragically the victim of a murder/suicide during that time and when I could draw myself to look at the books, I did notice a number of transactions which looked like double charges from VA. There were only a few and to be honest, I had other issues on my plate at the time, but I've never had VA reverse those transactions. Makes me think they are more than happy to let "sleeping dogs lie" and I wonder how many others paid multiple times for their flights. I'm not complaining mind, as I've also been the winner of some stuff-ups they inflicted on themselves.

As I said......a pathetic IT dept who cannot count, cannot read, cannot proof read, cannot do beta testing and I have my doubts about their IT abilities as well.
 

RAM

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As I said......a pathetic IT dept who cannot count, cannot read, cannot proof read, cannot do beta testing and I have my doubts about their IT abilities as well.

Unfortunately that sounds like many IT depts these days. "Structured Programming" exists only in history books for the most part and adequate documentation well forget it. This problem has been building for decades though.

One of Australia's largest fund managers 'enhanced' their in-house systems (previously truly world class - toured US on 'spy' mission and shocked at how well ours stacked up against so-called industry giants). Directors believed the spin by a 4 degree dude who virtually plaigarised a systems implementation text for his 'plan'.

Convinced them that no need for a parallel run - I'm a demi-God. I'd moved on before the 30 Jun date rolled around and his system was to begin April 1. OOPs.

Few problems, did not understand how old system he was 'enhancing' worked. Apparently did not look through it (so well documented) and BIG OOPS used the same variable names as already existed but now used them for a second value.

Yes, you guessed it. Major snafu. Had to seek a special ruling by ATO for their many hundreds of thousands of investors (and through Super Funds who they managed chunks of) to lodge tax returns the following year!
Demi-God shown door and started a consultancy business for clients who did not do any due diligence.
Old system finally reinstated - had to roll back all global transactions etc, re-enter everything, manually calculate and reconcile every asset class, currency exposure etc.

He who laughs last laughs the loudest! (I really am a forgiving type!), as I watched from afar (and gained funds from some disaffected Super Funds).

So not a new thing and much more wide-spread an issue then generally realised.
The VA reaction on double charging could be due to your mouse' sensitivity being set too high or for some people they are too used to double clicking for a program to open etc. Double clicking on the pay now, for some poorly programed scripts does exactly what you'd expect but without giving you two sets of product.

Similarly the repeat speed for your keyboard may be too high (press "Enter") so try reducing the repeat speed too.

And remember, it's always better for money to be in my pocket than theirs!
 

bullerdude

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I hope the ACCC get onto this one cause its downright wrong.

I summarise what is happening here as:

Flight A + Flight B = Total Cost + A little bit extra for VA.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter if VA state for the price of Flight B is wrong on the site as by Law they are only allowed to charge the advertised price - i.e. if they say Flight B is $45.80 then they can only charge you $45.80 not some arbitrary slightly higher amount.
 
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