Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Visa Way


So today is the last day to apply for Olympic tickets.
We did it yesterday and we went a little bit crazy.
The whole applying process is quite simple, if expensive and actually completely outrageous.  There are times when corporate sponsorship goes too far, and Visa's complete obliteration of all that is acceptable is, frankly, unacceptable.
To attend events at the Olympic Games you choose firstly the events and then the ticket price.  This is not like choosing a ticket for the theatre because you are merely choosing how much you are willing to pay.  The assumption is that the more one pays the better the seats supplied.  At no point are applicants given sight of a seating plan or any kind of indication of how far away they will be from any sporting action.  It's merely an assumption.  A very expensive assumption in our case.
There is no guarantee that the tickets for which you have applied will actually be allocated.  In our case, if they are not, that will be a financial bonus as well as a crushing disappointment.
In May your Visa card, and yes it must be a Visa card, will be debited for the amount of your successful application and you must ensure you have sufficient funds (or credit limit) to cover the amount for which you have applied.  In our case that means we can't spend any money on our Visa card at all because our application absorbs our entire credit limit, bar about £150.
At the end of June you'll be told which tickets were allocated.
What?  You mean I paid for something in May and won't know exactly what it is until the end of June?
Yep, that's the Visa way.
Now obviously you might find that your Equestrian clashes with your Rhythmic Gymnastics and you were successful with both ticket applications.  You'd applied for both because you were hedging your bets (we've hedged a lot of bets).  Clearly you want a refund on the Equestrian event because your true love is Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Getting a refund is perfectly possible but, only when applied for in 2012.
What? I can only get a refund in 2012, over six months after I paid for the damn things?  That's outrageous!
No.  That's the Visa way.
The most sickening and annoying thing about this whole thing isn't the anxious wait to find out whether you'll be trotting off to see the horses in Greenwich or young girls twirling ribbons.  It's the fact that the whole "pay for stuff in May, find out what you've paid for in June and maybe get a refund next year" is not information that you'll find on the London2012.com website.  No, to find this out you have to search Google. (If you are looking for advice then this is a good site: http://conversation.which.co.uk/money/budget-for-your-olympics-tickets/)
And that's the Visa way.  God Bless Visa.
You know, I've previously not cared a jot about any credit card provider but now I do have a fully formed opinion of Visa as a brand.  I wonder if it's the one they envisaged when they engaged in their Olympic sponsorship.


Pete Blanchard said...

The Olympics don't attract me in the least & I have no intention of going. But this VISA thing has *really* annoyed me. It's real corporate bullying with NO thought given to the customers - you must use only OUR card and we'll give you your money back when WE say so and that's at least 6 months (hmm, guess who collects the interest?).

Absolutely F*****G outrageous. I shall NEVER get another VISA card as far as I can help it. Same for any other product whose company blatantly screws the consumer. As you say, I think this was dreamt up when the brand guys were all on holiday...

Rana said...

Well said. It is a scam to make money for the sponsors and the IOC.