UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
Crofty

Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:37 pm

Towers really can't seem to do much right in my eyes of late, the latest being the trend adopted where they are displaying the product prices without VAT and then a separate obviously higher price including the VAT.

Example

This practice of pricing is generally used by businesses who are selling to traders such as Building supplies company's and Computer component retailers. Customers who are likely to be able to claim the VAT back so will be interested in the core price rather than the price inclusive of VAT. I see this being of no interest but to confuse or mislead Alton/Merlins customers and think that prices should be reverted back to being displayed normally, inclusive of VAT.

how many people are likely to be able to claim the VAT back on a trip to Alton Towers?

I understand that Merlin have an issue with the government at the moment regarding VAT but I don't think that displaying prices like this will do anything for the cause.
 
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James
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:51 pm

Ahh yes, this was posted in another topic a while back. It is quite misleading and could cause many confused customers. It's clear that Merlin aren't impressed with the government and VAT, but it's just looks all to messy on the website.

When someone wants to book tickets they will want to know the price that they need to pay, now most people might not bother reading it all and just skim read the page, since Alton have put the price without VAT in bold most people may assume that's the price to pay when it's not.

It's nice to see Merlin are against the VAT rises, but they need to sort out how to get their point across whilst not confusing their customers at the same time. I doubt most people will care, it's just the way things are, however much we hate it.
 
Anonymous

Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:00 pm

Thinking in a business sense. I agree with what they're doing.

VAT at 20% is just too much to handle inclusively, it's horrid, it really is. As you say, many tech and construction companies do prices exclusive of VAT.

As long as it clearly states something along the lines of "All prices exclusive of 20.00% VAT unless otherwise stated" then I think it's fine with displaying any price without VAT added on until you come to purchase.

It's then up to the customer to notice this, it's not like companies hide it!
 
TheOneWho

Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:27 pm

If Merlin have an issue with the VAT then they should put something on the website to say so, something that can explain their stance and maybe even drum up a bit of support for their cause. Right now it is just confusing and messy.

However, at least they are displaying the separate prices on the same page, unlike a different site (for sports equipment) I occasionally use. On there VAT is not added until the checkout stage, and so it is only at that point you can see how much you will actually be charged. Although I think most people using the site would be able to reclaim the VAT on their purchases.
 
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Vik
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:09 pm

The before VAT and after VAT are detailed clearly on the same page so it shouldn't be that confusing to people. There are much more unscrupulous companies, as TheOneWho mentions, who wouldn't add the VAT on until the checkout page. A similar tactic of hiding Air Passenger duty until late on in the booking process used to be employed by budget airlines until they were scolded.

As it is at present by displaying both the before VAT and after VAT clearly they are doing nothing wrong. I do however think it is a rather pointless exercise to expose the difference in this way as the all the costs, including the VAT should be displayed on the checkout receipt anyway, so is clear to see how much extra the 20% VAT rate adds on to the cost of the ticket.

Some European countries have a different rate of VAT for Tourism & Leisure as opposed to the countries standard rate. Seems to be levied at around 5 - 10%, though it has been suggested that in some cases this is under review. I can't see such a rate happening in the UK for a while though, given the eagerness to reduce the budget deficit and the use of VAT as one of the ways of doing so.
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monsterdan5

Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:24 pm

Just a heads up, this is happening across all Merlin Attraction sites :(
 
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Voke
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:32 pm

They didn't do this with the last VAT rise did they? I'm sure they didn't show the prices like that.
 
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Emrys
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:40 pm

I agree with Merlin's stance against the huge levy of VAT on the leisure industry because they only real people it hurst are the customers, however there are much better ways of them making their point. It would be much more effective if they display the total price at the end and then something similar to this.

TOTAL:£100
* Merlin would like to appologise for the price of this ticket, if this purchase wa sin line with other European leisure companies in other European countries this ticket would have cost you £105 due to the lower VAT. Read here and sign our lobby against the government*
 
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:03 pm

"TheOneWho" wrote:
If Merlin have an issue with the VAT then they should put something on the website to say so, something that can explain their stance and maybe even drum up a bit of support for their cause. Right now it is just confusing and messy.


They are doing on other sites, both Thorpe Park and Warwick Castle have explanations of what they are doing, in fact Warwick Castle goes quite in depth. That's the only way this campaign can work, because otherwise customers really won't care, they just want to know what they will be paying.

"BrettS" wrote:
VAT at 20% is just too much to handle inclusively, it's horrid, it really is. As you say, many tech and construction companies do prices exclusive of VAT.


That is surely because most of their customers will be offsetting that VAT, so the price excluding VAT is practical information for them. Alton Towers is in an entirely different industry, and almost none of a theme park's customers will be able to offset the VAT, so supplying the price excluding VAT is a redundant piece of information.

The thing is, if Merlin were to get their way on this, what would the chances of Merlin Passing on the saving to their customers? I think their track record probably suggests not. Or more likely they would provide a small price cut which hides a substantial rise in profits for the company... and the customers would still end up paying for it somewhere along the lines, because in the current climate a reduction in tax in one area will only lead to a rise somewhere else.
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thefatone
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:19 pm

Merlin are employing this tactic. Yes they're allowed to, of course they are, but they really need to think carefully about this tactic.

It's incredibly confusing. People want to see the price clearly and quickly, nothing more important in getting custom is being clear with the price. This isn't.

Don't know if anyone visited the London Eye after the VAT rise. They replaced their simple boards with these extremely confusing ones. Foreigners were thinking the cheaper price is what they pay, americans thought you could claim VAT back. Noone can, businesses can't even as its not a business item.

It looks like merlin trying to suggest that their prices are acceptable before VAT. They're not really. And the VAT does not make much of a difference - particularly 2.5% recent rise. It's silly.

Anyone remember the big posters a few years ago about it - then as we went down to 15%, the gate prices magically rose across the board? Interesting.
 
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aru
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:56 pm

Maybe Merlin should offer competitive value for money rather than opting for a confusing system of highlighting VAT, and passing blame. The 20% rate may not be popular, but it has brought the UK rate in line with the rest of Europe. Moreover, we have known about this rise for six months!

Merlin should bite the bullet in my opinion and absorb some of the rate and pass on the rest to the customer. I don't see the value in approaching the VAT rise like this.
 
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:32 pm

"aru" wrote:
The 20% rate may not be popular, but it has brought the UK rate in line with the rest of Europe. Moreover, we have known about this rise for six months!

I think many are missing the mark here.

Merlin aren't complaining about the fact that VAT's risen from 17.5% to 20%, but rather that it's the same rate for the leisure industry as for anything else. Go elsewhere in Europe, and leisure will get a rate as low as 5%.

To post the picture I added to the original discussion (this thread is somewhat a duplication):

Image

Edit:
"thefatone" wrote:
It looks like merlin trying to suggest that their prices are acceptable before VAT. They're not really. And the VAT does not make much of a difference - particularly 2.5% recent rise. It's silly.

I dunno. A £38 ticket would cost £33.25 with a 5% tax rate. That's near-enough a fiver - doesn't strike me as silly at all.
 
monsterdan5

Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:59 am

Is anyone else thinking this is all a little bit childish for a company like Merlin? :(
 
AstroDan

Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:03 am

I think it's pretty much as Squiggles suggests - that as Warwick Castle are explaining the reasoning behind the move, it works. If Alton Towers fail to expose the reasons behind the pricing displays, then the public will just be confused because in the UK we are not accustomed to seeing prices displayed as such.

It doesn't particularly bother me either way - but I do feel Alton Towers should make it perfectly clear why they are doing it, and perhaps even give out leaflets relating to the BALPAA campaign.
 
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Re: Displaying Ticket prices without VAT. Misleading Much?

Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:04 pm

My biggest bugbear of being in Florida was the tax added on at the till. It was like here's a price that meets our profit margin, then here's some tax. Wound me up big time, just tell me the full price I know there's a tax!

Same applies to this and in the UK, I know there's been a VAT rise and that it's at 20% - I'm not an idiot. I'd much prefer it if they showed the price in full, the gave a leaflet out with each ticket (or each set of tickets) saying your ticket had a 20% VAT rate etc. We are working to lower it blah blah.

Having it seperate just annoys me - I hope your listening Merlin/Vauxhall! :P
 
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spinwhizzer
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Prices Ex. VAT

Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:54 pm

After looking on towers nerd live, I've noticed how Alton have decided to display prices excluding VAT, and then the "you pay" price. What do you think to this? I usually support everything Alton do, but personally this is too far, I find it confusing, and they come across very bitter...
 
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SEALIFE
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Re: Prices Ex. VAT

Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:45 pm

It can be confusing we have a similar display at SEALIFE on the plasma's. Guests offten say I thought it was £14 pound odd then we have to point out and explain that with the vat increase they pay £17.88 some find it usefull others dont. Mixed reviews over it really.
*SEALIFE prices based on 18/2/2011 onwards :P
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DiogoJ42

Re: Prices Ex. VAT

Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:21 pm

I would love to speak my mind on this, but people would only moan that I was being "anti Merlin"... :roll:
 
Adam
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Re: Prices Ex. VAT

Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:25 pm

Who cares! :roll:

So they are displaying the prices slightly differently... It's only going to cause them complaints in the long run. So it wont last long.
"It would be spiteful to put Jellyfish in a trifle..."
 
Joelio

Re: Prices Ex. VAT

Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:30 pm

"DiogoJ42" wrote:
I would love to speak my mind on this, but people would only moan that I was being "anti Merlin"... :roll:


Complain all you want Diogo, its a forum afterall :) Even if I disagree with your point (unlikely) atleast you can voice your thoughts.

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