Sunday, 15 April 2012

Crosscountry trains and La Prairie skincream

Just read an unbelievable article in the Guardian about pricing of various products.

Two parts of it particularly caught BFTF's interest. . .

Crosscountry Rail
Part of this interview involved a discussion of the fact that (for a journey that has two separate parts) it was much cheaper to buy to separate tickets rather than one single one - and that this was not indicated on the companys website. This so frustrated BFTF that it sent the following email to Cross Country trains (it includes the relevant part of the interview, so is pretty self-explanatory):

Dear Cross Country Trains
I've just read an interview between a Guardian reporter and your Head of Communications, Richard Gibson. Part of this interview, relating to the pricing information for train journeys, appears to be rather diverced from reality. I attach the relevant part here (astericks denote the bits I am having trouble getting my head around):

Guardian: Do you think it's fair that one person could pay £147.50, but another could split the tickets and pay £65 for the same journey on the same trains?
Richard Gibson: I think the fare of £147.50, at less than 50p per mile, is a fair price for the 300-mile journey.
Guardian: But in the end I paid just £65!
Richard Gibson: I think that £147.50 to travel from St Austell to Macclesfield is a fair price for the journey.
Guardian: You keep telling me it's fair, but when people read this they're going to say: it's absurd and you're ignoring my question. Why can't CrossCountry write on their ticket site, "It may be cheaper to book your journeys separately."
Richard Gibson: Because not every customer wishes to do what you've tried to do.
Guardian: Not every customer wishes to save money? It is a hassle, but you should still tell them. Why won't you?
Richard Gibson: Because that would be confusing to customers.***
Guardian: I think customers would like to save money.
Richard Gibson: I think we disagree on what we think our customers would prefer.***

You can't seriously be saying that customers do not want to be told how to get cheaper fares? Can you?

Update(11 May 2012)
Received a response from Cross Country which is shown below (slightly edited to save space):
The interview Richard gave took about 45 minutes and what the Guardian decided to publish were in fact a series of quotes from it, carefully selected to tell the story they set out to achieve. . .
In fact the reality is that the industry is working hard to provide the best information about train fares to customers. As for how all of the potential combinations of many hundreds of thousands of fares between two given points can be communicated to a customer, well, this is something that the rail industry continues to consider. The fact remains that “through” fares generally remain the cheapest way of making a journey, and our practice to date has been to offer through fares unless none are available, or a customer proposes other options. Indeed, the article failed to acknowledge the cheaper Advance fare that was available for that route.
It's also worth noting that until recently, the majority of tickets were sold through stations. But we recognise that online retailing offers customers the ability to try out different options (for example, splitting a journey, varying the route of travel, or changing the time of travel) and we are exploring how we might utilise this sales channel to make our retailing more simpler to customers who are able to be flexible in their travel plans.

La Prairie, whose Cellular Platinum Cream
The other interview that saw BFTF somewhat confused was with Rachel Simmonds who is the skincare training manager at La Prairie, whose 50ml Cellular Platinum Cream is sold for £656. As this is a bit of a (bad)sciency topic, it can be found at the Nottingham Science Blog here.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if they'll show the courtesy to give a reply that isn't prepared