Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hmmmm moments number one

I've just called the English Cricket Board's handling agents to enquire why, a month after the event was virtually washed out, I haven't yet received a refund for my two tickets to the third day of the England v New Zealand test at Lord's.

The ECB has a policy that states that the cost of tickets will be refunded in full, less a small admin charge, if less than 10 overs of play are completed in a day. Having shelled out rather a lot for Rory and myself to sit in the rain watching the FA Cup Final on the Lord's big screen, I duly dispatched my tickets to the handling agents....and noted the number to call if my money wasn't with me in 28 days.

28 days passed earlier this week, so I called the number today and was told, by a very pleasant call handler, that the repayments system was experiencing a slight delay.

'Why?' I enquired in all innocence. The answer made me smile: "Because we're having to deal with an unanticipated number of refunds.'
Now how could the number be unanticipated? The ECB knows the capacity of Lord's and knows how many tickets were sold for the day - even my scanning of the stands in the short while that play was possible could fairly accurately guesstimate 20,000.

So, surely the ECB had to bank on a worst-case scenario and prepare to deal with, say, 10,000 claims, since few attend the Test as 'Bill, party of one'.

Yet they're unprepared: unprepared in the way that Britain's unprepared for snow on the railways every year or in the way that Christmas creeps up without you quite expecting it.

The average price of a ticket to an international day at Lord's this year is something like £65. If we're expected to cough up that not inconsiderable sum, shouldn't the authorities be expected to have an efficient refunds process?

Hmmm - not impressed.

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