Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Web booking discrepancies - eg, Belfast City Airport's car park cancellation process

Every online booking journey seems to be unique.

While the processes for checkout and even order cancellation at big name retailers like Amazon are well oiled and well understood, smaller organisations offering online payment are often more haphazard in nature.

Tonight, booking a car park place in Belfast City Airport's long stay car park for the end of October, I wondered what would happen if my flight changed or I needed to cancel?

The FAQ on the website had good news. If I gave them more than 48 hours notice, I'd get a full refund.

For those products that can be cancelled, you may cancel your booking up to 48 hours prior to your scheduled departure time at no charge.

The text in the confirmation email was less clear cut.

Cancellations are subject to the terms and conditions of your booking. Please note should you wish to cancel your booking, a cancellation fee will apply. No refund is available for unused or part stays

So which is it? Full refund with 48 hours notice? Or cancellation fees? While Belfast City Airport is a timely example, there have been other examples I've stumbled across in the past week. Clarity and consistency at the different stages of the booking process would be helpful from all retailers.

PS: Booking a space in the long stay car park at the City Airport is currently cheaper for 7-15 days (flat rate offer of £30) than booking for 5 days (£38.50). I wonder whether there's any penalty for leaving the car park early?

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