Volkswagen has not been shy about the virtues of its new all-electric ID.3 hatchback, hailing it as the groundbreaking spiritual successor to the Beetle and the Golf.
That’s a brave claim. I’ve just driven one of the first to arrive on British shores to check it out.
The ID.3 comes with a few twists including the way you put the automatic car into drive or reverse mode. There’s not a conventional stick-selector or dial. Instead, you twist a swivelling plate that sits to the upper side of the steering wheel at about 2 o’clock. Forward to go into drive, and backwards for reverse.
Family choice: The new all-electric VW 1D.3 hatchback is less than £30,000
It’s a bit like operating a manual can-opener. Fine once you get into the swing of it.
The new ID.3 looks suitably modern without being too space cadet. I drove an early First Edition model whose hefty prices start from £35,215, and that’s after you deduct the £3,000 plug-in car grant.
My First Edition Pro Power proved a lively ride, accelerating from rest to 62mph in 7.3 seconds — the initial early bite being engaging — up to a top speed of 99mph.
Powered by a 58kWh 204hp electric motor, there are zero emissions and a claimed range of up to 260 miles.
But this week Volkswagen announced pricing for cheaper models, starting at a fraction under £30,000 (after grant), which will make it a more palatable option for many families seeking value for money as well as eco-credentials.
Of the seven pre-configured series ID.3 models to follow, the lowest-priced is the ID.3 Life costing £29,990.
But the more powerful top-of-the-range Tour model costing £39,290 — with a 77kW/204hp electric motor — has a range of 336 miles, which puts it into Tesla territory, but for thousands of pounds less. Order books open next week.
The ID.3 interior is minimalist, contemporary and comfortable. There are some clever touches. For instance, when I charged up the car overnight, a thin but bright line running the width of the dashboard lit up green, with a proportion of it flashing to denote how much was still to charge.
Your presence in the car (provided you have the key fob to with you) is effectively the car’s signal to start itself up. It already senses when you are getting close and illuminates.
When the car fires up ready for action, the illuminated line across the width of the dashboard is white. It’s a sort of ‘welcome aboard’ signal.
It is echoed by the exterior light running the width of the front of the car – between the LED headlights and through the VW badge.
Once you’ve been ‘greeted’ by the dashboard-width light inside the car, you only actually have to press the parking brake and the electric car is primed ready to drive.
Then you turn the gear-selector rocker-switch. It is a different way of driving. Alternatively, you can, if you want, press the starter button half-hidden on the side of the steering column, but its not actually necessary. And when you’ve finished and want to switch off, you just press the Park button on the side of the rocker-switch. That’s it! When you walk away from the car or lock it, it shuts down automatically.
That clever interior dashboard-width light has other functions too. As well as greeting you and turning green to show when it’s charging, it also turns red to warn of danger ahead. And when your sat-nav tells you to turn left or right, that side of the dashboard light is illuminated.
Another twist. The rear-wheel drive ID.3 may have four side windows, but there are only two buttons on the driver’s side with which to open them all. Default is for the front two windows. But there’s another switch to depress if you want the two buttons to open the rear windows.
Charging to 80 per cent (or 180 miles) takes 30 minutes on a rapid charger. A full charge on a domestic wall box takes 9 hours and 30 minutes – essentially an overnight charge which is what I carried out. Although initially a bit of a faff, charging at home does become more of a mindset thing, and saves you those trips to the filling station. But you do have to plan ahead a bit more as topping up en route can be more complex. More part unlicensed chargers are being introduced. But there still aren’t enough yet.
Would I choose an ID.3 over a new eighth generation petrol or diesel VW Golf? Possibly if I were doing regular commutes. The range is pretty good and it’s a lively and engaging drive.
One irritating thing they do share in common, however, is the over-emphasis on the large central touch-screen, the smallest of which is at least 10 inches. It must have sounded like a good. idea at the time.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic and the glass screens have become a a risk factor for spreading the virus.
My biggest irritation however was the finger touch-sensitive sliding controls – carried over from the Golf. Fiddly and not at all user friendly. It kept moving the volume from barely audible to super loud. I stuck to the steering wheel controls instead.
WILL IT FIT IN MY GARAGE?
Volkswagen ID.3, 1st Edition Pro Power
Price: £35,215 (after deduction of £3,000 plug in car grant)
Mine with extras: £35,853
Price of ID.3 Range: from £29,990
Width (inc mirrors) : 2,070mm
Electric motor: 58kW 204 horse-power. Rear wheel drive.
Range: 260 miles
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Top speed: 99mph
CO2 emissions: Zero
Charging time: 30 minutes on 100kW DC rapid charger, 9 hours 30 minutes on 7kW domestic wall-charger
The car got its own back though. You can use voice commands with the the magic words ‘Hello ID’.
But I failed that test miserably by repeatedly and incorrectly shouting ‘Hi VW’ and ‘Hello Volkswagen’. To no avail until it was too late.
But these are relatively minor quibbles which a period of sustained driving will soon sort.
It certainly turns heads. I had strangers in the street asking me about it.
It’s quick but quiet. Smooth but engaging. Practical, but with good performance.
The boot’s slightly bigger than the Golf’s so will manage the family shop.
Built at VW’s electric car factory in Zwickau, Saxony, which, thirty odd years ago was still behind the Iron Cutain in former Communist East Germany ( how times have changed), it’s a worthy and challenging rival for the Nissan LEAF electric car which has been an early contender in this sector. Nothing like a bit of competition to raise everyone’s game.
MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO LATE RACING LEGEND STIRLING MOSS
A musical tribute to the late racing legend Sir Stirling Moss by his rock star friend Mark Knopfler, and a 50th anniversary cavalcade of 50 Range Rovers are among the highlights of the first virtual Goodwood SpeedWeek, as it opens its online doors this weekend.
Figurehead: A 50th anniversary cavalcade of 50 Range Rovers is among the highlights of the first virtual Goodwood SpeedWeek
Fashion icon Twiggy, Grand Designs TV host Kevin McCloud, Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, Radio 2 DJ Dermot O’Leary, U.S. TV talk-show host and car collector Jay Leno, and a host of drivers from the world of F1 and motorsport, are taking part in three days of live action streamed from the Goodwood Motor Circuit on the Duke of Richmond’s estate, near Chichester in West Sussex.
Visitors can register for free for the SpeedWeek online at goodwood.com, created as a response to the pandemic.
SALES OF ELECTRIC CARS ACCELERATING
Sales of electric cars are accelerating as those for petrol, and particularly diesel, decline.
Key figures for the new ’70’ plate in September are telling, with electric and hybrid cars accounting for one in three of the total.
Accelerating: Key figures for the new ’70’ plate in September are telling, with electric and hybrid cars accounting for one in three of the total
Sales of purely electric cars trebled in September to 21,903, despite an overall 4.4 per cent dip in car sales to 328,041 vehicles, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Plug-in electric hybrids nearly doubled to 12,400. And ‘self-charging hybrids’ increased nearly 56 per cent to 26,344.
Even ‘mild hybrids’ rose with petrol versions increasing five-fold to 30,382, while those aiding diesels rose 66 per cent to 13,484.
Cars with some form of electrification accounted for nearly a third of all vehicles sold — up from just one in eight in September last year.
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Police last year conducted lowest number of roadside breath tests since 2002
Official figures released today show that the number of roadside breath tests are at their lowest point since 2002, despite road casualty figures in Britain showing an increase in deaths caused by intoxicated motorists.
Just 285,380 roadside breath tests were conducted by police in England and Wales in 2019 compared to 322,769 the year previous – a decline of 11.6 per cent, with the rate of positive results highest it’s been since 2007.
The decline in breathalyser assessments is despite the latest government statistics revealing that drink-drive related casualty rates in Britain are on the rise.
While breath checks were at a statistical low, fines issued by the police for speeding were up by 8 per cent, Home Office data confirmed.
Just 285,380 roadside breath tests were conducted by police in England and Wales in 2019 compared to 322,769 the year previous
Final estimates published by the Department for Transport last month show that in 2018 approximately 240 people died in accidents in Great Britain where at least one driver or rider was over the drink drive limit.
An estimated 8,680 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit.
This represents an increase of one per cent from 8,600 in 2017, but is still four per cent lower than the level in 2016.
Of the 285,380 tests conducted by officers in England and Wales last year, 16 per cent of drivers were over the limit, the Home Office data said.
That’s the highest proportion of positive tests on record since 2007.
The numbers also show a huge spike in roadside breath checks carried out in December as part of tougher enforcement levels during the festive season, though the percentage of positive tests is lower than any other month in the year.
Breath tests conducted by police in England and Wales have dropped to their lowest level since 2002, the Home Office confirmed today
The most worrying chart shows that while tests are on a massive decline, the percentage of positive results have been surging year-on-year since 2012
Latest DfT stats show that drink-drive related deaths have flat-lined since 2010, though there was an increase in the number of total casualties (including serious injuries) in 2018
Safety groups said the ‘worrying’ decline in roadside breathalyser tests is due to reduced road policing.
A report published by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) in June stated there was an 18 per cent reduction in the number of dedicated roads policing officers in England and Wales between 2015 and 2019.
Edmund King, AA president said the new breath test figures ‘only highlights the massive reduction in the number of specialist traffic officers on our roads’.
Hunter Abbott, managing director of breathalyser firm AlcoSense and a member of PACTS expressed his concerns to This is Money that more tests should be carried out on motorists, especially during the pandemic.
Home Office figures clearly show the increase in breath tests conducted by police as part of campaigns to crackdown on drink driving during the festive period
But while police in England and Wales carried out far more tests in December, there was a significantly lower rate of positive results
‘With several studies showing people drinking more alcohol since Covid struck, roadside tests should now be stepped up,’ he explained.
‘But without more traffic police, testing will continue to spiral downwards.
‘The latest government figures show 8,860 people killed or injured on the roads due to drink driving.
‘There’s a direct correlation between the increase in casualties and the decrease in law enforcement.’
Government road safety chiefs are already looking at ways to reduce road casualties in Britain, including tougher restrictions on novice drivers and the introduction of ‘alcolocks’ for previously-convicted drink drivers.
The devices are installed in cars and force motorists to pass a breathalyser test before the engine will start.
They will also look at issuing police with more advanced breath tests from next year, which can give more accurate readings.
‘Alcolocks’, which force previously-convicted drink drivers to pass a breath test before they drive, could be introduced after government figures revealed a rise in crashes involving motorists over the legal alcohol limit
While the newly published Home Office data showed a decline in roadside breath tests, it revealed that other offence types had increased.
The stats show that more than 2.2 million speeding fines were issued to drivers last year – an increase of 7.8 per cent compared to 2018.
Police also targeted careless driving and car occupants not wearing a seatbelt which have significantly increased between 2018 and 2019, up 33.5 per cent and 84.3 per cent respectively.
By contrast, the number of fines issued for using a handheld mobile phone dropped by more than a quarter (26.5 per cent), which is also as a result of tougher penalties for motorists caught using devices at the wheel.
Commenting on the data, Edmund King said: ‘While cameras are a useful tool in helping police our roads, we cannot solely rely on them.
‘A camera cannot stop a drink driver, or pull over someone driving carelessly, so having more cops in cars will help eliminate poor and dangerous driving.
‘The lack of roads police has led to drivers thinking they can get away with certain offences. More than two thirds (69 per cent) say it is unlikely they would be caught driving carelessly where they live, while two fifths (43 per cent) say they could drive without insurance and feel they wouldn’t be caught.’
King added that the AA is calling for the government to set a an optimistic target of zero road deaths by the end of the decade, but warned that this can only be reached with more policing, increased road safety campaigns and road safety being made part of the national curriculum.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
What is greenwashing and how can you know if a company is ethical?
The past six months has seen a surge in people wanting to make the economy greener, with a third of Britons stating the pandemic has sharpened their focus when it comes to the environment.
Asked what the Covid-19 outbreak had focused their minds on, 31 per cent said their pandemic experience has increased awareness of climate change, according to a Rathbone Greenbank Investment survey of 2,000 people.
A quarter also said they believed that investing in companies helping to combat climate change was now key to achieving a greener future.
However, the potential for ‘greenwash’ – where companies blind customers with unfounded and untrue claims of being environmentally aware – is huge.
Greenwash: It looks good on the label, but the contents are not as green as they first seem
There is no standard definition of ‘environmental’ or ‘green’ when it comes to companies and investing – though it is something that the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority are looking at.
There’s also no consequence facing companies or funds that claim to be green while pumping oil out of the ground.
Meanwhile, the green money movement continues to grow. Separate research from Bancroft Wealth showed the number of Google searches for ‘sustainable investing’ has grown 119 per cent since the onset of lockdown in March.
Keir Ashman, pensions and investments specialist at the wealth management firm, said: ‘The majority of our clients express an interest in making their investments work for the greater good, not just their personal gain.
‘This has been due, in part, to topical issues such as the positive environmental effect of lockdown, bad corporate behaviour during the pandemic, as well as worldwide social justice movements, but also because there is a greater desire to support purpose-driven organisations.’
Investment Association figures show that three months out of the past four with data available, saw investors pour more than £900million a month into responsible investments.
Companies are fully aware of the investment opportunity that slowing climate change offers – and this week, Good Money Week, is likely to see many of them set out their stalls in a bid to get their hands on your money.
If you feel strongly that you’d like to make your investments – and pension for that matter – a bit greener, there is now a big range of options available.
Whether they all fulfill their green promises, however, is less clear.
What is greenwash?
Greenwashing is a term that has been knocking around since the 1980s and you’ll almost certainly have been duped by it.
It refers to companies and individuals claiming to be environmentally conscientious to improve their public image while continuing to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Big oil companies which invest into renewables, pointing to this as their green strategy, while diverting 95 per cent of their cash into new oil and gas extraction, is an obvious example.
So too are a number of big investment houses that have stated on the record they are switching their strategy to backing companies that will help reduce carbon emissions, while investing just 1 per cent of their overall fund into same.
Bruce Davis, of renewable energy group Abundance Investment, says: ‘The two big areas to watch here are those who use the ESG – environmental, social and governance – badge to imply they are an ‘ethical’ alternative to mainstream funds.
‘The reality is that fund rules require them to maintain a degree of diversification and liquidity which means they are invested in many companies that an ordinary investor would not consider green and excludes many of the investments in the green sector which are not companies listed on the world’s stock exchanges.
‘Instead they rely on the clout of their large shareholding to ‘influence’ companies.
‘The proof of the pudding is in their use of voting rights in AGMs. Do they censure companies that ignore the climate emergency?
‘For example BlackRock, the world’s biggest investor, made a big play of a letter to the companies it invests in, but has yet to show it will consistently back up words with action in shareholder votes connected to climate change.’
This is Money asked BlackRock to comment, and was pointed to the firm’s Investment Stewardship Annual Report published on 17 September.
This showed that their investment team have identified 244 companies they deem to be making ‘insufficient progress integrating climate risk into their business models or disclosures’.
They have also taken voting action at 53 companies for insufficient progress on climate, including voting against 55 directors at 49 companies.
Directors at 191 other companies have been put ‘on watch’ or at risk of voting action during the 2021 AGM season absent further progress.
The potential for ‘greenwash’ – where companies blind customers with unfounded and untrue claims of being environmentally aware – is huge
It’s not always transparent. Corporate public relations, investor relations and corporate social responsibility is big business and those running the show can see the value in claiming to care, without needing to deliver if they consider it not financially beneficial.
Rebecca O’Connor, of ethical money blog Good with Money, says: ‘Greenwash is a marketing technique, of making a product appear more eco-friendly than it really is.’
She adds: ‘Through the clever use of certain words, phrases or images, an audience believes the product is green.
‘In the case of finance and investment, this happens a lot. It’s usually asset management marketing departments that are to blame, though in fairness to them, they may also believe the funds are greener than they really are.
‘Banks are also often guilty of this. They use green colours and pictures of wind farms, when in reality, a tiny fraction of their overall lending portfolio goes to renewable energy.’
Many companies also use offers of offsetting, where they buy things which are ‘carbon negative’ to net off the carbon they generate by producing their product or service.
Davis says: ‘For example, Shell claims this for its fuels and many airlines offer (at an extra charge) customers the chance to offset.
‘However, the world of offsetting is neither transparent or regulated and in reality you may be making very little difference to the world’s carbon budget or net zero targets.
‘The best thing is to choose companies which are making real progress on removing carbon from their systems of production.’
Another technique is misdirection. In the jargon of greenwashing, there is something called ‘scope’ emissions.
‘This is the difference between Shell installing LED lights in its offices (reducing scope 1) to Shell making good on all the fuel that is burned in the cars who use its petrol and diesel (scope 3),’ explains Davis.
‘When people say they are reducing their emissions, you need to check where they draw the line on their corporate responsibility.’
A spokesman for Shell said: ‘We agree that action is needed now on climate change, so we fully support the Paris Agreement and the need for society to transition to a lower-carbon future.
‘We have already invested billions of dollars in a range of low-carbon technologies, from biofuels, hydrogen and wind power, to electric vehicle charging and smart energy storage solutions.’
Tips on how to spot greenwash
- Look for vague words, pretty pictures but no hard facts or concrete examples.
- Look for impressive numbers but without context. This is important. A big bank might have lent £200million to renewable energy and brag about this, but if that’s £100million of a total loan portfolio of £390billion and the rest of their energy loans are to fossil fuels, that’s not really a high enough percentage to claim credit.
- Always look under the bonnet. If you can’t even get under the bonnet, that’s your first warning sign that there is something to hide.
- If you manage to access the holdings of the fund, or the bank’s lending portfolio, and you don’t know what any of the companies do, you’ll still be none the wiser. Use a sustainability checker like CSR Hub to work out how sustainable these companies really are.
By Rebecca O’Connor, Good with Money
Why are firms allowed to greenwash?
It’s a tricky area to navigate – advertising standards in the UK are pretty strict and companies are frequently reprimanded for making claims they cannot substantiate.
Financial promotions are even more heavily regulated, with firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority bound to be rigorous in the way they advertise their services.
But the rules around claiming to be green are largely undefined, says O’Connor.
‘One of the reasons greenwash happens in asset management is that the requirements for quasi-regulatory schemes, things like the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, are actually pretty loose.
‘Responsible just means exactly that, although it is often taken to mean the same as green.
‘It isn’t, it just means your money is looked after sensibly and mindfully of all risks, including environmental risks. But the word is bandied around, inviting people to assume that it means whiter-than-white.
‘It’s a bit like claiming to be vegan, but still eating good quality meat. You’re not vegan then, are you?’
Trying to screen what’s really green and what’s paying lip service is not easy.
There are many labels – responsible, socially responsible, ethical, sustainable, ESG – environmental, social and good corporate governance – and positive impact investing.
‘Pretty much all of these would still allow fossil fuels in except positive impact,’ says O’Connor.
Although, she adds, it is increasingly rare to find fossil fuels in sustainable funds, it’s not impossible.
ESG and responsible funds can have fossil fuels companies in them and often do, on the basis that they are ‘best in sector’ or because they score highly for social and governance factors, even though they are destroying the planet.
A clampdown on greenwash is overdue
A number of government and regulatory consultations are underway in a bid to curtail greenwash and improve transparency on climate exposure in listed companies.
The Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures was set up by former Bank of England governor – now UN special envoy for climate change, Mark Carney several years ago.
Its mission is to develop ‘voluntary, consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders’.
These were loosely outlined by Carney during a speech at the launch of the UN climate change conference’s Private Finance Agenda event at the Guildhall in London, on 27 February 2020.
Conservationist David Attenborough and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson launching the United Nations’ Climate Change conference, COP26, earlier this year. The conference is now due to take place in Glasgow in November 2021
Following that, the Financial Conduct Authority announced a consultation on how to apply these financial disclosure on climate change exposure rules to public companies, but there are no plans so far to subject funds or private companies to the same rules.
A similar consultation is going on at the Department of Work and Pensions, but won’t conclude until next year at the earliest and initially, is likely only to apply to the UK’s very largest pension schemes.
Even if these disclosures do eventually apply across the board – and it’s likely they will – there is still a real lack of standard definition around what is meant by green, ethical and sustainable.
Disclosure recommendations are also voluntary at the moment.
Kim Daye, a climate change and sustainable communications expert, said: ‘While a huge majority of financial services providers are making changes to the way they operate in order to tackle the climate crisis, we’re living in a transitional period, none can claim to be perfect yet and not all are moving at the same pace.
‘The challenge for consumers is spot the difference between real, positive commitments to change in the form of an honest dialogue and those businesses overstating progress to tap into the trend of appearing eco-conscious because it sells.
‘An honest dialogue with consumers is clear and specific so look upon vague statements as a red flag.
‘If a financial institution, product or service is marketed as ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ without an explanation of how, ideally backed up by science and data, don’t take it at face value and dig a little deeper.’
At the moment, investors face very muddy waters when it comes to telling what is really green
As it stands there are no formal plans to introduce any consequences for false claims, such as censure or fines, which would be akin to financial promotions and rules imposed by the Advertising Standards Authority.
‘Responsibility needs its own regulation and a separate body,’ says O’Connor.
‘You need sustainability professionals regulating claims by asset managers, rather than the Financial Conduct Authority, whose skill set is around financial risk.
‘Although responsibility level has a bearing on risk, that’s not the bit that’s being policed here.
‘Making sure that asset managers and banks are using the right label for the right investment option, that their marketing communications is ‘clear, fair and not misleading’ on their green claims, will be a thankless task but it’s a necessary one for consumers.’
Full transparency on holdings is the first hurdle.
‘We need to dispense with this excuse that we don’t need to be transparent because people don’t care that much,’ says O’Connor. ‘They won’t know they have anything to care about until transparency enables them to see.
‘People could ultimately lose money if it turns out that claims made are not correct, so this is a non-trivial question and I’d hope to see more coming from the FCA in the next few months.’
Is Donald Trump greenwashing?
Trump on a rally in Boston this weekend
US President Donald Trump declared himself the ‘number one environmental President since Teddy Roosevelt‘ in a recent speech in Florida.
According to a post on Instagram, Trump claimed that presidential rival Joe Biden’s environmental plan would ‘give a free pass to the world’s worst foreign polluters, like China, Russia, India, and many others’ and said that he, in comparison, would ensure the US has ‘the cleanest air and cleanest water on Earth’.
Critics claimed Trump is attempting to greenwash his environmental record to date in an effort to win over voters.
Speaking to the New York Times, Ariel Hayes, the political director of the Sierra Club, said: ‘Failing to adequately fund Everglades restoration, attempting to sell off our waters to corporate polluters and rolling back more than 100 environmental protections doesn’t make you anything other than the worst president ever for the environment and climate.
‘Voters in Florida and across the country have watched Trump achieve this status for nearly four years, and no amount of greenhouse gaslighting will change that.’
Trump has pulled the US from the Paris climate agreement, removed climate change from a list of national security threats and relaxed restrictions on air pollution.
Last month he also opened up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling.
Experts from Harvard Law and Columbia University Law Schools predict that by the end of his first term, the Trump administration will have reversed around 100 environmental rules and regulations, according to @euronewsliving.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
I paid Voyage Prive £245 for hotel transfers that never arrived. Where’s my refund?
On 27 August, my husband and I booked a holiday to Crete for 31 August with Voyage Prive.
Due to the transfer time to our hotel, which was 90 minutes, and because of the pandemic, we opted for private transfers at a cost of £245 as we thought it was the safest option.
On arrival at Heraklion Airport late in the evening we discovered that the transfer did not materialise and we had to find our own way to our hotel.
Unsurprisingly, the return transfer didn’t materialise either and we are still awaiting a refund for our transfer costs to and from the airport. How can we get a refund?
You were left waiting for a car transfer in Crete that never arrived – leaving you to pay for a taxi
Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: You booked your holiday through Voyage Prive which describes itself as a private club that specialises in premium holidays at the best prices.
While it is a members only website, anyone can sign up and join for free.
The firm started in France and has now expanded with its ‘unique flash sales concept’ to have over 44million members worldwide with offices in France, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Despite describing itself as a luxury travel agent, your experience has left you wondering whether it really is.
Being stranded abroad at an airport in the evening is not the ideal start to any holiday – especially one taken in the midst of a pandemic.
Having paid hundreds of pounds to be taken to your hotel, and a total of £2,781 for the holiday, you were frustrated to learn that there was no transfer waiting for you after you got off your flight.
You said you could not reach Voyage Prive via the ’emergency contact number’ that was emailed to you only days before, as it was switched off.
Instead you had to pay for a taxi to the hotel yourself and reported this the next day via email to Voyage Prive, also asking about your return transfer.
You eventually received an email response saying it would investigate.
However, no return transfer ever came to pick you up at the end of your holiday and you, again, had to pay for a taxi to travel to the airport.
Voyage Prive say it specialises in luxury holidays on its members only website (Pictured: Crete)
After contacting Voyage Prive again when you got home, the firm said it cannot advise until it receives a response from their supplier as to what has gone wrong.
That was two months ago and you still haven’t received an update. You have now reported the incident to ABTA which states Voyage Prive have a further 56 days to respond.
To add insult to injury, you received an email from the agent marked ‘do not send to client’ that was clearly sent to you in error.
Inside it detailed the nature of your complaint, explaining the customer service agent had already claimed you are not entitled to a refund of any sort as the transfer operator had said it was not going to return any money.
The operator claims that the transfer car was actually there and you just didn’t see it, which you say is impossible as you were at the desk in the airport asking where the transport was.
We attempted to contact Voyage Prive, but there is a distinct lack of contact details.
There is no phone number or email address easily found on their website and instead, the travel agent directs people to a FAQ section.
Customers have said they have been unable to contact Voyage Prive on the phone or by email
If your query is not answered there then you are left with no further options to resolve your issue.
This could be due to many holiday companies removing their phone numbers from their website at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to avoid overwhelming the system as so many people were calling to try and get a refund or change their booking.
This is Money managed to find a customer relations email address for Voyage Prive which we contacted multiple times but are yet to receive a response.
As you have taken the issue to ABTA, a trade association for tour operators and travel agents, it may be able to help you resolve the issue as Voyage Prive is an ABTA member.
An ABTA spokesperson replies: If you have a dispute with an ABTA member, which you have been unable to resolve with them, you can register a complaint on abta.com.
The majority of these complaints are then resolved with ABTA’s assistance.
However, there will always be particularly intractable cases, where deadlock has been reached between the customer and the ABTA Member.
For theses cases ABTA offers an independently operated online arbitration scheme, which is faster the going the small claims court and also in the vast majority of cases, cheaper.
Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Those with issues with their travel agent are advised to contact the firm in the first instance before escalating the issue with ABTA.
However, it seems you are not the only customer to take issue with Voyage Prive.
When looking at reviews for the firm, many have taken to Google to share their complaints with the company receiving an average rating of just 1.7 stars.
On Trustpilot, it fairs a bit better with an average rating of 3.2 stars out of five.
However, recent comments from customers suggest they are having a difficult time dealing with the travel agent.
Other customers have taken to social media to share their frustration at getting refunds and making contact with the company.
This reviewer said they have struggled to contact the firm after they closed the phone lines
Another review said they also have been unable to get a response from Voyage Prive
This Twitter user said they were unable to find any contact details for the online travel agent
One Twitter user said she wasn’t even told her holiday was cancelled & found out on Facebook
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk
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Force of Nature (2020)
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Above Suspicion (2019)
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The Invisible Man (2020)
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The Dinner Party (2020)
Sports5 months ago
Chelsea ‘one-in, one-out’ transfer policy could see N’Golo Kante leave for PSG and Jorginho head to Juventus
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So THAT’S why ice cream can give you a blinding headache!
Australia4 months ago
University of NSW students bitten by wild fox on campus