Further disabled nonsense

In response to a quick mail I sent the box office (not the full one detailed in the previous post) simply querying why I couldn’t purchase a disabled ticket online, I received the following reply:

Hello there,

Concessionary tickets cannot be bought on line due to the nature of the tickets. Before you buy tickets we must see proof of disability and we will then register you.These tickets are limited in numbers and I am afraid we do not have any left for the game today.

regards

box office

So I sent the following one back:

I have emailed Jan Brien at Customer Services to ask this as well, but perhaps you could answer sooner – why does the club feel a need to ask for proof of disability (and indeed registration) when no such restriction is placed on the sale of reduced price tickets based on age (Juvenile and OAP)? Likewise, why is there a restriction on the number of reduced priced tickets for disabled supported when no such limit is enforced for the other categories? Certainly, trawling around the web site I can see no such requirement or limitation.

This policy is utterly discriminatory, unfair and – according to recent legislation – potentially illegal. It’s particularly jarring given that the charter states that the club offers “a broad range of ticket prices and hospitality packages, thus ensuring the needs of all our customers are met by the provision of choice”.

May I ask what happens if a customer is recently disabled? Unable to attend the ground conveniently to provide this proof? A visitor from outside the area who wishes to see our wonderful stadium? By insisting on this ludicrous policy, they are being given less freedom to attend than a non-disabled person. It’s clearly discrimination.

The charter does seem out of date (2005/6 is the one available on the web page), but I’d ask the author to look up the meaning of “all” in relation to the customers. Certainly my friend’s needs – and indeed rights – have not been catered for.

If necessary, kindly pass this message “upstairs” to someone who is able to provide further feedback. I am fully aware that the staff in the box office have responsibilities and thus rules and guidelines to follow, and therefore may not be able to help me resolve this ridiculous situation as I believe the problem lies outside their jurisdiction.

Many thanks again,

Mosh (who will just have to settle to listening to the game on the radio rather than attending his first home game in 19 months)

Next step will be a letter to the new club owner who has publicly stated that he wants feedback from fans on all aspects of the club. If this is a genuine statement and not just a bit of “love me, love my club” spin, it could be useful.

UPDATE
A fast reply from the club for which I’m grateful. I guess the staff are in full attendance on a match day!

Good afternoon,

We do ask for proof of age for senior citizens and for juveniles and we ask for proof of disability because unfortunately there are some less than honest people around and in the past our concessionary tickets have been abused. We work closely with the disability rights commission and they are perfectly happy for us to ask for such proof, indeed we are not legally obliged to offer concessionary price tickets for any of our matches and we are one of just a handful of premiership clubs that do offer an ambulant disabled concession. Whilst at the moment you cannot buy disabled tickets on line it is something we are looking at for the future.

If a customer is recently disabled and cannot provide proof at the time of booking this would not stop them getting a ticket (assuming there was availability) we would register them and put their account on hold until proof was shown.

We limit the number of ambulant tickets for financial reasons, we already have many ambulant season ticket holders (again one of the few clubs to offer this concession) and the scheme is limited for them also.We also have wheelchair and carer tickets available, I hope this answers your questions if you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

regards

Jan Brien

My reply:

Jan,

I thank you for your prompt reply.

The issue that my friend and I have is that the disabled ticket allocation just seems like an afterthought that’s “half-done”. There is no restriction on the number and availability of juvenile and OAP tickets – are the club legally required to offer these as concessions? And while I appreciate that the club does (or, let’s be honest, “may”) ask for proof of age it’s certainly not needed when booking tickets
online or over the telephone.

I wholeheartedly agree that some less than honest people can abuse a system, but I’m sure this happens with the age-related tickets as well. Why pick on the disabled fans as a means of restricting this fraud?

Our main issue is not so much the restriction in numbers of the tickets, but the upshot of it – disabled fans wanting the price reduction having to book tickets well in advance and therefore not having the freedom to turn up on the day that every other fan has.

I genuinely appreciate the fact that the club don’t *have* to offer reduced price tickets for disabled fans, and I’m pleased to see that NUFC are one of few clubs who do this. But, come on – it’s a half-baked package at present. If you are going to do it – and I wholeheartedly support it, obviously – do it properly. The excuse of “financial reasons” is a flimsy one. Make it easier and you’ll get more fans
attending. This would offset the reduction in price for those who did come, surely?

Once more, thank you for your prompt reply. I hope my input isn’t regarded as inflammatory. I just think the system needs looked at and improved!

Then a quick follow-up to prove I’m not a miserable git:

P.S.

Go and enjoy the game! 🙂

Mosh

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *