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Profiteering from tragedy

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London UK
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485 posts
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Profiteering from tragedy


BBC Breakfast News was reporting this morning that some London hotels were charging two to three times normal rates last night :o(

Don't know names of any hotels concerned but they should be ashamed.

My own experience was a bit more mundane. I live in Greenwich and met my wife at Embankment Pier so we could get home on a riverboat (thousands of people had the same idea).

The guy boarding us at the pier, who seemed to be management, was calm, corteous, and explained that the boats were used as part of London's emergency evacuation plan (they're the quickest way to move people out of the centre when nothing else works).

So we board the boat - me, the wife, a few hundred other ordinary Londoners just trying to get home.

One of the crew members then asks us whether we'd like to vote on him providing us with a commentary to help lighten the mood. A dozen or so hands tentativley went up, but the overwhelming majority of people just wanted to go home with their own thoughts I guess.

The commentary started badly enough - the guy pointing out that the Union Flag flying over the Houses of Parliament meant that Parliament was in session "proof that MPs do actually do some work" - this, at a time when Parliament was discussing the days events.

What happened at Tower Pier and again at Greenwich when people disembarked didn't surprise me, but it did disappoint me.

The guy, as he would do on a normal tourist trip, explained that he wasn't a tour guide, he provided the commentary for our entertainment, and he had a box for collecting tips as we left the boat (that's right - not a box for collecting donations for the families of the victims, but a box for collecting tips, presumably so he and his collegues could enjoy a few pints in one of the many "historic riverside pubs" he pointed out).

A lot of people coughed up out of sheer embarrassment I guess, and they must have made a sizeable chunk of money.

When it mentioned about the hotels overcharging, the BBC asked for other examples of people overcharging, so naturally I have made them aware of this.

I'll also be writing to the management of the company in question (Bateaux Mouches London, if anyone's interested) to suggest that perhaps the money collected yesterday might be better going towards the people who are in most need of it.

I've mentioned this to several work colleagues this morning, and it leaves a bad taste with everyone - not just me.

Hope everyone and their friends and family are safe and well.

Leicester, UK
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6 posts
23 reviews
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1. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

Dreadful behaviour.

Would it be against the T&C of TripAdvisor for overcharging hotels to be "named and shamed"? There are a lot of reports on the BBC message board of a three-fold increase in costs. Apparently, they even increased the cost to emergency service personnel in spite of an agreement that they would not do so in a major incident!

London, United...
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6,101 posts
25 reviews
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2. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

Ooh yes lets name and shame them!

Andover, United...
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28 posts
103 reviews
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3. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

This indeed is a disgusting display but I must admit that I am not suprised when you look at what hotel (and I use the term lightly) owners charge in London in general.

If it helps at all, take time to remember the courage shown by the people caught up in the tragic events of yesterday and the resilience I saw from people coming into London this morning and hopefully it will highlight that not all people sink to the depths that you describe.

Personally I would vote to name and shame the hotels in question .. they are not worthy of our business.

Halifax, NS
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3,210 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

In the mid 90s, I lived through a major ice storm in Montreal. (10 days without heat and light in -25C weather.) CBC Radio was the only radio station operating and reports reached it of a few shops/sellers price gouging on fire wood, generators, food, etc. They named names on the broadcasts and the practice stopped immediately. No one needs that kind of publicity.

London, UK
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547 posts
14 reviews
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5. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

I too heard this and hope Trading Standards names the hotels. Within two hours of the blast, lastminute.com was warning customers that hotels were hiking prices.

I would certainly reconsider a booking at an offending hotel.

But a word of caution, name and shame has to be accurate. It would be dreadful for someone to come onto the forum and mention a hotel, by mistake, which had not actually hiked prices.

Leicester, UK
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6 posts
23 reviews
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6. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

It is essential that people who have been affected write accurately about the experience, just as I am sure all responsible users of TripAdvisor do.

Incorrect posts are worse than useless, and grossly unfair.

London, UK
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5,466 posts
7 reviews
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7. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

Price hiking has been reported & anecdotally confirmed on UK media.

No names were mentioned (to my knowledge).

Hopefully, it only happened last night & management teams will see today's reponse & desist from repeating this dodgy practice.

Liverpool, United...
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503 posts
9 reviews
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8. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

Whilst it is an offence under The Tourism (Sleeping Accommodation Price Display) Order 1977 to charge over and above the published tarrifs, I am often amazed at how high some of the tarrifs posted at hotel desks are. I would guess that many hotels will argue that all they were doing was withdrawing the discounts they invariably give. In which case we can question their morality but not their legality.

On a closely related issue, I was surprised that the authorities chose to use an 0870 number for the casualty line. I would be intrigued to hear how they justify using a number with hidden charging. Most call packages exclude 0870 numbers and effectively charge the caller extra so they can pay a claw-back to the call handler. I realise that it will have cost money to set up a call centre but somehow I'm uneasy about the idea of hidden charging on an emergency line.

Upminster, United...
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11,284 posts
36 reviews
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9. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

"0870 National Rate Numbers

UK callers pay the normal national rate for their call while your business benefits from revenue generated from incoming calls as well as appearing to have a nation-wide set-up."

I suspect the reason is that these numbers can be assigned to anywhere in the country. Therefore the same 0870 number can be used for an incident in London or Glasgow. Just be grateful the call centre is not in Bangalore.

Cheshire UK
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883 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Profiteering from tragedy

I join others in utter condemnation of anyone who sees fit to profiteer from this atrocious attack.

I agree that they should be named and shamed, but also agree that those such claims should be verifiable. Otherwise the object of the excercise would be entirely counter-productive.