UPDATE: Thursday 9th June. I called back during office hours, only to get through to See Tickets hold music once again.
After a wait, I again explained what I needed, and was told they weren’t able to help. I was given another number for See Tickets Access Team.
Another call, more hold music…when I finally got through to someone, I was told See didn’t handle access bookings for this show, the theatre did. I was given YET ANOTHER number (why wasn’t this the number on the access page in the first place?). When I called, it appeared I was finally on hold for Shaftesbury Theatre Box Office. I duly pressed the correct numbers for accessibility information and bookings, and waited on hold. The recorded voice on hold cheerfully told me, repeatedly, that I could book tickets online (untrue). Eventually, I thought I was about to be connected….. only to hear See Tickets recorded holding message again. Someone bypassed the call, even though I’d selected the option for accessibility bookings, which See can’t deal with. So, it appears it is actually IMPOSSIBLE for me to book tickets for this show.
UPDATE 2: I emailed the Shaftesbury box office, explaining my difficulties and linking to this blog. They replied, apologised for the difficulties, and told me that they were only there during the day, not 24 hours, so that was probably why I was having problems. I was given a number to ring. The same number that, after some time on hold, was “bounced” to See Tickets. I called it again, this time, it was going straight to See. I replied, and explained I’d tried this number several times, with no success, and there seemed to be no way of me knowing when I could reach the theatre, and when it would get through to See. The box office staff then asked for my contact number, they called me, and I was FINALLY able to arrange seats. They were very apologetic for the difficulties I’ve had. So, I have my tickets, finally.
BUT the system is still the same, disabled people are still likely to find it much harder to book tickets with See Tickets and their partners than other people. A company the size of See really should be expected to provide a better service. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to go about making that a reality, since they wouldn’t even let me make a complaint!
Hi there, @Dalekette again, gosh, I seem to be making a habit of this blogging business….
I’m visiting London in about 6 weeks and decided I wanted to see Derren Brown’s Svengali show at the Shaftesbury, with my carer.
Like anyone else I want to book my tickets online; it’s easy, convenient and I can do it in my own time – not.
Their website does not list accessibility information for the show, and you cannot purchase accessible/carer tickets online.
I personally don’t think that’s on, but it’s fairly standard practice. There are very few seats left for the production, and I’m only in London for a few days, so I’m concerned the remaining seats might be sold before I can arrange tickets. Since all the seats near the front are most suitable for my needs (most people who are visually impaired need to be close to the stage) I need to be sure where I am sitting.
What is provided on their access page is a phone number to call for accessibility and concessions
When I called this number, I was surprised to hear that I’d got through to See Tickets, a company not known for their accessibility friendliness and who I’ve had problems with on several previous occasions.
This was not a separate number, just the general sales line.
I explained my needs and was told the Access Department closed at 6pm, and I would need to call back…
I asked whether they were able to sell tickets for this show at this time (around 6.30pm) and was told they could but they couldn’t sell me the tickets I needed.
So, so far:
- everyone else wanting a ticket (unless you have access needs) can book online
- I have to phone a general number (stated on their access page)
- Now I can’t book on that number because I have to ring back during during office hours (which is very difficult, as like many other people, I work during those hours)
I explained that under the Equalities Act 2010, they had a legal obligation to provide the same access for disabled patrons as for other customers. He said he was very sorry but he wasn’t trained to do access bookings.
So what next?
I told him they were providing poorer access to disabled patrons and therefore in breach of the Act (true). Basically any business or service must anticipate their customers’ needs and make reasonable adjustments.
I asked for an email address to raise my concerns, or to speak to a manager. He said he’d put me through to a manager.
After a very long time on hold, the same person came back on the line. He said he’d spoken to his manager, but they were just a “ring through” line for the Shaftesbury Theatre Box Office and would not deal with any complaints, so they wouldn’t let me speak to anyone.
They offered a number for the Theatre Customer Care (also not open until tomorrow). He also added that the Shaftesbury Accessibilty department was different to the See Tickets one, and he wasn’t sure the See Tickets one would be able to help me, even if it were open. Confused? I am.
I again checked that they could indeed sell able bodied patrons tickets, and was told they could.
The Theatre Monkey website states that the telephone lines will be answered by box office staff during quieter times, but answered by See Tickets at all other times.
I explained that, as a service provider, See Tickets themselves were legally responsible to ensure equality of access to the service they provide, not just the theatre. Again he apologised, but could not put me through to anyone to deal with the complaint.
I thanked him for his time, and stated that this was a problem I’d come up against with See Tickets repeatedly, that they were in breach of the Equalities Act and I would be taking this further, and blogging about it (to alert others who may be in the same position as me). He retorted that it was my perogative to do so.
This is a problem I’ve had with See Tickets repeatedly
- no one on their sales line has any accessibility information
- no one is able to arrange such tickets
- their Accessibility team only work office hours and often are unsure whether there is any accessibility information/concessions/carer arrangements for any particular event, often they just pass you back to the venue, who also frequently can’t help
By the time you’ve done all this, you’d be like me, fed up, tired and worn out from all the phone calls. Also by the time I get through the right person who can sort it out, I’ll usually find out the event is sold out, and can’t go, or at best, all the seats suitable for my needs have gone.