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Nicola's complaint against THORPE PARK

Nicola Lownds


Appalling service and treatment

Complaint against THORPE PARK

I am writing to complain about the abysmal treatment my family received on Saturday October 14th 2017. We have Merlin passes and because all the parks are due to close shortly due to it being winter, we thought we’d go to Thorpe Park for our first ever visit. We decided on this date because we thought that it would be extremely busy a week later, due to it being Half-Term and due to it being near to Hallowe’en. When we arrived we joined the Annual Pass queue but we were refused entry as we had not purchased special event tickets at fifteen pounds extra each. When we checked the website for opening hours, nowhere did it state that there would be an extra charge for Standard Merlin Pass Holders. We saw that it was advertised as being ‘Fright Night’ but as we were only planning on staying for the day, we did not really take much notice of it. Slowly a group of other families in the same position grew and we were all refused entry, due to Fright Night. Why is it advertised as Fright Night when it starts at 10am? This is gross mis-advertising. Also, why was there no warning on the website where opening hours and times are displayed, that there would be an extra admission charge or admission refusal? We came to Thorpe Park to go on the rides and have fun, not to attend a Hallowe’en party. Our 10 year old son was distraught and really crying because we had travelled a long way for a birthday treat trip, only to be refused admission. There was a huge row going on between my husband and the member of staff dealing with it. She told us that she was the most senior member of staff and would not allow us to speak to a Manager. Other families in the same position were joining in. We were all extremely angry. Many children were very upset. The lady advised us that Chessington and Legoland do not charge extra for their Hallowe’en activities and that we could go there instead. One man stated that he had come at the same time last year and that he hadn’t had to pay extra for admission. Many families were stating that it should have been made clear on the website that it was a special all-day and late-night event which required extra tickets. Eventually she backed down and allowed all the families entry to the park until 3pm. However, we had to surrender our Merlin cards, to be given them back when we left by 3pm. We also had to sign a piece of paper agreeing to the terms of this ‘good will gesture!’ This meant that we were unable to get any discounts on food, drink or souvenirs. Thorpe Park needs to seriously consider their advertising, especially using the term ‘Fright Night’ for an all-day event, and a warning should be put in place clearly on the website by the opening times and prices, that during this event there will be an additional cost for Standard Merlin Pass holders. I have since searched the website and have eventually found out that the only place you can see the extra charge is when you go to buy on-line tickets, which you wouldn’t do if you have a Merlin Annual pass. Why would you? We all look at the terms and conditions when buying a Merlin card. We know about not being able to use many London attractions in August and everyone would expect an extra fee for Firework Night or Hallowe’en Night or Christmas, but this is excessive ripping off, especially as it was more than two weeks until the 31st October. We also have serious concerns about you allowing under 13’s in when your website states in the small print that this is an event suitable for over 13’s. It would be much better to market it for families and have an all-day event for all ages and then have an additional Fright Night extension for those over 13, or not allow anyone under 13 in in the first place. We would like some compensation and an official apology at the very least and we expect to see a warning to all Merlin Standard Pass holders written clearly on the websites, prior to any future events, that they will need to pay an additional premium in order to get in. We are extremely unimpressed with Thorpe Park and the way they handled this. They clearly had paperwork already in place for this kind of issue, so why drag it out and cause major distress to little children who they’re meant to be making happy. My son, for one, has said that he never wants to go to Thorpe Park again, and I wholly agree with him.

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