Writer: Villa's Consumer Sales
Date:Wednesday July 18 2007
Season cards – FAQ’s
For season 2007/2008, all season ticket admission to Villa Park will be via the use of season cards. Advice on “HOW TO USE YOUR CARD” to gain admittance has been detailed in the pack received with your card, as well as the “SEASON TICKET CONDITIONS OF ISSUE”. We strongly advise that you read and familiarise yourself with these guidelines prior to using your card for the first time.
As with any “new” venture, the decision to introduce season cards has raised questions regarding a number of issues. With this in mind, we are pleased to provide answers to the questions most frequently asked regarding season cards.
How will the club deal with adults using junior tickets?
At each turnstile, there is a season card reader in the turnstile to which you present your card. The card activates a “traffic light system”, which indicates to the Turnstile Operator what type of concession card (for eg under 21, over 65 etc) is being presented. For example, if an adult is in possession of a junior card, the individual will be refused entry to the stadium.
In addition to the light system at the turnstile, there is also a light system at each turnstile inside the stadium, which will be monitored by club personnel. This again will indicate the type of concession card being presented at the turnstile, giving us the opportunity to double check that the season ticket holder in possession of the card is a valid concession.
Any attempt to fraudulently enter the stadium with a concession season card will be deemed as a deliberate misuse of the season card, which may lead to the cancellation and withdrawal of the season ticket (terms and conditions of issue).
What happens when my children can not attend a match and I wish to upgrade the season card for an adult to use their seat?
Please contact the Consumer Sales Department who will “upgrade” your seat for that particular match. You will be charged the difference in cost from the concession season card to an adult ticket. Please note that you will not be issued with a ticket. We will “enable” the concession card to be used by the adult. This means that we do not need the card at the ticket office to do it, as it can be done automatically. Season ticket holders no longer have to send in or bring down a voucher to upgrade, it can now be done over the phone. Once this transaction is completed, the card will register as an adult when presented at the Turnstile, so entry will automatically be allowed.
What happens if I can not attend a match and I want a member of my family or a friend to use my card?
On occasions when you are unable to use your card please contact the Consumer Sales Department. Your card will be deactivated and a match ticket will be issued for your seat for you to pass on to your guests.
What happens when I want to exchange my season seat to sit with friends I am purchasing additional match tickets for?
When you exchange your seat for a match, irrespective of where you move your seat to, you will still use your card. When you move your seat, we will inform you of the block, row and seat number you will use for that game. If you move to another area of the stadium, you will still use your card. If you are in the Holte Lower “L”, and you exchange to lower tier “M” for a match, your card will only work at “M” block turnstiles. You will be issued match tickets for your guests.
We appreciate that when you do this, the seat details on your card will not match the block, row and seat you are using for this match. Therefore, it is vitally important that you attend the match with your allocated seat details written down or stored in your mobile phone - YOU need to know exactly where you are supposed to be sitting.
As a season card holder, will I be issued with a ticket for Inter Milan / cup matches or will I use my card?
Every time you purchase your own seat for a cup match, you simply use your card as you would for a League match. If you forget to renew your seat, your card will not work at the Turnstiles.
If you purchase a different seat nearby your League seat or anywhere else in the stadium for cup / friendly matches, you will still enter the stadium using your season card. If you move seats for a cup / friendly match to another stand, your card will only work at the turnstiles for the block you have moved to.
Again, as with exchanging seats for cup matches, we appreciate that when you do this, the seat details on your card will not match the block, row and seat you are using for this match. Therefore, it is vitally important that you attend the match with your allocated seat details written down or stored in your mobile phone - YOU need to know exactly where you are supposed to be sitting.
How will the club deal with the confusion caused by season ticket holders using seats that do not correspond to the details printed on the card?
For one off exchanges, cup matches or friendly matches, where season ticket holders will be allocated a different seat at the time of purchase to that printed on the card, our advice is very simple – when you attend the match, make sure you bring your block, row and seat details with you!! You will always have your seat details confirmed at the time of your transaction. Write them down or store the details in your mobile phone. If you lose your details, simply contact Consumer Sales prior to the match and we will happily furnish you with the details again.
Confusion will only be caused if supporters attend the matches without the knowledge of the block, row and seat number they are in (if they are not allocated their usual season seat). The readers at the turnstiles will know exactly where your seat is for the game, and you will not gain entry if you present your card at the wrong block of turnstiles.
Please note that the club may deem any deliberate attempt to mislead other fans / club personnel to the location of a seat as an act of deliberate misuse of the season card, which may lead to the cancellation and withdrawal of the season ticket (terms and conditions of issue).
What should I do if I have any questions relating to my season card?
Please contact Consumer Sales immediately and we will be happy to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
What should I do if I encounter problems on Matchdays?
If you have any problems outside the Turnstiles, please contact your nearest Turnstile Supervisor who will be able to assist with your enquiry.
If you encounter any problems within the seated areas please contact your nearest steward who will be happy to assist.
Summary of FAQ’s
The season card system we have chosen has already been proven to work at Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle, Reading, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and many more. At some grounds, such as the Madejski Stadium, supporters even the use the same card to watch Reading play Football and London Irish play Rugby! As we are not the first to use season cards, we have the benefit of the lessons learnt by other clubs, and our colleagues at these clubs have been instrumental in helping us identify what the problems have been so we can work out our procedures.
We are safe in the knowledge that the system works. We understand that season ticket holders, employees and everyone connected with the club will need time to familiarise themselves with smart cards. We are convinced that in a short space of time, this familiarity will bring an understanding that we made the right decision.
A friendly warning to the small minority!!
Some of the questions raised demonstrate a lack of confidence towards the season cards, and the potential for the system to be abused (For example, adults using junior cards, season card holders not sitting in the right seats etc). Anyone looking to defraud the club in any way should understand the following:
· We do not need the card in our possession to prevent its use. We have the ability to stop cards at the push of a button.
· Cards can only be presented once – we will know exactly what turnstile a card has been used at and at exactly what time.
· There are now two opportunities for the club to monitor concessions abuse, both at the stile and inside.
· If someone tries to enter the stadium with a stolen card they will not get in.
We understand that 99.9% of supporters attending the matches will be doing so in accordance with the terms and conditions. It is for you we have introduced season cards so we can start to enhance your Matchday experience. You can be confident that we are ready to deal with the 0.01% who may see season cards as an opportunity to defraud the club.
We look forward to the help and cooperation of season ticket holders and supporters over the coming season and beyond. A big help to the Club, particularly in the early stages of the season as we get used to season cards is ARRIVE EARLY. An early arrival for Inter Milan and Liverpool would greatly assist the bedding down of the new system.
Consumer Sales 0800 612 0970
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