Jun 282009

This is the first in a series of posts for Theatre Breaks Magazine dealing with specific questions that trouble people about the process of planning, booking and enjoying theatre breaks. First up is online security.

Mrs Worry’s Problem:

Mrs Worry booked a theatre break last night. It was raining all day in Durham yesterday and the thought of another ‘English summer’ was just too depressing. She talked to Jim and tried to get him to go and see Mamma Mia, after all he enjoyed the film. He didn’t fancy Mamma Mia much but they finally agreed that either Jersey Boys or We Will Rock You looked good.

She spent ages looking round lots of web sites for a theatre break and eventually chose one that seemed to be good value for money. The 3* hotel looked nice and it wasn’t too far from the theatre. So she whipped out the credit card, booked  rail tickets as part of the package and it really seemed quite reasonable.

Trouble is it’s 4 a.m. now and Mrs Worry is awake and worried. The ‘what if’s?’ are spinning round her head.  Let’s see if I can deal with those nasty ‘what if’s…’ one at a time:

What if they just take my money and I never get my theatre break?

Ok, Mrs Worry, let me explain why that’s not going to happen. All the larger online theatre breaks agencies are very reputable and are all set up to provide you with a safe, secure way of getting the theatre break you want.

Still worried?  Let’s just say you were unlucky and it did happen. Your credit card will cover you against online fraud.

In the UK, you have exactly the same cover as you would have ordering products over the phone.You automatically get fraud protection with all credit cards. Since the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the European E-commerce Directive 2002 you are protected from fraud whenever you use your credit cards. And that includes online.

If you use your credit card on a web site you are covered against anyone stealing your credit card details and your money.

You are also covered when you buy goods from a company that goes bust before the goods can be delivered.

Feeling better yet? Just to make absolutely sure, follow this advice when you are booking your theatre break:

5 top security tips for booking your theatre break


1. Before you buy make a note, on paper, of the company’s contact details, including the street address and a landline phone number. The phone number is usually clearly displayed. The address will often be at the bottom of the web page or on an ‘About Us’ page. If these details are not available on the website, consider going somewhere else. Do not rely on the e-mail address alone.

2. When you buy your theatre break there are a few things you can see that will reassure you your transaction is secure. When you start to put in your details you should check that the site address changes from http to https.


Then make sure a security icon is displayed when you get to the payment point. This is a small padlock that sometimes appears at the bottom of your browser when you begin your transaction over the Internet. Usually you can click on the padlock to see if the retailer has an encryption certificate. This should explain the type and extent of security and encryption it uses. Only use companies that have an encryption certificate and use secure transaction technology.

Other sites use padlock icons on the page to show you that they are secure:

3. Print out your order . You can do this by using the “print screen” option on your computer.

4. Print out your confirmation e-mail when it arrives and keep it in a safe place. Check your SPAM folder if it doesn’t arrive before you panic.

5. Check your credit or debit card statement when it arrives to make sure you’ve been charged the correct amount.

If you follow these simple guidelines you don’t have to worry when you buy your theatre break online.

Changing Sites

Sometimes sites like ours and our sister site London Theatre Breaks have a form on the page like this one:

Example form

Example form

This isn’t a booking form, it just allows you to check if your show and dates are available.

When you click to book from this form or from other links on our sites you’ll notice that you are taken to another site. This is the web site of the agency through which you are actually booking your theatre break. This will be the theatre breaks agency we think is offering the best deals at the moment. This is the site that will handle your credit card details and where you can expect to see the padlock icon and the ‘https’.

Click here to get our  handy printable Secure Theatre Breaks Checklist to record everything you need. (Right click to download)

Make sure your theatre break is secure.

This post is the first in a series of answers to those 4 a.m. “What if…” questions about theatre breaks

(Source of advice BBC Webwise) (Image credit – Garry Knight CC licence)

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