High and dry - 'not fit for purpose' Edinburgh Leisure's Portobello Swim Centre app leaves mum frustrated as daughter misses out on a dook

A frustrated mum has told of the ‘farce’ of only being able to book one of her two daughters in for a swim at a city pool, while staff admit they don’t know how to fix a problem with the system.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:55 am

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article

When Xanthe O’Brien told her daughters Flora, 15, and 13-year-old Josie she would book them for a swim at Portobello Swim Centre the sisters couldn’t wait for their first swim together in months.

But after several attempts to book the junior sessions for the pair wouldn’t go through Mrs O’Brien gave up and went down to the pool to ask for help.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In the deep end .. even staff at Portobello Swim Centre failed to operate their own app

Staff told her they couldn’t help her book or take payment at the venue and she would need to do it online – using two separate accounts with a different email address for each booking.

After hours of trying the mum-of-three was at her wits end and still couldn’t get the junior price even using a loyalty card on the app which she described as being ‘not fit for purpose’.

Mrs O’Brien then called and spoke to an Edinburgh Leisure representative who admitted the booking system was causing problems but that they didn’t know how to resolve the issues.

Edinburgh Leisure's handy App - which does not work

The 52-year-old said: “The representative admitted that the system wasn’t working but she had no idea how to help us resolve it. It’s a farce. Me and my husband both booked at the same time from different accounts for our daughters. It said spaces were available but only one went through and at the adult price. So only our eldest daughter went for a swim. Josie was gutted. Then we got charged for a no-show plus the adult charge for Flora’s swim and some extra fee as well. I’ve requested a refund.”

She added: "It’s so frustrating. It took us a whole morning to try and sort it out. This was their first swim since the pools reopened. They are not getting much exercise with after school clubs not being on and it’s important for their health, physical and mental. Swimming is a good option for young people because it’s cheap. I think it’s ridiculous that it’s so hard to book, with all that’s going on just now it just adds to the many frustrations. It must be really off putting to younger people and families. Are the lanes being used if it’s this complicated to book a session?”

Several customers have complained on the Facebook page about problems booking swim slots, including families and older people’.

Josie should have been splashing about in the Victorian pool

One woman said: “My local pool still doesn't seem to have family swim slots available most days so still can't use my local leisure centre even though it's reopened twice. Maybe it's the website and app but that's a diabolical waste of time to try and use that so I've given up again.”

Another said: "The staff in out local centre have been nothing bit helpful. But the website in the other hand and the contact us service is diabolical. I know a few more older people couldn't book as the website and app is too complicated and when they tried to call for help there was none. My queries were all answered after going into the venue and the manager emailing me directly. But for those who can't do that it needs a workaround.”

Edinburgh Leisure was contacted for comment.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.