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  #1  
Old 02-27-2009
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Charter scam

Here is an issue charters should be aware of.

So I charter a yacht from Sunsail. When I get there my boat is full of problems and defects.

Their website and brochure states

"A well maintained yacht is key to the satisfaction of our charter guests, whether it is fresh out of the factory or approaching the end of the contract period. Therefore, instead of allowing technical problems to build up during the season we run a programme of preventative and ongoing maintenance, catching problems before they occur wherever possible and thereby reducing the chance of equipment failure during your sailing time.

However, recognising that the marine environment will always conspire against the ideal of a perfect yacht, Sunsailís trained engineers are a phone or VHF call away and can swiftly come to your aid in a fast support boat should a problem occur, getting you back underway with the minimum of disruption.

Our standards are clearly evidenced in the presentation of the yachts at our bases and by the attentiveness of the staff who greet you each time you visit."

At the dock on arrival my "well maintained yacht" a 41 foot cat, had holes in a more than worn trampoline. The wind indicator did not work and could not be fixed. The rudder indicator and thus the autopilot did not work and was not fixed. The lazy jacks were so worn they looked like they would break at any moment. ( I have photos). The main halyard block retaining pin was bent to the point that putting up the main was a complete pain and I expected it to break at anytime. (this should have been inspected and fixed from the previous charter). The dinghy had no lifting bridal to attach it to the davits making it impossible to hoist. (Discovered this when the weather became too rough to tow the dinghy). The painter u bolt broke in the rough seas and I had to jury rig a lifting bridal from a dock line. Recovering the painterless dinghy in rough conditions was a lot of fun. You have to be able to swim like a Navy SEAL. If you come back without your dinghy, that will cost you thousands.

All of these issues should have been taken care of prior to my arrival, after all, (see above), they claim, "...we run a programme of preventative and ongoing maintenance, catching problems before they occur wherever possible and thereby reducing the chance of equipment failure during your sailing time."

Also in their brochure they have this: ( note the dinghy is excluded, and don't you dare loose it)

Sunsail Four Hour Guarantee

By maintaining our yachts to the highest standards we ensure that you make the most of your vacation time on the water. We strengthen this promise with our Four Hour Guarantee. (don't forget, that's YOUR four hours, not theirs)

Should you experience a breakdown/technical problem during your charter, we will complete repairs within four (4) hours of notification of our nearest base, or we guarantee a credit towards a future Sunsail product, based on the daily flight exclusive charter fee.

The Sunsail Four Hour Guarantee covers all equipment considered essential to the operation of the yacht

* Engine
* Transmission
* Windlass
* Sails
* Standing and running rigging
* Battery and alternator

Excluded from the Sunsail Four Hour Guarantee are cellular phones, VHF, refrigeration, air conditioning, CD player, marine toilets, water pump, dinghy and outboard, depth and speed instruments and any other items that do not prevent yacht being operated.

Note the "guarantee a credit for a future Sunsail product.

Hmmmm.....

Why fix something if you can wait till it breaks and get the most out of it. Just send a chase boat and fix it on the charter's time. It is YOUR 4 hours not their's and why should Sunsail fix it in four hours if they can guarantee you a credit for a future charter and have you come back and give them thousands more for another charter. Think about it. It is actually in their favor NOT to fix it in four hours. And you won't get any money back for YOUR lost time that you paid for, you will just get a credit to do it again. Think about it, this is no guarantee in your favor. Did you pay for a yacht that needs repair? No, you paid for a "well maintained yacht"

My 'well maintained yacht" was the second wreck I got from Sunsail. The previous charter, a 50 foot Beneteau, had duct tape holding the wood work together in the main cabins, (DUCT TAPE!) and a lot of it. When I unfurled the
headsail, it was so torn, I had to return to the base the next day and lost an entire day while they removed it, had it repaired and put back on. The starboard water tank leaked so much that the bilge pump would not stop running. I was told by the manager not to use that tank.

Now I understand that things break on boats and I don't expect perfection in a used charter boat but I have been sailing for 40 years, chartered all over the world, and I can't find any excuse for claiming to have well maintained yachts that are broken when you get there. The charter contract that you and Sunsail sign states the yacht will be fully commissioned and ready for service on the date you start your charter. I don't know about you but when I pay for something I don't get, I expect a refund, not a chance to give them more money for something I might not want!

I don't think there is a charter company anywhere that does not have it's issues. Some are much better than others. You should get what you pay for and not a scam.

In the interest of being fair, Sunsail on Tortola has some of the nicest, friendly, helpful dock personal anywhere. Their boats just need to be 'well maintained".
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Old 02-27-2009
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Sounds like a nightmare. If your first experience was a "wreck" why did you go back again? What did the manager say when you brought all of these issues to their attention? If I understand your description of events you say you noticed many problems during the checkout process. Why didn't you refuse the vessel until repairs were made or better yet, request a different boat? I assume you paid by credit card. Have you considered refusing the CC charges and letting your card company work on you behalf to find a resolution? When was the charter you describe above? As a service to others, it would be helpful if you posted the boat's name so that they can either aviod it or check for the trouble areas before leaving the dock.
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Old 02-27-2009
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sailhog has a spectacular aura about sailhog has a spectacular aura about
Your first Sunsail charter cat was a wreck?
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Old 02-28-2009
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[QUOTE=FarCry;455576]Sounds like a nightmare. If your first experience was a "wreck" why did you go back again? What did the manager say when you brought all of these issues to their attention? If I understand your description of events you say you noticed many problems during the checkout process. Why didn't you refuse the vessel until repairs were made or better yet, request a different boat? I assume you paid by credit card. Have you considered refusing the CC charges and letting your card company work on you behalf to find a resolution? When was the charter you describe above? As a service to others, it would be helpful if you posted the boat's name so that they can either aviod it or check for the trouble areas before leaving the dock.

I have chartered several boats from Sunsail as well as Moorings and Footloose. Had a wonderful 46ft from Sunsail in Antigua with no problems. Both boats with issues were in the BVI's.

Thought of taking the CC route, I have American Express. They do a good job of backing you up on some issues. In this case I thought I would take the high road. Wrote a letter to Sunsail US in Florida. Waited 2 weeks, no reply. Sent the letter again with a cover letter to Sunsail US, Sunsail UK, TUI travel (parent company), and the their CEO. Sent everything registered. Several days later I got a voice mail from a lady at Sunsail Florida. Returned her call but just got her voice mail. She called back a couple of days later and left me a voice mail saying Sunsail was sending me a $285 voucher for a future charter. How they figures the amount is beyond me. I went it back to them with another letter asking to speak with someone about this. No reply. Early Feb I called Sunsail and asked to speak to the CEO. Was routed to a secretary's voice mail. A few days later got a phone call from a lady at Sunsail who said they don't give cash refunds. When I told her that Sunsail had given me a substantial refund on a previous charter she just said 'oh'. Told me she would look into it and call me back. She called a few days later and said they would give me another voucher good for one days charter. Told her I was not interested and if that was the best they could do, I am filing a lawsuit for breach of contract. That's where it stands. Tons of fun.

No one should have to put up with this. It is a serious slap in the face to spend thousands on a boat plus airfare and find you have bought not what you contracted for.

Thanks for you reply. By the way, I will be in St Thomas on Monday. Care to meet for a beer?
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Old 02-28-2009
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"Wreck" was a 50 ft Beneteau from Sunsail. Lots of problems.
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Old 02-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
Sounds like a nightmare. If your first experience was a "wreck" why did you go back again? What did the manager say when you brought all of these issues to their attention? If I understand your description of events you say you noticed many problems during the checkout process. Why didn't you refuse the vessel until repairs were made or better yet, request a different boat? I assume you paid by credit card. Have you considered refusing the CC charges and letting your card company work on you behalf to find a resolution? When was the charter you describe above? As a service to others, it would be helpful if you posted the boat's name so that they can either aviod it or check for the trouble areas before leaving the dock.


Oh Sunsail yacht's name was 'Djilly" 41 foot cat
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Old 02-28-2009
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Flyer, PM sent. Hardly ever turn down an adult beverage!!!!
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Old 03-01-2009
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chrondi is an unknown quantity at this point
SUNSAIL have in general a good reputation of caring about their clients and I would invite MVYFLYER, to be fair, to change the title of this thread.
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Old 03-01-2009
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Chrondi just made me realize under the "rules" here, this post is probably not even allowed. You may not join this forum and use it to berate a vendor, dealer or manufacturer. If you've got an axe to grind please go elsewhere. There are other sites that would welcome learning of Flyer's experience. Please PM me if you would like some suggestions of forums where all information, both positive and negative is accepted.
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Old 03-05-2009
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Sunsail problems.

There are a bunch of issues here. The biggest one is the Moorings/Sunsail has stopped most preventive maintenance and is fixing boats as they break. They are very understaffed with the combined operations. In Oct for the interline regatta the condition of the Moorings boats was deplorable. They have promised the owners improvements but it does not seem to be happening fast.
If you want to get real action on the problem I would give Sunsail another call and tell them you will post your experience on Traveltalkonline.com. That website gets a lot of hits and has a BVI/Charter section I know the Moorings/Sunsail monitors. Write a detailed report of everything that happened. Keep in factual and not emotional. Send that to them and tell them they have 3 business days to reply before you post the story there. If that does not get action post it there.
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