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  #1  
Old 09-11-2010
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Wink Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs

We are booking our charter right now for this winter and I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I recall what we went through last winter with the charter company "Conch Charters" in BVI. To keep it short and sweet:

1) The boat was a wreck
2) The boat was filthy and stunk, including the linens, pillows, etc
3) The employees were of zero assistance via phone or radio once we left the mooring. i.e. when a piece of equipment failed to work.
4) They attack the boat like pirates when you return and the hunt is on for something to charge you with from your damage deposit. And they WILL charge you without hesitation!!! (there go your big savings!) NOT a pleasant way to end a vacation.

You may feel great on booking for saving a bit of cashola, but you will not feel so great when you see the trade off. At least on land you can pack your bags and go to a different hotel. Not so easy when you are afloat.

After you read this, you will see a flurry of comments refuting what I've just written- trust me...these comments have a ring of familiarity to them...ie: the company owners, perhaps, employees???
Have a great vacation and be VERY CAREFUL who you book with!!!
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Old 09-11-2010
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Of course you are going to get refuting comments. Your first point says that the boat was a wreck. Most wrecks that I have heard of are below the surface of the water and people go scuba diving to view them.

I have chartered with them before and I haven't gone back. I understand that your experience with them wasn't up to your expectations, but your post is such a exagerated rant that I am not sure that anyone will find it helpful.
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Old 09-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familyofun View Post
Chartering BVI? Stay far away from Conch Chrs
Thanks for the warning. I heard that they have been going down hill in the recent years.
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Yes, it probably does sound exaggerated but in fact I have been understated. The company gave themselves a $1500 Tip (our DD) without a breakdown or explanation (we left some dirty dishes as we had no water and they left us for our last evening with empty tanks). And, we seem to have had little recourse. Their attitude once we boarded the boat and left was like night and day from when we were booking.
Hard to take when you look forward to a vacation this much.
I only wish that someone would have taken the time to warn us.
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Old 09-11-2010
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if you paid via credit card, you have some options. if you paid cash or check, you deserve what you get.

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Originally Posted by familyofun View Post
Yes, it probably does sound exaggerated but in fact I have been understated. The company gave themselves a $1500 Tip (our DD) without a breakdown or explanation (we left some dirty dishes as we had no water and they left us for our last evening with empty tanks). And, we seem to have had little recourse. Their attitude once we boarded the boat and left was like night and day from when we were booking.
Hard to take when you look forward to a vacation this much.
I only wish that someone would have taken the time to warn us.
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Old 09-11-2010
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If you pay good money for a service, regardless of whether is cash or credit card you should feel free to demand the service or your money back. They would have not kept my $1500.00 without a damn good explanation, dirty dishes wouldn't suffice!

Having said that, if a price sounds too good to be true..it usually is.

I have used the moorings, paid the premium and was never disappointed in their service.

Once we pulled into the bitter end, and one of the lazy jack lines had come undone. We no sooner tied off to the mooring ball, and a guy in a dinghy
( from the moorings) had spotted it from the shore and came out to fix it for us without us even asking. He climbed the mast re-attached the line and refused a tip.

I'm sure their are other great charter companies there but, my attitude is, why mess with success.

Sorry to hear of your troubles.
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Old 09-12-2010
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$1,500 for dirty dishes is not acceptable. For a cheap charter why not use Footlose? They have the same base as the moorings and they will price match the other companies. But no matter which budget company you go with chances are that you will have some annoying problems with the boat. At least with Footlose you have a corporation in the hospitality business with a customer service dept to call and talk to about your gripes.
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Old 09-12-2010
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Familyofun,

I'll start by saying I have no connection with Conch other than having chartered about a dozen times with them over the years. The last time I chartered was about six or seven years ago and that was also with Conch.

A couple of things about your complaint strike me as odd. One, it is your responsibility to have enough fresh water aboard, not Conch's so there is no excuse for returning the boat with dirty dishes. You only mention this in your second post. Normally you get full tanks when you board and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have sufficient fresh water from then on. If Conch withheld your security deposit it has to be for good reason and returning a boat with dirty dishes is one indication that all was not well when you returned the boat. I would like to hear Conch's side of the story. Charter companies usually bend over backwards before they withhold a security deposit and Conch is no different.

If they inspected the boat closely when you returned they must have had good reason and the dirty dishes might have been a tip-off.

If the boat and linen stank when you boarded you should have pointed this out during the initial familiarization routine where a rep of the charter company takes you through the boat.

If the boat was a wreck you should have pointed out the deficiencies to Conch on boarding.

Also I find it difficult to understand you got "zero assistance" when a "piece of equipment failed to work". There is a VHF aboard and also a cell phone with no charge to call Conch. What was the nature of your call, what failed to work?

You have made a total of 7 posts on this site and all seven were to knock Conch. Also in one of your earlier posts you admit to running over the dinghy and severing the painter and this can result in damage to the shaft and alignment. I now see why they inspected the boat closely. I assume this is why Conch kept your damage deposit. I take it you elected to post a $1500 damage deposit rather than to take the insurance that is also available.

As I said earlier I have not chartered with Conch for a few years and their service may have deteriorated but I cannot believe your side completely as all the posts on this site you've ever made complain about the one charter you had with Conch. Was this your first ever charter?
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Last edited by Vasco; 09-12-2010 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 10-13-2010
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We charter with Sunsail and have been very satisfied. Boats are always clean and if anything is amiss while checking out the boat before departure, it is tended to promptly.

By chartering one of the non-premier boats (3-5 years old) and with the discounts we get for advance booking and returning clients, the cost is not much more than the budget companies. Peace of mind when you're on a vacation is priceless.
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Old 11-15-2010
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Thumbs up BVI Value and Service from Conch Charters

We have chartered from Conch for 7 years. Usually 2 weeks for each charter, and will be picking up our next charter from them next weekend. During these many experiences, we've had had a generally positive experience, and know all of the individuals that work with the customers quite well. They are all interested and willing to help solve whatever problems that come up. Because the boats are not new, and mostly 5yrs + and some up to 10 years old, you have to expect things to break, and be prepared for a clean and serviceable, but sometimes tired boat. If you want a NEW boat and can't deal with normal operating problems, then call Moorings and pay twice as much. If you don't have enough experience to deal with fueling, finding water or provisions, typical maintenance, and need a "wet nurse" call Moorings. If you damage the boat, lose parts of the gear, run over the dingy, run aground, or fail to bring it back as you found it...clean and serviceable, you should expect to pay for your mistakes. If you go through the checkout prior to departure and sign off on the boat, then don't complain about what you get. Conch is a responsible charter company, and truly a value, but only if you are a competent charterer. Don't expect Moorings quality boats and service for Conch rates.
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