|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|06-02-2011 12:19 PM|
|Vasco||You certainly got more than the usual problems that might occur on a charter. You should have called the company after finding each and every problem. Most companies will at least reimburse the cost of ice (not inconsequential in the islands). You got a bad boat with a company that's not too responsive. Name the company and then move on.|
|06-02-2011 11:53 AM|
Thanks guys, I got the feedback I was looking for, these defects exceed the usual and customary.
Like I mentioned above, I don't look at issues such as this as "legal/contract" issues. It is a customer service question. Does the vendor want a customer who has done three charters in the past 14 months to be happy or to shop around for their next charter.
But since so many want to talk about contracts, and the law, and mitigation of damages, and opportunity to cure, and the like, I will quickly address those issues. Although I see them as completely irrelevant.
The following does not constitute legal advice. If you have a contract question, you should contact your own counsel.
A number of people want to examine the contract to see if it addresses these issues. Well, if I were putting on a lawyer hat, I would no doubt take a look at the contract. If I didn't like what it said, then I would fumble around in my law books and I might stumble upon the concept of "fraud in the inducement." If there was "fraud in the inducement" then what the contract says might not matter. So, what is "fraud in the inducement?" It is more than Puffery. We could spend 100s of pages exploring the distinction, but instead we will skip ahead and see if there are any facts that might be more than puffery and might rise to the level of "fraud in the inducement."
The boat was represented to be a certain age. In fact it was a tad bit older than represented.
The boat was represented to have been maintained "to rigorous standards." Res ipsa.
The boat was represented to have "freely accessible dingy davits." Literally true, but substantively false.
Talking like a lawyer here, I think those will get us past a motion to dismiss. Which gives us something to talk about.
What other tools might we have available? Well, there is "unfair and decptive practices" claims which we would base on the above facts. And then there are false advertising claims. I think we have enough to work around the contract.
Now that we have found our path to possible liability, we need to explore whether the vendor has a defense by the failure to provide an opportunity to cure. Someone proposed the analogy of a resturant meal that was fully consumed. Let's run with that for a minute. Suppose I am in trial and the judge granted us a 45 minute recess for lunch. I run down to the cafeteria and order a cheeseburger, french fries, and a coke. The french fries are frozen. I do not have time to wait for them to cook the french fries (I don't even have time to point out that they are frozen). I simply eat the cheeseburger drink the coke and throw the french fries away. Should I have to pay for the french fries?
I think a better example might be a chef who ordered prime tenderloin for Saturday night. His butcher sends over select meat. (For the benefit of non-U.S. readers, U.S. meat grades are Prime, Choice, Select.) There isn't time to send it back and get the prime meat. So the chef serves steak tartare using the select meat instead of filet mignon. Should the chef still have to pay for prime meat because he made do with the select meat?
Our analysis was that the cost (the value of our time) of affording the vendor an opportunity to cure would have exceeded the value of that cure (a working refrigerator). We, in effect, mitigated our damages. Should we still have to pay for "prime meat?"
In the real world, I am probably just as obnoxious. Occupational hazard.
|06-02-2011 02:09 AM|
|06-01-2011 11:00 PM|
Originally Posted by twinkles View Post
2) Every charter contract I've read says something like "failure of the refrigeration system to work.....not refundable etc. Since you chose not to contact the charter company before the end of your trip, it's hard to expect a refund for this. Was there an operations manual onboard? Did you try and troubleshoot the system? I know you shouldn't have to but just asking.
3) How did you correct a twisted line inside the boom? Not being able to raise the sail is getting closer to some compensation IMHO but I'm going to repeat myself and suggest that not giving the charter company the opportunity to help you before the end of charter doesn't garner much sympathy.
4) Very creative. That would have been a hard one to find unless you or your briefer lit the stove and oven during your briefing. Did your boat have a charcoal grill too? Would that have been an alternative?
5) That just plain sucks. No way for you to find that before departure.
6) That sucks too.
7) As you know, they shouldn't do that but it shouldn't have been that hard to rig something to hold them in their proper place.
8) That isn't uncommon on even new catamarans and not an issue. There are tachometers so that you can equalize the rpms.
9) One nonfunctioning cockpit light makes me assume there were others. Either way, it's incovenient but not really an issue.
Davits) From your comments it seems that you were on a four cabin cat. It would be hard for me to believe that the typical charter boat dingy tied on to a stern cleat would cause enough drag for you to even notice which corner it was tied to. Back to the comment "As the dock personnel untied our mooring lines and tossed them onboard they shouted that the davits were unusable. " Why didn't you stop right then and there if the davits where so important to you?
There clearly where many issues with the boat you were on. That is very unfortunate since you are new to the chartering world and hopefully won't spoil your view of all charter companies. You made a choice not to give the charter company an opportunity to provide you with a resolution before the end of your trip. Would they have been able to fix everything with a minnimum of disturbance to your vacation? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. They should at least have picked up your ice bills.
Did the charter company do any kind of a debrief at the end? Did they ask about any issues you had with the boat? If so, what was their response?
As an analogy attempt----If you had ordered a meal and cleaned your plate, would you expect a refund or credit when the bill came and then, for the first time, you mentioned the meat was undercooked?
You might consider visiting traveltalkonline dot com and view some of the threads about chartering there and do some research as well. You may even wish to move your post content to that site for input too. Many of those people are frequent charters.
|06-01-2011 09:49 PM|
Charter boats see a lot of use over a short time. Things wear out, fall overboard, break,etc. and the older the boat is, the more problems you'll have. There's a reason they charge more for the newer boats.
We've chartered in Caribbean every year for the past dozen years or more and will not charter a boat that is 5 years old again. Even in the better kept fleets, a 2 yr old boat is entering middle age. Next time you charter, don't hesitate to contact the charter base with any kind of problem. The better ones will send out a chase boat for problems like batteries not holding a charge, or refrigeration not working. (Been there, done that, on more than one occasion). It's also a good idea to have a cell phone that works in the area--except for shadowing by the volcanic terrain in places. Make sure you have the base telephone number before you leave.
One of the more important things you can do is to go over absolutely everything before you leave the base. You may be tired from your trip down, but this is important. Make sure the stove works and stays lighted. The refrigeration should be on before you come aboard and you may find a block of ice in the icebox. If not, put one there for your peace of mind, just in case. We've found that a malfunctioning stove or refrigerator is not grounds for a charter adjustment, according to the contract language, but it doesn't hurt to ask for consideration if a problem took the edge off your enjoyment of "paradise".
The best advice is to go with a reputable operation and select a boat that is no more than 2 years old. It's worth the extra money.
|06-01-2011 05:50 PM|
That is the sort of feedback we were looking for. We are just to new at this to know what is unreasonable and what is reasonable, and hate to be whinners.
As far as the boat inspection goes, you are right. We admitted to ourselves that we should have put off our "arrival happy hour" for another hour or so to better inspect things.
Although, the majority of these items where not the type we could have uncovered easily that night. As an example, the freezer was off when we arrived, so we had thrown ice in at the get go. It took about a day before it dawned on us that the freezer had had adequate time to cool down and yet our ice was all melting.
Our checklist includes winch handles, but not oven racks. It includes checking the fresh water tanks, but not hosing down the deck hatches. It includes inspecting the rigging so we know how to sail the boat, but not actually raising the main to see if it catches on anything. It includes starting the engines, but not running them for an hour to see if they overheat the hot water. Etcetera.
When we returned the boat, we mentioned all these items, but didn't ask for anything. Before I give the charter company a public black mark, I want to chat this over with them.
|06-01-2011 01:54 PM|
Live and learn.
I'll bet that next time you want to rent a charter boat in the BVI's you will not use that boat or charter company again. Which company was it by the way?
I'll also bet that on your next charter you will do a thorough job of checking out the rental boat before heading out. Even a short shakedown sail would have turned up some of the problems you found.
I would be pissed if I encountered all the shortcomings you found. I hope you addressed all of these issues to them and I would certainly be hoping for a partial refund if not at least a "Sorry Mon".
I'm glad to hear that you were able to work around all the problems without any major mishaps. You may have just gained more experience then you think.
|06-01-2011 01:36 PM|
It sounds like you learned a lot about flexibility and jury-rigging -- not what you'd planned for the trip, but valuable nevertheless. In terms of the poor quality of the boat you were sent out on, I'm afraid you've rather weakened your case. Had you notified the company [using the refrig as the example], they might have said (as you assumed), "Sure, c'mon back to the dock and we'll fix it." To which you could have said, "No thanks, that will waste too much of my vacation time." OTOH, the company might have had a person they could send to whatever marina you were in on the second night. At the VERY least you could have arranged with them that they would reimburse you for the cost of the block ice you were forced to use or the food that wouldn't keep (ice cream?). Worst of all would be if they assumed YOU had broken the refrig, since as far as they knew they sent the boat out in okay condition and you returned it with a major system not functioning.
If they were really a class act they would have offered to swap you to a different boat if the deficiencies couldn't be repaired quickly. IMHO, with the exception of the first 2, these are things that *might* be within the range of to be expected if you were chartering an older boat; less so the newer the boat / the higher the price.
|06-01-2011 11:56 AM|
Originally Posted by wingNwing View Post
1. We warned each other when we were going to take showers, to be sure the other one didn't turn off the water pump accidentally.
2. We bot ice and consolidated all the food in the freezer compartment.
3. We fixed the tangled reefing lines.
4. We broiled instead of roasting.
5. We switched cabins.
6. We turned the starboard side of the boat slightly toward the wind when we lowered the sail.
7. We idled the engines at 2100 RPMs (the lowest RPMs where the throttles would stay in place)
8. We learned to control the throttles to keep the RPMs even.
9. The cockpit light didn't really make a difference.
10. We were aggravated that they had marketed the boat as having dingy davits when for all practical purposes that was a deception. We found a spare snatch block on board, tied it to the dingy painter, used a dockline as a rear bridle, and towed the dingy from the centerline of the boat.
None of the issues were fatal, just inconvenient and annoying, but not so big a deal that we were willing to sacrifice our vacation (and objectives) to get it fixed.
|06-01-2011 10:31 AM|
|wingNwing||Did you contact the charter company as soon as you discovered for example, that the refrig wasn't working, to give them a chance to make it right, or wait until the end of the trip? How did they respond?|
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