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Old 16-11-2007, 03:34   #1
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Beware Yachcharterfinder.com and Media Ship Charter

We chartered a Comet 50 for a week using yachtcharterfinder as the broker who arranged the yacht with Media Ship Charter in Castellamare di Stabia, near Naples, Italy. The yacht was 3000 euros for the week. I paid in full 6 weeks before departing and received paperwork from yachtcharterfinder to confirm this. They also sent through a voucher to be presented at the marina. The website gave the impression of a sizeable company and I had no reason to doubt their credentials.

When I arrived on Saturday at the marina (basically a gated pontoon leading off the main road) I was met by two representatives of Media Ship Charter, a man and a woman. The man spoke no English, the woman however did. She informed me that it would not be possible for me to take the boat as no money had been received from yachtcharterfinder. She said that they had never heard of them before and despite many many emails to them asking for payment and for our details none had been received. I showed her all my documentation but that made no difference: we couldn't have the boat unless we paid again in full. I was horrified as at this point I had 3 teenagers with me and the rest of the party were en route in the air from the UK - 8 people expecting a week's holiday and with nowhere else to go.
I tried to ring yachtcharterfinder but their office was closed for the weekend. The yacht owner turned up eventually and it was finally agreed that I would give them a print of my credit card and agree to pay 1248 euros at the end of the week if yachtcharterfinder did not pay up in the meantime. I was surprised that yachcharterfinder had charged 1752 for their services, the end broker only getting the smaller amount. Clearly I was going to have to start calling them on Monday.
The yacht looked good and we proceeded. The check out was difficult as the man (the technical one of the two) spoke no English and we did most of it by sign language. They left - there was no office on site. This is not a marina as anyone in the yachting world would understand it. Problems began to come to light.
There was no hot water on the boat and the generator would not start. I called them (the first of many calls). They turned up on Monday morning with a couple of workmen (we had no hot water for two days by now) and fitted a new thermostat to the water heater and did something to the generator. We had hot water but the generator would only run for 3 minutes and then it flashed an error and shut down. We decided to sail anyway because by now we were heartily sick of Castellammare. It's not an attractive town, very run down, heaped with rotting garbage and not very safe especially at night. Not what you imagine the romantic Bay of Naples to be like.
We sailed for Ischia and that night in the harbour there was an explosion and the water heater blew up in the saloon! The boat now had no water at all. We called them again and they came out on Tuesday afternoon and fitted another new thermostat. Couldn't fix the generator though or some of the other problems that had emerged: the main galley tap was literally hanging off and an accident waiting to happen, the speedometer on the yacht was non functioning (irritating rather than anything else) and there was a major leak through the light in one of the bathrooms which led to flooding whenever it rained or we sailed. The oven was a 4 ring gas hob with gas oven. Only one hob unit worked. The other 3 and the oven itself didn't work at all, so hot food was difficult to produce. The dinghy engine was completely non functional even after being stripped down my my husband an experienced mechanic. This meant we had to row everywhere which was not very secure in the windy conditions of late October. Obviously because of the non functional generator we had to run the engine more than usual. The water gauge didn't work either - we ran out of water on Tuesday morning despite no one having had a shower by then due to having no water available anyway. This is an example of how well the boat had been prechecked and set up for us.
I managed to get hold of yachtcharterfinder on Monday morning and explained the problems with payment to them. There was not an apology for our distress and trouble, just denials that they had been at fault. Two days later I received confirmation from Media Ship Charter that they had received the payment from yachtcharterfinder and that I would not have to pay for the yacht again. No apology either and I never did find out who was telling the truth. MSC were adamant that yachtcharterfinder hadn't paid them, yachtcharterfinder were adamant they had.
We determined to raise all the problems with MSC when we got back to dock at the end of the week but when we did we were met by the non English speaking man and his girlfriend who told us quite brusquely that we must get off the yacht immediately as they had to sail it to Ischia. The fuel dock was closed. No discussion was possible. We were forced to pack very hurriedly, no check out of the boat and bundled off. We sat in a cafe waiting for the time to go to the airport and 5 hours later the yacht was still at its berth so obviously the "sailing to Ischia" was a lie.
A week later I found a charge for 127 for diesel on my credit card a last present from MSC. I've been trying to get it refunded from either them or yachtcharterfinder ever since but no luck at all. Yachtcharterfinder don't feel they have any responsibility in the matter despite taking 1752 euros out of the total fee for "their services". MSC just don't respond.
I've chartered yachts all over the world and never had an experience like this. Anyway, learn from my problems, there are lots of charter companies in the Naples area, do your research and pick one via a reputable broker who is a member of an association and not a complete cowboy outfit like yachtcharterfinder and Media Ship Charter.
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Old 16-11-2007, 04:09   #2
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Allie:
Have you copied a link to this post
to Yachcharterfinder.com and Media Ship Charter ?
Fairness dictates that you do so, that they may publicly respond to your allegations of misconduct.
Regards and commiserations,

Gord May
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Old 16-11-2007, 04:20   #3
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Gordon,
I will do so. MSC have not responded to my phone calls but I have had emails from yachtcharterfinder in which they:
1. Deny any responsibility for the outcome of the charter and absolutely rule out any refund of the 127 from them.
2. Claim to be negotiating on my behalf with MSC.
3. Warn me against publicising this issue and say that as soon as I do they will cease any "help".

I returned from the charter on the 27th October and have given yachtcharterfinder 3 weeks to secure a refund. Yachtcharterfinder's initial reaction was that I should not have left with diesel owing. My point was that I was not able to fill the boat or discuss the issue with MSC staff on return. I am not asking for compensation for time lost or all the problems we had, merely that the undiscussed, unauthorised and punitive diesel payment should be refunded. Clearly this is not forthcoming and I now feel that I should let others know the sort of service they can expect from these two companies. My point is that they both seem to forget that I am the innocent customer while they argue between themselves on who has paid who etc my holiday was spoilt.
I wouldn't hold your breath for a reply.
Alison
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Old 16-11-2007, 04:47   #4
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Originally Posted by alliebdive View Post
Gordon,
I will do so. MSC have not responded to my phone calls but I have had emails from yachtcharterfinder in which they:
1. Deny any responsibility for the outcome of the charter and absolutely rule out any refund of the 127 from them.
2. Claim to be negotiating on my behalf with MSC.
3. Warn me against publicising this issue and say that as soon as I do they will cease any "help".
Alison
I certainly understand your frustration with an apparently distressing, difficult and expensive situation.
It appears that you have discounted the likelihood of getting any effective “help” from Yachtcharterfinder, given your public complaints (and their point 3).
Notwithstanding, we (CruisersForum) shouldn’t permit one-sided harangues, which could be construed as libelous or slanderous.
Given notice, it would then be up to the other parties to respond, or not.
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Old 16-11-2007, 08:05   #5
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Have you filed a dispute with your credit card company? If they rule in your favor you can have the charges reversed.

Gordon, I think as long as the charter company was given notification of this post so that they can defend themselves, then I see no problem with allie being able to give their side of the story. I am thankful that people can post their horror stories of bad treatment by businesses...as long as the story is accurate.
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Old 16-11-2007, 08:17   #6
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1.Have you filed a dispute with your credit card company? If they rule in your favor you can have the charges reversed.
2. Gordon, I think as long as the charter company was given notification of this post so that they can defend themselves, then I see no problem with allie being able to give their side of the story. I am thankful that people can post their horror stories of bad treatment by businesses...
3. as long as the story is accurate.
1. Good advice David.
2. Exactly.
3. We’ll never know for certain; though I’m inclined to believe the complaint is essentially accurate.
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Old 16-11-2007, 10:21   #7
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I'm glad that Gord is letting this thread stand, as it certainly has the ring of truth to it, and provides a valuable public service to the cruisers here.

Given the apparent lack of consideration for their customer by yachtcharterfinder and MSC, it's highly unlikely that they will actively engage in defending their actions in this case. If they do respond, though, I will be intrigued to read their "justifications."

Whether they respond or not, readers of this thread will individually make up their minds as to which parties to the transaction are deserving of blame.

I'm sorry your holiday was so unpleasant, Allison, but I appreciate your candor in bringing this episode to the attention of the readers of Cruisers Forum.

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Old 16-11-2007, 10:31   #8
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Exclamation

As an Admin I would recommend that no one else post to this threads until we, if ever, do hear back from the accused.

These type of threads just get off on a tangent and ends up as a rant thread for everyone, which ends up in the trash.

The accuser had made his point (rant) and we have no facts that it's true. So in essence, this could be just a waste of space and time for all involved by posting.

So lets see if we get a response?? If not, then it's unconfirmed!!!!

By all rights we discourage against this type of posting, especially by a new memeber due to the fact that this was probably his/her only reason to join the forum. And, chances are you will find this same post on other forms as well.
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Old 16-11-2007, 11:51   #9
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So lets see if we get a response?? If not, then it's unconfirmed!!!!
Yes, let's see if a response from the accused is forthcoming. It would be interesting to read their points of view.

However, even if they do respond, Allison's claim will, ipso facto, be forever "unconfirmed." Unless, or course, the response is "Yes, as Allison stated, we behaved dishonestly and saw no reason to mitigate our customer's complaints since we had already been paid."

That'll be the day!

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