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Old 09-07-2018, 07:08   #1
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Charter company claims we damage boat

We recently chartered a Lagoon 450F for two weeks in Croatia. During the first day of sailing, we realized the door to the salon would not latch properly. Not seeing this as an insurmountable issue, we did not report it or worry about it. When we returned the boat, I reported it to the representative of the charter company (note that he was not an employee of the charter company as they have no office where we returned the boat) as I always keep a list of things they need to fix. He called the charter company and they insist we broke the door latch and the cost to repair is 300 euros. While the representative was there, I removed the broken piece from the latch and the break in the aluminum did not look new. From that, we concluded that the part showed that it was damaged on a prior trip. The representatve that was present agreed that he felt the damage was pre-existing and said he explained that to the charter company but they insisted that we broke the latch. We got our broker involve but she said that we did not note the broken latch before we accepted the boat. Frankly, I have never looked at a charter boat with that kind of attention to detail! I also consider a broken latch to be a maintenance item unless negligence is involved and Iím certain that none existed in this case. This is the first time I have ever been charged for damage even though I have discovered lots of charter boat issues while chartering.

Looking for opinions and advice!
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:22   #2
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Sorry to hear it. The problem you have is that unless you have proof of when it happened (photos?) or checked it when you accepted the boat, then you are probably out of luck. It may indeed be pre existing but if it wasn't noted at the time you took the boat.....
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:47   #3
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Presumably they had a hold on your credit card? Challenge it with your credit card company. They will often come down on your side. In the mean time, to support your claim, ask them for a copy of the invoice for the replacement lock. If they don't have one, it will support your claim to your CC company.
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:48   #4
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Agree with Peter; when accepting a rental be it a boat, a car or a house, always walk around and inspect. Photograph any damage and report it. On something as complex as a boat will you see everything, no. But you can certainly see the big stuff and report anything you find. Once you find something that was missed in the initial walk-around, photograph and report immediately.

Sound like a lot of work? Maybe but it should take an hour at most. In this case your salary for doing the walk-around would have been $300.

I'll come look at boats all day for $300 an hour!
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:57   #5
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

I've heard several stories like yours in Croatia, from minor things like gas bottles half empty, to cracks in the keel. A detailed inspection should be made at the beginning, including diving... or avoid chartering there.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:13   #6
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Sorry to hear of your troubles in Croatia. I have chartered from several companies for the last 10 years in the Carribean but never in Europe. This is a goood lesson for the readers here as I have never chartered a Catamaran that didnít have an issue with it. We always make a list of the small issues that arrise and have NEVER been charged. From a lost winch handle to a broken window hatch to a damaged boat hook., etc. It would be impossible to go through the yacht and confirm everything is 100% before leaving.
Advice: Go to the charter company manger and explain your situation and obtain a refund or at the very least a credit. Tell them you will post their reponse on this sight for others to see. We pay good money for these charters that cover for incidentals such as this.
Good luck!
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:22   #7
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

I agree that $300 for a door latch makes me think this is a scam. I wonder how may previous charters have paid for the same door latch! There are certainly some dishonest hirers out there and I have hear many tales about landlords claiming any excuse not to return damage deposits. If it is a hirer trying it on it is very hard to do anything about it though, nobody does a sufficiently detailed check on a boat when they pick it up to be able to prove then can be no issues. Have you looked up the replacement cost? If the lock only costs 25E you could try sending the charter company evidence of this and asking why they are charging so much?
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:27   #8
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by calin1967 View Post
I've heard several stories like yours in Croatia, from minor things like gas bottles half empty, to cracks in the keel. A detailed inspection should be made at the beginning, including diving... or avoid chartering there.
Diving a charter boat before you accept it??? I bet that's a 1 in a 1000 chance anyone does that...
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:35   #9
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

It would be helpful to know the company you chartered from. Not sure why this wasn't mentioned.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:39   #10
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

You are being ripped off. Most every charter boat has scrapes and gouges and seldom do they get noted. There are always things missing from the get go. In theory they could rip you off to a much larger amount at any time. Chartering from big name companies is a best plan.
Croatia? Based on their history, you may be getting off cheap.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:41   #11
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Thank you for the responses so far! While I agree that technically, I should go through the boat with. Fine tooth comb, I don’t believe this is at all practical. For me, the main reason for the checkout is to learn the nuances of the boat. While all catamarans are essentially the same, the electrical panel, location of safety devices and valves, etc is what I am trying to learn. In most cases, the boat checkout is at 5pm and time is limited. To complete a “survey” or to dive on the hull is simply impractical. If I were to rent a car and the door handle were to break as I attempted to enter the car, would I be charged for a new door handle? I don’t think so!

I will challenge any charge with my credit card company. I have the name and phone number of the representative that agrees that it was prior damage. In fact, they would not have been aware of the damaged latch if I had not pointed it out. When they did the checkout, all they were concerned with was that I filled the fuel tanks and I was not missing any flares (CROATIA is in Worldcup and flares are used n celebrating). They did send in Andover but reported no damage.

By the way, the charter company is Adriatic Sailing and I will report back to this group how they handle this.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:24   #12
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

I am not making any judgement regarding the basic question here....some companies are better and do a better job of checking boats than others, and, like any charter company (or group of charter guests), there are good apples and bad.

I just wanted to say that some latches DO, in fact, cost that much. Mine is one from South Africa that costs over $200, and that's before freight or duty or whatever. I would certainly want to see the invoice, but there are locks that expensive....it's not a house!

Best of luck.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:32   #13
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Ask the charter company which internet travel sites they prefer to have your review of their company posted to.
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:49   #14
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

Unless the latch was damaged through negligence you should not be responsible for it's repair. If a latch breaks during the normal course of business it was at the end of it's life.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:29   #15
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Re: Charter company claims we damage boat

We've chartered about 15 times. That latch is NOT your responsibility. It broke likely because it was used to its limit. The only thing they can charge you for is damage that you did that's not a wear and tear item. For instance, no charter company charges you for damaging the sails, but your 7 days of sailing certainly decreased the life of those sales by 7 working days. They will need to prove that the latch was damaged by negligence.



Saying all of this, on our last charter in the BVI a year ago, the charter company tried to tell us that we'd damaged the paint on the boat (the boat was painted blue). I showed them the photos I'd taken when we got the boat, where the damage was already there. Wonder how many times they've tried that stunt? I used to regularly recommend BVI Yacht Charters, but this and another stunt they tried really pissed me off.
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