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Problem with dropzone / operator

 

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voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 24, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Problem with dropzone / operator Can't Post

Hello People

this is my first post, I have been reading some here though. Looks like a good community to me.

I need some advice on a not so nice matter.

As a student I started last November in Thailand at Skydive Thailand (Extreme Sports Cafe) an AFF-Course. In the course of the training I had a reserve ride (self deployed) at jump level 3, because I was unstable spinning and unable to deploy my main in time. Everything went fine, though.

Afer that, I needed to take some time of to gain the confidence again. About 3 weeks later and two visits to a windtunnel I was ready to continue, maybe even stronger dedicated to go through the course.

Unfortunately, after that there were so many problems on the dropzone. First the aircraft was grounded, then they had not enough students to run a course and at the upcoming course they also will not take me (new students have priority).

So I was waiting for nearly 3 months then to continue, but could not, and now have to leave Thailand. The problem for me is that they totally refuse to give any kind of refund, altough I had the promise that I will be able to finish the course in time (they knew my timeframe). So alot of money is lost that is needed for me to continue the course in my homecountry of Germany.

So, I now feel ripped off. Any opinions appreciated.

Andreas

(This post was edited by voltage on Feb 24, 2006, 4:35 PM)


darkwing  (D 4164)

Feb 24, 2006, 11:54 AM
Post #2 of 65 (3242 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

I am sorry for your troubles, and I hope you don't let it hurt your interest in the sport.


piisfish

Feb 24, 2006, 12:06 PM
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

where are you going now after Thailand ?


Mr17Hz  (A 47290)

Feb 24, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you pay with a credit card? It so, dispute the charges. Also, see if there is a service similar to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) in Thailand to report their bad business practices too. Also, are you sure your request got to the owner, or did management stop it in its tracks? You may also try writing a letter. Lastly, threaten to contact a local news authority, and if they don't respond then write a few letters to the media. One bad story about a skydiving center practicing bad business, and they could loose half their income for a year.


skydiverbrian  (D 24954)

Feb 24, 2006, 1:07 PM
Post #5 of 65 (3152 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

That really sucks. Like darkwing says, don't let it ruin your interest in the sport.

You've just learned the real meaning of the saying "You pay your money, you take your chances". Frown


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 24, 2006, 4:31 PM
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Re: [darkwing] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

It won't. I knew from the beginning I want to learn it.
I have firm firm plans to get to a DZ in Germany to continue, the only problem to overcome is the missing money (as I am a student).

The thing for me is that until now I did trust them. They told me things like "can you handle a sport that takes you down to your last chance that often" and basically blamed all of this to me, because I did not jump again immediately after the reserve ride, while ignoring all the other facts (as stated). They argue with their no refund policy.

This Extreme Sports Cafe is basically a one man show. Stephen Northcott / FlyingDodo / scratt is names he uses in real life / online. I also contacted my instructor which is Danniel Lee from Singapur. I have a good opinion of him and hope he will see the problem in how this is handled.

I am glad to get support in my view from other people, because I am new to this and really was let to believe by them it is usual business practive in this sport.

Andreas


(This post was edited by voltage on Feb 24, 2006, 4:36 PM)


OSOK  (A 48456)

Feb 24, 2006, 8:44 PM
Post #7 of 65 (2876 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Let me understand this a bit better...

Did you pay for the ENTIRE course? Or are you saying that you want your money back for the 5 jumps you have done? Please explain.


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 24, 2006, 9:49 PM
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Re: [OSOK] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

I have paid all upfront. Of course I do not request back for the 5 jumps. I even feel ok for them to charge me the whole groundschool and basic instructors time.

I only request back the money for the missing jumps, I think slightly less than 1/3 would be fair.

Start to feel really sick about them. Skydiving means wild west business attitudes, or what? I hope I have a better experience in Germany. I want to continue at FSVS around Saarlouis.

Andreas


flyingdodo  (C 102008)

Feb 24, 2006, 11:23 PM
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

What needs to be put in this thread is a little of the whole facts....

Andreas was in fact offered more than one occasion to finish his course. He elected to go to a Buddhist retreat instead of one of the options, and only when he found that bullying and threats would not get him a refund in cash did he decide at the last minute to reverse his decision and try to come on one of the courses offered him, only to find it was now fully booked.

Our terms and conditions, which stipulate no refunds, but a credit and the ability to continue the course at any time in the future were stated at the beginning of the course, and many times throughout. The reasons for this is that a lot of the fees for the plane time, airfield time, instructors travel (as they are not resident in Thailand) and so on are used on the booked course period. Skydive Thailand exists on an airfield for which they have to pay fees for every day they operate.

Notwithstanding that, if a student feels they wish to take a break they can do, but it is explained to them they will need to fit into scheduled course spaces thereafter.

We have also offered to credit a portion of the course against coaching in future if he decides to finish the course in Germany. If he truly wants to continue in this sport that is a valid option...

Extreme Sports Cafe (which is considerably more than a 'one man band') and Skydive Thailand have kept in touch with Andreas throughout this period and tried everything they can do to find a solution. The only restriction being a no cash refund policy. This is totally standard business practice in Thailand, and in many other locations around the world.

Extreme Sports Cafe and Skydive Thailand have clearly stated Terms and Conditions on all of their sites and literature which are explained fully to all customers at the time of booking, and also on the first day of a course, prior to any funds other than the (10%) course booking deposit being paid.

Skydive Thailand really feels we have done everything to accommodate Andreas. At one point Andreas requested that at any time the plane might go over 10,000 feet he would require supplementary Oxygen of he would not jump. We don't want to get into personal criticisms here but I would suffice it to say that the afore mentioned request is one which gives an example of the demanding nature Andreas was as a client. A client who we are happy to correspond with, try and explore solutions with, but have had to draw the line somewhere as to how far we will go to accommodate increasingly unreasonable demands.

EDIT - Andreas has since contacted me and asked me to clarify what he asserts are 'lies' about the 'Oxygen' issue. He asked that I either delete that part of the post of proove it..

So, for what it is worth I have posted an excerpt from our emails..

Quote:
From: ab@voltage.de
Subject: RE: Airplane @ PAP
Date: January 25, 2006 11:25:31 PM GMT+07:00
To: sxexhxnxsxyxixexhxixaxdxcxm

Hello Stephen,

I had such a feeling while talking to Neil, too. But I think no use in
chasing him, better to have an ok airplane later than crash tomorrow.
But he should have told some realistic date.

I still would feel I must have Oxygen above 10000 feet. Is there
no way we can leave from the plane lower?

I hope for the best.

Regards,

Andreas


-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:sxexhxnxsxyxixexhxixaxdxcxm]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 11:53 AM
To: Andreas Bauer
Subject: Re: Airplane @ PAP

Hi Andreas,

I have been being told that the plane will be ready 'next week' by
Neil since before Christmas...

I am currently looking at other options in Thailand for our courses..

I suggest that you chase Neil as well as us and when you have a
confirmed date we will then let people who want to do courses know.

I cannot get people over here for courses and let them down again as
I have done already in December and January.

So we will not confirm any plans until the plane is actually ready
for skydiving.

There is the Prachuab option, but the planes will be going above 10,000
feet. I hope you are not still concerned about the Oxygen issue!!! ;-)

Kind regards,


(This post was edited by flyingdodo on Feb 25, 2006, 12:39 AM)


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 25, 2006, 2:15 AM
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Re: [flyingdodo] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, it took me some time to be able to make this post, as I had strong emotions going on.

I don't think it is worthwile to extend this discussion any further, as I think everyone can see what it is about.

The e-mail he stated is partly forged. In the first part the paragraph "I still would feel..." is completely made up by him, and in the second part the "There is the Prachuab option,..." paragraph is made up by him, in the real e-mails that went through the net it was:

"So we will not confirm any plans until the plane is actually ready for skydiving."

The rest of the quoted e-mail is true and refers to the frequent questioning when I wrote him to see when I would be able to jump again, knowing my time to finish is slowly passing.

The rest of his post contains more obvious errors and false suggestions, but as he forges e-mails now I feel it doesn't make any sense to take it further in this way.

I would appreciate any help about this issue. I have not yet encountered such a reaction/person to date.

Andreas


flyingdodo  (C 102008)

Feb 25, 2006, 6:50 AM
Post #11 of 65 (2717 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

I think enough has been said...

I would simply point people to the reviews on this site itself about peoples experiences at Skydive Thailand.. Then you can draw your own conclusions.

Simply to operate as a Drop Zone we have had to set up a company with registered capital of over 500,000 dollars. Do you really think we would want to annoy / rip off / deal with a customer in such a way to save a few hundred dollars? Again, I leave that to peoples own opinions.

Hopefully this is the end of it.


(This post was edited by flyingdodo on Feb 25, 2006, 6:52 AM)


Premier NWFlyer  (D 29960)

Feb 25, 2006, 9:22 AM
Post #12 of 65 (2650 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

There's two sides to every story.... and then there's the truth.Unimpressed


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Feb 25, 2006, 10:08 AM
Post #13 of 65 (2636 views)
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Re: [flyingdodo] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Since the issue is just a few hundred dollars and it seems your dz can afford the loss, wouldn't it be easier just to refund him the money and send him on his way? After all this, it doesn't sound like he wants to jump at your dz any more than you would want to have him back.


Elisha  (D 31656)

Feb 25, 2006, 11:27 AM
Post #14 of 65 (2604 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Re: Oxygen

People make jumps EVERYDAY from 15K WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN. As a student, your concerns about oxygen are irrrelevant.


kelpdiver  (B 7)

Feb 25, 2006, 6:26 PM
Post #15 of 65 (2496 views)
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Re: [Elisha] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
People make jumps EVERYDAY from 15K WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN. As a student, your concerns about oxygen are irrrelevant.

Some people are more vunerable to hypoxic conditions than others. It's not irrelevent, just unlikely.

In the greater picture, I think it just confirms my view that no one should prepay for the entire AFF sequence. I made the same mistake. For a small bonus, you've committed to 7 or 8 levels of jumps, and as we see, non refundable. It's esp bad if you've paid for 8 levels rather than 8 jumps (big part of my misunderstanding) - as is most common. I know of at least one exception, and perhaps there it's worthwhile.

All too often something happens, either the DZ's problem, or your own. They pay too much attention to the tandem side, or the instructor proves to be an ass, or merely has a teaching method incompatible with you. Or you decide the sport isn't for you, or you'd rather go to a monastery, or you're tired of a DZ that only has 3 hours of student jumpable weather per day.


flyingdodo  (C 102008)

Feb 25, 2006, 6:38 PM
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Re: [skymama] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Since the issue is just a few hundred dollars and it seems your dz can afford the loss, wouldn't it be easier just to refund him the money and send him on his way? After all this, it doesn't sound like he wants to jump at your dz any more than you would want to have him back.

You could apply the same principal to someone going into a bank with a gun I suppose... It's only a few hundred dollars, we've got millions.. Nah, let's not worry about it, let him have the money.. ;) But seriously..

We have a no refund policy for a very simple reason. It's not cost effective for us to do that in our current operating setup. We are very upfront about that, and do explain it very carefully, as has Danniel (Andreas' instructor) in another separate email to him last night.

I hope later this year we will have resident Instructors and be able to be more flexible.

Also, you have to consider that if we now do this for Anreas now that he has made everything so public we leave ourselves open to having to do it for everyone. We have made lot's of attempts behind the scenes to solve this for Andreas.

We have also offerred to transfer his course package to any of our partner Drop Zones in Europe or the US. As soon as we suggested that Andreas said he wanted it for a Drop Zone close to his home in Germany, and nowhere else.

Unfotunately we don't have a realtionship with a DZ in Germany close to his home, so would have to purchase the course for cash there.

There has to be a limit to what you have to do for a customer. It also seems increasingly clear that Andreas just wants the money back. I am not convinced he actually intends to jump again. I hope I am wrong.


(This post was edited by flyingdodo on Feb 25, 2006, 6:41 PM)


tomvailco  (Student)

Feb 25, 2006, 7:06 PM
Post #17 of 65 (2474 views)
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Re: [Elisha] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Re: Oxygen

People make jumps EVERYDAY from 15K WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN. As a student, your concerns about oxygen are irrrelevant.

Oxygen would do nothing. I live at that altitude!


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 25, 2006, 7:15 PM
Post #18 of 65 (2470 views)
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Re: [Elisha] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

 
His proof e-mail is forged. This is an part of the Skype chat conversation I had with him after he posted the article in this forum and before he added the forged e-mail (EDIT part in this forum).

Extreme Sports Cafe 09:23:09
Andres. I can offer no more. Sorry. Is there something else I can help you with?
Andreas Bauer: 09:23:20
Yes, correct the posting in the forum.
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:23:46
" you might refund me" Please listen Andres. NO REFUNDS!
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:23:59
The posting in the forum is correct. How more correct woudl you like it?
Andreas Bauer: 09:24:10
Just delete the lies
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:24:30
There are no lies and I resent the implication. Please calm down.
Andreas Bauer: 09:24:32
I never demanded oxygen above 10K
Andreas Bauer: 09:24:54
I am calm, thank you.
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:24:59
yes you did. On more than one occasion, and both by email and on the phone. Would you like me to post the email?
Andreas Bauer: 09:25:31
Yes, please. I did never demand it.
Andreas Bauer: 09:26:07
Don't dare to make up an e-mail
Extreme Sports Cafe09:26:11
Fine. I will post the email from you requesting Oxygen. But please do not bother me again today asking me to change it after I have.
Andreas Bauer: 09:26:44
I have never requested oxygen. I asked about it and listened to your advice.
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:26:59
"Don't dare to make up an e-mail" Why would I do that? Strange that you would think of that! And are you suggesting it's possible that people are postiing things that are not true, and can falsify email or chat records?
Extreme Sports Cafe 09:27:33
On that basis how can anything any of us says be taken seriously! Can you see how stupid this whole thing is Andreas!
Andreas Bauer: 09:28:09
Well Stephen, enough is enough. With this statement you showed your
face. Ok, mai pen rai. Goodbye.

After that he did exactly as he suggested and added the forged e-mail to his post.

I never demanded oxygen. Here is just about the only time I asked Stephen about it (via Skype) some days before while clearing up questions of myself about jumping AFF in Prachuap, see yourself:

Extreme Sports Cafe 07:59:13
Cool... How can I help...
Andreas Bauer: 07:59:56
I had a look at the website of the festival. Is it safe to jump as a student from a big airplane? They recommend 100 jumps experience.
Extreme Sports Cafe 08:00:49
Yes. The jumping you will be doing will be under instructor
supervision, and so we will maintain a safe distance between groups for you.. The 100 jump limit is advisory and for individuals turning up to jump for fun...
Andreas Bauer: 08:01:43
Ok the jumps will be below 14k ft or? no oxygen needed?
Extreme Sports Cafe 08:02:33
Jumps go from 16,000 feet or so... You actually should have oxygen onboard for any flight over 10,000 feet. But the time we are between 10,000 and 16,000 is short enough that it is not a concern...
Andreas Bauer: 08:03:17
ok
Extreme Sports Cafe 08:03:29
Also they do have emergency oxygen on board the Hercules.. Imagine a warehouse with wings and 100 skydivers standing inside it with big doors that open at one end of the warehouse... That's what its like being in a Herc.
Andreas Bauer: 08:03:49
about the dates, first possible ...
...

I didn't want to take this any further, but i felt this was necessary to do some justice to the truth.

Andreas


nate_1979  (B 27889)

Feb 25, 2006, 7:25 PM
Post #19 of 65 (2466 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

The first chat session proves nothing, and the second doesnt either.. Why would they lie about you wanting O2, it really adds nothing to the issue which you started this thread for..

A no refund policy is a no refund policy, you probably even signed something saying that you understood said policy, just like you signed forms saying that you know the sport can kill you... Sounds like they also explained pretty well how things work if you "take a break" or whatever, having to fill open slots when they are available during future class groups. Being there temporarily and buying a package was something you choose to do, mabey not all that wise. If they dont wanna give your money back and they have that policy, well, it looks like your shit outta luck. To expect a business to change their policy and then try to give them a black eye because they hold true to the policy is just stupid.

Hopefully this alone doesnt turn you away from the sport, however I cant find any fault with the operation from this thread.


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 25, 2006, 7:56 PM
Post #20 of 65 (2452 views)
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Re: [nate_1979] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Well, I think he lied to make me look like a neurotic / difficult whatsoever student. After all, this is all about publicity. Anyone can read this forum, and some probably will.

I hope the truth will turn out over the time. I will ask my instructors in Germany to make a statement after my training there.

Maybe Danniel Lee (my instructor) has the guts to make a statement here regarding the oxygen issue (he jumped with me 5 times from 10000ft and should know if I were neurotic about oxygen).

I know it adds nothing to the issue, and I'm sorry for your peace of mind, but no way I let him get through with that lie.

Andreas


OSOK  (A 48456)

Feb 25, 2006, 8:37 PM
Post #21 of 65 (2434 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I have no idea as to who is saying the truth and who isnt, but all I'm going to say is that this entire thread affects the mentioned DZ more than the jumper. IMO, if you guys really cared about business, you would've never let it get to this point and given him the money, even if breaking the policy, but in the end avoiding this publicity that no serious organization needs.

You guys should just take this to private messages... unless it's something that has to do with negligence then I don't think it needs to be posted here.


nate_1979  (B 27889)

Feb 25, 2006, 8:46 PM
Post #22 of 65 (2431 views)
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Re: [OSOK] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Well, I have no idea as to who is saying the truth and who isnt, but all I'm going to say is that this entire thread affects the mentioned DZ more than the jumper. IMO, if you guys really cared about business, you would've never let it get to this point and given him the money, even if breaking the policy, but in the end avoiding this publicity that no serious organization needs.

You guys should just take this to private messages... unless it's something that has to do with negligence then I don't think it needs to be posted here.

I personally dont think this thread is going to be damaging to the DZ at all.. They followed policy,someone is trying to get special treatment and they said no.. It's their right to do so. It's going to take more than this to tarnish their reputation.


voltage  (A 50649)

Feb 25, 2006, 9:05 PM
Post #23 of 65 (2427 views)
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Re: [nate_1979] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, Mr. Northcott is always trying to put it like i request special treatment.

I did jump in November, had for my own reason to take a break until December, and after that got no chance to finish it because of many problems (all not on my side). Contrary to what he stated I hasted to any posibility he even suggested in the manner I could (as to have beforehand cancel other things, but we are talking about less than 48 hours delay between first notice and my confirmation).

Well, I understand the no-refund policy. But is it legitimate in this case when they simply can't provide any jumping possibility for more than 10 weeks. If it is legitimate, is it good business practice?

I also was totally unaware of the exact implications of his policy, and no, I signed no paper stating it. He has it on his website in a quite hidden place. So I implicitly agreed to it by making the booking (by paying deposit). Before sale (booking) he knew of my timeframe and assured me, no problem.

Far from being clear. I was rock solid sure that I would be able to finish until February (4 month time!).

So I don't request special treatment, I requested a fair approach.

Andreas


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
Moderator
Feb 25, 2006, 10:21 PM
Post #24 of 65 (2404 views)
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Re: [voltage] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

> I will ask my instructors in Germany to make a statement after my training there.

To do what? To prove you're a nice guy? To slam this DZ?

It's starting to look more like a vendetta than like a request for a refund. Be aware that this stuff is all archived; consider whether you want what you write archived.


flyingdodo  (C 102008)

Feb 25, 2006, 11:05 PM
Post #25 of 65 (2395 views)
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Re: [billvon] Problem with dropzone / operator [In reply to] Can't Post

I do appreciate the comments from all of the posters here, and the advice given / observations made.

Danniel and I are still both trying to communicate with Andreas, despite threats of a vendetta against our Drop Zone.

I have asked that Andreas stop posting here (on this issue), and perhaps put an end to this by saying that we are talking to try and resolve this, and that this has perhaps got out of hand.

I have made that a condition of us having a talk simply because I think it is best for all that this unfortunate situation ends and should Andreas not be able to bring himself to compromise I don't want this issue to come back here and escalate further.

But once again, I am glad that this could be aired in a forum of our peers for unbiassed comment.

Kind regards,
Stephen.


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