When I was in St. John on vacation last summer, my family and friends rented two boats from Ocean Runner. This is something we have done this for the past several years. During our last rental, we unfortunately did damage to the props on our return for the day. Luckily when we rented the boat in the morning, we had taken out insurance.
The employee who greeted us upon our arrival back in St. John saw the damage to the props and told us that we damaged the props which were valued at $250 a piece, a total of $500.
We were told to come back the next day to speak with the owner about the damage. He told us that we owed the full deductible of $2,500. He stated that we probably damaged the gears or the lower unit. When I asked him how he can charge me for something he believes is damaged, he said if he had to pull it out of the water to check it would end up costing us even more money.
I contacted him via the telephone in the beginning of November to find out if any work was ever done to the boat. When I asked him for the date, time and invoice to detail work done, he said he did the work himself. He said he would send me an invoice for the rebuilt engine. As of December 5 I have not yet received anything from him.
I have spoken with the Better Business Bureau. They instructed me to attempt to contact him asking for an invoice. I sent a certified letter to him and still have not heard from him. This leads me to believe that $2,000 worth of work was never completed on the boat.
I know that I am responsible for the $500 to replace the two props. I do not think I should be responsible for the $2,000, especially since he refuses to contact me through phone, letter or e-mail with information regarding any work done to the boat beyond the $500 to replace the props.
Renting a boat from Ocean Runner was always a highlight of our vacation. We always looked forward to a day of island hopping. This last experience will prevent me from renting a boat in the future. I enjoy visiting the island of St. John and do not want this experience to change my impression of the island. I feel my only option left is to contact the Better Business Bureau again, Consumer Affairs, local newspapers, the tourism boards, travel agencies, and medial outlets. I believe it is important that others are aware of situations like this when they are on vacation and can be vulnerable to business owners like this.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide me with regarding this matter. I have always loved the island of St. John and do not want this to leave a bitter memory for me and my family and friends. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you can help me further with my situation.