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“HORRIBLE Customer Service” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Water Tours

Dolphin Water Tours
282 Yacht Club Drive, Dock A-19, Saint Augustine, FL 32084
+1 800-630-0844
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Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: We offer the world famous Dolphin Safari and the BYOB Sunset Tour around the St Augustine bay area. Also private tours up to 40 passengers.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Jacksonville, FL
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“HORRIBLE Customer Service”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

Back in June I purchased a groupon. Prior to purchasing the groupon I called to inquire about whether a baby can go on the boat. We had 4 adults and a baby, so I was instructed to purchase the groupon for 4 and the baby was free. We went on the boat and were met by a very nice Capt. Laurie (I think). We left the dock and within about 15 minutes we were stuck on a sandbar. We remained stuck on the sandbar for over an hour! Capt. Laurie did her best to entertain everyone and keep everyone calm, she called the tow boat, and eventually got us off the sandbar. We spent over half the tour in one spot! She asked if we wanted to extend the tour, but some people had other plans, so we motored a little down the intercoastal, saw some dolphins and then headed back to the dock. She explained that our trip would be refunded or we could reschedule for another trip. Yes, the tour was not as expected, but it was nice that she tried to right her wrong and she was very polite about it all. I know they were a new business and I didn't want to ask for a refund, we would use it eventually! I received a call from Capt. Brooks, explained everything and he also said that we could schedule another trip.

I purchased the trip for my parents and thought I would wait for them to come back in town to schedule again. In the meantime, "Jax Water Tours" moved to St. Augustine. When my parents were scheduled to come back in town, I checked the availability and the trips were all booked. They then added another tour, "Night of Lights". I called the customer service number and is specifically said, "all information is on the website", and there was no ability to leave a message. The website is very poorly organized, prices, times, and descriptions are not readily available. I submitted an inquiry from the website to get more infomration and whether we can use our "credit" from the previouis trip. He replied back with "everything is on the website". Well, if everything was easily found on the website, I wouldn't be asking! The e-mails went back and forth a few times with very short and abrubt answers. It was agreed that I would pay $10 more per person to transfer the eco-tour to the night of lights tour. BUT, then there was another question about the baby. I called and inquired about the baby prior to purchasing the groupon and there were no problems on the initial tour. THEN, my mom purchased another groupon and there was another problem with the baby and it was confirmed that the baby is free, we just had to let him know she was there. NOW, Capt. Brooks is telling us that is incorrect and we need to pay $49 for the baby. The e-mails went back and forth with short rude answers and then he just decided to ignore me and not respond.

Capt. Brooks should NOT be the owner of a business. He does not have the customer service skills to effectively deal with issue's that inevitably come up. If he would have just politely answered that due to the confusion that he would split the difference and the baby would be half price, I would have probably agreed. But instead, he was argumentative. I have been in the customer service business myself for much of my life and no, I don't always believe that the customer is always right, BUT I do believe that you have to be polite, calm, understanding, and compromising. Capt. Brooks has none of those traits.

We have now have 2 bad experiences with Jax Water Tours. They may be the #1 jacksonville tour business, but it must be due to lack of other options. Looking at the reviews, it appears that the good reviews were months ago. Perhaps there has been some changes in their operations recently, because there are many negative reviews in the last month or two.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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416 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Manhattan Beach, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Poor communication and rude!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

My daughter saw the groupon, I thought it would be a fun time to get the family together when we got to Florida and go for a boat ride ride! My daughter has a new baby, so I inquired about the price of the baby. Capt. Brooks answered that there was no charge for the baby. I didn't think to ask any more questions than that. We arrived at the boat with our party of 4, plus a baby and Capt. Brooks then proceeded to explain that the maximum of the boat is already met and the baby counts as a person with the Coast Guard, so one person in the party cannot go. It was explained that although the baby is free, she counts as a person, so we had to let him know to ensure there was room. OK, so I am very reasonable and understandable that I would absolutely NOT want to risk fines or licenses, so I understand why someone had to stay at the dock, BUT it was just the "vibe" of the situation. I guess I thought by asking about the baby and the fact that we were buying a groupon for 4 people and the baby is free that that is enough to "inform" Capt. Brooks that there is a baby and make accommodations, but I guess not! Not only was there poor communication, but I am not sure how to explain it, there was "no heart" in his voice and it was obvious that he could care less about the fact that there was a confusion and one person had to stay behind. He took absolutely no blame in the mistake and was just arrogant and matter of fact. I thought perhaps it was just me, but after reading the reviews here, it is clear that I am not the only one that got this impression.

I am all for new businesses and especially "family" business and always wish them the best in a difficult economy, however it is hard to feel sorry for someone that comes across as a jerk! I absolutely would not recommend this trip at all!

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange Park, Florida
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“I hope the boat trip is better than the experience scheduling it !”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

Very poor start to our experience and haven't boarded the boat yet. We are able to manage our way brought life in the computer age but apparently not well enough to get through this system. We showed up at the dock according to the information on our reservation and waited along with 6 other potential passengers, 8 total, for a boat that never appeared. It doesn't seem likely that all 8 adults misunderstood the printed word on our reservations. After people from each waiting party left voice mails I was finally able to make contact with a person. After accusing all of us of failing to read emails effectively the company rep finally promised that "each of you will get a phone call to work through this". Five days later, after again leaving voice mails, we received a return call and though difficult, finally arranged to reschedule our trip. Following his experience I understand the other reviews I see posted on this page mentioning "poorly managed, poor customer service" and I will add "arrogance" to he list. I am very hopeful that I will be able to add a review following our trip that cites the wonderful experience folks have Los mentioned. I promise to offer an honest review of our total experience.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
106 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Poorly Managed and Horrible Customer Service - Don't waste your time or money!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012

I still can't believe how rude Captain Brooks was to us today. We wouldn't have purchased an ecotour Groupon in July had we known that this company did not have the capacity to accommodate its resulting influx of customers in a timely manner. At first we were simply frustrated that everytime we thought of going, the tours were already booked out a few weeks in advance. Finally we made a reservation with friends about a month in advance only to find out a few weeks later that Jax Water Tours had made an abrupt move to St. Augustine, nearly an hour farther than we had planned to go. I expressed my concern to Captain Brooks via email and instead of apologizing for the inconvenience, he essentially told me that I should have known and it was my problem (to be fair he did make a paltry offer for us to upgrade to a nighttime cruise which didn't help us with the distance issue at all). Nevertheless, he seemed to be open to a refund if we couldn't work things out because, as he said, he had a waiting list of others who could take our place. So, after talking things through with the rest of our party, we decided the distance was too far and requested a refund. Captain Brooks initially responded with a mistaken accusation that we were trying to cancel after our scheduled cruise. We clarified that our cruise was the next day and heard nothing until the next morning a few hours before our originally scheduled reservation when he wrote to say he couldn't fill our spots and consequently couldn't offer us a refund after all. We replied immediately that if that was the case, we would suck it up and make it work. As we left Jacksonville, we had a sinking feeling we might be calling his bluff, but hoped for the best. Sure enough, after driving an hour to meet him in St. Augustine, Captain Brooks stormed off the boat to tell us we "couldn't just go back and forth and back and forth" because he always gets walk ins at the last minute. This seemed ironic at best since Captain Brooks was the one who went back and forth by selling us a service in Jacksonville, moving it to St. Augustine, telling us we could get a refund, then taking that offer back because he supposedly couldn't fill our seats, and then filling our seats without bothering to let us know. So, we drove 10x the distance we had signed up for only to be denied a service we paid for and hollered at for trying to work things out. While I understand there are challenges to being a small business owner, I still expect common courtesy and integrity. In the end I feel like I dodged a bullet by avoiding an hour and a half on a boat with someone who acted so rude and unprofessionally - I look forward to getting that refund!

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlantic Beach, Florida, United States
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Terrible Customer Service”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

I bought a voucher for 2 through an online offer. My voucher number did not work on the Jax Water Tours website. I made several phone calls as well as online inquiries, but did not receive a call back from Jax Water Tours. I was unable to book a tour, but luckily I was able to get my money back from Jax Daily Deals. I would not recommend this tour to anyone as a result of the treatment I received.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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