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Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

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Hawkinge, United...
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Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

Hi

Just a warning to those of you who might do as we did and charter a yacht for a sailing holiday from here. Don't charter with either yachtcharterfinder.com or their base here Media Ship Charter in Castellammare. They have no idea of customer service.

We chartered a Comet 50 for a week using yachtcharterfinder as the broker who arranged the yacht with Media Ship Charter in Castellamare. 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. 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.

We sailed for Ischia and that night in the harbour there was an explosion and the water heater blew up! 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 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.

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. 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.

Salerno, Italia
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1. Re: Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

Dear alliebdive,

I am so sorry to hear about what happened. Unfortunately, I've seen many local vendors mess up services with tourists on a smaller scale and always bristled at the thought of what would happen if tourists made bigger investments for more important services which would include chartering a yacht.

The garbage crisis is back again and indeed some communities are being hit. Out of curiosity, was the garbage right there in downtown Castellammare di Stabia or out further away from the Circumvesuviana and FS Train Station?

As for the port, I'm guessing that the yacht was docked in the new Castellammare di Stabia tourist port which opened last year. I think the Region of Campania and maybe the Castellammare di Stabia Comune/City Hall had put out a huge effort/sum of cash to publicize the fact that the town was ready to welcome tourists and new investments due to the town's strategic location (near Pompei, near Sorrento, good sunny location on the sea) and historical significance. However, as with many local projects aimed at promoting tourism, when certain locals have no clue as to how to deliver sound satisfactory services to tourists("let's hike up the prices and treat the tourists horribly"), tourists will react and won't take bad service lightly or silently.

Welcome back and thanks for posting your experiences which hopefully will see improvements/adjustments with Media Ship Charter in Castellamare and/or in the service of any local merchant reading this.

Bentornata....

Hawkinge, United...
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320 posts
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2. Re: Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

Hi There

No, the garbage was absolutely everywhere in huge piles. All along the seafront, in the square and in the road leading up to the Circumvesuviana railway station. It looked like it hadn't been collected in weeks. Obviously quite apart from the very unsightly mess it is a health hazard with rats and also it is attracting the packs of stray dogs that roam around there.

If the council are serious about wanting to attract tourists they've got to do something about this problem. My daughters referred to the place quite innocently but very accurately as "the ghetto" and certainly it bore a more than passing resemblence to photographs I have seen of immediately post war Naples.

Loved our stay in Sorrento, but the week sailing was very disappointing. It's a shame because it's a lovely area and ought to attract more sailors.

Allie

Salerno, Italia
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3,055 posts
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3. Re: Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

Dear alliebdrive,

Thanks for letting us know what garbage you saw in Castellammare di Stabia. I watch the nightly headlines on the garbage crisis and didn't realize that even downtown areas are being hit by piles of garbage.

Some locals recommend reporting the problem to the Castellammare di Stabia chapter of the Carabinieri. However, the officers usually don't speak English too well and when you're on vacation, it must be stressful to have to spend time in an office recounting a bad experience in a foreign country. I'm almost tempted to translate your post and send it to the comedic yet result-producing investigative tv show, "Le Iene."

http://www.iene.mediaset.it/

Again thanks for your post.

Bentornata...

4. Re: Don't Charter a Yacht with YachtCharterFinder and Media Ship

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