I bought two Groupon discount vouchers, one for me and my wife, and one as a gift for friends so we could all go together on this airboat ride. When I tried to book a day and time the man on the phone said I was not observing the rules and could only use one Groupon voucher per day. I pointed out that I was using one voucher and my friend was using one and I couldn’t understand his problem because he would get paid by Groupon whenever they were used and he then said he only got paid about half the value of the voucher and it wasn’t worth his time.
He told me to phone Groupon and get a refund and then he would let me go with my friend for the same price as long as I paid cash. When I said that it was against Groupon rules he said that if I continued “using that tone of voice” he would hang up on me! He said he would honor both vouchers but not together so we would have to go on separate rides!
I booked my friend on the 11am ride and phoned Groupon for a refund and they confirmed that what he was proposing was against the rules and refused. I then got my wife to phone the man and try to book for the 11am ride which he said he would do until she said it was a Groupon voucher and he obviously realised it was for me and suddenly changed his mind and said we’d have to go on the next one at 1pm. This guy is completely barking mad and quite vindictive as well.
On the day of the ride we took our friends to the meeting point at 10.15am as requested. This was outside a liquor store on US192 and all seemed a bit odd. The boat driver, calling himself Captain Joe, turned up about 15 minutes later in a pickup truck pulling a small airboat which would seat about 8-10 people.
My friend asked Joe if there was room for 2 more as his friends (me and my wife) wanted to go, He said yes until my friend said it would be paid for by a Groupon voucher at which point he said no because we would be a “group” and we would have to go on the next ride at 1pm. How any sane person can make sense of that I do not know. Clearly it was more vindictiveness because I had challenged him on the phone about Groupon rules.
Another car then turned up with 4 people who checked in with Joe and paid with 2 Groupon vouchers. My friend then challenged him as to why he was letting them travel as a “group” and he said that he wasn’t prepared to discuss it with him.
We were then told to follow his pickup in our cars. We had no idea where we were going but clearly it wasn’t Lake Toho because 35 miles and 55 minutes later at 11.40am we arrived at Lake Jackson where the ride was to take place. The journey was over a number of back roads and when the ride was over we had trouble finding our way home because no instructions were provided.
My wife and I waited in our car while our friends went on the airboat ride, 45 minutes late at 11.45am, despite the fact that there were spare seats on the boat which we could have sat on!
The ride finished 50 minutes later (despite being advertised as an hour ride) presumably because he was running late. We then drove home having driven a total of 70 miles more than we expected running low on gas and unable to find a gas station on the back roads. The whole unpleasant experience door to door from our house took 4 hours.
I have a vacation home in Florida and have personally been on many airboat rides and in all cases we arrived at the boat to start the ride and were not asked to follow a pickup truck without any idea where we were going. We also recommend various activities to our guests and this will not be one of them.
These people are clearly very unprofessional and my advice is to stay well clear of them.
Postscript… I subsequently reported this incident to Groupon who refunded my money without question.
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