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“Scammed by the "home boys"-California Cycles”
Review of California Cycles

California Cycles
Reviewed July 14, 2013

My family and I were vacationing in Panama City Beach, Florida the week of July 8-13, 2013. On July 11 we decided to rent two scooters from California Cycles. Their location was close to our condo and on the initial impression were reputable. I rented two scooters for my son and his friend to ride and after the standard paperwork, payment, and a $100 deposit for damages discussion was completed, a young man named Brian (turns out that he was the owner's son) completed a very short tutorial on the features and operation of the scooter. The tutorial and "inspection" took about 2 minutes and since there was no obvious existing damage the boys were off for the ride.
I returned later to rent a three wheeled "spider" type of scooter that are very popular there. As I was waiting and deciding what unit to rent an adult lady comes out of the shop ranting about never renting from this company. She said they had kept her deposit for "damages" she did not do. She called their business a scam and stormed off the premises. With that in mind, I proceeded to pay another $100 deposit for "damages" and rented the spider scooter. I made a point of going around it with the owner's son and we both identified existing scratches, "damage" etc. We had paid for overnight rentals on all three of the rentals and proceeded to enjoy them.
We ran the spider scooter out of fuel (they don't have fuel gauges) shortly after we got it because it wasn't full when we left with it, as it was represented to be. We filled it up with fuel and had no further incidents with any of the three rentals. We returned them overnight to their business and I was there before the rental time expired with the keys to all three and prepared to get the deposits back.
The owner's son immediately went to one of the scooters and "found" a scratch on the underside of the plastic cowl in front of the floorboards of the scooter my son rode. It was not the type of thing the casual observer would just walk up and instantly notice. I was suspect at the time because of how fast he went to the exact spot this "damage" was. At the time I could not help but feel like he had found this "damage" before on previous rentals of this scooter and that I was about to get scammed by the home boys on this transaction.
The owner's son took a very casual look a the spider and one of the scooters and judged them to be in good condition and said I would get the deposit on the spider back but that he would have to call the general manager (dad) about the "damage" to the other scooter.
After waiting a half hour or more, "dad" shows up, jumps out of his truck, camera in hand, and after a very brief consultation with the son goes out takes a photo (again I could not help but feel he had seen this "damage" before) of the "damage", and begins to fill out the paperwork for the charges for the "damage. "Dad" did a great job of ignoring me, chain smoking, and generally being indifferent about the "damage" issue, f only concerned only with getting his charges figured.
To this point in the incident he has not so much as said a word to me about anything, that after I spent $300 on scooter rentals from him. Finally he decides to talk to me to inform me I owe him $269 for damages. Simply put he is keeping the initial $100 deposit plus and additional charge of $169 for a total of $269.
Being 600 miles from home and in no position to do much about it since he had followed the local ordinance that required the photo of the damage, and an itemized list of "damages", I decided it was pointless to fight the issue there. It is very hard to beat the "home boys" in their house. It was obvious they were experienced in this scam and knew how to execute it to perfection. After returning home from vacation and checking them out on the web, it appears they do this scam a lot and have a new complaint posted on various websites on a weekly basis and have done so for years!
I will never rent from them again.

8  Thank Charles1961Princeton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 - 149 of 149 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2013

During our most recent trip to PCB, my husband and I decided to rent scooters to drive around the beach for the day. Since California Cycles (Thomas Drive location) was the nearest rental co. to our condo we went with them. Bad decision....From the moment we arrived at the business I felt like it was a bad decision just by the way the employees acted. First, I called the number on their sign and was quoted a price over the phone by a female employee. When we got to the shop there was 2 men. I asked about the scooters we were interested in and was quoted a more expensive price much different then over the phone. I explained to the man that I called earlier and spoke to a female and was told a different price. The man exclaimed there was no females that worked there, and then once I showed him the number I had called on my phone he said "well she must be a our other location, but I will honor that price." After haggling with us for 15 mins on time+cost=rental price(?) we finally got on our scooters and started riding. These poor scooters had been through the mill. The brakes SCREAMED horrendously on both scooters every time we had to stop, which led to many eyes glaring at us. I was most definitely embarrassed the entire time! When we took the scooters back I mentioned to the workers about the screeching brakes and how embarrassing it was but my statement was never recognized by either employee. Luckily, we got our deposits back and left. Once back at our condo I started figuring our costs and the guy still got over on us on the price of the rentals. These guys are shysters for sure and we won't EVER go back there. Fortunately, we rented form Classic Rentals after this and had a much better experience!

6  Thank Rwilkins_80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

scam!stay away from California cycles/classic cycle rental they will steal your money!!!if you do do not use credit card they will charge for damages you didn't do and keep your deposit!!!

7  Thank Jodie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

I rented a golf cart from this company - while we were on vacation in Panama City Beach Florida on 6/5 - my father and i paid $125 to have the golf cart from 8pm - 10am.

We were told that we could bring the golf cart back to their location that night and charge it - if we needed to.

Well we drove the golf cart for about 2.5 hours - we went around to shops and stuff, got ice cream - just messed around.

The golf cart was a huge piece of crap - the brakes barely worked - the steering was horrible - but my 2 young daughters loved it - and we had fun.

So at 11:15pm - I took my family back to our condo - and went out of my way to take the golf cart back down to California Cycles place of business - where they said I could charge it.

I plugged it in about 11:30 or so - and then left, my car was still parked by their location so it was no biggie - got back in my car and went back to the condo.

The golf cart sat at their location and charged from 11:30pm - 9:45am. I still had the key for the golf cart - so I had to go back the next morning.

I got to their location at exactly 9:45 - 15 minutes before I was to technically have the golf cart back.

I handed the kid behind the counter the key - he immediately walks out to the golf cart - puts the key in turns it - then says "the battery isn't fully charged".

I informed him that it had been sitting there for over 9 hours charging - and that there must be an issue with the battery.

He said he had to call his "boss" - which come to find out was his hillbilly dad named Mike.

As soon as Mike walked into the shop - he did not look at me or say hi - or how are you doing nothing like that - never mind I just gave his business $125. He immediately got behind the counter and starting filling out a receipt for "forfeiture of deposit" for not fully charging the battery.

He would not even look me in the eye - let alone explain that it had been charging for 9 hours. He first called me a liar - then changed his story to I must have not plugged it in correctly - because extension cords are so hard to use.

If I had to bet - I would bet the outlets they tell customers they can use to charge the golf carts are not even on.

It was clear at that point - that I was just getting ripped off for $100 and there wasn't much I could do about it.

Luckily we used our credit card and we were able to get our $$ back - that is why they heavily suggest you use cash - to the point I was wondering what they had against credit cards - but then it made sense - if you pay with CASH - they don't have to fight anyone to keep the $$.

This place is nothing more than a bunch of crooks - and scam artists.

There are plenty of other reputable places in Panama City Beach Florida where you can rent a golf cart or scooter - don't let these SCUM rip anymore tourists off!!!

9  Thank Ryan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 15, 2013

Went to Panama last weekend with family & friends. We wanted to rent mopeds, motor bike, etc and this was the first place we came across on Front Beach Road. Together we rented 2 scoot coupes, 1 moped and 1 motor bike. One of the workers (Brian) gave inconsistent instructions to our group. My cousin's motorbike would not stay crank, upon attempt to get another bike Brian told him he was supposed to hold the throttle back to keep it from cutting off. So we went about our merry way. Within 30 min (if that) one of the scoot coupes cut off & wouldn't start. We called the # on the car, Brian finally shows up & begins ranting and fussing about how they must have pushed "the button I told you not to push", which my friends explained those specific instructions were not given to them. The coupe got towed back and they were issued another one. We were given an extra 45 minutes for our trouble. All seemed well until, at the last minute after gassing up for the return. The throttle completely broke on the motor bike. After waiting on the tow truck yet again, we finally made it back to the shop to return the bikes. The extremely rude owner was saying that my cousin signed a contract and because he broke the bike he wouldn't get all of his deposit back ($300). My cousin attempted to explain that he tried to return the bike, because it wouldn't stay on and the worker instructed him to hold the throttle back. The owner then proceeds to CURSE at my cousin and storm out with his receipt, claiming that my cousin wasn't listening & he wasn't going to deal with it. After the owner left another worker interjected "was it a younger guy? Yeah, that's Brian...I wouldn't trust him".

All in all, my cousin had to pay from his deposit for following instructions from representatives from your company. If you say he can't be trusted, why the heck is he the one providing instructions to your patrons. How are we supposed to know this? Never is it acceptable to curse out your patrons, especially when they have not curse at you or call you out of your name!! Overall, it was not a great experience...and we also passed several other places on the other end of Front Beach road (going towards Hooters) with cheaper rates, half the deposit and better looking equipment!

WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS HERE AGAIN!

7  Thank MsTK228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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