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liveaboard.com Can I trust them?

Discussion in 'Liveaboards & Charter Boats' started by pilotaydin, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    I've got an Indo-Siren Raja Ampat trip for Dec. 2021 booked via another dive travel agency and I figure it's likely to get cancelled, at which point I'll have to reschedule with the Indo-Siren or another boat in their (Siren and Master) fleet. I was told I could rebook my trip between then (6-29-21 e-mail) and 2024. Should it come to that, I was told the reschedule is not price-protected. Since I booked during a sale at a 20% discount, so like you, the prospect of now being roped into paying a big uncharge (never mind if they raise the base price of the trip!) is like adding insult to injury.

    Also a potential concern...if the pent up demand extended cancellations brings means no Raja Ampat Indo-Siren trips (particularly in good times to go) in that time frame...then what? I wasn't aiming for any of the other destinations.

    I'm posting to suggest your problem may hinge more on Siren Fleet than Live-aboard.com, though your difficulties getting answers from them at times sounds concerning.
  2. Cert1967

    Cert1967 Let's Go Skiing ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Vail, Colorado
    The schedule page

    Indo Siren for a Raja Ampat - Sorong/Sorng? Looks thin to me. And more cancellations will occur.

    If you need specific date ranges you may not find space.

    IMO - The longer the operator pushes their client's rescheduled trip out the less likely the voucher will have value.

    Liveaboard dot com and other TAs - they likely pocketed their commission from your first payment.

    Of interest from their 10/24/2021 RA trip

    S/Y Indo Siren
    Raja Ampat (10 nights) (Waisai/Sorong)

    Arrival airport: Sorong (SOQ)
    Departure airport: Sorong (SOQ)
    Embarkation port: Waisai Island
    Disembarkation port: Sorong Harbour
    Transfers from Sorong Airport or local hotels to Waisai on embarkation day and from Sorong Harbour to Sorong Airport or local hotels on disembarkation day are included in the liveaboard price.
    Domestic flights to and from Sorong are NOT included.

    Please note: Transfers on embarkation day are included within the liveaboard price from the closest airport to the departure port of the liveaboard. Departure transfers are included on disembarkation day from the liveaboard to the airport closest to the port where the liveaboard disembarks.
    How are they going to get you to Waisai? On the Indo Siren? The 2 hours ferry from Sorong to Waisai? A hired boat?

    Looks like Waisai - the capital of the Raja Ampat Regency - have flexed their authority and want the cash and control of the LAB fleet?
    tridacna and drrich2 like this.
  3. maddog2

    maddog2 Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver, Canada
    I just received an email from Liveaboard.com According to them the problem is with the Siren Fleet:
    "the operator is not cooperative in honouring the original rate you have paid.
    Although I would like nothing more than just adjusting the new trip cost to what you have paid for the original one, I cannot do so until the operator agrees.

    I am still negociating on this with them and hopefully be able to have them honour the original trip cost of USD 3430."
    In the first reschedule to August 2021 the original price discount of 30% was apparently honoured as my Balance still showed $0.00 usd. But, in the next reschedule to August 2022 my Balance showed $1625.00 usd an increase of almost 50%. Liveaboard.com never mentioned a price increase, but I'm quite certain they were aware of it.

    I've asked whether they intend to honour the 85% refund stipulated in the last Booking Voucher.

    I just found this link from another disgruntled Liveaboard.com customer. But he finally received his refund from Paypal and then Liveaboard.com gave a flimsy excuse that the refund was in the works and that he should have been more patient. I'm not sure why I'm being treated differently?

    Refund excuse from LiveAbaord.com
    Paul Fennell gave LiveAboard.com 1 star. Check out the full review...

    "When a guest requests a refund, as the intermediary, we absolutely must contact the boat operator to cancel the booking and initiate the cancellation and refund process. At no point did we make excuses or deny you a refund. Our Customer support team has kept you informed of this very process and your refund was in progress."
    drrich2 likes this.
  4. Dom@DiveAdvice

    Dom@DiveAdvice Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: South of France
    "Liveaboard dot com and other TAs - they likely pocketed their commission from your first payment."

    The reality is that you can find all the deposit terms of every boat and fleet on their websites. TA's collect from their clients and pay those amounts directly to the boat and any commissions they may get come off the final payment. However, in return we take a heavy responsibility for being that broker. We advise clients, we protect their investment and we use our years of experience to help them make the best decisions and if necessary enforce the contracts with the boats we represent to them.

    We are also currently in this cycle of canceling and rescheduling trips as destinations do not open or restrictions apply that prevent our clients from making a trip. Good agents are not holding a trove of deposits to refund when something goes wrong, but any agent worth doing business with, will be there for their clients, have a real person to talk with who can actually take responsibility, have a full name and job title, and be easily accessible by mail, phone, skype, whatsapp, and even have a postal address and place of business where you can actually visit them if you choose. The growth of business on the internet has created several Walmart Style enterprises that may promise the world but when it comes to the crunch, who are they, where are they, what laws do they come under that offer the consumer protection, and perhaps most important, what expertise do they have in their profession.

    We had literally hundreds of clients and charters on our books when this pandemic hit and we have refunded a few but most preferred to reschedule (some now 2 or 3 times), but we have never asked for more money, even when they were booked in a 50% Sale.

    Refunds are now more difficult (not impossible) but you should not accept an increase in rates for the same trip and we would not ask you to do so.

    I would urge people to research who they do business with and if you are based in the US, that you work with a registered business that is covered by the laws of the state, as we are in California. In Europe we have slightly different laws but no less strict.

    Good agents cost no more, offer an incredible knowledge and experience, and your money is protected. The same way you would take on the services of a personal attorney, a general practitioner, or a mortgage broker, we too are professionals with years of experience and bound by laws, so why would one not.

    I am always happy to communicate with anyone having a problem but this is not a forum to discuss specific cases in open.

    Good luck. Dom

    Dominick Macan
    Dive Advice Travel
    Tel: +33 492 94 02 99 (France)
    SKYPE: adventuredom

    http://www.diveadvice.com/liveaboard-availability … for up-to-date liveaboard availability worldwide

    "In Partnership with Amazing Adventures Travel of Mill Valley, California"
    Scared Silly and Dan like this.
  5. Dom@DiveAdvice

    Dom@DiveAdvice Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: South of France
    FYI - as Waisai is the regional capital of Raja Ampat, I understand that the ruling authorities announced prior to the pandemic, that all liveaboards must register their guests at the beginning of the trip in Waisai. That now applies to all boat. There are domestic flights into Waisai and Sorong, so one can choose to fly into Waisai and out of Sorong, or one can fly in and of Sorong and the liveaboard will arrange to meet you, take you to a hotel for a few hours, then take you to the ferry that takes about 2.5 hours to get to Waisai, where you will be met and taken to the boat. If it is a small group, a private transfer can be arranged but I think the last quote I got for a party of six from Sorong to Waisai exceeded $600 one way, so the liveaboards tend to use the ferry. Of course many are unhappy but we anticipate this will apply to all boats when they reopen and really does not change other than you are closer to best diving when you eventually board your liveaboard. Its all an adventure so we need to roll with the regulations.

    With regard to schedules and availability for the INDO SIREN and all the Siren/Master Fleet, you will find a more accurate and easier availability on our website at Dive Advice Travel - Your Liveaboard Specialists - World's Finest Diving - Find available spaces, book a trip on a dive liveaboard | Dive Advice - it is live from the boats and there are various filters for destinations, date period and specific boats. We also have a secondary availability that does not come from the boat but is from our network of agents who have chartered certain dates and offer us access to book into them at Dive Advice Travel - Your Liveaboard Specialists - World's Finest Diving - Find available spaces, book a trip on a dive liveaboard | Dive Advice

    It offers a more accurate view than any others on the internet, and although we may not offer quite as many boats as some offer, we feel confident that those we do offer are the best and will be there when things reopen.
    drrich2, tridacna and Dan like this.
  6. maddog2

    maddog2 Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver, Canada
    ---An update on my dispute with Liveaboard.com (Sept 16, 2021)

    Liveaboard.com has given me a Non-expiring, Transferable, Voucher worth $3430 usd that can be used to cover any trip listed on the LiveAboard.com website. The voucher money is not coming from the IndoSiren Operator as I can book on any Liveaboard vessel listed on the Liveaboard.com website, so I assume it is from Liveaboard.com. In that case, I'm not sure why they don't just offer me a refund, unless they want to pocket the commission fees (twice). Regardless, of Liveaboard.com's reasons for not offering me a complete refund, I have decided to sell this Voucher.

    Liveaboard.com Voucher sale:
    I am unable to dive currently because of medical issues and would like to offer this voucher to anyone in the diving community at a 12.5% discount ie. $3000 usd.

    If anyone is interested in purchasing this Voucher please post a reply to this thread.
    drrich2 likes this.
  7. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    I bet they have a pre-negotiated rate with the boats that advertise on the site. It's probably far cheaper for them to offer you another trip than to refund you the money - especially since that money is long gone and IndoSiren probably got a large chunk of it. livaboard.com is based out of the Netherlands so you're stuck with whatever the laws in NL are for protection. If they were US based, they'd have been required to put your cash in escrow until you sailed and so you'd have been more likely to obtain a refund. Not sure about Canadian rules.
  8. Dom@DiveAdvice

    Dom@DiveAdvice Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: South of France
    Under European Law - as they are based in the Netherlands, Liveaboard.com are required to give you 100% refund of what you have paid them and Siren/Master Fleet will refund or credit them for the amount they have been paid. I have spoken with Siren Fleet and they have agreed to this so the agent has no excuse to refuse or delay a refund. We are all in challenging times but it is unfortunate that certain agencies do not respect the fact that if we do not take care of our clients, then everyone suffers and perhaps most important for the specific agency involved, they are unlikely to get any future business from that client or their friends. You should insist on 100% refund from Liveaboard.com and you have the legal right to receive it. Now how one would go about that for US residents I am not sure, but I am willing to communicate with anyone by email if they need input. dom@diveadvice.com
    Ministryofgiraffes and O-ring like this.
  9. maddog2

    maddog2 Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vancouver, Canada
    The Indo Siren seems to be selling my former twin share cabin for $4900 usd, instead of discounting the cabin by the amount that I've already paid (minus any commissions that was paid to Liveaboard.com). I was told that if the Indo Siren sold the cabin that I vacated, there was no guarantee that I would be offered a refund of any kind. I think that the next time I book a liveaboard dive trip I'll book with a US based firm as suggested by another poster.
  10. Dom@DiveAdvice

    Dom@DiveAdvice Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: South of France
    I would suggest you do not worry about what Indo Siren is doing - you might feel sympathy for them as a first class company that has already lost many millions in lost revenues, and as we are taught in our capitalist system, they are now following a fair and planned program to maximise their revenues in order that they will be there for those clients when everything does opens up. Bear in mind that Indo is still closed and may not open until the first quarter of 2022, nearly 2 years without any income is tough.
    I believe that as long as a company like Liveaboard.com is stable and follows the industry standards and legal rules that others in our industry have applied for 20+ years, that you have no reason to worry about getting 100% refund but you do need to insist and as it is law in Europe that they refund you in full, I would expect that to apply to anyone who books with them. You may want to look at what bank your money went to and in which country but if it is in EU, it should be safe as by law they should be covered by mandatory bankruptcy insurance if it really hit the fan. I agree you are safer to book it thru a US based company, which is why we put all our payments thru our US partner, but there is more to it than that as you need to do due diligence on who you book it with and ensure that they are covered by business law and the protection that offers you, and they know what they are talking about.

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