• Report: #462971

Complaint Review: Freedom Boat Club

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  • Submitted: Fri, June 19, 2009
  • Updated: Thu, December 15, 2011

  • Reported By:Pensacola Florida
Freedom Boat Club
14050 Canal A Way Pensacola, Florida U.S.A.

Freedom Boat Club Perdido Key/Pensacola, FL Read the contract carefully. Reservation system is not what the salesman pitched. Pensacola Florida

*Consumer Suggestion: Great customer service makes money

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: This is the prior owner of the Club

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: New Franchisee

*Consumer Suggestion: Fair enough, Keith

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Make your own judgement

*Author of original report: Freedom Boat Club - Read the Contract Carefully

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I joined the club about a month ago, fell for the idea of the freedom of being able to use a boat whenever you wanted and not have to pay for maintenance and storage. I signed a contract that had different terms concerning the reservation system than what the salesman told me (my fault). Their reservation system gives you four reservations, with only two of them able to be used on Sat or Sun and a full w/e day reservation requires two of your reservations. Also, the reservation system will not let you make a reservation for both a Sat & Sun. So, better be good at predicting the weather, because you're only gonna get one shot at a w/e day.

As far as the boats go, the pictures you see in the office are from when these boats were new. Can you imagine if a rental car company kept the same cars for years? You think they'd get pretty nasty? If you're considering joining, make them pull the boats off of the racks inside the building. Do not settle for just looking at them from a distance. Who wants to take the family out cruising on a dumpy, dirty, even sticky boat? Again, if these guys had nice boats, it MIGHT make up for the horrible reservation system. And you'd think they would with a $5000 joiner fee times all the members they claim to have.

The $5000 joiner fee, is clearly written into the contract to be NON-REFUNDABLE. And I signed it. After one weeks worth of use, I was able to get them to refund $1500. I was happy to take the money and get out. $3500 for a weeks worth of boating seems a bit ridiculous, but you live and learn. And tell ALL your friends to look very closely before joining the Freedom Boat Club.

I almost forgot about the $2500 deductable members are responsible to pay for any damage they do to the boats. This means, the only real maintenance you get to avoid is.....oil changes?

Nofreedomboatclub
Pensacola, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/19/2009 11:29 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Freedom-Boat-Club/Pensacola-Florida-32507/Freedom-Boat-Club-Perdido-KeyPensacola-FL-Read-the-contract-carefully-Reservation-syst-462971. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 3Consumer 3Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Great customer service makes money

AUTHOR: thethomkat - ()

 I  live in the Pensacola area and am considering The Boat Club. Where I work Customer satisfaction is the key to success.

    The nothing to hide, honesty and open door is the best way to operate.

My recommendation is make the customer happy. Refund is never a bad policy unless salespersons get  commission,  which again is a bad policy. The  club idea is a great one. Just heard about it on a bill board. No sales person needed. The club cheaps itself by having a used car sales  mentality.  MY IDEAS.1

Place contract on line. Remember   honesty ,no hidden fees, no pressure and great  customer service 2  a 90 day full refund or percentage .if not 100 percent satisfied.( this puts pressure on the club operators to be the best. 3 have different levels.Silver Gold Platinum.  Platinum for rental any time both days on week ends. 

 I bet  I dont know this as a fact but this club is built on the model of time shares model of pressure sales .If it is No Thanks I wont boat

A deal a club worth being a part of stands on its own merit. I will check it out any sales pressure  I always walk away. Theres always a reason if its pressured and usually not to the customer favor.

Do the right thing always  return the money make the customer happy. Put the CONTRACT on line. Stop commission sales, Its a great idea and should " Float" on its own merit.Why keep any ones money.or force anyone to stay in a club if The Club is great they will want to belong.The gent could've stayed and  really damage a lot of equipment.  

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

This is the prior owner of the Club

AUTHOR: DanKettelson - ()

This was the response from the prior franchisee of the Pensacola Club.  Below is written by the owner from 2010 through today 8/14/2013

Freedom Boat Club is a franchise business.  There are 70 club locations nationwide.  Some franchisees are better than others.  The Pensacola franchisee liquidated his club and filed bankruptcy in early 2010.  The Freedom Boat Club from Orange Beach took over the Pensacola membership and placed brand new boats in service the day the prior owner closed his doors.  The oil spill caused a complete elimination of new member sales in 2010 still new 2011 boats were added the following year.  2011, 2012 and 2013 were record years with the additions of new boats every year.   The average boat age is less than 1.4 years old.  All boaters are happy to boat in clean 2012 model year boats.  We are not perfect but we strive to have clean boats ready for members anytime they want to boat.

There are many points that this gentleman makes that might have happened in 2009 with the previous owner but they are not in the current Freedom Boat Club model.  Some of these differences include.

  • The current club does not have a contract. 
  • Our $1,000,000 insurance policy is outstanding.  However if you do damage a boat and you are at fault your deductable is as little as $500.
  • You are welcome to reserve a boat both Saturday and Sunday or any day during the week.
  • Our state of the art reservation system is outstanding.  Our mobile app allows you to book a boat on your android or apple mobile device with ease.

It disappoints me that anyone is upset with Freedom Boat Club.  I can assure you that the Perdido Key and Gulf Breeze Club locations are second to none when it comes to boat clubs.  Freedom Boat Club is the worlds largest boat club with nearly 10,000 members and nearly 1000 boats nationwide.  We did not get that way by not being a great value to our membership. 

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#3 REBUTTAL Owner of company

New Franchisee

AUTHOR: DanKettelson - ()

Freedom Boat Club is a franchise business.  There are 70 club locations nationwide.  Some franchisees are better than others.  The Pensacola franchisee liquidated his club and filed bankruptcy in early 2010 just after this complaint was filed. The Freedom Boat Club from Orange Beach took over the Pensacola membership and placed brand new boats in service the day the prior owner closed his doors.  The oil spill caused a complete elimination of new member sales in 2010 still new 2011 boats were added the following year.  2011, 2012 and 2013 were record years with the additions of new boats every year.  The current average boat age is less than 1.4 years old.  All boaters are happy to boat in clean 2012 model year boats.  We are not perfect but we strive to have clean boats ready for members anytime they want to boat.

There are many points that this gentleman makes that might have happened in 2009 with the previous owner but they are not in the current Freedom Boat Club model.  Some of these differences include.

  • The current club does not have a contract. 
  • Our $1,000,000 insurance policy is outstanding.  However if you do damage a boat and you are at fault your deductable is as little as $500.
  • You are welcome to reserve a boat both Saturday and Sunday or any day during the week.
  • Our state of the art reservation system is outstanding.  Our mobile app allows you to book a boat on your android or apple mobile device with ease.

It disappoints me that anyone is upset with Freedom Boat Club.  I can assure you that the Perdido Key and Gulf Breeze Club locations are second to none when it comes to boat clubs.  Freedom Boat Club is the worlds largest boat club with nearly 10,000 members and nearly 1000 boats nationwide.  We got that way by providing a great value to our membership. 

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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Fair enough, Keith

AUTHOR: Doc - (United States of America)

You are the owner of the franchise and you obviously have a very displeased customer... why don't you do the right thing to disprove all of the negative allegations about FBC and tell everyone how you resolved this in a professional and ethical manner?  My bet is that you didn't.  He left and didn't use your boats... so he cost your company nothing, except future profits... which you count on... just like fitness clubs do.  Prove me wrong and how did you do the right thing?
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#5 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Make your own judgement

AUTHOR: Keith - (U.S.A.)

I own the Freedom Boat Club franchisee that this poster is referring to. Our program is an alternative to boat ownership. This member joined and knew full and well what and how the reservations system worked and still joined. Our rules and regulations (which he signed and received a copy of) have been developed over 20 years to make the club fair to ALL members. The rules and regulations are there to give every member equal access to our fleet of boats. We are a service business and pride ourselves in satisfying our members. What he does not say is that after a week of use he changed his mind and did not give FBC a fair shot at showing him the service we can offer. He instead came to us with a story about kids, wife and job that was a complete fabrication of the truth. FBC has almost 5000 members around the country, in over 50 clubs and most of them think it's the ONLY way to boat. I would suggest that if you want to evaluate us do it yourself and let us put you in contact with some of the current short term and long members. Many members ask us for something extra and we can mostly can give them that little extra that makes our program some really special. We know that our program is not for everyone, but can a handful of posts on a web site be a good indication of the service the membership receives. Probably not! I welcome you to find out and judge the program in person. When you compare the cost of boat ownership to Freedom Boat Club you will see that we are the best value for your boating dollar.

Keith
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#6 Author of original report

Freedom Boat Club - Read the Contract Carefully

AUTHOR: Nofreedomboatclub - (U.S.A.)

I joined the club after falling for the idea of the freedom of being able to use a boat whenever you wanted and not have to pay for maintenance and storage. I signed a contract that had different terms concerning the reservation system than what the salesman told me (my fault). Their reservation system gives you four reservations, with only two of them able to be used on Sat or Sun and a full w/e day reservation requires two of your reservations. Also, the reservation system will not let you make a reservation for both a Sat & Sun. So, better be good at predicting the weather, because you're only gonna get one shot at a w/e day. As far as the boats go, the pictures you see in the office are from when these boats were new. Can you imagine if a rental car company kept the same cars for years? You think they'd get pretty nasty? If you're considering joining, make them pull the boats off of the racks inside the building. Do not settle for just looking at them from a distance. Who wants to take the family out cruising on a dumpy, dirty, even sticky boat? Again, if these guys had nice boats, it MIGHT make up for what is in my opinion a horrible reservation system. And you'd think they would with a $5000 joiner fee times all the members they claim to have. The $5000 joiner fee, is clearly written into the contract to be NON-REFUNDABLE. And I signed it. After weeks worth of use, I was able to get a partial (very small) refund of my initial joiner fee. I was happy to take the money and get out. The steep price paid was a bit ridiculous, but you live and learn. And tell ALL your friends to look very closely before joining the Freedom Boat Club. I almost forgot about the $2500 deductable members are responsible to pay for any damage they do to the boats. This means, the only real maintenance you get to avoid is.....oil changes?
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