We decided to rent a house on Lake Marion for a week and wanted to rent a pontoon for that week as well. We found Lakeside Marina & Resort online - they had a nice website and seemed reputable. We spoke to Blake Dunn on the phone and via e-mail many times when we were still home in Michigan, working out the details of our pontoon rental. Mr. Dunn expressed to us that he was concerned with stumps in certain areas of the lake, and explained that they did not want us to take the pontoon to certain mapped out sections of Lake Marion . If any damage was done, we would be responsible. All of that was clear, up front and understood. We explained to him our plan, describing that the rental home had a mooring ball and we intended to moor the boat there. He was fine with that, very accommodating, we settled on the price, size boat we wanted to rent, and we sent him a $425 deposit for a rental that would cost over $800. Everything seemed great and we were excited about our trip.
On the day that we arrived to South Carolina , we called Lakeside Marina to set up our pick-up time and were informed that the pontoon that we reserved was in the shop. We were told that we would be given a replacement pontoon. When we arrived, we met Jim Dunn for the first time. He brought us to the replacement pontoon, which had broken and missing seats. The seats that were usable were completely filthy and covered in mildew. When the subject of where we'd be keeping the boat came up, Jim Dunn informed us that it was unacceptable to moor the ball as Blake Dunn had agreed to. We would now have to pay an additional fee to keep the boat in a marina. We told them that we would agree to pay any damages incurred by mooring the ball, but he refused to yield. We explained to him that keeping it at a marina not only included additional cost to an already costly rental, but it also limited our ability to use the pontoon. What would have been a simple walk to the water from the rental home's door, would now include at least a 20 minute drive to and from the marina. We would not feel comfortable keeping our equipment on the boat if it were at the marina, so we'd have to also factor in loading and unloading the boat for every trip out. If that were the case, we would never have rented a boat for a week. We would have simply rented for a few days and saved ourselves a great deal of money. We tried to include Blake Dunn in the conversation but could never get Jim Dunn to bring him out or include him in the conversation. We felt very upset with the change in conditions and state of the replacement rental. We left the marina to visit the other marina in the area to see about keeping the pontoon there. But, when that didn't work out, we tried to figure something else out. After discovering our limited options, we decided to give up on the whole idea and we called Jim Dunn on the phone a few hours later. We informed him that we wanted to cancel our rental. He got angry and told us that we cost him the money of being able to rent the boat out to someone else and that he would not return our deposit. We again tried to include Blake Dunn in the conversation, since he had agreed to the original terms. But Jim Dunn refused to include him in on the conversation.
After returning to Michigan , we attempted to contact Blake Dunn several times. We dealt with him first, and we were confident that he would return our deposit, knowing what we had agreed to. We thought that perhaps Jim Dunn was difficult to deal with, but Blake Dunn would be more reasonable. Our e-mails went unanswered and he was always unavailable to take a phone call. We finally got angry and left him a somewhat nasty message. We finally received a response and were told that we waited too long to call and cancel the rental. Blake claimed that Jim had said that we called an entire day later to say we didn't want the boat. We tried to explain that we had called only a few hours later, AND WE HAVE THE PHONE RECORDS TO PROVE IT, but Blake stuck to his guns and refused to return the deposit. We decided to go to the Better Business Bureau. After filing our complaint, we were told by the BBB that Lakeside Marina refused to respond to them either.
We firmly believe that this was a bait and switch case where we were told one thing when we were on the phone, hundreds of miles away, with the option of finding other rental options only to have that changed completely when we arrived and had limited options. Our vacation was very disappointing thanks to these men and we were out $425. We would strongly suggest finding other accommodations when visiting Lake Marion . Dealing with these two is simply too costly.