I first contacted Ben by email through his website on Dec 4 2012 to organise a birthday surprise for my husband for Jan 7 2013. I wanted to take a helicopter flight over the Marlborough Sounds and stop for lunch somewhere.
I got a reply by email on Dec 5 giving me his basic per hour prices for helicopter rental, but this was the last prompt reply I received. I spoke with him by phone a few days later and came to an arrangement (I thought!), but never got an email to confirm the booking.
I rang his number and left a message on an answerphone; when he got back to me he said he'd been at a funeral. The next time I rang I got someone else who took a detailed message and said that Ben would get back to me. Ben next said (over the phone) that actually he had quite a bit of work booked at that time (7 Jan) and between this and the weather (usually excellent at this time of year) he couldn't promise this day, but said it would "be around" this time.
Before Dec 20 I emailed him a list of acceptable days (around my work roster) but never heard anything further. I emailed him again on Dec 31 and when he finally replied on Jan 3 it was to say "Unfortunately at this stage we are full right through to mid February however if something comes available sooner I will definitely let you know."
I immediately contacted a competitor of his and arranged a lovely day for the 7th of Jan. When asked who had let me down the astonished comment was "but he hasn't even got any helicopters!"
What sort of a person acts this way? I have no idea if Ben Barnett has any helicopters or not, but I do know that he advertises a service that says he does; he just doesn't provide any service at all. If he had been honest at the outset with me, you would not be reading this now and I would not be telling everyone: do not use WIND HAWK HELICOPTERS.