Report: #1341454

Complaint Review: Start Skydiving LLC. - Middletown Ohio

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  • Reported By: Michael — Dublin Ohio USA
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  • Start Skydiving LLC. 1711 Run Way Middletown, Ohio USA

Start Skydiving LLC. Company refuses to honor its own coupon Middletown Ohio

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Owner's Response

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 I placed an online order for three skydiving appointments for me and two others. I used the coupon code "Indy" for one person who is an Indiana resident, and "Edu" for the other two who are college student. The first coupon was supposed to remove $60 of the total price, and the second two would amount to $20 off. The grand total should have been $487. However, I was charged the full price of $567, as the coupon codes apparently did not work. After speaking with an owner, I was promised an $80 refund last week. A week after my refund was due, I called again and now have been refused a refund. The business claims that I failed to enter the coupon properly, although I clearly did and fully capable of doing so successfully. The owner has personally insulted me in a plethora of ways and is now attempting to scam me out of my own money. All I want is for the business to honor their own coupon and to do what is right.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/05/2016 09:20 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/start-skydiving-llc/middletown-ohio-45042/start-skydiving-llc-company-refuses-to-honor-its-own-coupon-middletown-ohio-1341454. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Owner's Response

AUTHOR: Start Skydiving - (USA)

POSTED: Thursday, December 08, 2016

Michael Washbush created a reservation through our website on Friday, November 25th, 2016 at 2:30 PM. Despite the poor weather forecast, this reservation was booked for 11 AM on the next day, Saturday, November 26th, 2016, which was the last available Saturday of the season. This is a risky decision for a customer who decides to choose our non-refundable prepay in full online discount option. However, had we been contacted, we would have recommended him to book his reservation on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 when the forecast looked much better. Nonetheless, sometimes the weather is better than the forecast predicts and we are able to jump, but we cannot control it.

This reservation was created less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled check-in time selected, despite multiple statements in various places on our website that state, "Any and all reservations must be made with notice given at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled reservation time." Regardless, we accepted his reservation because we strive to provide excellent customer service.

It is true that we offer special discount prices for our tandem skydives. However, these discounts may only be redeemed online when booking the reservation. They cannot and will not be applied onsite. We do not retroactively apply any discounts onsite by issuing a refund. This is stated very clearly on the tandem pricing page of our website under the discount section where it is explained how to redeem the discount code. You can find the verbiage below:

"To redeem this discounted price, you must click the "I have a coupon" button and enter the corresponding discount code, and then prepay the discounted price in full upfront when booking your reservation online for a tandem skydive through the reservations page of our website. This is the only way to receive this discounted price. The discounted price cannot and will not be issued or applied on site upon arrival. This offer may not be combined with any other discount."

The reason for this stipulation is so customers cannot take advantage of the offer after having already prepaid in full when booking their reservation online through our website. Let's say for example that a customer purchases a discounted service that is clearly non-refundable. Then the customer finds a better discount or coupon that they did not see or have when they originally purchased the already discounted service, possibly because the coupon or discount was not even available at the time of the original purchase. This customer cannot be allowed to apply this discount in exchange for a refund. It would not be fair to others that paid the less discounted price and did not know about or have access to such a discount.

Also, our records indicate that Mr. Washbush listed Dublin, Ohio near Columbus as his residency on his legal waiver. This means he is not an Indiana resident. This is the only eligibility requirement necessary to receive the Indiana resident special as is clearly stated under the same section of our website as the above: "In order to receive the Indiana resident discount, the jumper must be an Indiana resident and must currently reside in Indiana and present a legally valid Indiana state-issued photo ID or driver's license with name, address, and date of birth as proof of age, identity, and residency upon check-in on the date of his or her scheduled skydive. If this cannot be provided upon arrival, then this discount will no longer apply and any remaining price difference must be paid in full prior to being permitted to jump." This alone would mean he is not eligible to receive the discount.

Prior to paying for his reservation, Mr. Washbush says he entered the coupon code. It is possible that he simply typed in the discount code without actually ever clicking the "Apply Discount Code" button. Perhaps this was simply a mistake on his part for overlooking the "Apply Discount Code" button. If this occurred, then the discount would not have been applied and the standard price would have been displayed instead because the "Apply Discount Code" button must be clicked in order to apply any discount code at checkout. This is same result as if no discount code was entered at all. At this point, the customer should not have proceeded to pay the nonrefundable prepay in full discount price as he did if there was indeed an error. However, we have had over 1000 customers use our various discount codes this year without any issues. Regardless, he must not have confirmed that the discount had been applied prior to paying. But yet again, perhaps this was simply another mistake on his part for assuming that the discount had been applied.

All of our records indicate that Mr. Washbush never applied any discount codes when booking the reservation. Instead, our records show that he must have physically selected the $189 online prepay in full discount price for a weekend tandem reservation. Because when no other payment form is selected and no discount code is applied, the default payment option is our $25 deposit only price. So if he simply typed a coupon code without clicking the "Apply" button and then did not change the default payment option, he would have only paid $25 per tandem skydive when booking the reservation. Instead, he paid $189 per tandem, indicating he must have physically selected the $189 online prepay in full discount price for a weekend tandem reservation rather than keeping the default $25 deposit payment option. This online prepay in full discount price is completely nonrefundable as is stated very clearly in multiple places on our website:

"Any amount of payment made prior to the original scheduled reservation, including, but not limited to, any online payments, second tandem jumps, and gift cards, may never be refunded for any reason whatsoever, including, but not limited to, not being able to jump due to unsafe weather conditions. However, the amount that was prepaid in full will remain on the jumpers’ account until they use it or transfer it to another jumper."

Assuming that the code was entered correctly and did not function for the first time ever for whatever unknown reason and the customer did not agree to pay any other amount, then the customer should have contacted our main office which is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM. This includes when the reservation was created (2:30 PM). Had we been contacted prior to the customer's payment, we may have been able to further diagnose any issues that may have been occurring and assist Mr. Washbush.

However, instead of contacting us, Mr. Washbush intentionally chose to:

1. Select the $189 payment option over the default $25 deposit option

2. Agree to its nonrefundable nature by clicking the very first checkbox of the mandatory terms and conditions page prior to proceeding to the checkout and payment page

3. Prepay the total amount displayed on the screen prior to check-out in full when booking the reservation online through our website by physically entering his payment information and clicking the "Confirm Payment" button which submitted his payment to us in full

All three of these actions made by Mr. Washbush indicate that he physically selected the $189 payment option, then proceeded to agree with its nonrefundable nature, and then agreed that the amount displayed on the screen was indeed correct by submitting his payment information. What actually occurred is unknown to us. However, what is known is that he agreed that the amount displayed on his screen was correct by physically entering his payment information and clicking the "Confirm Payment" button. These are the known facts.

I was not present when Mr. Washbush arrived for his reservation on Saturday, November 26th, 2016, so I cannot say if he arrived on time for his scheduled reservation (we require this for all of our reservations) or if he had a valid Indiana ID, or whether he brought this up with anyone while onsite. Regardless, the weather was not permissible for skydiving legally or safely, so he was not able to jump. Since this was our last Saturday of the season, the option remained to return to jump on the next day, Sunday, November 26th, 2016 when the weather was forecast to be much better. He did not choose to take advantage of this option. As such, the amount paid will remain on his account until he is able to jump next season. There are no fees or additional costs involved with this. All he has to do is call our main office phone number next season and tell us he was unable to jump due to the weather and provide us with an available date and time so we can reschedule his reservation. This is our standard policy that is agreed to when the customer books a reservation.

The only correspondence that I have had with Mr. Washbush was on two separate phone calls. The first one was when he called our main office on Thursday, December 1st, 2016, at 4:58 PM just before our office closed for the day. He said someone said he would be refunded to get the larger discounted price. This goes against our policy that is agreed to when the reservation is booked online. I spent about ten minutes on the phone explaining the same information that I have explained here. When I asked for names, he could not provide any names of any employees that he says he spoke with, despite all of our main office personnel always wearing name tags when behind the front desk and introducing our names when we answer every phone call. The second phone call was made a few days later. After explaining everything that has been stated here and in our previous conversation, Mr. Washbush proceeded to become hostile by cursing us profanely and using vulgar and foul language that was offensive and aggressive.

Despite the profanity and hostile language used by Mr. Washbush over the phone, we still look forward to jumping with him next season. If he no longer wishes to jump with us, he may transfer the funds on his account to another jumper. This has always been one of our policies, which is also clearly stated on our website.

We have never once insulted Mr. Washbush as he falsely claims. In fact, he has also falsely claimed that we have been disrespectful to him because of his age. This is a flat out and complete lie that we find to be extremely insulting. We have no idea what he is even referring to with these statements. I have been the only person to correspond with Mr. Washbush since his original complaint was made and I do not even know his age. Nor do we even care how old he is as long as he is at least 18 years old, which permits him to legally skydive with us. Beyond this, we have zero interest in knowing our customers’ age. Our policies and procedures do not, and will not, ever change based on a customer's age. That would be highly unethical and, not to mention, very illegal.

We are not in business to scam people or rip people off. We do not lie and we do not deceive our customers. We operate our business with the highest integrity by being safe, honest, transparent, consistent, fair, ethical, respectful, and professional. While adhering strictly to these principles, we strive to make every customer as happy as possible by offering high-quality products and services at competitive prices in our continual effort to provide the best experience possible. We cannot, and will not, compromise any of these principles, even in the attempt to satisfy a customer.

We have our policies and procedures in place for a reason. That reason is to protect ourselves and our customers so we can continue to provide our customers with the best services at the best prices. We do not deviate from these policies and procedures which is why I find it very unlikely that any of these policies or procedures were not adhered to by our staff. If any policies or procedures were not followed by our staff, we certainly find it very concerning, but it still does not change our policies that are agreed to when booking the reservation.

We have thousands of satisfied customers do their first skydive with us every year. Unfortunately, however, we realistically know that we will never be able to truly achieve 100% customer satisfaction while adhering to our all of our principles. We are bound to have a customer complaint every now and then. Despite our best efforts, there will always be some people that will only be satisfied if they are made to feel special or accomplished by forcing a business to violate its own policies and make exceptions for the customer. Our consistency and adherence to our policies and procedures will occasionally upset a customer, especially if he made a mistake, overlooked something, or did not read what he was agreeing to when clicking a checkbox. We have found that these customers typically tend to be more upset with their own mistakes and expect us to rectify them by going against our policies that were agreed to when booking the reservation.

Nonetheless, these rare complaints should never be overlooked and must be taken very seriously. But if we go against our own policies, then where do we stop? What is to stop us from just giving refunds and discounts to every customer that makes a mistake or did not read what he was agreeing to? This is a slippery slope that we will not go down. When a business begins to make exceptions or go against its own policies, it can lead to unrealistic expectations and possibly even more dissatisfaction amongst customers later down the road when these expectations cannot be met. The best we can do is continue to consistently adhere to our principles and provide the best experience that we can for as many people as possible. This is how we have become the number one rated skydiving center in the world based on thousands of five star customer reviews.

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