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Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

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SirDagworth
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Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby SirDagworth » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi all
I came to create this post due to very bad experiences so far with two major kite schools. I want to recount what happened, what I was looking for, with the goals to ultimately get some feedback from more experienced people in here.

To make it short.

I was given a try-out lesson, so if I liked it I can pay up front after for a package of private instruction. Arranged was that I can get this done weather permitting on a daily basis. I was guaranteed the winds were good, they were good, daily 12-19 kts. Try-out lesson was perfect, I pay up-front. After that I was suddenly paired with three additional other people (but paid private). Asked instructor why, he got angry at me. I was literally standing for two hours waiting while he was parallel teaching experienced guys to do tricks in the water (transitions I believe, they knew how to ride already)...He rushed me through some exercises, dusted off again, and at the end I was charged approx. 3.5 hours of training for a total of 20 mins he spent with me....I confronted him friendly afterwards, he then gave some excuse. Next day he said he had an emergency and was absent for two weeks. I still went to the beach just to relax and have fun, what did I see? Him giving instruction to group after group. Out of respect not wanting to disturb the other groups, I stayed out, thought it was a one-day thing. Next day the same, the day after as well. I confronted him via the phone, he cooked up a story, promised me class next day, gave me a time. On wind-finder I saw the wind prediction were bad, went to the beach no winds, no instructor, he did not show up, did not answer phone, did read my whatsapp, did not reply. I then stayed to relax, went to take a bath. Winds came in about 2 hours later, I went back, on way back saw him arrive with his van with 8 students. He saw me pass, I was just too depressed to say anything and too mad, he then said "where the hell are you going? Go help carry equipment to the beach", yes, his exact words....Me not wanting to create a scene, I helped, in hopes of perhaps still having a chance, he then told me "I gota take care of these guys first, they leave tomorrow, in two hours we can go". I waited 2 hours, he came back shaking his head saying he had an emergency, and had to go back home....So far, I have 6.5 hours left, he never contacted me again, I contacted him and he totally ignores me, I went to the beach to ask him about a refund, he got aggressive and said I walked off and never contacted him again (all lies), so he owes me nothing...Not wanting to deal with a thief anymore and rather accepting the fact the money is gone, I decided to let it all go, went to the next kite school.

Owner, what appeared to be a nice lady told me all how unprofessional etc that person is, what a bad name he had. Gave me hope. Try-out lesson here flawless. I was so hyped and happy. Full downpayment again made (required). After that I was ignored and told basically via whatsapp "we are fully booked today". When I asked when they think I have a chance to go, no answers. Not wanting to be intrusive I let it go, but after one week and also seeing them on daily basis with whole groups there, I contacted owner again, she said exactly with these words "Man, you people from that country are all so annoying, you need to learn to relax"... But I inquired why I was guaranteed I can go on a daily basis and then nobody ever contacted me again, same story, she got mad. Two weeks passed, I got a message I could go. I went, arrived, instructors were all teaching 4-people groups, all of them. I asked head-instructor what to do, he said "oh, sorry, we are fully booked today, I made a mistake"...Ok fine, I asked him if he could call me later on or tomorrow, he told me he would. Of course he did not. I contacted owner after approx. 10 days again, she got angry and yelled at me on the phone and told me to just take my money back that the instructors did not want to teach me anymore because I am: Annoying, bad waves, and that she is sick of people of my particular country (do not want to mention it here for privacy reasons). I went there, even told her I wanted to part in good ways and thanked that she gave me the money back I was owed, she immediately insulted me again, said "I have so many good reviews on tripadvisor, only you were the first to complain. So annoying, nobody likes you"...

I am at this point shocked and do not know what to do anymore.... Is it better to just sign myself up with the next licensed IKO school in a group? A total of 2.5 months passed, had about 5 hrs lesson in total.... Am very depressed. Was so happy to learn this amazing sport.

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Toby
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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby Toby » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:17 pm

Very sorry to read this.
Sounds crazy that people offering a service behave like this. Twice.

There are always two sides of a story...so hard to judge. But of course, from your point of view they sound completely crazy.

Next time tell the school or instructor you only pay day by day, not the whole course anymore, due to bad experience. Tell them what happened and if they want you as a customer, that's the only way.

But do not give up the sport because of some stupid people...the sport is too amazing.

Would be good to know where you plan to take lessons the next time,a nd people on here can point you to good instructors or schools.

Keep us informed how it went!!!

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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby Jelle_vw » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:33 pm

What a story. I feel sorry for you. Maybe go to a different beach, less touristic and ask locals what they think is a good school. Or find one that is connected to a shop with a good rep. And what Toby said. No downpayment.

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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby jonysan » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi ,
As Toby said, there are always two sides to a story, but from reading your story, and the way you have put your case, you seem a pretty reasonable guy.

So, I notice your local beach is Guincho, are your Portugese ? If by any chance you want to come to England, I can put you in touch with three or four very good, and professional schools, September October have good winds, and the water is still warm from the summer.

Whatever you choose, don't give in, it's a fantastic sport, with really nice people, best of luck.

John

SirDagworth
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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby SirDagworth » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:42 pm

Yes, two sides of the story is true, but I never had in any sport or activity this type of behavior. In fact, 7 years ago I was in Cumbuco Brazil (staid at Pousada Furaifun with a great/chill Spaniard back then that ran it, no idea if he is still there), and I hit my foot on the third day on a sharp rock outside of water (not-kiting related) and broke my toe, but there no issues at all, it went all flawless, awesome experience! I am also an advanced open water diver and sky-diver, I really never, ever had any negative experiences with instructors in any other activity. I am thinking of just calling it the quits here and when I have time again I go back to Cumbuco in January.

SirDagworth
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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby SirDagworth » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:46 pm

jonysan wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:38 pm
Hi ,
As Toby said, there are always two sides to a story, but from reading your story, and the way you have put your case, you seem a pretty reasonable guy.

So, I notice your local beach is Guincho, are your Portugese ? If by any chance you want to come to England, I can put you in touch with three or four very good, and professional schools, September October have good winds, and the water is still warm from the summer.

Whatever you choose, don't give in, it's a fantastic sport, with really nice people, best of luck.

John
Thanks John! I am really considering continuing elsewhere and do it extensively to be best prepared for guincho :) Yes, i am Portuguese/Brazilian. I have this bookmarked, and might contact you indeed soon. From diving I have several wetsuits as well, so I could even do it in the winter :) Cheers !

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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby whabbits » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:56 pm

Welcome to this fun sport and community, sorry to hear that it's off to a rocky start.
As others have said, two sides to every story but you seem pretty reasonable.

You should be able to call your credit card company and start a chargeback saying that they have failed to deliver the promised services in the agreed upon time frame.

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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby jeromeL » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:04 pm

From your story if you paid for private lesson, it was definitely wrong to team you up.

Pay day by day, most school would actually give you a discount if you end up doing over some number of hours anyway.

It can be pretty frustrating to learn, and lessons cost can add up when you don't have the right conditions. So I understand that some people can have very bad experiences...

Not saying that's your case but I have seen people with unrealistic expectations also gets pissed off at some schools

When you hear or read bad reviews about school it's always the same stories:
- guaranteed wind
- be able to learn in X hours
- lessons not private
- jetski but still walked back upwind
- instructor just watch me do my thing on water without actively instructing.
- cancel appointment due to bad wind even though I can see tree swaying, and took off from work for nothing.

I guess my advise would be to try out a new school again, maybe watch a bunch of videos of kite lessons to get a clear idea of what lessons look like to set your expectations right. Then discuss with school about how lessons are set up and such so they are no misunderstanding. It might help to book lessons on days were conditions are perfect for learning. I don't think instructors are there to rip you off but I have heard some get pissed off pretty quickly with people with unrealistic expectations and usually avoid teaching them.

When they say 3 hours, the actual time flying kite is often a lot less, and will feel like a lot less especially in bad conditions where you spend most of your time relaunching kite and walking back upwind....

Also except for 1st lesson where instructor will be next to you most of the time, usually you body drag by yourself and you are pretty much alone 90% of time with minimal advise from instructor, unless they have radio, jetski, or boat support ...

Anyway, clearly those schools weren't professional, shouldn't have blown you off like that whatever the reasons...

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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby windrider1 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:52 pm

Interesting story. It would be good if u can be more specific as to the location and beach those schools teach on so others can take note . As with most businesses its mostly about profit. Dont make the same mistake again i suggest u ask around before u choose another school . I never understood this whole pay for a lesson package upfront thing but i think its designed to screw the customer as most instructors know most people will not stick aroud to complete the lessons to become a decent kiteboarder and end up keeping your balance of money or blow u off with endless excuses if thyre overbooked.

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Toby
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Re: Very bad experience with Kiteschools so far (advice needed)

Postby Toby » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:51 pm

Once they have the money they don't give it back...not exactly sure what kinds are around, but also heard that if you have X hours of your course fulfilled you don't get a refund if wind is bad...good schools give you a voucher for the missing hours, bad schools nothing, the best schools give you a refund.

What are you guys experiences with that? Would be interesting to know.

Brasiileiro! Que legal! Go back to Brazil for learning! July Til January it's kite paradise in Ceara!!!


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