Terrible Experience for a Lee’s Ferry Kayaking Trip
I booked a Lee’s Ferry backhaul trip on the Colorado River for May 1, 2021 for six people, with rental of six single inflatable kayaks from Dig Paddlesports LLC. In an email that Bill Ennis, the owner of the company, provided with our trip details, he instructed our group to “meet at our shop at Quail Creek State Park before the end of the day, Friday” to pick up the kayaks and get a tutorial on how they work. Being respectful of the shop’s closing time at 7 pm that Friday, our group arrived at about 5:15 pm. When we pulled up to the Quail Creek State Park entrance booth, we told the attendant that we were just there to pick up some kayaks at Dig Paddlesports and immediately leave with them afterward. We explained that we were not there to utilize the state park, but they charged us a $20 entrance fee anyway. We were not informed by Dig Paddlesports that this was a fee that would be involved when picking up the kayaks for our trip. When we arrived at Dig Paddlesports, we informed the employee at the counter that we were there to pick up six single kayaks. He said that he only had four kayaks at that time, and that Bill was not there to give us our promised equipment tutorial. The employee said that Bill was out on another trip with one of our kayaks and that he would be back in about 20 minutes. We ended up waiting over an hour, until Bill finally arrived. After he arrived, he greeted us without any remorse or even acknowledgment of how long he had kept us waiting. He then dragged out a kayak from his truck that he had been driving that day and said that this was one of the kayaks we were going to be using. He said that he had borrowed it from a friend for our trip. As he was inspecting this kayak, he decided then that the bungee cord that was on the front was too worn for us to use. So, he ripped it off and said he would replace it before we load it up in our van. This kind of equipment inspection and maintenance should have been done far in advance of our arrival to pick up these kayaks, and this lack of preparation for our trip made us very uneasy about the safety and reliability of the equipment we were going to be using from Dig Paddlesports. One of the other kayaks that Bill had for our trip was another kayak that he borrowed from a friend. It was not a single kayak, as we were promised, and was a tandem inflatable kayak. It was very large, and we were concerned about how difficult it might be to maneuver with only one person in it. This kayak was also retrofitted by its owner with additional parts, other than what originally came on it from the manufacturer. He also mentioned that he had never actually seen or used this kayak on a body of water, but that he just trusted that it was in perfect operating condition. This also made us question the safety and reliability of the equipment. Also, the kayaks and associated equipment did not fit in our van as promised. At the time of booking, I informed Bill Ennis, the company owner, that we would only have a minivan to transport any equipment. I asked him if there would be enough room for six inflatable kayaks and associated equipment in a minivan, plus the six people going on the trip, and he said “yes”. He did not ask me how much cargo space was available in the minivan. When it was clear that the six inflatable kayaks were not going to fit in the minivan, Bill suggested that we take only four of the kayaks, and that he would then have a friend bring us two additional hard-shell kayaks to Lee’s Ferry. This did not seem like a good solution because he had already shown himself to be unreliable, and we would not have the opportunity to see the conditions of these kayaks before our trip and would not be able to get any tutorial on how to use the equipment before driving the 2.5 hours to Lee’s Ferry. Again, this was not the equipment that was promised to us during booking. In addition to feeling unprepared, our group was put in an uncomfortable position of being asked to lie about our whereabouts upon arriving back to the state park) When Bill was giving us instructions on when and how to return the kayaks, he mentioned that if we come through the entrance booth to the Quail Creek State Park, we should not tell the attendants or rangers that we had been on the lower Colorado River with the kayaks. He said that they would become upset because of possible Quagga Mussel contamination from the Colorado River. He suggested that we might tell the State Park that we had been in a couple of other bodies of water, other than the Colorado River, so that they wouldn’t “freak out” about invasive species. He also suggested that we could just stop the van at the road in back of his shop and return the kayaks from there, so as to avoid paying an additional $20 entrance fee to the State Park and to avoid questions from the booth attendants about our whereabouts. This made us very uncomfortable and was the main reason for our decision to cancel the trip on the spot. We did not want to lie to the State Park and did not want to be involved in any activities that could potentially be violating regulations. When we told Bill that we were canceling our trip with his company, he said that there was a $75 non-refundable fee for the boating guide that he had already paid. This is the only thing that he told us would be non-refundable and that he would give us full credit otherwise. We agreed to that. We originally paid $750 for this trip, so that would bring our refund to $675. However, when I asked for my refund via email, Bill refused to refund anything but the $20 we paid to the State Park upon our entrance. He said that the non-refundable portion was $75 per person, not $75 total, which was not specified at the time we canceled. The allotment of money that went to the boating guide in Lee’s Ferry vs. the amount Dig Paddlesports was receiving was also never specified to me. There was no stated refund policy at all, and I was never told that any portion of what I paid was non-refundable. It seems unreasonable to not issue a refund to us based on these circumstances, which were beyond our control. Dig Paddlesports was inconsiderate of our time, unprepared for our kayaking trip, and did not provide the promised equipment. We also did not want to lie about our whereabouts with the kayaks to Quail Creek State Park. We have explained extensively to Bill why we decided to cancel the trip, but he still refuses to give us a refund for what we paid for the trip. We are very disappointed in the customer service we received from this business.