Mr. Kamminga wanted to enjoy the Frisian waters with his wife for two weeks, and since he does not own a sailboat, he rented one from a rental company he found on the Internet. His choice fell on a Fellowship 27. The rental company’s website reported on the boats that although they were somewhat dated, they looked well cared for in the photos. Rent and deposit had to be paid in advance.
On arrival at the marina, however, it turned out that all kinds of parts of the rented boat were missing, such as the spray hood, cockpit planking and a tiller extension, all of which were pictured on the site. But Mr. and Mrs. Kamminga were really shocked when the cabin was opened. In the forecastle, where they had to sleep, water leaked through the deck hatch, the ventilator was lying loose on top and water entered via the cable grommet of the top light, so the cushions were soaking wet. In the toilet room the same thing happened, the drops of water were hanging on the wiring and because of the moisture the walls had an indeterminate color. There was a toilet, but no one was allowed to use it. In the dog cage the water also ran along the wall. Furthermore, there was a dirty mold on the kitchen wall and the gimballed stove was screwed to the countertop with a metal strip, which meant that below the necessary filth had collected. The engine was so dirty that the type could not even be determined and in the written instruction with the boat it was recommended to check the cooling water regularly while sailing, because the impellor could slip sometimes… Mr. Kamminga immediately picked up the phone and called the landlord to complain and to ask for a replacement boat. However, he received zero response. The landlord said that a little moisture was normal and that if “the next day when the sun would shine everything would look much friendlier”. Not surprisingly, there was no sun in the world that could make this drama rosier, and deeply disappointed and angry, the Kammingas decided to go right back home – the shortest vacation ever. In the following e-mail the landlord claimed that everything was fine, that there were only minor leaks. There would have been no danger of a short circuit. Of the rent and deposit paid, only the latter was returned.
How can you prevent such (on the one hand small, but on the other hand big) suffering?
The Internet is a powerful institution and just like hotels and restaurants, all kinds of businesses are reviewed by users. Use them to your advantage!
Check the rental company.
In this case it turned out that the rental company was not affiliated with, for example, the Dispute Commission for Water Recreation, nor was he a member of the HISWA or NJI. A membership of such a branch organization does not mean that the company by definition offers an impeccable product/service, but in the general conditions clear provisions have been made in case of complaints but also a dispute settlement. The Water Recreation Disputes Committee is located in The Hague. If an entrepreneur uses general terms and conditions which include the dispute resolution procedure, you can bring all sorts of subjects (not only this one) before this committee, such as a discussion with a broker about his services or how a ship’s carpenter has carried out his work. The dispute resolution procedure is particularly useful when the financial interest is relatively low, because the dispute can be submitted to an independent body in an accessible manner (and without the intervention of a lawyer) and a judgement can be obtained. You are not going to start a legal procedure for 750 or 1000 Euros, but your vacation is ruined and you want to have some satisfaction from that. For the member entrepreneur, the decision of the commission is binding in the form of a so-called binding opinion.
If such a situation arises, at least complain in writing / by mail to the landlord and make sure you can prove with pictures what a drama it was. Finally, if you are in a position to visit the port/ship earlier, do so above all, then you also know what you are getting into. Mr. Kamminga won’t have it happen again next time!
I would like to draw the reader’s attention to Waterkampioen 1 of 2013 in which I describe the liability/insurance issues when renting a pleasure craft.
More information or download old articles: https://www.anwb.nl/kampioen/algemeen/digitaal-archief