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My LDS Experience


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Posted by Empty V on July 07, 2006 at 14:32:08:

My LDS Experience

Here’s where it all started.

In January, I started my open water certification with Channel Islands Scuba in Thousand Oaks, CA. To start off, both of our pool dives were held in a 4ft pool which from what I ascertain is a PADI violation. Not to mention the guilt trip that the owner/instructor laid on his students by repeatedly telling us that he doesn’t make any money off of the instruction, and only makes money from selling gear. That maybe so, but guilt should never be used as a device to make a sale.

The weekend following our pool sessions (more like wading pool sessions), we were set to go for our beach and boat dives. I had to postpone for a month due to an ear problem. I phoned Channel Islands Scuba and told them to count me in for the following month’s beach and boat sessions. I called the week before the scheduled dives and everything was set. A few days before the dives, I called again to get the info for both dive sessions and found out that my spot on the boat had been given away to another student, postponing my certification for yet another month! To my surprise this happened a second time, but this time I wouldn’t be able to complete it for 2 months, pushing my certification to May. From start to finish my certification would take 5 months!!! Being enthusiastic about becoming a diver, I decided to go with another shop to finish my certification.

Thursday the 22nd of June, after long educational discussions with my friends on Scubaboard, I decided to spring for an X-S Scuba HP130 Tank. I decided to give Channel Islands Scuba one more chance to win my business. I figured that they are my LDS, why not support the local guy/gal? So… I ordered my tank. I received the call yesterday (Monday) that it had arrived. At this time they told me that I would need to pay for a visual inspection costing $10 on this BRAND NEW TANK which actually had a sticker on it that said it had been inspected by the manufacturer. They would not fill the tank without this. Plus, they wanted to charge me $6.50 for the fill. Being new to all of this and eager to get the tank, I agreed to the charges and picked up my new purchase. Once in the shop, I again asked them to waive the $6.50 for the fill. They stated to me that the compressor parts are not cheap. I pursued this a little longer, but they still refused.

It was when I got home that I discovered the manufacturer’s sticker that states that it had received a visual inspection the day it was manufactured. I called the shop to point this out and they said that it was still mandatory to perform a vis and no boat or shop would fill my tank without it. I proceeded to explain to the assistant instructor/salesperson to that I had just spent over $400 at their store and that at the very least, they should be offering me a free fill if not a fill card. He explained to me why I did not deserve a free fill. I was told that because I bought the majority of my gear online and from other resellers, that I was not worthy of a free air fill. I stated again that I just spent $400 at his shop and his rebuttal was that there were individuals who had spent $3,000 there. This went back and forth for a few minutes.

I told him that I would be returning the tank the following day, today, and wanted a full refund for the tank, vis and $6.50 fill. He agreed, very quickly with no hesitation.

As I was on my way to the shop I called a rep from X-S Scuba to report the difficulties I was having. The individual at X-S Scuba reassured me that I was not in the wrong for feeling ripped off. Another great person on this board helped me beforehand to stand up for my right as a consumer and a diver, my deepest gratitude.

I went to the shop today (Tuesday) to return the tank and received a check for the full amount. Another person at the shop who I had not discussed this matter with, issued the refund. The owner is out of town so I could not deal with him directly, or even indirectly. As the transaction was taking place, the salesperson continued along the same line, explaining to me that because I did not buy all of my gear there (I did spend about $400 before this incident), I did not deserve a free fill. I explained to him that I just spent $400 on a tank and he replied with the same as the other sales person. I told him that it was hard to believe that I didn’t deserve a decent level of customer service until I spent more money. He had nothing to say.

By the way, a few months before, the same assistant instructor asked what gear I bought. He told me that he knew of two people who had the same BCD (a Zeagle, which I really like) whose bladders had blown up on them and then he told me, “If you use that BC you will die.”

I would like to get the opinions of my fellow divers. What do you think about the experience I have had and has anyone had a similar experience with this shop?

Thank You



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