Contributors to this thread:
First time paying for a Whitetail hunt. I'm looking for some input on the predicament that I have myself in. I narrowed things down to one particular outfitter for whitetails this fall(Illinois). He fit my style of hunting and was allowing some freedom in stand choices. I sent the complete payment in June, but should of just sent the deposit. My mistake. As August rolled around I was seeing that with my schedule would not allow me to be able to join them this fall. I asked if he would have some one who would want to take my place, I even said I would take $500 less on payment if I could get someone to take my spot and get some of my money back. I also asked if I could try to also fill my spot on my own. He said Go for it. I found some one to take my spot as long as I offered a discount. I had this person reach out to the outfitter so he could get all the details. Apparently when he contacted him the the outfitter said he filled my spot with someone else. I thought great now at least I could get some of my money back. No he filled my spot and said I couldn't get a refund until he fills all his spots as he is short on his lease payments. So now he has given up my spot so I have nothing to try and fill and I will also not see a refund. What should I do to try and get at least part of my investment back? He is not communicating with me anymore and the limited communication there is isn't friendly. I haven't signed a contract yet that I can remember. The only proof I have is a check for payment.
the way i see it...if he filled your spot...he owes you a full refund...or at least what he got for your spot. the fact that he is short on lease payments is none of your concern.
The only return you're going to get on this investment unfortunately is a lesson in vetting outfitters better up front.
Make sure you have proof that he admits that he has filled your spot. Communicate by email, recorded line (if legal in your state) and make sure you start building evidence. Non-confrontational emails to try to get him to verify that you've paid in full, that you've offered a replacement hunter (and that he has said the spot was filled) are all things you need to try to get documented in writing before things turn confrontational and he clams up. If you paid by credit card, you often have a couple of months to challenge a charge. Perhaps start that process if all else fails or it is getting to be a lengthy amount of time since you paid him (check with your credit card to see how long the challenge perioed is for them)?
Sound slike he filled another open slot,not yours, u less he did it at a discount. Suggest sending the person you found, even at full price and you eat the $500 discount between you and your friend
If you didn't sign a contract than I would doubt he can keep anything?
"If you didn't sign a contract than I would doubt he can keep anything?"...that's the key. What were the conditions of the original agreement in the event that you would have to cancel? Typically, you just lose a deposit, but that isn't always the case, and were required to cancel by a certain time ?
My first piece of advice to you is be very careful what you post on this open forum from now going forward
Brotsky may very well be right but then again maybe not
All a contract would be good for is court. That's not what you want. You just want a full or partial refund
The advice for keeping it all written or recorded if legal is great advice
What I would do now is send him a non confrontational email asking him if he in fact has room for the guy you found to fill your spot or is he completely booked. Request a for a prompt answer
Two questions. What was the price of the hunt and in what county?
One other thing. I'll bet this is not the first time he has done this
The Internet is a powerful tool. You may not get your money back. But social media can cost this guy a lot of money.
Does Illinois regulate their outfitters at all?Have you looked to see if they are in the Bowsite outfitter report?All the info you have if they have done before may help
From what you describe, I'm sure this isn't the first or last time that this outfitter has done this. Reputable outfitters always have contracts and sending money without one is not wise. I would recommend you have an attorney write him a letter in the hope that it would allow the outfitter a chance "to see the light" and refund your money but I'd say your chance of getting any money back is very slim. Good luck and I hope you do a bunch more research the next time around.
First if you have no contract did you have any correspondence in text or emails? If so you may have some recourse. You could always tell him things have changed and you’re going to show up for your hunt since it’s paid in full, but I would do this in writing this time.
If all fails you need to make everyone within the sound of your voice and keypad the situation. Let us know the outcome.
I ask this respectfully.
What could possibly change your schedule that much in August, that wasn't there in June, and you have to cancel 3 months in advance?
Just another example of why the outfitting business is not honorable.
There are plenty of good outfitters. As in any business, there are a few crooks.
there is no requirement that a filled cancelled spot entitles anyone to anything. I have seen many agreements where you lose the deposit regardless of if the outfitter fills or not.
Matt. Not Honorable? Really Like Missouri said there are bad people in all professions.
How about the building , construction business. I bet you know plenty.
The outfitting business was not for you. Stop acting like an alter boy that got abused by the outfitter priest.
Plenty of bad contractors. I see it every day.
Unfortunately I’m in Brostkys camp with this one…. Tough spot man..
“ The outfitting business was not for you. Stop acting like an alter boy that got abused by the outfitter priest.”
"Just another example of why the outfitting business is not honorable." Matt
Just an ignorant stupid statement
Echozarn that's a tough spot to be in. If he will not communicate with you look at what legal options you have
Really good chance you aren't getting your money back.
If the relationship isnt totally soured, maybe see if you can go next year. If it has soured too much or you feel the hunt would be no fun, getting a refund will likely be tough. You can't get blood from a stone.
You made mistakes but aren't in the wrong expecting a fair resolution.
I’m sure there’s a little more to the story…. Two sides and the truth…..
I have decided that I'm not going to waste anymore time on this. I'm going to learn from my mistake and be more cautious in the future. Who knows I may hear something from him and we can salvage something. Thanks again for all the tips and advise.
I would have told him that things have changed and you will be showing up as planned and then see what he says - you'll know if he's lying about having other positions filled.
For cripes sake make him famous if your version is the truth. Do a Bowsite outfitter report (tab at top of this page). There are quite a few Illinois deer hunting groups on Facebook - spread the word. It will surely make it back to him if he lives here - if he does other unscrupulous deeds you may help someone else out.
More like a Hunter dilemma
I sure hope you report him and not just lick your wounds and say nothing. People should know IF he is a shady outfitter!
You should honestly let your fellow bow hunters know who this is. Probably save many of them from going through what you went through. Laying down and playing dead is NOT the way to handle this
Assuming your story is the way you told it you're actually in the driver's seat now. If you've sent full payment you are owed a hunt, up until the point that you come to some other agreement. At this point you have not come to a different agreement.
Assuming your booked hunt time frame is in the future I would call/email him and tell him "GOOD NEWS" I can make it after all. At this point he will have to deal with you as he has now sold the spot to someone else and will have a problem. If he has no problem, then he hasn't sold the spot. If you are willing to just lose the money, you have no problem paying for the spot and not showing up.
Again, nothing against you, but this is with the assumption the story is as you say. If the agreement was you can sell the spot to someone, and you go to do it and he reneges that's plain wrong. But we only have one side of the story.
Saying you can go and him not flinching does not mean he didn’t sell it. He could have sold it AND will absorb you in camp as an incremental hunter if you show up.
We hear these stories every year. When I was a guide, I watched an outfitter from TX do this to a guy from NC. The NC hunter flew to KS, rented a Jeep Cherokee, a motel, and when he arrived, I was told to tell him he had to buy another hunt from a different outfitter if he wanted to hunt because his spot had been filled. The hunter from NC was so mad, he offered to pay me to come to TX to testify against the outfitter who ended up not paying me either. He got his day in court and won without me, and I removed the amount of deerstands and equipment that he owed me from the outfitter's ranch. His hunters found out I wasn't paid, and 5 of them came back to hunt with me the next two years. My impression of whitetail outfitting after that is that it is greed driven.
I agree with RK, nothing wrong with saying who the outfitter is.
It is stories like this, and the cost of hunting is getting more and more expensive, which makes me second guess guided hunting trips more and more.
I’d contact the state Attorney General’s office immediately.
Not sharing the name is irresponsible at this point. You want help from others but won’t help others from being taken advantage of. Ridiculous
Your best bet is to ask if you can reschedule. But he sounds very by the book so you might be out of luck.
Sad. I could have his money to him in two or three weeks
Everyone please read Thortons review several times and read it several times and then please explain it to.
RK- a guy that shoots people's dogs such as yourself would certainly have difficulty with reading comprehension.
"Everyone please read Thortons review several times and read it several times and then please explain it to."
makes sense to me.
1...thornton worked for an outfitter out of texas.
2...outfitter screwed a customer and expected thornton to tell the hunter that his spot was filled and to go find (and pay) another outfitter if he wanted to hunt after laying out money for all his travel expenses.
3...hunter was pissed and offered to pay thornton to travel to texas to testify in court against outfitter.
4...hunter won case without thornton.
5...outfitter ended up screwing thornton out of pay also.
6...thornton removed stands and equipment from outfitters land equal to the amount he was owed.
7...5 other hunters found out thornton wasnt paid by the outfitter and ended up working him instead of outfitter.
8...this experience left thornton with the feeling that the outfitting business is all driven by money.
I understand that Thornton posts his bad idea of outfitters on every single outfitter thread but it’s like he doesn’t realize that the outfitter business is no different than any other business. Profits are a huge part of all business because without them the business doesn’t exist in the future. As a consumer, I WANT companies I buy from to be profitable because otherwise they won’t be there to service me post-purchase. Do I want Pat to be profitable with Bowsite? Yes, because then it doesn’t disappear. The minute a business earns less than 5-10% profits it has become less profitable than the average index fund and certainly worse than most real estate investments and is therefore a bad investment for any business owner as his/her money is better off in the market or real estate with a smidgen of the responsibility, stress, risk and hassle of running a business. So unless you’ve never bought a thing in your life and are 100% self sufficient or you’re a total communist you rely on some business people earning a profit to make your life easy.
Do some businesses put money in front of morality? For sure, the same as people, because it’s a person driving the business. In todays day and age it could never be easier to support good, ethical businessmen and women so do your part in that realm and we can hear more good stories than bad.
Rant Over :)
Of course it's 'driven by money' - it's a business. That doesn't automatically make the outfitter a *good* businessman. If he doesn't start with enough capital to get his business up and running, and cover all expenses while building up his business (and reputation) then he'll fall behind on expenses and sink. Probably take down customers as he goes down.
From the OP >>> "...as he is short on his lease payments."
Unless I had a prior relationship with outfitter I wouldn’t send money unless I had a contract first
Reschedule your schedule and call him back and say as fate would have it your schedule opened back up like skin over an eye and you will be coming on the original date and bringing gear and cancelled check.
"Of course it's 'driven by money' - it's a business."
i always laugh when people say "its all about money"...as if we all dont expect to paid for the work we do...the products we make or sell... or the services that we provide. when that becomes a problem...were doomed.
To the OP - I think a fair way of handling it is that you let the outfitter know you do not feel this is ethical. However you sought the advice of hunters nationwide, on a very respectable and leading nationwide bowhunting forum to help you gain perspective so you were not unfairly misjudging him. I would then let him know that you have been implored to post his outfitting business name. However, because you recognize there are two sides to every event (really three, but that's another story)...you want him to have the chance to reply and provide his side of the story. I would then let him know you will be updating the post at 3:00 (or whenever) on Wednesday with his name so that he may post the first reply so that people do not misjudge him without hearing his side of the story. I think that is a very fair way of compelling him to tell his story or rectify the wrong.
Why is it every time I read one of Thornton’s posts it makes me think of the Shatterstar interview from Deadpool 2?
Fast forward to 1:00 (through 1:19).
I got a crash course in bad outfitters Apaul. I had procured 6,000 acres of prime whitetail ranch and farmland for a friend who wanted me to guide his hunters in KS. We did not have any clients at the time, so he allowed another outfitter from TX to temporarily pay for the lease with the agreement we would get it back. Turns out the outfitter from TX was simply a scammer. He didn't pay me, the ranch wives that cooked excellent meals for the hunters, nor did he pay the landowners in full. He pissed off one wealthy client, and the client simply bought the ranch and kicked him off. When I was married, I bought quite a few hunts myself from various other outfitters and I found most embellished, or flat out lied about the situation. I will say Craig McCarthy of North Mt Adventures put in more effort to get me my bucks than I'd ever seen before and I always recommend him. Four years of guiding and I had enough. Best decision I ever made, and I enjoy hunting with friends and family more than I ever did guiding. I own another business, and if the work is not done, the customer doesn't pay or they get a refund. That's how business should work.