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June 1997 Vol. 12, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Trouble in the Turks & Caicos

Divers complain of overcharges and underservice

from the June, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In the January issue of In Depth/ Undercurrent, our correspondent described excellent diving on the funky island of South Caicos. He stayed at the newly opened Club Caribe and, along with the good, reported problems with food and equipment, as well as a management problem that left the resort without a divemaster as he was leaving.

Those may have been the good old days. In February, Nicholas Chickering (Nevada City, Nevada) wrote that he returned from a trip to Club Caribe and, though he also loved the primitive island and the diving, he had a bad experience with the owner, the management, and the staff.

"Prior to arrival, my credit card was charged for a ten-day stay at the resort. This was without warning or my approval, so when I stayed at the resort for only five days, I was told by Richard Stewart, their manager (who lives in Florida), that my charge card would be credited. This has not happened, despite numerous phone calls to them.

"Other problems included poor food, and no sailing in spite of prior telephone assurances that catamarans were available. I was also assured that there would be a divemaster at the resort. There was not. And their only compressor was broken and had to be fixed by two of the guests."

We received complaints from other divers traveling to Club Caribe, who, besides having to buy their own food supplies, were double-billed by Club Caribe on their charge cards for their interisland air service.

I tracked down Richard Stewart in Miami (yes, the same Richard Stewart who published the original Sport Diver magazine that was later sold and became Ocean Realm). Richard explained that he is not the manager for Club Caribe. He and his wife, Helen, operate a marketing and consulting company that has been retained by Albert Gannaway to market the resort.

Stewart acknowledged many complaints, including double billing on airfare. "We even had a letter of complaint from a person who won a free trip, so you know things are not too good. The Club has great potential, but without good management it's in trouble. Gannaway is in the process of finding a new manager right now but has not made a selection yet. If he does not make a selection soon, we will cancel our marketing agreement with them."

With numerous phone calls over several weeks, Undercurrent tried to resolve the matter of the overcharges. Stewart claims that his company only takes the reservations and credit card information and forwards it to Club Caribe. Albert Gannaway has refused to return our calls. Based on this information, I would no longer reccommend booking the Club Caribe.

J. Q.

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