St Lucia Jeep Rental Scam--Red Tiger Jeeps
We wanted to warn travelers about renting a jeep from Red Tiger Jeep Rentals, a company that operates in the Caribbean (St Lucia). We recently rented a jeep from the owner of this company--Benny Chitolle--and the experience was awful, to say the least. This company has a nice web site, and that's how we found his rental offerings, but the site is not a true representation of what you get. So be warned! We made the rental arrangements by email and we were provided with the cost to rent the jeep, which seemed reasonable. Our credit card was charged in advance for the deposit. All fine and good. When we arrived at the airport the guy was supposed to meet us with one of those fancy "your name goes here" signs. Of course, he wasn't there. First red flag, right? We had to get a local guy to call him and track him down. He shows up with the jeep and then runs off quickly to go to some other appointment. Second red flag. We get in and start to run the jeep and the thing was one sorry piece of metal. The brakes hardly worked, the tires were so bald you could barely see a trend. I've never seen tires so bad. The suspension was awful. The car rattled so bad it was scary to drive. Third red flag. We figured that we were stuck with our choice and we didn't have a local phone to call the guy back and complain to him. Big mistake that was. The more we drove the jeep the more we realized how bad it was and how likely it had been in some rather unfortunate accidents. We used the car for a period of about 10 days and we even had to take it to a tire shop at one point because of the bad shape it was in. Some of the local friends that we have in St Lucia laughed so hard at our situation whenever they saw us coming because of how bad we got scammed by Red Tiger. We were probably the laughing stock of Soufriere. Of course it gets worse ... Much worse ... While we were enjoying our nice vacation in the beautiful island of St Lucia, the rental guy who scammed us with a very defective product, was running up unauthorized charges on our credit card. I guess he decided that the jeep he rented us was such a fine piece of machinery that he should raise the rental price and just start charging us a bunch more. It was sort of like one of those Citi Bank fraud commercials you see on t.v. "Don't be this guy. ..." After getting home now we've had a mess to sort out with a number of unauthorized charges to our credit card. Of course, when we've complained good old Red Tiger thinks we are the ones to blame for his creative accounting techniques and his bad tires and brakes. Let's see, I lost count are we up to the tenth red flag now? It's sort of a game of blame the victim now. At least we get some satisfaction helping Citi Bank make this guy the new poster boy for credit card fraud and other bad behavior. It's sad because guys who operate like this sort of ruin the business situation for other small local merchants. Maybe others here can learn from our mistake. If you see a company like Red Tiger offering great rates, don't fall for a potential scam.
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