Information Central (c) Larry Larsen
Customer Booking Rights
I have ocassionally been asked (by several of PBA's
agent/outfitter Supporting Members) to address operator ethics and customer booking "rights". One or two operations (not PBA
members fortunately) have been accused of switching customers from one of their operations to another at the last minute (even
knowing a few weeks ahead of time about the problem). The reasons given to the customers may not have been truthful, and
the customer didn't get what they had signed up for.
Exactly what are the "rights" of the customer? We at PBA believe that the clients should either be told of potential
problems with the operation or location that they want to visit ahead of time if possible, or told the truth about why a boat, for example, is unavailable.
Some operators tell clients that they may be "at one camp on one particular river or be switched upon arrival at
the international destination (Manaus, for example) to another camp elsewhere that offers better fishing." If that
is advised ahead of time and all clients know it, then fine. If a problem arises at the end of one week making a
particular operation unusable or unavailable the following week and the client is told the truth, that is fine also.
After all, most of the best peacock bass fishing waters are in remote areas of Latin America.
Let's face it, Senor Murphy (of Murphy's Law) lives in the land of
manana. Things happen and affect facilities and operations. Generators break and boats run aground, and it takes several
days to fix many of the problems that arise. But when an operator provides you with an excuse for a switch of operations
that is not true, he is being unethical.
How can you protect yourself? Try to ascertain how credible and
reliable an agent/outfitter is through word-of-mouth from others that have traveled with them. Check with your agent prior to
departure from the states to see that the specific operation booked does not have a problem and that there will be no
changes to your desire to be on that specific boat, at that lodge
and/or on the waters you have requested to fish and have booked. If they tell you there are no problems and
you arrive to find out things have changed, ask the tough questions of the operation manager to see if the truth
is out. If you find out otherwise, then ask for at least a partial refund from your booking agent/outfitter upon your return.
We feel that PBA's current Supporting Members (presented in the Contact List of our on-line Directory) are
ethical and that they will be truthful in any changes to your itinerary that are necessary at the last minute. If
you know different, hold their feet to the fire. Most reputable operators and agents are interested in the client's happiness.
Editor's Note: Tips reprinted with permission from PBA's "The World of Peacock Bass" monthly eZine.