At the outset let me say (for the benefit of admin) that this whole matter has been to court – and the undernoted presented as evidence – it’s therefore the truth, ergo not defamatory.
In January this year I took a three day ‘all inclusive’ boar shooting trip with Mr Michael Roberts’ ‘Countrysports’ agency – this included all trophy fees for boar and also all female deer – but not male deer. During the safety briefing on the first day of the hunt, the head guide, through the interpreter, told us (10 hunters present) that we would not be allowed to shoot either roe or fallow females, but that we would be allowed to shoot red deer stags – at no additional cost. Naturally we were a bit surprised at this and questioned the guide several times, but it was confirmed. Mr Roberts was not present during the first day, having failed to clear his rifle and luggage correctly through UK customs – they never left the UK.
During the day two stags were shot, one by me. To be honest this was in some ways disappointing since I shoot loads of deer and really went there to shoot boar – maybe that’s being churlish? That evening when we went back to the hotel Mr Roberts tells us all ‘What the guide told you was wrong – you’ll have to pay for the stags’. There was a great deal of heated discussion and raised voices at this but nothing resolved.
Long story short – after returning home I received an invoice from Mr Roberts for about £800, disputed this and was taken to court. Mr Roberts didn’t dispute that we had been clearly told what we were – only that the guide had the power to do so in his absence. The Judge said I was ‘Duped’ by the Poles and would need to prove that the guide had the power to change the provisions of Mr Roberts contract – with the strong hint that this would be very difficult – which it is. I am not a lawyer but have studied law and fully realise the very grey areas that surround ostensible authority of agents. I just can’t afford either the energy or further time off work to pursue this matter and it’s not worth getting lawyers involved so I have paid up to be rid of the matter.
I will leave you to make your own conclusions on the above, but would offer the following general observations on agents:-
- If you can possibly avoid using an agent don’t use one.
- If you can’t avoid using an agent (and in some cases, e.g. Poland, you can’t) make sure he’s the only agent and isn’t working through a ‘partner’/sub agent/middleman. If this is the case he will have two masters – you, the punter/lowest form of life, and the person he is buying the hunt from – who he needs to keep sweet to make sure he has hunts to sell in future. If in doubt ask, and if this is the case stay well clear.
- References on a website are totally worthless – you’ve never seen a bad one! The only recommendation that can be worth anything is a personal one from someone you trust who has had experience of the agents handling of a problem – not just a hunt where everything goes according to plan – this is worthless information.
- You will never know the true mettle of anyone until something goes wrong – only then will you discover if your agent is working for you or to put coin in his own pocket or that of his cohorts.
I have hunted in a few countries (Denmark, Austria, Poland, Zimbabwe and Tanzania) and this is the first and last time I will use an agent. This has certainly put me off boar hunting (for a while anyway!)
My only problem with threads like this...........
Is the other party a member of the forum and, therefore, an ability to respond to any complaint and give their version. I run my own business and these things whilst unpleasant always have two sides.
Yes, he is a member of this site and, although he assures me he has changed his method of charging trophy fees, I will never go with him again, in fact I will never go on any trips that charge trophy fees as there are enough Agents now that charge an 'all inclusive' fee.
Originally Posted by Morgy
I am talking about Driven Boar and not selective trophy shoots from high seats over feed stations.
Never been a paying client of Mike Roberts so can't pass comment, all that I can say is that he takes quite a bit of stalking in my area, and none of the estates seem have had a problem with him, pays up front for days even when he has been unable to fill them.
Yes, I have been watching this thread but after seeing more anonymous posts with wild inaccuracies, I've decided to respond. First of all, EmC who will not give his real name is wrong. This trip was a fixed price (for all boar and all female deer) this was clearly stated (and also stated twice in everyone's booking contract that they would have to pay for any stags or other permitted male deer).
I think I know who Ogive is (so why don't you give us your real name??) I have no control over what the airlines and customs and baggage carriers do , but appear to have been blamed for Lufthansa's mistake [which they finally admitted to and paid me full compensation for the missing/delayed baggage and having to get my baggage returned to me].
Kuwinda's account is more or less accurate but it's what he does NOT say in his account which is important. For some reason, which still baffles me. when the guide told the group when they were in the Forest that they would not have to pay for stags, not one person thought to text me or call me on my mobile to check (plenty of folk had telephoned me the day before when we were in Poland and there were flight delays - so they knew they could contact me!). It's no good complaining i was not there (I had to wait in the hotel because the airport in Poland said they would send us the delayed baggage - if I was not there to sign for it in person, they would not have left the baggage and rifles) .
Kuwinda and Ogive were (and maybe still are?) convinced that the Polish District would not charge me for the stags they shot. I had to pay the district myself for the stag that Kuwinda shot. For some reason, Paul at Barony (another person hiding behind a username) implies I profited from this. Wrong, I had to pay for the stags which were shot so I'm not sure why Paul at Barony thinks I am wealthy enough to have paid well over one thousand pounds and just to forget trying to get the money off the two people who shot the stags?? I did NOT add anything to the cost of the stags. In the court, the Sheriff said (and I quote because I wrote this down at the time) "surely, Mr Archibald, if the guide says you can shoot stags for no charge when Mr Roberts' written confirmation says you have to pay - then that's your lookout?". Ian Archibald did not respond to his comment. I took legal advice about this and Kuwinda's assertion he was too busy to fight the action may be right, but the Sheriff's comment says it all - if he is so convinced he was in the right, he had the right to continue instead of posting his complaints on this forum.
I'm aware that my response may kick off a long and whining series of replies with folk saying I am wrong and they are right. But I object to having negative and even snide comments made by people who hide behind usernames which affect my reputation.
It's also been forgotten by Kuwinda, that at the time, I fully sympathised with his predicament. I tried to negotiate with the District to waive the fees. But if people ignore the clear and concise conditions written in the booking form, they have to accept responsibility for their own actions.
Why did the guide not pay for the stags? It appears on the face of it that he made the error after all.
The guide appears to be in the employment of countrysports. In my book that makes you liable for the misinformation that your clients received. I think it's quite reasonable for the clients to accept the word of the guide, seeing as ultimately he was your employee.
Also, it's unacceptable of you to accuse people of hiding behind a user name on a public forum. Particularly one who's members freely admit to owning firearms on. Can you not understand why people would want to protect both their identities?
I thank the OP for providing feedback as I too am looking for a european boar hunt. The information provided makes that task a little simpler.
It's good to hear both sides.
Both parties had a written contract, that clearly stated that stags had to be paid for, the guide for the day , is that a guide!!. He is not under the direct employment of the Agent.
As said , the party could have quite easily have contacted the agent to clarify the situation, by the sounds of it they heard what they wanted to hear.
I do not know or have any dealings with Countrysport, I'm just reading it as I see it.
Working abroad does have it's problems, notably language barriers and red tape[that's why I wouldn't dream of doing it!!], the agent is there for a purpose - the first point of contact, if that protocol had been used then there would not have been a problem.
Incidently I have never heard of clients being given stags "free gratis" in Poland, I think a bit of niavity or greed may have played a part in the desition to squeeze the trigger
If you're selling goods and services using a third party (Even if hat third party then sub contracts out the work) then you as a business have to accept some responsibility. I've never had any dealings with countrysports, but if what the OP states is true, and it appears to be,then I think it's only reasonable that the client take the guide at face value.
Naivity may have been a factor, but it's unfair to point the finger. Greed, well, that could work three ways could it not?
I can't really argue with any of that
Originally Posted by MJ75
It is always dificult when dealing with a third party, standards have to be kept and if you are not present then it can go down the drain pretty quickly.
It basically comes down to comunication - there was obviously a break down in this case and the client has had to pay the price.
It is never good for a client to leave unhappy, no matter what the situation is.
For the sake of maintaining a good reputation within a very competitive market, it may have been better for the agent to take the burden of the cost.
Or at least gone 50 -50, Good will goes a long way