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Hiring ski equipment: warning about using Ski Set

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hiring ski equipment: warning about using Ski Set

A quick word of warning if you are planning to hire ski equipment in the coming season and thinking of using Ski Set. This company arranges ski hire online (taking payment in advance) but relies on local agents to supply the equipment. My difficulty has been trying to obtain a refund for skis and boots handed back on the first day of a 6-day holiday torn muscle on first run of the day!

The staff in the ski hire shop assured me there would be no problem about getting a full refund from Ski Set for the remaining 5 days and I precisely followed the instructions they gave . Ten weeks, several phone calls and numerous emails later Ski Set has now said this is not possible because I did not follow the requirements of Article 22, Subsection 2 on page 15 of their 18 page terms and conditions agreement. There is no dispute that I didnt use the equipment, no dispute that I followed the procedure I was told to follow by the staff in the shop, but sadly no willingness to return the money that had been paid up front.

Disappointingly Im therefore left just warning other people that it may be better to find some other company to rent from or if you have to use Ski Set, be very careful to read the small print. (Maybe also do some warm up exercises before the first run of the holiday!)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Travel insurance problem not a prepaid rental co's problem surely?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Rodun, welcome to snowHeads. snowHead

Regardless of travel insurance it does seem very poor that if the shop assured you you would get a refund and you followed their instructions then SkiSet aren't giving you your money. Evil or Very Mad

Sadly it seems you're not the only person to have had a bad experience with Skiset, see this thread...

and this one.
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To be honest I suspect the shop have legged you over as part of a standard bulkshit the tourist scam. They'll have had their cash and the engine probably take their fee regardless so think about who has gained from your loss.
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@Rodun, admin has complained about similar issues with ski set in the past.
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=114728#2625099
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While I'd agree with @Alastair Pink, that the shop should know what's going to happen (is Ski Set a franchise like Intersport?) their Ts & Cs are pretty clear...

I wouldn't necessarily expect a refund on a partially used period of pre-paid car rental for example. Does a "torn muscle" justify a medical visit?

Worth anyone else bearing in mind and reading the contract.
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under a new name wrote:
(is Ski Set a franchise like Intersport?)


No, Skiset are just a 3rd party booking agent who take a commission.
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@Mjit, But, they have branded shops... and lots of them http://www.skiset.com/chiffres.html
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I suspect, though can't prove it, that if your skis are booked through a big TO like Crystal...then you may have more "pull" if things go wrong, as the Rep will likely help fight your battle. The shop that gets their business, is unlikely to want to get the TO off side.

This year, when one of our group became sick and missed some of his group lessons, the Crystal Rep spoke to the Ski School and got the money put to Private Lessons, without any argument. It is quite possible that they would have given me the same deal, but the TO has more clout.
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@Old Fartbag, I think I am unconvinced as a generality. And especially in this case where SkiSet are acting as brokers.
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I understand that, even when they carry the Skiset insignia, the shops are independently owned.

Years ago, we ran advertising for Skiset and referred sowHeads to their service. This sort of problem cropped up every now and then but we had a contact at the central booking office who was helpful and would make sure the right thing was done. Hence I felt safe recommending them. The scale of our traffic to them grew rapidly and soon the Sales+Marketing Dir. took an interest personally. However he started overruling his minion and asserting their standard 'if we can get out of it, we wont fix it' approach. That was when we stopped recommending them.
We were still receiving commission on referrals though. After a while the Sales Dir. got in touch to complain that snowHeads topics about Skiset discount codes were ranking highly in Google but some of them also mentioned their arch rivals, Alpinresorts. He insisted that I remove any mention of Alpinresorts from them. I said "No" because snowHeads is open and impartial in that respect. He told me that he would make me an offer 'I offer you some money, some nice money' (he said) and I could do what he say or I can 'have nothing and say something bad about him on my website'. I told him I'd go for the latter option, thanks.
Even so, he did subsequently offer me 5000 to remove any mention of competitors from a list of well ranking snowHeads topics: I turned him down.
Hence, good to our agreement, I take any opportunity to 'say something bad' about skiset Toofy Grin

Most (perhaps all) shops on the Skiset system are independently owned and some of them are excellent shops. Some however are utterly crap and you have no real way of knowing in advance - well, other than asking advice on snowHeads, of course.
If you want to hire from a shop on the skiset system, because it's convenient for you, I recommend contacting them directly. Most are more than happy to cut out the scamster-in-the-middle and give you the discount price direct. You'll often get better service and even better skis too - completely unofficially of course!

Alpinresorts is a similar central booking/referral system and the same sort of issues can crop up, however they don't seem to so often and even if they do, we still have a contact there who is willing to sort problems out, hence I'm still happy to recommend them.


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Tue 27-06-17 11:24; edited 1 time in total
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under a new name wrote:
@Old Fartbag, I think I am unconvinced as a generality. And especially in this case where SkiSet are acting as brokers.

In this case - I totally agree....but was just thinking out loud.

I mostly use a TO and have generally found them helpful, when things go wrong. Surely having the extra weight of a major TO behind you, must carry more weight than you, on your own would carry.
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Slightly off topic but is it necessarily fair to take criticism about a particular company or brand, from a poster on their first post?

From an established user, fine. But it seems like a lot of effort to sign up to the forum just to say you had a bad experience with a ski rental company.

Sorry to be a cynic but I always wonder whether strongly worded first posts slagging off companies are actually legit complaints or just competitors putting a cheap shot on their rivals.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@dp, Also my first thought..
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hadn't noticed.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
dp wrote:
Slightly off topic but is it necessarily fair to take criticism about a particular company or brand, from a poster on their first post?

From an established user, fine. But it seems like a lot of effort to sign up to the forum just to say you had a bad experience with a ski rental company.

Sorry to be a cynic but I always wonder whether strongly worded first posts slagging off companies are actually legit complaints or just competitors putting a cheap shot on their rivals.


I think in the main they are an opportunity to vent when there they have been frustrated by usual customer non-service stonewalling so they are as valid as anyone else. But the red mist and lack of self awareness/skin in the game can make them overly prickly when challenged.
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For the record, lest all the shops are tarred with the same brush, our local Skiset shop is first-rate. It's owned by a British family who live in the village (Wengen), and standards of service are high. In a village this size they would have gone out of business years ago was this not the case.
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@telford_mike, I've never used them but a sH I was staying with on the EoSB said that the SkiSet in VT gave his skis a really good tune.
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I agree @telford_mike. Many of the shops themselves are indeed fine. The issue is with Skiset's central, advance booking service. And it's not just anecdotal or occasional: it's policy! If they've got your money and something goes wrong, they'd rather lose you as a customer than see you right.

Hence I always recommend that people contact the shops directly if they want to hire from them.
So, rather than referring to your 'good' shop as a Skiset shop, why not tell us their actual name so people can go straight to them?
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Surprised you expected to get a refund to be honest.
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RUGBY PETER wrote:
Surprised you expected to get a refund to be honest.

+1. This is what travel insurance is for.
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When we hired skis and boots for our kids, and had to return them early when we needed to go home earlier than expected, we were only charged for the days the skis and boots were out of the shop. But this was not prepaid via an online site, it was a contract taken out directly with the shop. We'd left a deposit with a credit card, and paid the balance when skis were returned.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The intermediary's contract (which may or may not be reasonable) is clear and the section you want is here:
http://www.skiset.co.uk/general-sales-conditions.html#article22
Which states:
"After collection of the article:
In the event that an illness or accident occurs during the rental period, only the ARTICLE(S) of the person using them shall be refunded proportionately to the number of days of use.
This refund is on condition that the RENTER sends a medical certificate and a statement from the shop selected by the RENTER at the time of the ORDER to:"


I'd say that's unlikely to stand up in a UK court, because they and I know that the cost of that medical certificate is likely to exceed the value of the refund.
The intent is that they refund you for service you don't use. On that basis I'd charge it back, and let them come get anything they think they can get.
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I can sorta see Skiset's (The wider booking engine) perspective on this. They win business by essentially offering the lowest price for a location they take a slug of that and pass on the balance and the relationship to the affiliated shop, who then make on the extras like insurance, selling incidentals etc etc. It's kinda not Skiset's problem if the punter has a hurty bum or bad hangover or a big sulk or a nasty bout of manflu, they've had the same amount of work and fulfilled their part of the deal. Obviously they are happy to have a badmouthed "brand" and of course they make the hoops as difficult as possible for the punter to recover against them as that's business. I even have some sympathy with the medical certificate thing as nonsensical as it is - if I screwed my knee I don't need a medical cert to tell me I'm not able to ski, but without it if punters self certify who knows how many punters would be asking for refunds on ski hire and lift passes because they're a bit knackered after a few days or conditions are crap.
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admin wrote:
I agree @telford_mike. Many of the shops themselves are indeed fine. The issue is with Skiset's central, advance booking service. And it's not just anecdotal or occasional: it's policy! If they've got your money and something goes wrong, they'd rather lose you as a customer than see you right.

Hence I always recommend that people contact the shops directly if they want to hire from them.
So, rather than referring to your 'good' shop as a Skiset shop, why not tell us their actual name so people can go straight to them?


The shop is just called Skiset. All their uniforms are Skiset branded. But it's a privately owned business, in 'partnership' with Skiset apparently.

http://www.skihirewengen.com
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@philwig, hate disagreeing with you, as I know you are smarter than I am on at least one metric (heli ski vertical) wink

But surely Skiset's error here is giving any way out?

I rent out weekly accommodation in Chamonix. Fully paid for 8 weeks in advance.

If you choose not to use it for whatever reason, that's your choice. I will happily provide whatever invoices your insurance might require, but that's it. And if you book for November 😳15 for example, and don't get to ski, well, it's not a ski holiday I'm selling.

Likewise, I don't care if you are 1 or 6 people.

Surely it's the same if I were to rent you a 6 day package of ski hire?
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under a new name wrote:
......But surely Skiset's error here is giving any way out?.....

Yep
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I even have some sympathy with the medical certificate thing as nonsensical as it is - if I screwed my knee I don't need a medical cert to tell me I'm not able to ski


Funny piece of advice though on that subject. And 100% true... ask Admin... he told the story to some very attractive Italian ladies whilst I was hobbling around on crutches (Admin is an excellent wingman it turns out).

In Arabba broke myself on the first day. In fact I broke myself on Day 0 as it was the changeover day from Alleghe. Anyway. I went to cancel my skipass at the lift office and they said they needed a medical certificate to refund the remaining days. So I went to the doctors in Arabba. He said he couldn't really do anything as he was just a doctor (?) and sent me on to the trauma clinic in La Villa. In La Villa, they did lots of X Rays which resulted in talking in concerned raised voices and they sent me on to Bolzano for a CT scan. Not before giving me crutches and telling me to stop walking around on it. Bolzano X-Rays and CT scan yielded a fracture on my pelvis.

Moral of the story... get the medical certificate. 1) you might find out something you didn't know; 2) you have something to show your insurer because if you think Skiset are a bunch of pony shysters just wait til you meet your insurers; and 3) it will make for a better story for Admin to tell girls in the bar.
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Besides admin wingmanning you like a champ with Dolomiti Totti, I have an alternative take on it.

I'd hurt my leg but after a bit of MTFU decided it didn't hurt too bad. So I figured going to hospital besides being a bit of a ballache with insurance claim etc was only likely to confirm I couldn't ski for the rest of my trip. So I could ski gently with, and wait till I got home to get brokey leg diagnosed. Possibly a case of bit too much MTFU.
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under a new name wrote:
... I rent out weekly accommodation in Chamonix. Fully paid for 8 weeks in advance....
I get that, and I'd do the same in that circumstance.

However a ski shop looking at the loss of a week's ski hire is losing a tiny fraction of their profit, compared with what a small accommodation provider may face, so I think the two things aren't directly comparable.

In Whistler you'd formally need 24 hours notice to cancel ski rental- so you'll pay for one more day that you use. Their business model is clearly different.

---
I once canceled a week's pre-paid heli with zero notice, as the Spanish guys decided to close LHR because there was a rumour of snow in Scotland. I don't insure, and the heli company could contractually have taken my money. They did not , which ensures that they retained my business. I wouldn't expect that flexibility from a smaller operator. Of course I did have to institute proceedings against BA (for the food I ate whilst they kept me waiting, no less), but then they're not in the customer service business.
wink
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@Dave of the Marmottes, you've more or less captured the essence of the week prior! Very Happy
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@philwig, from the shop's pov though, the skier is unlikely, if anglophone to ever go back (low loyalty, typically) and their client is (probably) actually/contractually SkiSet - so from their pov, if SkiSet want to be nice and refund, it's not the shop's problem.

And SkiSet clearly don't care.

I wouldn't have that clause in my contract though, I'd have advice on having equipment cancellation insurance, if it's going to worry you.
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I have worked for similar 'Sport 2000' shops in France. All these companies are branded franchises so it can be a little bit tricky. Essentially, if you don't book directly through the shop e.g. that franchise's particular website it is hard to get the refund. Booking through third party websites (that includes ski set/sport 2000) means that large commissions are taken and the shop don't see the money until way down the line. The ski shop should provide proof you have not completed your rental so when you speak to the booking agent you can prove this.

I will also point out that booking through a third party will get you cheaper prices but you will get what you pay for. Booking a cheap 'diamond' or top level ski will result is a cheap ski. Simple. If you want decent equipment deal with the shops directly, they will often price match and still give you decent gear as they are not paying commission.

Best advice, deal with shops directly. Then you can get your refund in person and any issues to do with you booking/gear can be handled more smoothly by staff in store.

From a rental shop point of view, people love to try it on, plenty of people try to get out of paying. I always see it like hiring a car you wouldn't return it at the end of the rental and say 'i didn't use it for three of the days, gimme some money back'. For injury though refunds should be made out of human decency. Smile
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Quote:

Best advice, deal with shops directly

Doesn't always work, tried to do a deal direct with a Skiset shop last winter for skis, boots and helmets for 4 adults and 4 children in low season and they wanted to charge more than hiring through Skiset. Couldn't understand it but ended up with internet prices from Intersport as they were considerably cheaper and supplied kit as ordered.
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@princeeliot, I think you make some valid points

I work used to work for an equipment hire (albeit speakers for concerts), something I had to explain to people a lot was [i]"It's not how many days you're using it for that matter. It's how many days you're preventing me from hiring it to somebody else".

So equipment brought back early might attract a discount - because I could hire it to somebody else. HOWEVER, the fact that they originally had it hired for the full week might mean that I have had to turn down a customer from hiring it because it was scheduled to be out on a job.

The problem we have - which ski shops have too - is rental products have 2 lifetimes. One lifetime is the actual lifetime of the product (in ski terms they say what? 100 days?). But the second lifetime of the product is how long it is current for. With concert speakers, the range historically has been superseded every 10 years or so. So even if the physical lifetime of the speaker is 50 years, you still have to get your money back (inc the cost of hiring it) in 10 years because after that it's rental value drops drastically.

With skis, if you're hiring 'Premium' skis you probably get 1 season to make your money. They'll be current in the second year, but if you did a full season the last year they'll be ragged. Thus in a 20 week season, a week's hire realistically needs to cover 7-8% of their purchase value else you make a loss on them.
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I had a run in with Skiset, I had to cut my trip short because of a death in my family. When I requested a refund they wanted a death certificate..........COME ON!!!
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@KB14, why is that so unreasonable?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@dp, mind you, other that "test" skis, the things you rent bear very little resemblance to the retail versions. As does the price.

As example, back in the day Rossi 4Ss might retail for say, 250 and the shop would get rental versions, same top sheet, wildly different construction, 25.
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under a new name wrote:
@dp, mind you, other that "test" skis, the things you rent bear very little resemblance to the retail versions. As does the price.

As example, back in the day Rossi 4Ss might retail for say, 250 and the shop would get rental versions, same top sheet, wildly different construction, 25.
And they don't pay retail, of course.

I too remember in days of yore that rental kit was "cosmetically similar" but different (eg different base material), but that's not been my experience renting snowboards more recently in North America.
The snowboards I rented last season were 100% retail. Perhaps it depends what's being rented and for what purpose.

If you're renting decent stuff then I think you'd pretty much expect current season.
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@philwig, yep, that's what I meant by test skis. Concept Promin Chamonix, as an example, as I know, for sure (bro in law works there) - all the skis are exactly as you would buy them.

I would think at lower levels of the market the point stands however...
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