What are the (legal) obligations of South Africa outfitter to client in Zimbabwe?
This is a discussion on What are the (legal) obligations of South Africa outfitter to client in Zimbabwe? within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the Hunting Forums - Hunting in Africa category; We are continuing to undergo heartbreak and disappointment regarding our 2011 hunt in Zimbabwe. We were taken aback by a ...
04-05-2013, 12:46 PM #1
What are the (legal) obligations of South Africa outfitter to client in Zimbabwe?
We are continuing to undergo heartbreak and disappointment regarding our 2011 hunt in Zimbabwe. We were taken aback by a recent email from our outfitter and now want to know from those of you who are in the know, what the outfitters obligations are. The situation is as follows:
We hunted in north Zim Aug 2011 with an outfitter we used the year prior (a whole other story) from South Africa. The hunt was one unimaginable event after another (again a whole other story). At the end of the hunt between Jamie's hunting partner and himself, they got several trophies- one of which was an elephant Jamie shot. All of the trophy fees and daily rates were paid in entirety to our outfitter before we left the States for our hunt. After the hunt the outfitter left camp to pay the Zim people and we trusted (mistake) that he would take care of it correctly. After all, this was not this outfitter's first hunt in Zim by his admission.
After we returned from our hunt we began contacting the outfitter regarding the status of our trophies and he would not return emails or answer our calls. We were still in contact with our SA PH at this time and months later he informed us that our outfitter did not make sure the money was put into the bank at the time of payment but instead did a "parking lot" transaction with them and assumed they would do right by him. He was wrong. The money was not put into the bank and therefore the trophies could not leave the country. The Zim PH we used up there during our hunt died several months after our hunt and this along with several other factors increased the difficulty of the situation.
Fast forward to present. Our SA PH now won't talk to us (yet another long story) and now our outfitter has come out of the woodwork to email us to say he has been trying hard to get these trophies but that we broke our contract with him by hunting with this SA PH on our own the following year (2012) without this outfitter (himself). This was the first we heard that they were in partnership over the Zim hunt as we paid all fees to the outfitter. Basically the outfitter is mad that he was cut out of our current hunt. This brings me to the legal question in this issue. This outfitter says he is willing to continue pursuing getting our trophies but we will need to pay him a daily rate plus expenses to do so. He specifically said that his obligations to us were finished.
One could speak forever on the implications of this email but we have mentally and emotionally exhausted ourselves over the years with that. We know now that we should not have trusted this SA outfitter to hunt in Zim (which he said he had done many times before). Right now we just want to know the legal obligations this outfitter has to us since we paid him the money and did not receive what we paid for.
BTW- we are highly suspicious of the fact this outfitter is scrambling to cover his tracks because our hunting partner spoke with someone from Zim at a recent show and she asked for this outfitter's contact information to attempt to do something on our behalf. We think now he is simply responding to the pressure he is now feeling- whatever that may be. We had animals we got on his property in SA that same hunt which mysteriously just weeks ago he decided to bring to an exporter (18 months after the hunt). This email we just received from the outfitter is the first contact we've had with him since our hunt Aug 2011.
Thanks for your input,
04-05-2013, 02:14 PM #2
Been a tough go all around on that one. I feel for you. Unfortunately the only way you may ever get full satisfaction is thru spending lots of your money going thru the legal system. You have to ask, is it worth it? If it is, keep plugging away. Good luck.
04-05-2013, 02:21 PM #3
04-05-2013, 02:58 PM #4
I would write this hunt off and please go with a highly recommended from AH next time. You are wasting time on a matter that will never be fixed.
If you want to hunt in Zim, which is perfectly fine with me consult Mike or Ole Bally or Marty for a hunt.
04-05-2013, 02:59 PM #5
- Member of SCI, OFAH
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I get very tired listening/reading about outfitters that screw clients and try to hold them hostage.
Your post is meaningless unless you post the names of these outfitters.
If you really want action post the names on this open forum and believe me they will respond.
04-06-2013, 07:40 AM #6
We are not people to quickly spread negative comments about others. We have struggled with our issues in Africa and have been trying to give the benefit of the doubt in trying to make sense of what has happened. We do not feel it is appropriate or fair to "name names" in haste. There is a old tale that speaks of a father taking his quick tempered son to a line of fence posts. He tells his son to hammer a nail in one of the posts each time he loses his temper. After days of pounding in nails and his temper subsiding, his father then tells him to now go and remove the nails. As the son sees it when he removes these nails the evidence of his temper will be gone. After removing the nails the father then shows him the marks left by the nails and explains that though the nails are removed, the fence post will never be the same. The point is that while in our anger and frustration we may find it easy to start openly stating our grievances but when the other side of the story is revealed- at times disclosing that the angered party did not have all their facts straight- the nail hole is now there permanently. We are not quick to complain against others by name because we value people's character the way we want others to value ours.
That said, this has gone on long enough to quack sufficiently to warrant "naming names". The outfitter we used is Johan Swart from the Limpopo area. We would still appreciate any input someone from SA has on what the legalities are here.
04-06-2013, 08:19 AM #7
04-06-2013, 08:23 AM #8
he goes by Limpopo Hunting or Hunt Africa.
04-06-2013, 08:49 AM #9
Jamie and Wife,
Hate to here about the problems. Not being an attorney it is difficult to offer legal advice. I wish you posted this earlier in the week as I was with five attornies all week.
A couple of questions.
Was a US booking agent involved? If so he could be your best route to recoup money if the terms of your contract were not followed.
What was the name of the Zimbabwean PH? What was the name of the Zimbabwean outfitter? Which specific area did you guys hunt? If the main thing you want is receiving your trophies this information could be useful. Martin Pieters post here from time to time and is chairman of the ZPHGA. I think he is on an elephant hunt at the time but we stay in touch on a regular basis.
US based clients, SA outfitter, hunt in Zimbabwe. Makes it difficult to pursue from a legal standpoint. As I understand it you cannot sue the other parties in the US unless they are here, I would not even know if you could serve them in a foreign country. A lawsuit in SA would be very costly, and court proceedings in Zimbabwe would be interesting.
Maybe contact PHASA in South Africa and lodge a complaint. It would be interesting if they respond. You paid your South African outfitter for the hunt. It is his responsibilty to ensure your trophies are delivered.
I would not send him another penny to work on this issue as it is his responsibilty to see it through.
I hope to see the names of the Zimbabweans involved, maybe the issue can be resolved through them.
04-06-2013, 08:56 AM #10
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Every Zimbabwe operator is required by law to fill out a TR2 Hunting form before any safari and submit the completed form to the National Parks Authority after he has had it stamped by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe showing that he has banked the full value of the hunt into his Zimbabwean account and only then can he apply for the export documents for his trophies from that safari. The fact that it was booked thru a South African PH makes no difference to the process of documentation as the South African PH is simply an agent. The law clearly states that it is illegal for a client to hunt without a fully licenced Zimbabwe PH in Zimbabwe, PH's from other countries may not conduct hunts in Zimbabwe but a foreign PH can bring a client to hunt in Zimbabwe as long as the hunt is conducted by a Zim PH and all documentation is correctly filled out and submitted.
The only way this type of activity is going to end is to name all the dodgy illegal operators/PH's doing this this to clients and giving the industry a bad name. I am sure you as clients do not want to get ripped off and we as African PH's/Operators do not want our industry/proffessions tarnished by these illegal/dodgy people so if clients have issues like this names and details should be submitted to the relevant Association of the industry(Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe and Proffessional Hunters and Guides Association of Zimbabwe)(PHASA in South Africa) and they will put the pressure on the right people to sort it all out.
04-06-2013, 10:47 AM #11
The Zim PH we hunted with died about 6 months after our hunt. Our SA outfitter said he wasn't getting a hold of him to get the TR2 and went up there to investigate. When he found out the PH died, he tried contacting his family members to get a hold of the TR2 but they couldn't locate it. I don't know if he could have even had the TR2 if they didn't pay the bank. Our SA outfitter said this was the first he found out they didn't deposit the money in the bank.
We did not go through a Zim outfitter- only a Zim PH hunted with us- the one that died. The original concession owner also died since then and his partner doesn't seem to be much help. We think the SA outfitter is mad and doesn't want any more to do with this because he told us that when he went to pay them before we left they doubled the price they had agreed upon for us to stay there.
We stayed at Malindi camp near Hwange.
04-07-2013, 08:22 AM #12
Need to hire/need help with getting SA trophies
As many of you know we had many problems with our recent hunting experience and I'm looking for some help in getting our trophies. We hunted in SA this past summer and paid our PH, who was also our outfitter for this trip. We had serious problems with our previous outfitter and were excited to now have a hunt without him and instead use the PH we've had the previous 2 years. Our PH told us he has an outfitter's license or was legal to provide these hunts. We paid him in entirety for our daily rates and trophy fees before we left for our trip. After not receiving our trophies last year from Zimbabwe due to payment issues our outfitter had made with the land owners, we knew the importance of making sure things were paid before we left each concession so I either saw or asked our PH at each location if each one was paid before we left and he assured me they were. We had an unbelievable great hunt with 15 animals, including a lion. At the end of the hunt we actually had some credit with our PH that we planned to use toward the dip/pack and exporting fees, which he agreed upon.
One of the places we hunted contacted me a few months ago and stated that our trophies were still sitting there and they had not been paid. They also said our PH refused to communicate with them regarding this. We pressed our PH who finally admitted that he hadn't paid them but that he would soon. We asked him to ship the rest of our animals that he had in his possession (he is also a taxidermist). He said he would. We knew he had most of them because they were in the truck with us when we left the hunting areas. We thought that if he realized we knew about the money problem he would then have no reason not to ship what we knew he had in his possession.
It has now been a few months and he now won't speak to us. Up until recently we had been talking to him at least weekly. In fact he even came to stay with us in the States for a week last fall after our hunt. This was a huge betrayal for us.
We are wondering how we can get some help to get the trophies he has at his residence (also the taxidermy) and what can be done about the other trophies they will not release without payment, interest and lodging fees- including our PH's lodging. Again we had already paid our PH for all of these fees. Is there some kind of an REPUTABLE outfit that helps retrieve trophies as a business?
04-07-2013, 09:27 AM #13
Unless he is registered with PHASA you are out of luck. That is the honest truth. I have learned some hard lessons in Africa too, so have other members. Trust don't mean too much when you are thousands of miles away. And it is a two way street, some outfitters and PHs have been burnt badly too.
04-07-2013, 09:53 AM #14
- Member of PHASA ; SCI ; DSC ; Eastern Cape Game Management Association ; PE Pistol and Rifle Club
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You just not having any luck with the guys you choose to hunt with, are you? There are many great outfits right here on AH that have proven themselves over and over. Why not just hunt with one of us?
04-07-2013, 11:47 AM #15
You already mentioned the previous outfitter . You should also give the PH 's details . None of them are probably members of any organization .... Situations like these do huge damage to our Industry ! I have to add my vote to what Marius said . There are many good honest outfitters on this forum .
04-07-2013, 11:49 AM #16
- Member of NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
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A few things for you to look at.
1. If you know the land owners where you hunted, contact them and see if they have your trophy's and are willing to work with you.
2. If they have your trophies see if they are in good shape and what it will cost you to have them taken to a dip & pack and then export them to the USA. This will cost you something, so be prepared to pay. only after you have all your steps in line.
3. If your trophy's are bug ridden , i hope you have good pictures of your safari as that is about as good as it will get.
4. Now if you think your outfitter/PH cheated you and your have the supporting documents to win a court case. Then look at the legal system. be prepared to spend the amount you spent on your safari (or more) in court cost and attorney fees. Does your PH - outfitter have a USA presence, and did you mail your money (check) deposit to them. If you did go see the US post office and fill out a complaint with them and let the US government go after them. Make sure you have all your paperwork in hand. Contracts, date and copy of check, e mails sent and phone call notes you made.
If you paid by Credit Card check with your credit card company to see if they will recover your money. Again you will need the above. And some cards have a 12 month recovery period or warranty period.
5. If you had a prior, poor to bad experience with an outfitter or PH, why would you use them again? What were you thinking? A fool and his money are soon parted.
6. There are a bunch of good PH's & Outfitters on this site that would have provided you a great experience and safari.
7. Now if you want to keep going with marginal Outfitters or PH. You should know what your end results will continue to be. What is that where you keep doing it the same over and over and are hoping for a different outcome.
8. You remind me of the chap in a bar who lost a fortune betting on the outcome of a ball game. Lost a bet every time the ball game ending was replayed in the bar.James Grage - New Mexico
Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
"Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded...they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them." John Wayne
04-07-2013, 12:23 PM #17
The honest truth and lesson learned here is savor your pictures and move on to the next hunt...because you will be filling a fence post full of nails (reference to yesterday's post). Start the feeling process.
04-07-2013, 02:15 PM #18
I'd like to say how this all went down. Hunt #1 Aug 2010 we went with the outfitter, Johan Swart, that my hunting partner recommended since he used him the year before. Had a fantastic hunt and these people were so personable and treated you like family. So we went and had a good time and good hunt and had a great PH, Danie Combrink. When it came time for the trophies to be shipped out outfitter kept giving us excuses, but his excuses seemed reasonable so we gave him benefit of doubt. The way he treated us while we were there had us believe he was a good guy just terribly unorganized.
About Dec 2010 Johan Swart said he was getting stuff rounded up and now problems should be solved with delay. Paperwork takes time he says so don't expect any new news for a while. A short time later we talked about going back- after all, we had an awesome time and considered the blips we had were just Africa related. They do have a different culture and way of doing things. We soon learned that it was not uncommon to wait 2 weeks to get a reply from an email from anyone we contacted in SA so we were trying to just be patient with 2010 trophies. We wanted to go to Zim in 2011 for hunt #2 and now we were talking to our PH, Danie Combrink more as well. He hunted there many times and was very helpful in planning our hunt. He said he had talked to Johan Swart and indeed our stuff should be arriving long before we got to Zim several months later. Again we had no reason to believe that we weren't dealing with typical Africa delays. We saw how long paperwork, etc took there compared to here so it seemed to make sense.
We get to leave for our hunt but still no animals. We ask them both about it when we get there since Johan Swart was again the outfitter for this trip and Danie Combrink our PH. They both seemed surprised that we hadn't heard from the exporter and said they should have long been shipped now. By this time we were starting to get pretty edgy about it all. Too many excuses. But now we're in Zim so let's hunt. Before we left Johan Swart told us the PH name and official number of the PH who would be hunting with us. We knew Zim to be a difficult place to deal with so we checked on the area and PH number. It all matched up. Again, they both said they had been here before with no problems. We found out later into the hunt that the Zim PH used wasn't the one Johan Swart described in the email. Guy didn't show up they said so had to use someone else. Based on last year's problems we had them tell us their detailed plan and time for how they'd get the Zim trophies. They gave us all the "right" information. All the while saying they are so embarrassed about last year and this was a strange occurrance. This is not how they do business they spoke of many other repeat clients (and we saw photos) so that made us feel a bit more at ease.
So we expect that there should now be no problems with 2010 stuff and when we contact the exporter when we get home they said paperwork is not in order. Our PH, Danie Combrink, goes to exporter and straightens it out and eventually our shipment does arrive- with damaged capes. By now Johan Swart refuses to return emails or answer his phone. We tried for months with nothing- sometimes calling more than 10 times a day. Danie Combrink then was talking to us more and tells us that he felt in a bad position becuase he knew Johan Swart didn't do everything just right but he was working for him but now it has gone on long enough so he shares a few things with us. This along with Johan Swart refusing to speak to us tells us that we are done with him.
Our PH, Danie Combrink, said he went to Zim several times to try to get things straightened out there but he couldn't do all the paperwork and Johan Swart needed to but wouldn't help him now. Johan Swart wasn't talking to Danie Combrink either. Then we find out about how Johan Swart didn't do the payment right so good chance we won't get these animals at all. Despite the horrible experience with the trophy stuff we had the most incredible hunts and quickly grew a love for Africa. We really wanted to go back a 3rd time but now we were going to get rid of Johan Swart- the cog in the wheel (as we thought was the only one at that point). Danie Combrink says he has license to be his own outfitter for this trip and we loved the idea of not having Johan Swart involved with all the problems we had so far. Finally we were going to have a hunt done right. Danie Combrink said it was rediculous how long we waited for trophies and Johan Swart was just too unorganized- which we saw firsthand.
So as we see it by this point (Dec 2011) Johan Swart was our big issue. He was the one breaking promises and not talking to us. So we book with Danie Combrink in Aug 2012 for our 3rd Africa hunt. Continually Danie Combrink was telling us how he was trying to work with Johan Swart to get the Zim stuff and doing things on our behalf up there. So now we had our 3rd hunt and again had an awesome hunt with 15 animals. Other things happened on that trip that I won't get into that made us feel we could trust Danie Combrink all the more. During the hunt he tells us about wanting to come to the States to see us and says he will try to get the animals shipped asap to get there before he does that fall. Now we have no animals, an outstanding bill at a concession that has to get paid before some will get released and now Danie Combrink's isn't talking to us and Johan Swart says if we want more help with the Zim stuff we have to pay him because we hunted with Danie Combrink in 2012 and left him out of it.
Call us fools but if we would have had the information 6 months in advance on every decision we would have done things much differently. We hope God blesses us to be able to go back someday because we still love Africa. We wish we had known more about AH before this all got started so we could have some reliable help. We just assumed to take people at their word. We were naive that there would be so much underhandedness going on and just didn't expect it when we knew so many people hunt in Africa with good experiences. The good people here we wish we would have started with from the beginning.
So what we're looking for now is if there is a business maybe an exporter that goes to places to help deal with these kinds of things. We aren't looking to get lawyers involved at this point. We just want to put some pressure on Danie Combrink to send our stuff that he has. He's not a member of PHASA is doesn't seem. We thought they might also have like a DNR kind of person that shows up and does a little threat to their business and gets them in line again.
04-07-2013, 03:46 PM #19
This is one of the reasons I have gone with a different outfitter on my first 6 hunts. If you dont try another one, you have nothing to compare to, just you did or didnt like the one you tried. No way should you have booked that 3rd hunt with Danie knowing his associations. Unless you want to spend a bunch more money fighting this it may be better to chalk it up to experience and move on and book with someone else. There are lots of good honest pros on here that wont screw you.
04-07-2013, 04:07 PM #20
The problem is Danie has no obligation...he's not involved with anyone to put moral and legal pressure to do anything. And since the hunt has not been fully paid for yet....you'll have to pay twice for a bad product. And chances are your skins are ruined anyway.
And BTW none of this paperwork is that complicated or time consuming. It's just laziness.
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