BBB Serving Northeast Florida & The Southeast Atlantic is warning consumers of the business practices of Scuba Lessons Jax, a local business that offers certifications through promotions on the online discount site Groupon.
Scuba Lessons Jax first came to the attention of BBB in February of 2017 due to consumer complaints. BBB has received complaints from local consumers who allege that they purchased a Groupon for a PADI Basic Open Water Certification Course. They took the course in the fall of 2016, and were told that they would receive their certifications in the mail. Now, months later the business has stopped responding to phone calls and no certifications have been received.
Consumers who reached out to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) were told that Scuba Lessons Jax is not an affiliated PADI Shop and the business owner Reuben “Chris” Conrad is currently in a non-teaching status. Therefore, consumers could not receive certifications for the courses that they paid for. BBB reached out to PADI and a representative confirmed this information. PADI wants consumers to be aware that they can check both the shop affiliation and the status of the course instructor before purchasing any course on their website www.padi.com.
Consumers who have filed complaints with BBB have all requested the same thing, to receive a full refund for the certifications that they paid for and have not received. BBB has reached out to Scuba Lessons Jax but has yet to receive a reply.
As always BBB recommends that you do your homework before making any purchase. If a business purports to be offering a course that is affiliated with a professional association, take the time to research that the business is authorized to offer this course and is in fact affiliated with the association. If the pricing of the course is well below market value, read the fine print and understand what you are purchasing and why the pricing may be so low.
Update: Scuba Lessons Jax owner Rueben "Chris" Conrad has been expelled from PADI for failure to adhere to PADI Standards and unethical business practices; and is therefore not qualified to represent himself as a PADI Member, teach PADI/EFR courses or certify PADI Divers or issue EFR creditials. To verify this action visit the PADI Consumer Alerts Page.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Northeast Florida & The Southeast Atlantic was founded in 1987 and serves 57 counties.