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Old 12-16-2018, 12:42 PM   #1
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Disputing Marina Fees

We kept our boat at a marina on the Chesapeake for about four years and spent probably $20K on upgrades and repairs. Generally, the work has been good and the people very nice. I only questioned one previous bill, until now . . . in fact, I have two issues:

1). We had a problem with one of the Waeco refrigerators not working on 12V DC (AC was fine). It took two techs several hours to consult manuals, diagnose a bad fan and replace it. Not fixed—and the original fan works fine. I called the manuf and their tech gave me a 5-minute procedure to detrmine whether it was the fan or compressor. The bill from the marina is $460 to replace a working fan.

2). I posted earlier this year about a clacking noise I heard in the starboard gearbox. The junior-level tech the yard sent over to do this work took the tranny off, said everything looked fine to him, reinstalled it and it still clacked. The second time he removed it, he took the damper plate to the shop and the service mgr—examining it properly—found it was cracked at the hub. That fixed the clacking but there was another serious problem that a different tech found that necessitated removing the gearbox a THIRD time.

All of this was going on when we were finishing projects to get ready for our northern half-loop. I wasn’t as focused on these as I should have been—and normally, I’d have tackled at least the fridge by myself.

I want the marina to seriously dial back the refrigerator charges and the charges for one of the three transmission removals. So far, the marina has not responded to my email or phone messages questioning these charges. I do plan to try to reach the owner again Monday, but am wondering about the consensus on my positions on these jobs. I mean where else but a boatyard are you expected to pay exorbitant prices for half-assed work?
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Old 12-16-2018, 01:06 PM   #2
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We kept our boat at a marina on the Chesapeake for about four years and spent probably $20K on upgrades and repairs. Generally, the work has been good and the people very nice. I only questioned one previous bill, until now . . . in fact, I have two issues:

1). We had a problem with one of the Waeco refrigerators not working on 12V DC (AC was fine). It took two techs several hours to consult manuals, diagnose a bad fan and replace it. Not fixed—and the original fan works fine. I called the manuf and their tech gave me a 5-minute procedure to detrmine whether it was the fan or compressor. The bill from the marina is $460 to replace a working fan.

2). I posted earlier this year about a clacking noise I heard in the starboard gearbox. The junior-level tech the yard sent over to do this work took the tranny off, said everything looked fine to him, reinstalled it and it still clacked. The second time he removed it, he took the damper plate to the shop and the service mgr—examining it properly—found it was cracked at the hub. That fixed the clacking but there was another serious problem that a different tech found that necessitated removing the gearbox a THIRD time.

All of this was going on when we were finishing projects to get ready for our northern half-loop. I wasn’t as focused on these as I should have been—and normally, I’d have tackled at least the fridge by myself.

I want the marina to seriously dial back the refrigerator charges and the charges for one of the three transmission removals. So far, the marina has not responded to my email or phone messages questioning these charges. I do plan to try to reach the owner again Monday, but am wondering about the consensus on my positions on these jobs. I mean where else but a boatyard are you expected to pay exorbitant prices for half-assed work?
No commete'
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Old 12-16-2018, 01:24 PM   #3
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Most marinas and boatyards don't have experienced mechanics. If they did dealers for Cat, Volvo, etc., would have no reason to have their mechanics.

Good luck. It seems the yards least likely to fix a problem are the least likely to discount a bogus bill without legal action. They can't afford to discount or there be no income.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:10 PM   #4
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I wouldn't hold out great hopes, but it's worth a try. To me, we pay $100/hr or whatever the rate is for someone with expertise and knowledge who will quickly and accurately identify and resolve a problem. We don't want to pay $100/hr for someone with no knowledge or skills, and who is likely less capable of figuring something out than you are. If he was more capable, he'd own the boat and not be working on someone else's. Someone with minimal skills is worth minimum wage.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:45 PM   #5
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"I mean where else but a boatyard are you expected to pay exorbitant prices for half-assed work?"

Like everything: car repair, house repair and remodeling, you name it.

But I do think you have a case for one of the three tranny removals. Not sure about the fridge. Why in the world did you let a general yard mechanic tackle a fridge? Although if I were the yard mechanic I would have done some simple DC voltage tests first and I doubt they would have led me to replace the fan. So maybe you have a case there as well.

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Old 12-16-2018, 03:24 PM   #6
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"I mean where else but a boatyard are you expected to pay exorbitant prices for half-assed work?"

Like everything: car repair, house repair and remodeling, you name it.

But I do think you have a case for one of the three tranny removals. Not sure about the fridge. Why in the world did you let a general yard mechanic tackle a fridge? Although if I were the yard mechanic I would have done some simple DC voltage tests first and I doubt they would have led me to replace the fan. So maybe you have a case there as well.

David
The marina refers to the refrigerator repairman as an “electrician.”
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:30 PM   #7
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I wouldn't hold out great hopes, but it's worth a try. To me, we pay $100/hr or whatever the rate is for someone with expertise and knowledge who will quickly and accurately identify and resolve a problem. We don't want to pay $100/hr for someone with no knowledge or skills, and who is likely less capable of figuring something out than you are. If he was more capable, he'd own the boat and not be working on someone else's. Someone with minimal skills is worth minimum wage.
Exactly!
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:47 PM   #8
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I wouldn't hold out great hopes, but it's worth a try. To me, we pay $100/hr or whatever the rate is for someone with expertise and knowledge who will quickly and accurately identify and resolve a problem. We don't want to pay $100/hr for someone with no knowledge or skills, and who is likely less capable of figuring something out than you are. If he was more capable, he'd own the boat and not be working on someone else's. Someone with minimal skills is worth minimum wage.
I agree. If you hire some expert and they supposedly fix it and then it is still broke, I am not paying. In your case Angus, small claims.....
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:25 PM   #9
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Angus,
You have experienced the joy of boat ownership that at some point all of has had.. or will face at some point.
This is exactly why in the early 80's when I moved up to big boats I started learning how to fix EVERYTHING on the boats we have had. Not to mention when something fails in a remote location you have the knowledge base learned from other similar projects.. Make sure you have manuals for all mechanical stuff aboard and a copy of Nigel Calders book, mine is well worn!
My mantra is I might be unhappy with how long a repair takes .. and be less than pleased with the fix.. but I never am pissed off what the labor costs .


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Old 12-16-2018, 05:37 PM   #10
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If I found myself in the OP’s situation AND I had authorized a work order for the repairs, I would have a one on one meeting with the yard manager to review the charges. If that failed, my next step would be small claims court. Big difference contracting someone to dig a well and only get a hole in the ground.
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:39 PM   #11
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ASD & HW

I think I’m at the 75% self-sufficiency point. Electrical, plumbing, fuel system and basic mechanics, I can muddle my through well enough. Doing gel coat, A/C work or precision alignments, such as shaft-to-gearbox couplers, will give me pause. Still, anything can be learned . . . and I do like the way my “employer” promptly pays me off in cold beer.
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Old 12-16-2018, 05:41 PM   #12
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If I found myself in the OP’s situation AND I had authorized a work order for the repairs, I would have a one on one meeting with the yard manager to review the charges. If that failed, my next step would be small claims court. Big difference contracting someone to dig a well and only get a hole in the ground.
Great analogy. I don’t mind at all paying for labor that produces results. I don’t like paying for incompetence or excessive on-the-job training.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:03 PM   #13
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1). We had a problem with one of the Waeco refrigerators not working on 12V DC (AC was fine). It took two techs several hours to consult manuals, diagnose a bad fan and replace it. Not fixed—and the original fan works fine. I called the manuf and their tech gave me a 5-minute procedure to determine whether it was the fan or compressor. The bill from the marina is $460 to replace a working fan.

2). I posted earlier this year about a clacking noise I heard in the starboard gearbox. The junior-level tech the yard sent over to do this work took the tranny off, said everything looked fine to him, reinstalled it and it still clacked. The second time he removed it, he took the damper plate to the shop and the service mgr—examining it properly—found it was cracked at the hub. That fixed the clacking but there was another serious problem that a different tech found that necessitated removing the gearbox a THIRD time.
2.(the gearbox) is easy. They missed the fractured damper plate first time around, and should not charge for that removal and refit.
1.(the fridge). Less easy, but it seems someone who held out they had fridge expertise did not, charged you for them learning on the job, and still got it wrong.
By our local standards, the deal with the yard is you pay and they do the work with (at least implied) expertise, in a "good and workmanlike" manner. I don`t think you got that in return for the amount charged,there was a "failure of consideration", i.e.you didn`t get what you paid for. It`s blatant with the fridge, $460 to replace something that didn`t need replacing and did nothing to fix the problem.
From reading your posts over the years, if you can get to meet with someone with authority and a working brain at the Marina,you will be persuasive and "should"(not my favourite word) reach a resolution.
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:40 PM   #14
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Thanks, Bruce. I’ll take that last part as a complement.

The “decider” in this case has a mercurial personality and can dig in hard when the mood hits him.

I do plan to approach as has been suggested and will post the outcome.
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:53 PM   #15
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Thanks, Bruce. I’ll take that last part as a complement.

The “decider” in this case has a mercurial personality and can dig in hard when the mood hits him.

I do plan to approach as has been suggested and will post the outcome.
Have you already paid the bill? If not you hold the advantage---as long as your boat is not at the marina.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:14 PM   #16
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Thanks, Bruce. I’ll take that last part as a complement.

The “decider” in this case has a mercurial personality and can dig in hard when the mood hits him.

I do plan to approach as has been suggested and will post the outcome.
Definitely meant as a compliment, hope it goes well.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:41 PM   #17
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If you are a Boat US member, you can contact them. Every month in their magazine are stories of them intervening to get to a resolution. Almost always, the boater is made whole.
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:08 PM   #18
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I had a problem with a yard in San Diego with repairs that were done poorly and some not done at all. The yard was in SD Bay and we docked the boat in Mission Bay. I picked the boat up and paid the bill and then ran the boat to our slip in Mission Bay. After arrival at our slip I started checking the work over. Took some photos of the poor work and the work not done. I went back to the yard and showed the manager the photos and also the white bilge kote paint on the carpet in the salon. The manager met with the workers and myself and fixed the bill. He said they would clean the carpet if possible or recarpet the boat if necessary, fortunately cleaning it worked fine. They then picked the boat up and ran it back to their yard, fixed the poor work and did the work they missed and ran the boat back to my slip. I guess I was lucky that it was a stand up boat yard. Good luck resolving your issues.
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:16 AM   #19
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Guess I have a sort of different take.

I expect the boatyard I use to get somethings correct the first time because they have done it correctly so many times. An example would be a cutlass bearing replacement. Determining the cause and repair of a refrigerator system that they may be unfamiliar with, not the same as a cutlass bearing. If you're going to have them try to fix something they are unfamiliar with, think you have to expect to pay for their learning curve. If you're not prepared to pay on a time and materials basis for the refrigerator repair, the manager should have declined to work on it.

While I am more sympathetic to the charges on the transmission, finding a "clack" in the transmission is also going to be trial and error. As more than one thing was wrong with the transmission, it doesn't seem that it was unreasonable for it to take 2 removals. If I were to make a case for reduction of labor, it would be for the first removal and the mechanic that couldn't find either problem, that did exist.

To me, asking a person who lacks expertise on a specific make model item, to find and fix a problem whose cause isn't obvious, assumes a certain amount of trial and error (that you're going to pay for). Taking the problem to an expert of the item assumes a higher labor rate, but not a trial and error repair approach.

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Old 12-17-2018, 08:48 AM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. OC. I disagree with paying for anyone's learning curve. IF one contracts a person or company to provide a service, one expects a certain level of proficiency. A true professional (either person or company) will knowingly admit their limitations and then let you decide whether or not to pay for their learning curve. If I'm paying $100/hr for work I do NOT appreciate $20/hr results or paying for 3 hours on a 1 hour job.



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