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Old 07-12-2017, 11:32 PM   #1
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Some advice needed.

I do not want to break protocol by asking this but I need a little advice. I live in Canada but keep my boat in the states. I contracted a company to do some work on my boat (no names will be used). What should have been at most a 20 to 25 hour job has now gone on for 6 weeks and is still not completed. Not knowing US laws and consumer issues anyone can tell me the best way to deal with this. In Canada I would be suing them.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by C.O.S.T. View Post
I do not want to break protocol by asking this but I need a little advice. I live in Canada but keep my boat in the states. I contracted a company to do some work on my boat (no names will be used). What should have been at most a 20 to 25 hour job has now gone on for 6 weeks and is still not completed. Not knowing US laws and consumer issues anyone can tell me the best way to deal with this. In Canada I would be suing them.
How does your contract read? That's the governing document. Does it detail the work well, set a dollar amount and give a date expected to be completed? What does the fine print say about time?

Six weeks isn't uncommon for a 20 to 25 hour job from a new customer (not regular) in the busiest season of the year. Also, what type work was to be done? The more specialized the work, the easier to understand. Yards are often very short of skill in certain areas.

Assuming you took the boat in to them in late May and depending on the nature of the work, there are yards that would not have accepted it or told you it would be September. Many yards do find their work load easing up after the 4th of July.

One other thing. If you could prove they were in violation of the contract, you'd then have the burden of proving monetary damages. Just being slow doesn't have a price tag or dollar amount attached to it, nor generally does loss of use or opportunity unless you chose a costly option of renting or chartering a boat.

You really need to travel to the yard, talk to the manager, and see how you might resolve the problem. Suing is not going to get you your boat faster. In fact, it's more likely to get you billed for work to date and told to pay that and then pick it up. Litigation seldom expedites anything. It only recovers damages.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:13 AM   #3
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Have you been talking to the yard regularly? If so, Do they have a valid reason for taking so long, like some unforeseen issue, waiting on backordered parts, you weren't making timely decisions when they asked, etc. or are they simply incompetent?

I'm not an attorney but being in the construction business I will say You can pretty much sue for anything in the U.S. Generally you'd have to prove you were "harmed" in some way...monetarily if they gouge you on the price for example, or if you can show that the delay cost you in some definable way. Could be in "Small Claims" court (where you could represent yourself) or a higher court depending on the value of the claim.
The thing is, they have your boat, so the timing of a threat to sue can be important. Better to get the boat back first. And not in pieces.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:22 AM   #4
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What is/was the job?
Was there a quote?
Any progress billing?
Have there been unexpected issues?
What reporting have you received?
What do they say when you express concern about time elapsing?
How far are you from them? (Kms/hours drive)
Have you visited them?
Is there any suggestion 25 hours became 6 weeks work, or are they just slow?

I`m with B&B,suing(for what?)is not likely to be the answer, at this stage anyway.
When I get major work done I`m there, a lot, but that may not be practical here.
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Old 07-13-2017, 12:50 AM   #5
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I know you don't want to give too many specifics, but the details will make a big difference. If they were supposed to replace a plank...and found the stringer was rotten.....they kind of have to replace the stringer now....and since they only budgeted so many hours and have other customers waiting....your stringer job might get pushed to the bottom of the list. I'm not sure you'd have much recourse here.

If they were fixing a leaky fuel tank....accidentally filled your bilge with 200 gallons of fuel and can't seem to clean it up. Call a lawyer.

The first thing to know is did they give you a completion date in writing and did the job turn out to be more complex than they thought ? Was it more complex because they didn't know what they were doing...or was it just one of those things that there was no way to foresee.

What reasons have they given you for the delay ?

For a quick primer on US tort law, google "reasonable man standard"
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