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Old 06-23-2018, 02:18 PM   #1
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Walker Bay boats

This is a long post, mostly background, with a request for suggestions at the end.

We have a Walker Bay Genesis RIB that the PO of my big boat had purchased new. The RIB was a pretty nice boat that met our needs well. We didn't take great care of it so after 7 seasons the PVC tubes had failed, though the hull was in great shape.

Walker Bay advertises that tube replacement is simple: "With a hull that will virtually last forever, Genesis is the first rigid hull inflatable boat of its size, which offers you the option to replace your tube. The hardwearing Genesis hull features a removable tube design, offering ease of maintenance or future tube replacement. Finally, a boat for life."

I contacted their Customer Service (CS) department last summer asking about a replacement tube. I was told that new tubes could be built in 10-12 days and directed to a video showing how to install the new tubes.

This spring I ordered the replacement tubes. What follows is a chronology of the process. I have a solid email trail on this experience and the dates and quotes are accurate.

Day 0 (April 9): Order for the new tubes placed.

Day 18: Am told the tubes are ready. My credit card is charged and a FedEx shipping label created.

Day 25: No tubes received. Am told they did not ship. Another shipping label is created.

Day 28: FedEx does not show they have shipped. Am told by CS they have shipped, and then that they haven't. I emphasize our desire to have the tubes delivered that week. A new FedEx shipping label is generated for an expedited shipment. The tubes are shipped, but using one of the previously created standard-shipping labels, not the expedited label.

Day 33: The tubes arrive but do not fit the boat. Investigation reveals the tubes are for an Odyssey model. I have a Genesis.

Day 30: I report the problem to WB. The response is: "It was and is my fault. I never asked and if it was a Genesis. We did ship you out the wrong tube kit. I will ship out the correct one this week, and return that on you have." My perspective is that mistakes happen and they have committed to resolve this one in a timely fashion. I try not to judge people/companies by their mistakes but rather how they handle them when they occur.

Day 38: Try to get a status update. No reply.

Day 42: Try again for an update. Response: "Am looking into the tube kit today and I will confirm when I will ship out by the end of the day." No update received.

Day 43: No update.

Day 44: No update.

Day 45: I try contacting Walker Bay via Facebook. Response: "Please bear with me and I will give you an update soon." No further update received.

An aside: The only published ways of contacting Walker Bay are via their webform and a telephone number that goes to Customer Service. In my experience that phone goes to voice mail 95% of the time and my messages there were not returned.

Day 47: I dispute the charge with my CC company. I tell Walker Bay I will remove the dispute when the tubes ship.

Day 49: I write a long email, asking in part for more information about the specific holdup. My words: "I need to know what is going on here--at least that would make me feel better about the process. Are you having supplier problems? Staff problems? Material shortages?" The reply: "There is no shortage any the mentioned. I will say that I was under the impression that you had a Odyssey and not a Genesis. That is where the mistake was made. That is all. I have programmed for another tube to be made asap. Once it is I will repalc3e the incorrect one and have that one returned to us. There is no problem, other than waiting for the new Genesis tube to be made and ship out to you at our earliest convenience."

Day 51: "We am was informed that we are out of fabric but we are receiving some this Friday. We will fabricate the tube kit that following Monday."

Day 57 (Tuesday): Try to get a status update. No reply. I manage to find the name of the Walker Bay "Director Sales and Marketing" (DSM), make a guess at an appropriate email address for them, and ask for their help resolving the situation.

Day 58: I receive a reply from the DSM: "I found that you did indeed order the wrong tube (Odyssey instead of Genesis) and now we are going through a return and replacement of that tube which takes time. I asked to make sure this was true and it was confirmed to me." CS, to their credit, stepped in and restated that the Odyssey/Genesis problem was their fault: "I will reemphasize that am to blame here. And I will fix it asap."

Day 59: "I just received confirmation from our production team here and they assure me it will be ready next week and so we will ship out then. Early next week I will give you a more precise date and ETA." I tell them to either send me the tube for free or cancel the damn order.

Day 65: ďJust as and curtesy for my mistake I will be shipping you a 270 Hypalon tube kit instead of a PVC which is better and the life span is much more.Ē

Day 66: My response: "Thank you for the offer.

To be clear: I'm not interested in paying anything for the new tube. If you're offering to ship this tube kit at no cost to me, I think that is an appropriate gesture and I would appreciate it.

If you're suggesting you'll send me a hypalon tube kit and charge me the cost of a PVC kit, please do not ship anything."

CS: ďNo sirÖ.itís at no cost to you. It is a customer appreciation gesture- nothing more- with no strings attached.Ē

Well, that makes me feel somewhat better.

However, later that same dayÖ ďI being informed that we received a charge back from your credit card. I was under the impression that you did in fact want the Genesis tube kit I offered you just yesterday. I guess I was wrong! I will cancel the order and the new tube Hypalon will NOT ship out today as scheduled. You can remove the chargeback from your bank and I will gladly refund your money. No need to go this route. We are not trying to keep your money in any way.Ē

I talk to my CC company about their perspective on the whole cancel-the-chargeback-and-let-the-company-just-refund-the-money idea. I wasnít inclined to cancel the chargeback, and the CC company strongly supported that position.

Day 70: I tell them again to just cancel the order and arrange for the pickup of the tubes they sent in error. I tell them Iíll start charging them $25/day for tube storage. No reply--just silence.

So, 70+ days in, numerous commitments missed, a number of communications from me ignored, and production of the correct tubes not even started. We've missed several weekends so far and been forced to reschedule our major summer trip. (Can't boat without the dog, and can't dog without the dinghy.) The CS people have stood up and admitted their mistake but that still hasn't resulted in a usable dinghy. Iím stuck storing a set of tubes that are useless to me. No one I can find in the company will even respond.

Maybe I've been fortunate up to now but this is the worst service I have ever experienced from any vendor or contractor I have tried to deal with. Ever. In my life.

I went out and bought a new Highfield. Nice dinghy thatíll meet our needs well.

Iíve got a hull for a Walker Bay Genesis that is perfectly usably IF someone could get new tubes for it. Iíd rather not dump it in a landfill but I donít see any other great options. Suggestions?

I also am serving as a warehouse for a set of Odyssey tubes I canít use. What is the process when the company says theyíll arrange for a return but never does? When do they become abandoned property?
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:09 PM   #2
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Wow. I would start by directing them to this site.
They just don't have a care in the world.
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Old 06-23-2018, 03:26 PM   #3
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Wow...these companies deserve to be out of business...unreal that people operate in this manner...
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:04 PM   #4
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All on them and their fault up until day 47. When you disputed the credit card charge, then you've ended it all. At that point, you have an obligation to return what you received and they have no further obligation. On Day 66, I'm sure the individual telling you there would be no charge was thinking you'd already paid so no additional charge.

Now, you've got no options as they wouldn't dare take another credit card payment from you. It would be cash in advance only. You might apologize for cancelling the card and drop that and take your chances on getting the hypalon tubes then.

Their service sucked. Their continuous promises and misses were horrible but you were stuck with them or finding a third party and there are actually third parties who do make and replace tubes.

Curious, was the order confirmed in writing? Did it indicate the boat model?

I am speaking as a merchant but as advice to everyone, disputing a card if a serious matter to most merchants. It's not just losing that charge, but it may put someone relatively small like Walker Bay at risk with their processor. It's like bringing a lawyer into the equation. It's a complete ending of any business taking place. It is sometimes done by mistake, such as one spouse not knowing what the other spouse purchased. It also will not be known to everyone in the company as it goes only to those in the accounting side.

You might have used other words to try to say what you wanted as an interpretation, but what your actions say is "I refuse to accept what I received and insist on my money back". From the credit card company there is no, "I will remove the dispute when the tubes ship". If you wanted to hold open the possibility, the way of doing that was allowing them to credit you before disputing, noting you still had time to dispute.

Now, my other advice is if you're getting jerked around by a vendor like this, do dispute the charge and get out of it all before 60 days pass. Do not let them string you on so that you give up your rights. Now, it is not 60 days from the date of the charge, but 60 days from the date of the first statement with the charge. Unfortunately for you, they then have two billing cycles to respond.

I would send certified mail notice relative to the tubes you have and are returning insisting on them being picked up within x days. As to the boat and getting tubes from Walker Bay, that bridge is likely burned.
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:32 PM   #5
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FWIW, I once bought a WB Genesis RIB with Hypalon tubes. The tubes started coming apart at the transom first time I used it. I tried returning it to the dealer, but they said they don't take returns on boats they sell. After some hassle I got it repaired under warranty by an inflatable boat repair place.

That boat met an untimely end not long after it was repaired. I figure it was jinxed from the start. I don't know how long the tubes would have lasted.
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
All on them and their fault up until day 47. When you disputed the credit card charge, then you've ended it all.
Quite possibly. I didn't feel I had much option. They had made and missed/ignored numerous commitments by that point and I felt I needed to protect my $. There was a clock ticking on that (though it hadn't fully run out).

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Now, you've got no options as they wouldn't dare take another credit card payment from you. It would be cash in advance only. You might apologize for cancelling the card and drop that and take your chances on getting the hypalon tubes then.
Not a problem. I have no desire to do any further business with them, ever.

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...there are actually third parties who do make and replace tubes.
Didn't know that. Anyone have recommendations for such a firm? At least it is worth investigating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Curious, was the order confirmed in writing? Did it indicate the boat model?
Well, all via email. There was a "quote" email, including my verbatim request that contained both the boat model and HIN. In this email, Walker Bay incorrectly labeled it as an Odyssey. Something no one caught.

As I said, mistakes happen. That didn't bother me and they could have easily corrected it and maintained good will. Didn't happen that way.

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I am speaking as a merchant but as advice to everyone, disputing a card if a serious matter to most merchants.
In this case, good! I may have disputed 2 other charges in the past 40 years, both of which were fraudulent. This is the first dispute I've ever opened for cause--it isn't something I did lightly.

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You might have used other words to try to say what you wanted as an interpretation, but what your actions say is "I refuse to accept what I received and insist on my money back".
That might well have been reasonable if I had any faith they would do what they promised. By that point I had little-to-none.

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I would send certified mail notice relative to the tubes you have and are returning insisting on them being picked up within x days.
Well, multiple problems here. I've sent such notice via email (and I have proof it was delivered and read, multiple times, in both Mexico and the DR), with no response. I have no belief that snail-mail would generate a different result. They don't have a 'real' US address as far as I can tell--all of their operations seem to be south of the border.

Assuming all I get is continued silence, then...?
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Old 06-23-2018, 06:58 PM   #7
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Iím really sorry to hear about this bad experience. I agree with you that any business can make a mistake (something that only folks who actually run businesses seem to understand) but it is the measure of a business as to how they address those errors. BandBís comments on your experience seem to be exactly on point. Once a business has lost all my confidence to the point that I want to cut all ties, then I would be happy to get my bank to reverse the CC charge. Having said that, I donít recall ever needing to do it.

FWIW, I have a WB Genesis Deluxe Open RIB that, like you, came with my boat. It was purchased new by the PO when he took delivery of his North Pacific. Currently, the RIB is 8 years old, having spent almost all that time on a SeaWise Davit (similar to a Weaver) on the swim step. As such it has been exposed to the elements 24/7 for 8 years. I believe the tubes are PVC rather than hypolon. The dinghy looks a bit rough as you might imagine, but it still is in remarkably good shape and I think it is well made.

My wife also would like another type of dinghy and while it wonít happens for a couple years, Iíve started to look around to see what is out there. WB has a Genesis 310 Deluxe Console RIB that looks like it would be workable. However, it isnít particularly easy to find much information about the boats and the only dealers they list around are West Marine. WM is fine, but they donít have show room facilities for RIBs.

Hearing how much difficulty they had resolving this issue, doesnít give me lot of confidence, even though I realize that this is just one example told from the customers viewpoint.

My impression is that the RIB boat business is probably a tough market to be in. Some manufacturers have come and gone, or seem to resurface at times under different ownership.

Given that.... What manufacturers of RIBs that are currently in business have TF members have had good recent experience?
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:15 PM   #8
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Waypoint marine in Seattle for walker bay boats. They have a show room and are always at the Seattle boat show. There is also a dealer in Bellingham. Never buy a pvc boat, they won’t last. My hypalon Avon lasted 25 years. Currently I have a WB Generations hypalon construction. Be careful, WB offers most of their boats in both types of fabric, or at least they used to.
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:18 PM   #9
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When it comes to inflatables I think your service is only as good as your local dealer. All inflatable boats that I know of are built some where else in the world.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:38 PM   #10
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In addition to dealers around the country, they have a US parts distributor with tubes.

http://shop.inflatableboatparts.com/...oat-parts.html

I don't know if they're any good or not but they're part of Bixler's Marine in Ringwood, NJ.

About Us - Bixlers Marine

I'd suggest calling Bixler if still interested in replacing your tubes. They're one of the independents I was referring to.

Your actions make sense, just that two things end all talk with most businesses, filing of a dispute or involving a lawyer. Both are necessary in some cases.

Interesting, after this discussion, I was reading about a scam operation online that the government did nothing about in spite of thousands of complaints, considering it small time. However, when they lost their credit card processing that was the beginning of the end.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:22 AM   #11
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I thought I'd loop back and conclude this story.

Day 84: I'm contacted by the Walker Bay "WarrantyAdministrator" who offers to assist me "to solve this issue as soon as possible". I reply there are two issues: I don't have the tube I need and I'm warehousing the tube they sent in error that WB needs to arrange to have picked up and returned.

Day 87: WB makes the same offer they made before (and I rejected). Specifically, I pay them for a PVC tube and they'll supply a Hypalon tube for the same price, and not charge me for the return of the tube they sent in error.

My response: "That is not acceptable to me. The aggravation and disruption to my family summer plans is more significant than your offer... Proper compensation in this case would be for Walker Bay to supply the originally promised tube kit at no charge to me. That is what would be required to repair my opinion of Walker Bay....

Here is a proposal: Ship a new Genesis tube for no cost and arrange return of the Odyssey tube. I'll waive the storage charge."

Day 91: "What you are stating is absurd! I will by no means ship out another tube at no charge and you still have the charge back not removed. This is an abuse and let me be clear we will also take appropriate measures so we can return what is legally ours."

Note I've repeatedly asked them to arrange the return of the tube they sent in error. I wonder what these "appropriate measures" will be..

Later that same day I'm told WB will be turning this matter over to their bank.

Day 97: I get email from FedEx that WB has generated a shipping label for me. I pack up the incorrect tube and send it back.

Day 114: I check with the credit card company. The chargeback is fully resolved in my favor. WB never bothered to dispute the chargeback. The window for them to do so has closed.

So I've got a new Highfield dinghy that works very nicely. I've got a WB hull that is worthless to me--will probably just put it on CL for $0. And we lost some long-planned vacation time on the boat.

A few other thoughts:

First, folks may be thinking: "Ok, cute story, but you're not telling all the details. No reason WB would behave this way unless you'd done something significant to warrant it." That is what *I* would be thinking in reading this story if it were written by someone else. But no, I haven't left anything out. Up until around day 70 I went out of my way to be understanding with them and not take a hostile approach. After the first few communications with them I did everything by email and have a complete log of our interactions.

Second, I've written this in part because I think we can help each other by sharing stories, good and bad, about players in the boating market. I know I appreciate such info when I see it. It significantly impacts who I am likely to buy from.

Finally, I know others here have had to deal with MUCH worse situations than I have. I feel greatly for those folks.
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Old 08-02-2018, 12:10 PM   #12
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Thank you for the follow-up.

I know someone who is looking for a similar tender for his boat. This thread will be of interest to him. I'll forward the link to him shortly.

It is not just the initial sale. Service is critical too. And you're right -- everyone makes mistakes. It's how the repercussions are handled that mark the difference between companies. The ball was dropped.

Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:33 PM   #13
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And you're right -- everyone makes mistakes. It's how the repercussions are handled that mark the difference between companies. The ball was dropped.
We really learn about companies when there are problems or mistakes.

One of my largest vendors years ago was one who had the biggest problem but they made everyone right, including us and including our customers.

When this subject comes up, I always think of Tylenol. Most incredible job ever of handling a complete disaster. Saved the brand, saved the company.
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Old 08-02-2018, 02:21 PM   #14
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I am glad that your long ordeal is over. WB certainly had a long series of errors and poor customer service in their dealings with you.



However, I don't blame them for not wanting to provide you with a tube at no charge.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:42 AM   #15
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Hmm

Dave, I will very respectfully disagree with you on this one. The initial website promise of the ease of replacing the tubes, the length and amount of time spent on this matter by the OP, his difficulties in reaching someone/anyone at Walker Bay who could capably handle the initial mishap, and then their numerous broken promises of imminent shipment... it all adds up to an extremely frustrating experience that the OP handled with tremendous perseverance and aplomb until his patience finally ran out.

If this had happened to me, the only way Walker Bay could have barely made amends for their numerous mistakes would have been to ship me the tubes without charge at this point. It's simply what I would expect from an ethical company.


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Old 08-10-2018, 12:46 AM   #16
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Dave, I will very respectfully disagree with you on this one. The initial website promise of the ease of replacing the tubes, the length and amount of time spent on this matter by the OP, his difficulties in reaching someone/anyone at Walker Bay who could capably handle the initial mishap, and then their numerous broken promises of imminent shipment... it all adds up to an extremely frustrating experience that the OP handled with tremendous perseverance and aplomb until his patience finally ran out.

If this had happened to me, the only way Walker Bay could have barely made amends for their numerous mistakes would have been to ship me the tubes without charge at this point. It's simply what I would expect from an ethical company.


Pea

It seems all of the organizations in the world are clueless on this one.

Don't waste my time. This is the most egregious personal violation of the highest degree. Why don't you just shackle me and lock me in a cage while you are at it? Don't waste my time. Not to mention taking my money under false pretense … but it's the time.

Put me through what the OP went through and twenty minutes into it I'm picturing you in your worthless little plastic dink, stranded in the middle of the ocean and I'm feeling it's too good for you.

Ask me how I really feel.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:45 AM   #17
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I`d hazard a guess WB could get the material to make hypalon tubes but not PVC ones,and for some reason couldn`t bring themselves to say so.

What a mess. Communication is everything in business.
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