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Old 12-17-2018, 08:51 AM   #21
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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.

Ted
Hi, Ted. I could agree with you on the fridge if it had not taken me just a few minutes to call Dometic/Waeco tech support and be told how to isolate the problem with a simple procedure. In retrospect, I would have tackled this if a) we had not been scrambling to get underway and b) I was more comfortable fixing refrigeration problems. Why the tech had to read manuals, make multiple trips back to the shop for tools, call in a colleague for a consult—and still get it wrong—is what I object to. Also, I’d expect the yard to know if the person they’re sending to work on a particular system is qualified.

On the gearbox, it was actually three removals. I’m only contesting the first of them when the tech failed to take the damper plate to the shop for a proper exam.

Really not trying to nickel and dime the boat yard, but I do believe a portion of the $2400 total bill I received for these two repairs was improper. But if it turns out I have to pay full freight for this, I’ll chalk it up to an expensive learning experience.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:05 AM   #22
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Never an easy task, but selecting a yard that (1) has the right skilled guys for the task and (2) stands behind their work is, to a big part, on the owner's shoulders.

Over the years we've spent considerable yard funds in keeping the boat up. Some work was not done right and re-done on the yard's dime. Other times we bit the bullet, paid up, and learned who to avoid or how to better direct.

As Hollywood says, owner skills are a huge plus. Even if not hands on application, knowing how to help direct the techs and others in troubleshooting and actions is essential.

Now onto troubleshooting the Maretron satellite compass that has always been problematic ---
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:56 AM   #23
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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.



During a previous life I referred several clients other facilities better able to meet their needs. I lost the job and the revenue but the client was much better served.


^^^^
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:06 AM   #24
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Hi, Ted. I could agree with you on the fridge if it had not taken me just a few minutes to call Dometic/Waeco tech support and be told how to isolate the problem with a simple procedure. In retrospect, I would have tackled this if a) we had not been scrambling to get underway and b) I was more comfortable fixing refrigeration problems. Why the tech had to read manuals, make multiple trips back to the shop for tools, call in a colleague for a consult—and still get it wrong—is what I object to. Also, I’d expect the yard to know if the person they’re sending to work on a particular system is qualified.

On the gearbox, it was actually three removals. I’m only contesting the first of them when the tech failed to take the damper plate to the shop for a proper exam.

Really not trying to nickel and dime the boat yard, but I do believe a portion of the $2400 total bill I received for these two repairs was improper. But if it turns out I have to pay full freight for this, I’ll chalk it up to an expensive learning experience.
Think we said the same think on the gearbox, pay for two removals, but not the first.

If you ask an electrician to fix your refrigerator, you pay the electrician labor rate for a handyman, at best.

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Old 12-17-2018, 10:14 AM   #25
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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.



During a previous life I referred several clients other facilities better able to meet their needs. I lost the job and the revenue but the client was much better served.
While I wasn't there for the conversation, I doubt technician was billed as a refrigerator repairman. If the OP accepted that, and authorized the work, then it's on the OP as time and materials. If the technician was represented as competent in refrigerator repair, then the situation is different.

I would agree with your last statement. If I had been the manager, I would have declined to work on the refrigerator.

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Old 12-17-2018, 10:21 AM   #26
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I feel your pain ... and good luck with that !



I had a leaking Trim Tab Hyd. Cylinder, I told my marina to just go and replace it. They sent me a separate bill for $ 100.00 just to look at it so they could order the new one. The actual replacement was extra .... LOL Either way, they got us ! that's the nature of the industry .... fb
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:49 AM   #27
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For the most part, these things can be solve ahead of time.

I can't imagine anyone employing the services of a boat yard to expect substandard work or unqualified work, regardless of what it is.

Even if someone is cleaning the boat, which is not particularly a highly skilled job, we expect the cleaner to be competent at cleaning, and comes with experience.

In the OPs case, clearly both jobs involved incompetence. The yard should have sent a skilled person to do the job, not a rookie that knew nothing.

I would expect to pay the price that a competent mechanic would have charged to do the job. And occasionally the competent mech has to look in the book for specs, details wiring diagrams, etc., but should know a trouble shooting procedure, follow it and solve the problem. We didn't have that in either case.

We also expect a competent mech to be able to look at things while they're doing the job and correct any other discrepancies that show up, and notify the owner. If we order an impeller changed, and in removing the supply hose we would expect the mechanic to notice if the hose is cracked or defective and not simply put a failing hose back on. Same with the transmission.

=====
So, we discuss all of the above prior, and if possible get a price for a competent repair. Or at LEAST, get a price after a reasonable inspection.

Anytime my boat is in the hands of a yard, OR a large job, perhaps over $500 I'll use MY contract. I provides for all of the above. It also provides for a bonus for early accomplishment and a penalty for a late job. Both are very generous, with the penalty cause starting with a 50% additional time allowance. If they don't agree to it, I don't do business.

The only times I've had major issues is when my contract is not used.

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Absolutely, the shop owes you a refund!
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:45 PM   #28
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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?
We've gotten lazy in how we deal with some issues and using ineffective means. At this point, I'd recommend making an appointment to meet with the ultimate decision maker, whether the marina manager or the owner or whomever. There is still a huge benefit to sitting down face to face, calmly and relaxed, and having a discussion. This allows you also to put it in proper context.

I'd approach like this.

Thank you for meeting with me today. I want to start by saying I've been here four years and very much enjoyed it and generally been very happy with the service. However, there are two instances which I do feel haven't been up to your normal standards. Then I'd outline the two you did above and I'd be prepared if and when they asked what you were seeking or thought would be fair with a truly fair number. Keep in mind they did spend time and did the work, just not right work. In such cases I often find 50% reduction of those charges to be appropriate. It's sharing of the loss. Is it fair? Should you get everything back? I can argue you should but seeking such isn't conducive to a fair resolution and more likely to get you nothing.

Understand as you go in, it's you who is seeking something, who is asking for an accommodation. They don't have to do anything. That's why I'd always approach it as one asking for their help rather than telling them what they must do. It's also why I suggest face to face. You can more easily come across as a reasonable man and they are far more likely face to face to want to make you happy. Easy to say "no" by email or phone. Far more difficult in a face to face discussion.

In the circumstances, I couldn't do face to face, I'd try for webcam but if that wasn't possible, go to phone and only with the one capable of making the decision. Still phone misses all the subtleties of expression. I use email after discussion to confirm my understanding of what was agreed upon.

Now, when I will use email or mail is when I am unable to make contact and then I do a thorough email covering all aspects and matters and my inability to reach the individual. I make it very complete though.

I see young people try to handle disputes by text message and inevitably each volley becomes a little uglier and soon it deteriorates into a terminal fight.
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Old 12-17-2018, 01:37 PM   #29
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lets take a dead battery scenario as an example.
Start your engine, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They replace the battery. Starts OK that afternoon.
Next morning, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They charge battery, replace the alternator. Starts OK that afternoon.
Next morning, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They charge battery, replace the ignition switch. Starts OK.
Next morning, Starts OK.

So you bought a battery and an alternator to fix a shorted ignition switch.
Who pays? You. PO'd? Probably. But it is simply the Tao of things.
Find another yard, buy a VOM, go for a long cruise.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:00 PM   #30
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lets take a dead battery scenario as an example.
Start your engine, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They replace the battery. Starts OK that afternoon.
Next morning, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They charge battery, replace the alternator. Starts OK that afternoon.
Next morning, nothing happens. Call yard shop.
They charge battery, replace the ignition switch. Starts OK.
Next morning, Starts OK.

So you bought a battery and an alternator to fix a shorted ignition switch.
Who pays? You. PO'd? Probably. But it is simply the Tao of things.
Find another yard, buy a VOM, go for a long cruise.
It seems a lot of marine technicians do not understand or how to perform troubleshooting. It appears the troubleshooting is simply throwing parts at an issue until they find what fixes it. This costs you a lot of $$$ Sad the industry has stooped to this.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:30 PM   #31
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It seems a lot of marine technicians do not understand or how to perform troubleshooting. It appears the troubleshooting is simply throwing parts at an issue until they find what fixes it. This costs you a lot of $$$ Sad the industry has stooped to this.
So, here's my story. Before leaving Maryland last May to do the Loop I had a reputable yard replace the damper plates on my two Lehman's. The engines had 5,300 hours and there was no record of them ever having been replaced. Given that American Diesel suggests that the service life of damper plates is 2,500 hours, I did some preventive maintenance.

Well, while going thru the eight stair-step locks in Ottawa, a drivesaver fractured and I lost port propulsion, in the locks. That day I was thankful for having twins. I found two of the four flange mounting bolts in the bilge. The other two were only finger tight. The mechanic made two mistakes. He didn't tighten the bolts, reused old, tired bolts, and not Loctite. It cost me $1,300 for the repair plus seven days transient docking. I was lucky it happened in a populated area and not somewhere in the boondocks of the Georgian Bay. I was able to run 18 miles on one engine to a good marina.

When I get back to my home marina next May, I will be having a conversation with the yard manager. However, I expect I will get nothing but "not me's".
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Old 12-17-2018, 08:31 PM   #32
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When I get back to my home marina next May, I will be having a conversation with the yard manager. However, I expect I will get nothing but "not me's".
I wouldn't wait. Send them a copy of the bill and demand payment.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:22 PM   #33
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We've gotten lazy in how we deal with some issues and using ineffective means. At this point, I'd recommend making an appointment to meet with the ultimate decision maker, whether the marina manager or the owner or whomever. There is still a huge benefit to sitting down face to face, calmly and relaxed, and having a discussion. This allows you also to put it in proper context.

I'd approach like this.

Thank you for meeting with me today. I want to start by saying I've been here four years and very much enjoyed it and generally been very happy with the service. However, there are two instances which I do feel haven't been up to your normal standards. Then I'd outline the two you did above and I'd be prepared if and when they asked what you were seeking or thought would be fair with a truly fair number. Keep in mind they did spend time and did the work, just not right work. In such cases I often find 50% reduction of those charges to be appropriate. It's sharing of the loss. Is it fair? Should you get everything back? I can argue you should but seeking such isn't conducive to a fair resolution and more likely to get you nothing.

Understand as you go in, it's you who is seeking something, who is asking for an accommodation. They don't have to do anything. That's why I'd always approach it as one asking for their help rather than telling them what they must do. It's also why I suggest face to face. You can more easily come across as a reasonable man and they are far more likely face to face to want to make you happy. Easy to say "no" by email or phone. Far more difficult in a face to face discussion.

In the circumstances, I couldn't do face to face, I'd try for webcam but if that wasn't possible, go to phone and only with the one capable of making the decision. Still phone misses all the subtleties of expression. I use email after discussion to confirm my understanding of what was agreed upon.

Now, when I will use email or mail is when I am unable to make contact and then I do a thorough email covering all aspects and matters and my inability to reach the individual. I make it very complete though.

I see young people try to handle disputes by text message and inevitably each volley becomes a little uglier and soon it deteriorates into a terminal fight.
BandB,

So, they had time involved. And it was by an incompetent person that simply wasted your time and you think 50% payment on a job that has a negative value is fair???

I'd be nice, but politely explain that I got nothing and suffered time and inconvenience. I might start by asking, "how to you intend to make me whole?" before the next step.

Depending on his reaction, I'd make my next move. If the vendor does nothing after trying to solve the problem my next step would be:

You charge me NOTHING, and give me an additional $xxx for my inconvenience and time wasted on getting nothing done and time lost. And I won't take you to court and sue you for much more.

He REALLY should fix the problem at fair value, and reimburse me for time and opportunity lost. That would be the honorable thing to do.

If he tried to weasel out of things, I would make my intentions know and file a small claims action, naming him, the marina and the mechanic.

Then I'd hope he would come to the table to fix things right.

Personally, I would not want to continue with the suit, because no one wins, especially if lawyers get involved. However, one could recover more than nothing.

Fortunately, I've never been to court with a marine issue. I've had a few when I failed to use my contract that should have gone to court.

The goal, however, is to prevent this incompetence.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:47 PM   #34
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BandB,

So, they had time involved. And it was by an incompetent person that simply wasted your time and you think 50% payment on a job that has a negative value is fair???

I'd be nice, but politely explain that I got nothing and suffered time and inconvenience. I might start by asking, "how to you intend to make me whole?" before the next step.

Depending on his reaction, I'd make my next move. If the vendor does nothing after trying to solve the problem my next step would be:

You charge me NOTHING, and give me an additional $xxx for my inconvenience and time wasted on getting nothing done and time lost. And I won't take you to court and sue you for much more.

He REALLY should fix the problem at fair value, and reimburse me for time and opportunity lost. That would be the honorable thing to do.

If he tried to weasel out of things, I would make my intentions know and file a small claims action, naming him, the marina and the mechanic.

Then I'd hope he would come to the table to fix things right.

Personally, I would not want to continue with the suit, because no one wins, especially if lawyers get involved. However, one could recover more than nothing.

Fortunately, I've never been to court with a marine issue. I've had a few when I failed to use my contract that should have gone to court.

The goal, however, is to prevent this incompetence.
Well stated and lines up with my feelings.

In most small claims, depending on the State, lawyers are not permitted. You represent yourself and the marina/owner represents themselves.

Great Post!!
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:22 PM   #35
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There is an old adage: "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar".
"Horses for Courses",always, but it really matters how you go about resolving a dispute like Angus has. You can lose the chance of a successful resolution in the first few seconds if you go about it the wrong way. Having reading Angus`s posts for several years, I`m sure he will choose a sensible in person approach, even if he has to grit his teeth a little to do it.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:08 AM   #36
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Well stated and lines up with my feelings.

In most small claims, depending on the State, lawyers are not permitted. You represent yourself and the marina/owner represents themselves.

Great Post!!
And small claims in situations like this are generally impossible to win. You need an expert to write or testify that the work they did perform was wrong. Just saying there was more work required doesn't prove that. Not easy to find an expert to testify such in a small claims court especially if they didn't see the boat early in the process. That's why I suggest that the ultimate solution will be a compromise of some sort. Both parties will feel better than nothing but like they still deserved more.
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Old 12-18-2018, 03:54 AM   #37
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And small claims in situations like this are generally impossible to win. You need an expert to write or testify that the work they did perform was wrong. Just saying there was more work required doesn't prove that. Not easy to find an expert to testify such in a small claims court especially if they didn't see the boat early in the process. That's why I suggest that the ultimate solution will be a compromise of some sort. Both parties will feel better than nothing but like they still deserved more.
BandB,

Agreed, a settlement is probably easier, especially with small dollars. But in this case there's probably enough dollars to warrant a few hour fighting it, IF that's the only recourse. Small claims is pretty easy, but a written agreement PRIOR to work being done is really a key point.

But, it's pretty easy to prove: I hired him to do X, he did not do X, and subpoena the employees that did the work and you'd probably win.

I don't go to court anymore (usually) but back when I had a lot going on, business, real estate deals, etc., I did. I never lost a case and collected on better than half of them. But, always had an agreement on what was to be done, sold, bought, etc.

Also, there's an argument to never have a job done on time and materials. If there are unknowns, decide on how much to inspect and come up with a solid quote, and put limits on things. Again, the understandings need to be done prior to work.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:59 AM   #38
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Folks, I really appreciate the well-considered advice. I do need to clarify a couple of points. First, the marina in question is 800 miles from where I live so a face-to-face—by far my preferred approach—is not realistic. I also strongly believe in a civil, thoughtful, non-threatening approach. Shooting from the hip never got me anywhere. The owner—who will ultimately decide this issue—can be calm and reasonable or volcanic bordering on abusive. It all depends on what else is going on that day. (The one time he pulled that with me I brought him up short and it hasn’t happened again.) I did call again yesterday, but only got voicemail. I’ll try again today.

I also need to clarify that, after finally locating the itemized statement, I see that the marina had already deducted a couple hours of labor for the three gearbox removals. This represents a good faith effort on their part—but also makes it unlikely they’ll budge further on what are still excessive charges for that work. So, I’ll likely cave on that one while pursuing the refrigerator “repair,” which is still an egregious overcharge in my view.

This has been a great discussion. I’d like to hear more about how others establish expectations with boatyards on the front end—especially if you are able to negotiate work for a flat fee vs time and materials. The few boatyards I’ve dealt with adamantly refuse this arrangement. If you’ve been successful with this approach, how do you think it ultimately affects out-of-pocket? Does it ever affect the quality of work?
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:47 AM   #39
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This has been a great discussion. I’d like to hear more about how others establish expectations with boatyards on the front end—especially if you are able to negotiate work for a flat fee vs time and materials. The few boatyards I’ve dealt with adamantly refuse this arrangement. If you’ve been successful with this approach, how do you think it ultimately affects out-of-pocket? Does it ever affect the quality of work?
There's some work that adapts very well to flat fee pricing, although even it may often entail change orders along the way. Our yard provides "not to exceed" estimates on all work just like auto shops are required to do in many states. I don't see work like that you had done being easy to do on a per job basis however as there are too many unknowns going in. The problem ultimately was not the method of charging but the quality of work.

Flat rate pricing has some disadvantages to the consumer. First, a smart yard is going to pad the rate and it will on average cost more. Second, there's still nothing preventing discovering a need for additional work and contacting you and getting you to sign off on the additional charge. Third, just as time and materials runs into the possibility of padding time, flat charges runs into the possibility of taking short cuts or not doing everything that should be done.

Ultimately, the solution is a good working relationship and trust and the ability to resolve any issues amicably.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:29 AM   #40
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My yard goal has always been to not exceed twice the original estimate and twice the time needed to finish. Usually I am within my goal.
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