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Old 03-02-2020, 09:30 AM   #1
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Mechanic bill dispute

Called mechanic to work on main engine and Gen. He started working on engine but couldn't get it running. He said needed parts for carb. worked on Gen but couldn't fix that either. He said Carb needed to be rebuilt. Total of 1 hr on boat. Came back another time to replace carb on Gen. That didn't fix it. 1/2 hr on boat. Replaced fuel lift pump on another visit, still wouldn't run. Said he needed to talk to Westerbeke to solve the problem. Another 45 mins. On main engine my neighbor came over and fixed the problem in less than 1 hr. What should I pay the mechanic that didn't fix anything?

Told Mechanic I was sending Gen Carb to another shop for repair; since he didn't know what was going on. I told him to send bill for what was owed. Received invoice for parts replaced, and 10 hrs of labor. How should I handle the payment since he didn't fix anything and is charging for 10 hrs of labor?

WHAT SHOLULD I DO?
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:41 AM   #2
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Called mechanic to work on main engine and Gen. He started working on engine but couldn't get it running. He said needed parts for carb. worked on Gen but couldn't fix that either. He said Carb needed to be rebuilt. Total of 1 hr on boat. Came back another time to replace carb on Gen. That didn't fix it. 1/2 hr on boat. Replaced fuel lift pump on another visit, still wouldn't run. Said he needed to talk to Westerbeke to solve the problem. Another 45 mins. On main engine my neighbor came over and fixed the problem in less than 1 hr. What should I pay the mechanic that didn't fix anything?

Told Mechanic I was sending Gen Carb to another shop for repair; since he didn't know what was going on. I told him to send bill for what was owed. Received invoice for parts replaced, and 10 hrs of labor. How should I handle the payment since he didn't fix anything and is charging for 10 hrs of labor?

WHAT SHOLULD I DO?
You hired him. What does your contract with him say? I'm betting you don't have one, guessing he's a freelancer, found at a discount? Unfortunately, you pay for time and not results. All that really matters is did he spend 10 hours. You selected him, you determined his qualifications for the job.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:47 AM   #3
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Ask for itemized bill.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:57 AM   #4
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Ask for itemized bill.
He has that, the parts replaced and 10 hours labor.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:00 AM   #5
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I think what BandB said above applies.
In other words, pay him.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:39 AM   #6
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I agree with BandB however call and talk to him about the amount of time and travel. If that doesn't work, the pay him. Most marine techs here in Portland is over $100 an hour and rely on word of mouth to generate business. If he isn't that good his reputation will kill him off.
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Old 03-02-2020, 11:53 AM   #7
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Not an unknown technique in automotive field. Just keep replacing until it finally works. No solutions that I know of. If you don't pay he can haul you into small claims court. May result in a reduction, maybe not. Lot of aggravation.

If you are sure of his hours, send him an appropriate amount with an itemized explanation. He may just accept it and move on.
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Old 03-02-2020, 12:49 PM   #8
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He replaced a lift pump, he replaced a carburetor, and spent some time troubleshooting. All of this labor includes travel time. I suspect he has a minimum number of billable hours. Even if his mini is 1 hr, anything under 1 hr. gets billed as 1 hr. He is more than likely based on the 'book' time.

You get billed on parts and labor not 'fixed/no fixed'. It'll be hard to refute the billable hours.
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:20 PM   #9
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If he files a mechanics lien you are screwed. If you go to court you will probably lose since he DID come to your boat and he DID replace parts. Chalk it up to experience and pay him. If you want: offer 75% and see if he will accept it.
This is why the cheapest tech is often the most expensive and the most expensive service companies are often the cheapest. They may have a higher hourly rate, but they fix it the first time they come out.
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:46 PM   #10
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When I've found myself in similar situations I approach the tech in a firm but respectful manner to explain why I think the bill is too high. I then ask for a break. Sometimes Ihave been asked what I think is fair. This approach usually results in a significant reduction. Good luck
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:47 PM   #11
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If he files a mechanics lien you are screwed. If you go to court you will probably lose since he DID come to your boat and he DID replace parts. Chalk it up to experience and pay him. If you want: offer 75% and see if he will accept it.
This is why the cheapest tech is often the most expensive and the most expensive service companies are often the cheapest. They may have a higher hourly rate, but they fix it the first time they come out.
I looked a bit and in Louisiana he likely can't file a mechanic's lien unless there was a written contract giving him that right. The mechanic can sue in small claims and likely win.
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:51 PM   #12
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It sounds as if you can document how much time he spent aboard, keep in mind it isn't unusual to charge an hour's labor for any part of an hour. Based on that it sounds as if he spent 3 hours (rounded up) on your boat. It's reasonable to assume he had to make some calls off the boat looking for parts, however 7 hours would seem excessive. I'd discuss this with him in a calm fashion. As others have said, reputable mechanics are sensitive about their reputations and it is possible that he'll compromise. However, you'll still be responsible to pay him for the time he spent. The fact he didn't fix the problem isn't really relevant.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:06 PM   #13
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He has that, the parts replaced and 10 hours labor.
I suspect he was charged travel time. that was not apparent in his post. itemization would make that apparent.
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:11 PM   #14
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I suspect he was charged travel time. that was not apparent in his post. itemization would make that apparent.
I would also guess that the carburetor that was rebuilt took some time at his shop or elsewhere and that these times reported by the OP were just him stepping on and off the boat best case.
It is quite easy to add up to 10 hours when considering acquiring parts, rebuilding carb and getting to and from both the boat and the parts.
YMMV
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:24 PM   #15
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A mechanic should test parts before replacing and have a reason for replacing. Repair should start with fuel supply to delivery system. Mechanic is the most important word in this sentence. Of course this is for a standard repair, like my motor will not run, not an electrical short. A mechanic should have knowledge of basic electrical systems and have access to the unknown information. Mechanic vs i work on boats guy.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:28 PM   #16
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I would also guess that the carburetor that was rebuilt took some time at his shop or elsewhere and that these times reported by the OP were just him stepping on and off the boat best case.
It is quite easy to add up to 10 hours when considering acquiring parts, rebuilding carb and getting to and from both the boat and the parts.
YMMV
What am I missing? He worked on two diesels. What carburetor?
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:48 PM   #17
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I thought they were a gas inboard and a gas generator. Westerbeke made both diesel and gasoline generators and may still do so.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:51 PM   #18
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I thought they were a gas inboard and a gas generator. Westerbeke made both diesel and gasoline generators and may still do so.
Possible, I suppose, but he seems to have a 45' Roughwater... I was unaware Westerbeake made gas engines!
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:55 PM   #19
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I took it as gas. He said carburetor.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:41 PM   #20
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What am I missing? He worked on two diesels. What carburetor?
Read in original post.
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