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Old 06-03-2023, 10:07 AM   #1
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Shipyard Drama - Advice Appreciated

With a 2 week old $2401.20 estimate in hand I contracted a local shipyard to apply 2 coats of bottom paint to our 32' fiberglass GB. No additional work was performed and I received a final bill for $3616.59 - Almost 51% more than the 'estimate'.

Never a phone call, conversation or even a hint the price would be different (and the estimate clearly states if charges go over they will call before proceeding). But again, not a peep from anyone.

I'm not sure it matters but fwiw the bottom was in good shape when it came out of the water - There were compliments from several yard employees. And the paint, I'm told, was already in stock.

I questioned the yard manager, received no help, paid the bill and left. A very unhappy customer. Has anyone else experienced a similar situation? Any ideas? Lick my wounds and move on? TIA!
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Old 06-03-2023, 10:13 AM   #2
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Assume most of the extra was labor. Beyond them stating hours might ask where the additional labor hours were spent.

Have found social media does have some clout. If things go poorly would contemplate disclosure you will share the specifics of your experience. Have had poor marina (not service yard) experiences. On occasion if unsatisfactory enough will share on the internet.
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Old 06-03-2023, 10:28 AM   #3
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I've had exactly the same experience with a reputable yard where I had been a returning customer for some years. New yard management was unresponsive, and the owner shrugged me off with some lame platitudes. Reading that as a signal that my business no longer mattered around there, I paid their bill and never went back.

A yard has to earn profits, I get that. But customers deserve to be treated like something more than walking ATMs.
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Old 06-03-2023, 10:49 AM   #4
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This is a complex subject. Let’s assume you used a yard with a decent reputation.

First there are always two sides to the story. What exactly was the estimate for and what exactly did you get?

From the yard’s perspective every boat coming into the yard just for bottom paint has another issue. This is not a money grab, it’s the truth. The yard can’t predict what it will find so it gives an estimate on just doing the bottom paint assuming everything thing is perfect. What about haul out fees and lay days? Often these are not included in bottom paint estimates. This is often due to a different entity having the haul out responsibility.

Then there are the casual conversations were the boat owner suggests possibilities and the yard interprets this as additional assignments.

Not having both sides of the conversation makes it difficult to say just how you were treated vs how things may have gotten misunderstood.
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micki View Post
With a 2 week old $2401.20 estimate in hand I contracted a local shipyard to apply 2 coats of bottom paint to our 32' fiberglass GB. No additional work was performed and I received a final bill for $3616.59 - Almost 51% more than the 'estimate '
Looks like you've been snookered on a technicality. I've had this happen too and am now a bit wiser. Now ask whether this is an 'estimate' or a 'quote.'

Assuming the exact work on the estimate is indeed all that was done on final bill (eg no prop polishing, etc.), I'd slam them on reviews. Screenshots of email estimate and final bill are effective. For pure bottom painting, yards customarily have a set rate.

Peter
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:11 AM   #6
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I've almost given up on estimates, they're always low. If the yard is reputable they simply bill time and materials. It helps if you're present to monitor the work but that's not often possible. What you should do is make sure the work is quality work. I don't think the charge is unreasonable for two coats of bottom paint. The paint itself is expensive.

I'm not defending the yard but in our area yards are really busy, at least the good ones are. Also a lot of owner maintenance has been prohibited by the State of WA environmental laws. Even if you store on the hard, you can't do any work on the boat lest a drop of paint of flake of paint hit the dirt, which as we all know would be an environmental catastrophe of incalculable measure.
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:15 AM   #7
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Blissboat you've hit the nail on the head; new owner (seemingly impossible to contact) and new yard manager. But it's a relatively tight-knit local boating community and there are alternatives ... we'll see how that works out.
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:46 AM   #8
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Tiltrider1 there's nothing you've said I don't agree with, and I can't tell you their side of the story because they couldn't be bothered to communicate it to me.

What I got was exactly what I was there for and what the estimate read. Absolutely nothing more. The price of paint probably shouldn't have gone up (it did almost 250, same 2 gallon quantity) because as mentioned, they had it in stock at the time of the estimate and told me they'd save it for me (tough color). Fees, lay days, hazard fees, misc materials etc - All on the original estimate. Labor? This is what they do, day in day out, at least get me close. And the bottom was fine (until the brand new 'paint tech' sanded through the old bottom paint, and the barrier coat, and the gel coat, into the glass weave in 4 or 5 places. No worries; they had him paint some 1-part primer over the gouges - Then charged me $200 for primer(!)

For me the dollar figure of the discrepancy is secondary compared to the insult of giving me no heads-up. I mean really, 51% is a whole lotta percent.
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:50 AM   #9
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Welcome aboard. Sorry to hear about your problem. I would call the yard as a different customer and ask them about their bottom paint prices. Then ask what their policy is if the work exceeds the stated price and why it could exceed the stated price. Depending on what they say as to overages on price I would go back in and ask them to review your bill and explain how it came out so high.

That price is pretty high for a 32í. I have a quote, not estimate, from our local yard to soda blast our 41, apply 3 coats of epoxy, 3 coats of bottom paint. The only thing missing from the quote is the paint since we are going to do the work in the fall and they canít predict the paint cost then.


Account Activity
Date Details Services Payments
LABOR TO PREP AND STRIP BOAT BOTTOM $1,845.00
LABOR TO APPLY EPOXY (3 COATS) $800.00
LABOR TO APPLY PAINT (3 COATS) $800.00
HAULOUT, BLOCK, LAUNCH $250.00
MATERIAL COSTS TBD BASED ON PRODUCT

Totals: $3,695.00 $0.00
QUOTE: $3,695.00

WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS. THANK YOU!
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Old 06-03-2023, 11:57 AM   #10
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That's what small claims court is for. Check that state consumer protection laws. I had a go round over a Lehman starter. Never got an est, just here's the bill
MD law says anything over $50 requires a written est, I nailed them and threatened court. They were PISSED, but I got my starter for low price on Ebay, not $ 40 more.
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Old 06-03-2023, 12:03 PM   #11
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Based on the information provided, this would be my process (a very similar thing happened to me with a medical bill). Like you did, I would ask for the reason for the difference. If not given I would pay, since presumably they won't launch the vessel if not. I would not pay it all at once. I would tell them that I want to split the bill as the original amount was accounted for and the rest I need to account as extra. Have then run the same card first for the original quote then the second transaction for the difference. Sign nothing, No matter what they say sign nothing except the actual credit card slips. If after paying they won't launch you then you can call the police and charge them for theft for keeping your boat from you after payment. When you leave, contact the yard via email and ask for a detailed accounting for the extra charge. Give them a week to answer and say it must be via email. If the reply is not to your satisfaction or they don't reply in a week via email (Accept no calls), Contact the credit card and issue a chargeback for the extra charge letting them know you only paid for it because they were holding your vessel hostage and since it was a service you could not simply give it back and leave. When they ask you for supporting documents send the original quote, the email you sent, and if it exists, their reply.

All this is based on them just doing a bait and switch and did not actually provide more value than initially expected. Even then they should have called you.
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Old 06-03-2023, 12:09 PM   #12
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Then there is the vessel that gets hauled and is loaded with dirt, growth, barnacles, bent props, wobbly shaft, struts bent, stuffing box shot etc. The complaints start on the internet about how expensive a simple paint job became.

Tilt-rider said it right, there are two sides.
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Old 06-03-2023, 12:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Based on the information provided, this would be my process (a very similar thing happened to me with a medical bill). Like you did, I would ask for the reason for the difference. If not given I would pay, since presumably they won't launch the vessel if not. I would not pay it all at once. I would tell them that I want to split the bill as the original amount was accounted for and the rest I need to account as extra. Have then run the same card first for the original quote then the second transaction for the difference. Sign nothing, No matter what they say sign nothing except the actual credit card slips. If after paying they won't launch you then you can call the police and charge them for theft for keeping your boat from you after payment. When you leave, contact the yard via email and ask for a detailed accounting for the extra charge. Give them a week to answer and say it must be via email. If the reply is not to your satisfaction or they don't reply in a week via email (Accept no calls), Contact the credit card and issue a chargeback for the extra charge letting them know you only paid for it because they were holding your vessel hostage and since it was a service you could not simply give it back and leave. When they ask you for supporting documents send the original quote, the email you sent, and if it exists, their reply.

All this is based on them just doing a bait and switch and did not actually provide more value than initially expected. Even then they should have called you.
This is a good way of handling the issue if you are convinced you have been wronged. Be aware, you will never be able to return to this yard again. Of course you probably have no interest in returning to this yard.
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Old 06-03-2023, 03:57 PM   #14
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Tell your friends, post reviews, then move on.
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Old 06-07-2023, 07:10 AM   #15
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I have seen this in the past myself. As a contractor , I Always get quotes. If changes to the scope of work are done than extra charges can and do apply. Quotes and estimates are 2 different things. Insist on a quote. An estimate is open ended.

Never pay the bill and then Question it. your done.
It helps to be polite and nicely assertive. Just be calm and a matter of fact about the bill. I will simply present the quote and say Here is my quote, I know you guys are busy, there must be some mistake. I will gladly Pay my quote. If there are any extras you did not notify me about. please let me know now. . If not here is you payment. Give them the opportunity to bow out gracefully.


It always help if there is a line. Just say a little louder, What do you mean your not going to honor your quote? They will watch people walk out there door.
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Old 06-07-2023, 08:49 AM   #16
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Every boater has or will have a boat yard story. Call it big demand small supply, a captive market, deep pockets, greed .Most of the time it pure and simple incompetence ! My story reads like this. Got a bid for a bottom job which turned out fine. My diver had mentioned to me prior to my bottom job that one of the props was hard to turn. The yard confirmed this and said the yard owner would look into this and get back with me. Two weeks later no word even though I was calling the yard 2 or 3 times a week. I then sent my mechanic over and he confirmed a bad cutlass bearing.The yard agreed that my mechanic could do the job which he did for a fair price and in a timely manner. During the repair process the yard manager came to me and said he was glad I found a mechanic since they did not have a mechanic that had ever done a cutlass replacement. He then asked if his mechanic could watch my mechanic do the work AKA ,"on the job training"! I said sure but when I asked why he had not told me earlier, the yard could not do the job, he had no real answer.
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Old 06-07-2023, 09:00 AM   #17
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Can you name the Marina? Lots of great points here, but as was stated this is what they do all day. They should know how long it takes to haul, block, prep and paint. Any other work should have been approved.
Why do we as customers need to foot the financial burden of a paint tech who is in training? Sanding thru to the weave???? Unacceptable to charge for his error.
We pay for professional services, why do we not receive them?
$1200 dollars more for "training" at $150 per hour? I could see an hour or two for issues that arouse. I like Hyperion's advise.
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Old 06-07-2023, 09:18 AM   #18
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All the talk about maybe there was extra work, maybe the boat was dirty, there are always two sides... That's all BS!

He said in the first post that the estimate specifically said that if it was going to cost more they would call. They did not call. They did not notify him. They did not communicate. That is all on them, and there is NO EXCUSE!

To the OP, you already paid, so it's probably going to be difficult (if not impossible) to get your money back. You could try small claims court, but that can be a huge pain also. I always suggest to people that, before they get involved in a lawsuit, they read "Bleak House," by Charles Dickens. Worth reading in any case, but the background plot -- about a lawsuit -- is based on a completely true case.

What you certainly can do at this point is never, ever go back. Tell all of your friends and acquaintances about your experience. Name names. Warn people off. At least you might help someone else.

Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2023, 10:04 AM   #19
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Micki
If you care to, post the estimate in its entirety marking out the yardís name. Seeing the estimateís weasel words would be interesting.
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Old 06-07-2023, 12:25 PM   #20
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Dave, RCW (Revised Code of Washington) 46.71.025, (whole reg attached) paragraph 2 states:

(2) The repair facility may not charge the customer more than one hundred ten percent, exclusive of retail sales tax, of the total shown on the written price estimate. Neither of these limitations apply if, before providing additional parts or labor the repair facility obtains either the oral or written authorization of the customer, or the customer's designee, to exceed the written price estimate. The repair facility or its representative shall note on the estimate the date and time of obtaining an oral authorization, the additional parts and labor required, the estimated cost of the additional parts and labor, or where collision repair is involved, aftermarket body parts or nonoriginal equipment manufacturer body parts, if applicable, the name or identification number of the employee who obtains the authorization, and the name and telephone number of the person authorizing the additional costs.

The difficulty is that you have already paid, and left the yard. You should have confronted the management with the estimate, referring to the RCW, and their own estimate which stated that you would be contacted if the estimate charge was exceeded, but that's water under the bridge at this point. (see below)

The only "additional work" they accomplished was to poor attempt to repair the damage their inexperienced workers inflicted on your boat. Not only should the yard have PROPERLY repaired the damage they did, but they should NOT have charged you ANY of the costs of the damage repair.

Just further info. The boat in question only had VERY light soft growth on it when it was hauled out. Easily removed either by pressure washing, or a soft brush and a hose. Yes, I have firsthand knowledge of this.

At this point, I would request an appointment with the yard manager, take in your original estimate, the final repair bill, and a copy of the RCW. I would let them know that you would like a refund of anything over 110% of the estimate, per RCW 46.71.025. Inform them that if you do not receive the requested refund, you will be opening a case with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. They have been VERY responsive to issues I've had in the past.

https://www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint

Believe me, no business wants to defend their actions to the State Office of the Attorney General, and in this case, their actions are not defensible anyway.

On the damage to the hull due to their negligence in sanding through the bottom paint, the barrier coat, the gelcoat and into the glass substrate, that would require a qualified marine surveyor to access the damage, and a reputable yard to provide an estimate on the proper repair, that that is a separate (although related) issue.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.

Note: RCW 46.71.025 deal with motor vehicles, which also includes motorized watercraft.

Add-on: If anyone wants the REST of the story, PM Dave and ask him what the yards recommended fix was for the incorrectly sized (large) shaft zinc(s) they were attempting to put on . . .
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File Type: pdf RCW 46.71.025.pdf (22.8 KB, 12 views)
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