For nearly 25 years, BoatU.S. Consumer Protection has been help- ing our members resolve disputes with repair facilities; in fact, that’s one of our most common complaints. But helping resolve complaints isn’t all we do. Our goal is to help you avoid having a dispute in the first place. After handling problems for thousands of
members over the years, we’ve come up with eight tips that can help you stay
on an even keel when dealing with a repair facility.
1. Selecting A Repair Shop
Before choosing a facility, ask for referrals from fellow boaters or someone you trust in the marine business. Also, conduct an Internet search for online reviews, visit boat-owner
forums to learn what your neighbors think, and look for
complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, check
with us at BoatU.S. to see if members have filed compliments or complaints about a particular company. Keep in
mind that while their rates may be higher, shop owners who
8Ways To Avoid Problems At The Repair Shop “Don’t worry about it!” means you should probably worry about it
invest in good diagnostic equipment and
in technicians certified both by manufacturers and by the American Boat & Yacht
Council typically offer better service.
2. Get It In Writing!
As the old legal saying puts it, if it’s not
in writing, it didn’t happen. Verbal agreements are often misunderstood, so a written agreement can save you a big headache later. Once you’ve chosen a shop,
obtain a written estimate of the time it
will take to complete the repairs and the
amount it will likely cost. Don’t forget to
ask if storage fees will be charged once
the repair has been completed. Even if
you have a long-term relationship with
a shop, don’t skip these steps. It’s a business, so treat it that way. If having your
old parts returned to you is important
(as it will be if you have to file an insurance claim), write that into the estimate as well. If money is tight, include
a “not to exceed unless called” dollar
amount. Remember that because boat
(and engine) repairs can be complicated,
unforeseen obstacles can crop up during
the repair. Ask the shop what similar
repairs have cost and what kinds of problems are possible. Make sure you’re very
clear on what the shop’s labor rates are
and when they’re charged; many shops
start charging when workers leave the
shop, not when they arrive at your boat.
3. Is There A Warranty?
You need to know if your repair
will be covered by a warranty. Don’t
assume. Usually shops offer a 30-, 60-, or
90-day warranty on their work. If so, ask
if it covers parts and labor. “Don’t worry
about it” is not a warranty. If a shop’s
warranty policy isn’t stated in writing, ask PH
BoatU.S. has your back By Debbie Schaefer
You shouldn’t trust
a complex repair job
to just any shop.