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Old 05-03-2015, 22:12   #1
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RipOff Reports

I was reading a new thread about a BO who had just bought a pre owned boat and was being quoted $8,000 for a cut, polish and buff job on his 50' cat.

Others had said that it should be more like $3,000 tops since the job would take 3 guys only 1.5 days.

It got me thinking about how many new to the boating world get ripped off and in fact how many not so new also get ripped off by desperate or unscrupulous service or product suppliers. Which then lead me to thinking if it would be a good idea to have a forum or thread dealing with costs of goods and services and a discussion or warning thread or forum where people could post RipOff warnings.

Would appreciate peoples thoughts.

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Chaya
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Old 05-03-2015, 23:49   #2
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Re: RipOff Reports

I didn't save the email, but the most recent one from Active-Captain talked about having a vendor/service provider review system (like Angie's List I presume).

Sounds like a great idea, but I wonder with all the variables in boat repair/maintenance how helpful it will be? It should be interesting to follow.

Cheers,
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Old 06-03-2015, 00:02   #3
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Re: RipOff Reports

An angies type list for service providers and even brokers would be great as well. Nothing like the power of information to help us all. I do get the impression that there are people in the industry that prey on boaters. While there are others that are great people. An alert system a king am with a point of reference to compare what is normal for things would be great. IMHO
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Old 06-03-2015, 00:17   #4
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Re: RipOff Reports

www.clickdiver.com

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Old 06-03-2015, 00:59   #5
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Re: RipOff Reports

CF does have a product/service provider evaluation section. I've no idea how many folks look at it.

Ann
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:45   #6
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Re: RipOff Reports

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
CF does have a product/service provider evaluation section. I've no idea how many folks look at it.

Ann
Thanks Ann. I must admit I haven't checked it out but now will.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:58   #7
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Re: RipOff Reports

I don't consider this example as a ripoff or unscrupulous. A vendor offers a service for a price and the seller can buy it or shop for a better price. This is the way markets work.

If the vendor was contracted for a service and did not provide it, or provided a substandard service, then that would be a ripoff or unscrupulous.

FWIW, the last cut/buff/polish job we hired out cost $200 and took 3 days on a 40' catamaran. And it was excellent. Should I be calling those $3,000 jobs a ripoff or unscrupulous? The $1,200 ones?

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Old 06-03-2015, 09:01   #8
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Re: RipOff Reports

It's not a rip off if the customer is quoted a price (whatever it may be), agrees to it and the work is done as promised.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:18   #9
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Re: RipOff Reports

Colemj and fstbttms your points are well taken. If gouching isn't ripping off then I suppose you both are correct.

But in my opinion gross overcharging above a norm whatever that norm is for a particular country is viewed by many as ripping off people.

I am the first to trumpet the benefits of a free a market. And from my studying if economics a free market works best when information is freely available so the market can make informed decisions.

What I am suggesting is some kind of warning or alert for those who are ripping off by significant overcharging the boating community.

It would also be great to have a crowd based price for service/product for many of the usual spends by boaters. Let's have an easy to go to place to find the good deals and let's see the how a really informed market will deal with those who are trying to rip off boaters. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:02   #10
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Re: RipOff Reports

In the example quoted in your first post, we have no idea what condition the boat was in. It may very well have needed $8K worth of topside work to bring it to the state the owner wanted. But others readers (also unable to determine the amount of work needed) will chime in and say, "You're being ripped off! That should only cost $3K!" Well, maybe that's the case and maybe it isn't. And if it isn't, let's hope that the service provider who had the high quote isn't unfairly named in some public forum where anybody with an ignorant opinion can malign him.

The beauty of an Angie's List or ClickDiver.com is that only people who have actually used the service in question can review them. No peanut gallery onlookers or unscrupulous competitors can post reviews that have no merit.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:08   #11
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Re: RipOff Reports

Sorry, but IMHO a very high price is an attempted ripoff. I had a home water heater go bad last year. Was going to do it myself but a plumbing source I called said they had someone in the area. It was an easy job... the heater was a few feet from an outside door. The guy very nicely quoted me $2200 to do it. Of course I refused and he charged me for the service call saying "they told you there would be a charge right?" (they didn't) I got it done for $600 by another place.
I call that a rip off.
There are people out there that prey on the unsuspecting. I shudder to think if I had been an old woman whose heater went out... she probably would have just paid it.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:18   #12
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Re: RipOff Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Sorry, but IMHO a very high price is an attempted ripoff. I had a home water heater go bad last year. Was going to do it myself but a plumbing source I called said they had someone in the area. It was an easy job... the heater was a few feet from an outside door. The guy very nicely quoted me $2200 to do it. Of course I refused and he charged me for the service call saying "they told you there would be a charge right?" (they didn't) I got it done for $600 by another place.
I call that a rip off.
There are people out there that prey on the unsuspecting. I shudder to think if I had been an old woman whose heater went out... she probably would have just paid it.
I totally agree. Do some in the boating service/supply industry see particularly new comers to boating as marks and easy prey? Something like shooting fish in a barrel.

I also agree that anonymous bad reports on the internet can be bad and unjust. Particularly since some unscrupulous vendors have already been shown to use Angies list to bash competitors and promote themselves. But having nothing and allowing a vacuum of information is not good as well. I would rather have more information to make decisions on than not.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:19   #13
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Re: RipOff Reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Sorry, but IMHO a very high price is an attempted ripoff. I had a home water heater go bad last year. Was going to do it myself but a plumbing source I called said they had someone in the area. It was an easy job... the heater was a few feet from an outside door. The guy very nicely quoted me $2200 to do it. Of course I refused and he charged me for the service call saying "they told you there would be a charge right?" (they didn't) I got it done for $600 by another place.
I call that a rip off.
I got you beat. A few years ago I noticed my water heater started leaking, so in a panic I called the outfit on the service sticker. The guy came out, looked at it for a minute or two and told me it needed replacement. $1200. The guy told me it wasn't in danger of blowing up or anything, so I paid him and sent him on his way. Then I called a buddy of mine who installs water heaters and when he came out, he simply replaced a hose washer at the water inlet. Problem solved!

Yes, the first outfit tried to get over on me. But they didn't. So I was not ripped off. And again, there is a difference between outing a service provider based on personal experience and having a free for all on a forum like this based on incomplete information and uniformed opinion.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:33   #14
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Re: RipOff Reports

High prices are not ripoffs or even attempted ripoffs.

It very well could be that the service provider in the original example regularly charges and receives his price. He could be fully employed in the megayacht or high-end market and that is his going price there.

If he was interested in the OP's example business, he would lower his price until he got it. Both parties walked away with no issues, so this was simply a marketplace transaction.

Who sets prices for businesses? Do we all get to decide what an individual businessman is allowed to charge? If they don't go along with us, do we get to publicly call them thieves? Will all business people be required to have the same prices world-wide, or even in the same locality?

Cheechako, in your example, the high price wasn't an attempted ripoff at all. The service charge may have been, but that would be decided by the contract you accepted up front - whether verbal or written. It would be a ripoff if they said there was no service charge and then levied one. It is not a ripoff if you didn't ask the cost of sending a guy out in the field, and then got a service charge.

I really can't believe this is a debate! Good businesses make money by charging what the market will bear, and delivering an agreed product. If they charge too much, they go out of business. If they charge too little, they either don't make a living, or drop the local prices overall.

If they have a sustainable business charging above average rates because there are people who will hire them at those rates, then this is also perfectly fine. Even if others think those people are paying too much and don't understand the market for those services. Even if they are "little old ladies".

Charging a higher price than others isn't "preying" on anyone or "ripping off" anyone. Else-wise West Marine would be in legal trouble.

Now if you want preying on people - that low cost business that uses under-the-table cash paid undocumented labor - or those WalMart goods you all are buying that were made in labor camps producing massive pollution…

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Old 06-03-2015, 10:36   #15
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Re: RipOff Reports

Cheech, I think you're missing fstbttms point -

Let's take roofing as an example. Two roofs may look and sound alike in their needs to be brought up to a satisfactory condition but may in reality vary quite a lot in how much work is required to do so.

How are we the public going to know if the contractor is quoting fairly or not based on price alone?

I've seen too many instances where contractors initially bid low and then when they are actually hired - "oh, I discovered this needs attention too - it's just an extra XYZ".

(and I put 'xyz' in caps for a reason - it's never a small "xyz")

Funny how those contractors who "discover" extra items when they actually dig into the job tend to perform lower-quality work in general? Just my personal observation there...
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