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Old 15-02-2014, 16:05   #1
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Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

Just getting some work done somewhere in South East Florida.

I don't want to be specific until it all goes to worms, at which point I will give full details.

The problem is that I was trusting and naive... So, I accept my simple minded approach is some of the problem.

So, the problems of my making are as follows:
- I did not request a quote,
- I have no agreement in writing as to cost and quality of end product.

As a result, I have not been treated fairly. The product is substandard, vastly overpriced and incomplete and now 2 weeks late with more work required to get to a state where it may be used (not even sure of that!)

We are negotiating, but I suspect there is not much interest from the vendor to actually do anything - he is hoping that we will give up and sail off because he knows we are constrained by the hurricane season.

Not being a US citizen I don't quite know the laws (if any) to protect dumb ass consumers like me.

My options are:

1) Try and negotiate our way through this - the preferred option.
2) Tell them to cut it off and remove it and give us our money back as its completely useless in its present state.
3) Go see a lawyer - of course the last resort.

Anyone with recommendations of an experienced lawyer in the Lauderdale area?

Am I even covered by consumer laws or not?

Thanks
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Old 15-02-2014, 16:39   #2
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

No quote, no contract, no specs. I think the worker/supplier has a better case than you do. How can the job be late if there's no agreement specifying completion date.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:23   #3
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

I have dealt with four different on-site vendors in three different boatyards. One reputable mechanic shop billed me almost a thousand dollars to replace a prop shaft. Estimate was four hundred.

The rigger replaced my bronze turnbuckles with too short stainless ones. To get the shrouds to fit he had to crush my mast into the deck. Offered to sell me 8 extenders for 80 dollars each. Denied culpability.

Dealing with the boatyard at Ft Pierce, Florida got me burned for hundreds of dollars AND I had to have outside workers redo the mast work.

I have only had one good experience working with boatyard vendors..EVER!

MTS (electrical) at Herrington harbor, Deale, MD
MTS actually talked me out of doing certain work in order to save me money. The work they did was quality, done on time, and holy crap...the bill was LESS than the estimate!!! After all the borderline criminal, sociopathic, boatyard predators I've dealt with I almost cried with relief at the good treatment I received from MTS.

To the OP: I was never able to resolve any of the overcharges, or damage to my boat. I just had to eat the loss and carry on. The money to hire a lawyer would have cost more than it was worth.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:44   #4
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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No quote, no contract, no specs. I think the worker/supplier has a better case than you do. How can the job be late if there's no agreement specifying completion date.
You're dead right! I fully recognize my stupidity now, please don't rub it in. The situation is painful enough as it is.

I did have a verbal that it would be ready by end of January.

OK, never mind the end date, but what about the fact the construction is unusable as it stands? And possibly unsafe (but that would take a qualified surveyor to quantify)... Do I have a leg to stand on??

As far as finish date, surely the law allows for a "reasonableness" test? I.e. - say what everyone else would take to do the job plus say 50%.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:47   #5
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

Virginia Boy, I feel for you - I have had similar experiences in the past.

On this occasion the numbers are pushing into $30K. Hence my angst and elevated blood pressures... At these numbers, I'm thinking a lawyer may start to be cost effective... But have no idea.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:47   #6
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

If #2 is actually an option then I would go that route, but doubt it's an option
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:57   #7
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

The problem is that your solutions are likely to be civil legal cases. Yes, there are rules on merchantability. These would say the product must meet minimum standards allowing it to be safely used for the designed purpose and you'd be able to perhaps recover in a civil case.

But for consumer protection and the Attorney General's office to benefit you, there would probably have to be some evidence of fraud or other criminal type activity.

As you didn't share information on what the produce is it would be hard to speculate further, but from what you have said it looks like simply lousy performance and the only real remedy for that is court. Now the exception is when it's a regulated business such as a doctor or public accountant. There are even some laws relevant to car and boat sales. But producing a product, probably not a lot of protection there.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:59   #8
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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If #2 is actually an option then I would go that route, but doubt it's an option
Why do you doubt that it would be an option? From my side it's not a problem. I just don't know my rights.

Ps..What's an A64?... Longbow AH64?...cool!..
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:02   #9
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

I hope you won't mind one more: I received a quote for 300 dollars to glass over three holes..all close together exiting at the head. Told him to call my wife and have her put It on the card. She called me soon after to tell me that he jacked the price by 100 dollars in the five minutes between our agreement and his talking to my wife. Friggin Snake!

I'll be dead before he ever gets another dollar of mine.

Enough ranting...thanks for indulging me. It's just that I was so stupidly naive in thinking the boating community was somehow more trustworthy than the "real world".
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:05   #10
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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You're dead right! I fully recognize my stupidity now, please don't rub it in. The situation is painful enough as it is.

I did have a verbal that it would be ready by end of January.

OK, never mind the end date, but what about the fact the construction is unusable as it stands? And possibly unsafe (but that would take a qualified surveyor to quantify)... Do I have a leg to stand on??

As far as finish date, surely the law allows for a "reasonableness" test? I.e. - say what everyone else would take to do the job plus say 50%.
For unsafe, you'd need a professional to attest to that. Not necessarily a surveyor but someone capable of knowing. Unusable as it stands isn't important if they haven't finished the job yet. Even they you'd have to give them a chance to remedy the problem before claiming that.

I'm sure the verbal January they'd deny. You should be communicating back and forth in writing at this point. Well, you should have before. But email rather than call. Express concerns about safety. State to them that they promised by the end of January and that they knew time was of the essence since you have a date you have to leave. If they don't deny they said January that's a point in your favor. However, even if they did, you really have no clause that you'd have in a contract stating, "time is of the essence." So you'd have to prove it was and that they knew. Until it approaches your time to leave time is just annoying but not of the legal essence.

Ultimately there are some standards that you might refer to as industry standards or reasonable expectations but that would get difficult. The first thing a lawyer would probably do is have you send some form of a demand letter. You might do it by email anyway, demanding they finish, they correct the current issues and that it be safe and usable. You might reemphasize that time is crucial and say they must provide it by x date or return your money.
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:07   #11
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Why do you doubt that it would be an option? From my side it's not a problem. I just don't know my rights.



Ps..What's an A64?... Longbow AH64?...cool!..

I doubt it's an option because whatever this thing is, the installer has time and money in it, I doubt they will give you all your money back and just lose the time and money they have invested.
A64 does refer to AH-64. In my previous life I was an AH-64A&D test pilot, D model is the Longbow of course, A model was the original non-Radar Apache.
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:17   #12
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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For unsafe, you'd need a professional to attest to that. Not necessarily a surveyor but someone capable of knowing. Unusable as it stands isn't important if they haven't finished the job yet. Even they you'd have to give them a chance to remedy the problem before claiming that.

I'm sure the verbal January they'd deny. You should be communicating back and forth in writing at this point. Well, you should have before. But email rather than call. Express concerns about safety. State to them that they promised by the end of January and that they knew time was of the essence since you have a date you have to leave. If they don't deny they said January that's a point in your favor. However, even if they did, you really have no clause that you'd have in a contract stating, "time is of the essence." So you'd have to prove it was and that they knew. Until it approaches your time to leave time is just annoying but not of the legal essence.

Ultimately there are some standards that you might refer to as industry standards or reasonable expectations but that would get difficult. The first thing a lawyer would probably do is have you send some form of a demand letter. You might do it by email anyway, demanding they finish, they correct the current issues and that it be safe and usable. You might reemphasize that time is crucial and say they must provide it by x date or return your money.
Excellent Advice.

Thanks.
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:22   #13
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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Excellent Advice.

Thanks.
Also, is there anyone over the person you're dealing with or is he the owner? If he isn't the owner, go over his head.

Second, have you been wearing a white hat or a black hat. Translation, have you been a good guy or bad guy, been very nice and understanding or been angry and difficult and perhaps even cursing him? Regardless of which you've been, trying the opposite might be of benefit. Or if you've got a spouse, let her be the opposite of you. Good guy/bad guy does often work.
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Old 15-02-2014, 20:10   #14
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

"he knows we are constrained by the hurricane season."

neelie, hurricane season doesn't start for another six months.

as to your rights, yes you do have rights. but as a practical matter, can you hang around for the next two years while you 'excercise your rights'? what's the possibility of just cutting and running? take your loss, learn your lesson, and get the hell out of there before it gets worse? unfortunately we haven't a clue as to what kind of work you're having done so it's tough to make a call on what you should do.

virginia boy - some jobs you just need to do yourself. replacing turnbuckles does not require a rigger. glassing over underwater 'holes' is something you could/should probably do yourself. i've found that yards/yardworkers need to be supervised almost constantly, work questioned, charges disputed, schedules set down and adhered to and even threats sometimes of not paying for incomplete or shoddy work. and the boating community seems to be divided into two groups; the sailors who actually sail/cruise, and the land sharks who prey upon them....
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Old 16-02-2014, 06:04   #15
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Re: Florida Consumer Protection Rules Help.

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You're dead right! I fully recognize my stupidity now, please don't rub it in. The situation is painful enough as it is.

.
Sorry if you construed my post as rubbing it in. Just stating the facts of the case. Once the facts are clear the solution, no matter how distasteful, may become clear. In this case I am sure you can find a lawyer who will represent you but after much time and money and much aggravation (do not discount this factor) you might not be successful. In my view it would be preferable to take your lumps, learn from this, and move on.

I have been burned in the past. Rather than dwell on it and prolong the agony it is better to remember the lesson, forget the incident, and go sailing.
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