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Old 08-03-2021, 17:17   #1
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Disputing Boatyard Charges

Hello all -

Some advice needed. I have my Beneteau 351 in the yard and requested two major jobs (bottom paint and replace propshaft). I asked for estimates up front, in writing, but was not given anything. I knew basically the cost of bottom job is pretty standard among boatyards. For the propshaft, the boatyard manager said about $700 for the shaft and 8-10 hours for remove and replace.

Soooooooooo....when I checked on progress and current charges as I planned to have some cosmetic work done I was told the propshaft charges were around $4800 and not the $1800 I was expecting!!!

The explanation was complications with coupler and removing screws and that it was seized, etc. Also, problems dropping the rudder because of seized quadrant. I understand that there can be unseens in work performed....but I was initially charged 44 hours labor + sub charge of 335 to remove quadrant. They reduced the hours to 33 and the sub amount stayed the same.

Seems pretty excessive to me.....and added to the fact that communication was lacking and no estimates given up front for either job or other minor work is just irritating. Plus instead of 3 weeks max this has turned into 2+ months!

Interesting in what you all think about this and is there any recourse? Just a bad experience overall. Below is the job desc:

coupler socket head screws are stripped out; spec &
order; remove old shaft seal; install new; coupler is
mounted to transmission; get cap screws for coupler;
correctly mount coupler; begin new shaft install- cant
install shaft without dropping the rudder; try other
routes- shaft wont fit; remove mounting hardware &
cables to drop rudder; will need to lift vessel up on
slings to get rudder down far enough to install shaft;
use portapower to relieve pressure off shaft pins to
remove rudder- bottom pin through shaft is free to
move, top pin it sticking; spray stuck pin with WD40 to
help loosen up; got pin 90% extracted- had to use air
hammer to get movement; need to get a different
extension to get pin out to drop the rudder; drop ruddercap
screw broke off head on quadrant; attempts to
remove screw- will need to be sent out to get drilled out;
install shaft & rudder; install quadrant on rudder; adjust
rudder cables; op test-sat
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Old 08-03-2021, 17:59   #2
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

The short answer is you got hosed. Best to consider it a lesson learned and never go there again. Name names and we can all steer clear of this operation. If you have your boat back and the actual work, once completed, was done properly, you are ahead of the game.
You haven’t revealed where you are but you may want to go to small claims court to see if you can convince a judge you were unfairly charged but you will be arguing your case against a “professional” marine service provider so it will be very difficult to convince a judge you know more than the “professional”.
If every nuance had been mentioned in the work order, including progress notifications, you might prevail. Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, as the old saying goes.
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Old 08-03-2021, 18:14   #3
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Boat yard got me good in San Diego too. Paid $14k in lay day fees, because they no longer use in house worker but 3rd party contractors. You pay contractors thru boat yard and the contractors offices/workshop is on site. The boatyard uses this arrangement to get out of liability and charge you for more laydays.

If the contractor throws more workers at a project, they charge by the man hour. So your fees go up rapidly as it's $100+ dollars an hour × hours × # of workers. You find out when you get the bill.

I am sure it's not everywhere, and I have seen boat issues that blow up into big expensive problems. But I have been finding more and more you have to do a lot of work yourself to get stuff done and the things you have the yards do you have to really communicate and manage the job so it doesn't blow up on you. Make them talk to you so you can do some of the minor easy stuff that's not worth paying $100 an hour or more. That can be a full time job in itself honestly. Doing it yourself can be problematic, as it often costs more, needs you to buy more tools, and takes more time than expected.
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Old 08-03-2021, 18:20   #4
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Snow Goose I am not sure you got ripped off. Plenty of people on this forum will tell you about a 5 minute job on their yacht that ended up taking all day.
Cheers
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Old 08-03-2021, 18:26   #5
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Fighting it is another story. If it was a house and the plumber overcharges, he cannot remove the access to your house or limit its use untill you pay him, All the while charging you a day charge untill you pay him.

A boat unfortunately they can. If you don't pay it doesn't splash. The more time on the hard the more it costs you. If you don't pay a couple months they can play games and say you abandoned the boat and sell it from under you.

Communication is key, sometimes you can work it out a little. I can almost guarantee that the boat yard will be ahead at the end of the day regardless. Difficult spot, I've been there.

Pretty much the only thing you can do is try to work it out in advance and have everything written down to protect yourself as much as you can. Not easy.

I'd like to know where the boatyards are that offer decent work at decent prices, and you don't have to worry about such stuff.
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Old 08-03-2021, 19:01   #6
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

I have posts from several years ago about a boatyard in St. Petersburg, Fl., that did a similar number on me.


For a 3K overcharge, there is little you can do except what I did -- post details of your experience on Cruisers Forum, Sailnet, Yahoo and various other complaint forums.


That way, other sailors can see what happened and avoid the boatyard. Word of mouth travels somewhat quickly, and the boatyard loses many thousands in exchange for overcharging you.


From what I can see, this is becoming increasingly common in Florida boatyards as their numbers decrease due to overdevelopment of condos and mcmansions on the water.


They overcharge, do unneeded work and then threaten to hold your boat hostage unless you pay. They ignore laws on written estimates and written approvals for additional work.



Florida used to have tough consumer regulators 20 or 30 years ago, but now the "pro-business" politicians allow companies to get away with anything short of murder.



If you talk to a decent attorney, you'll discover he/she will want more than 3K upfront with no guarantee of results.
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Old 08-03-2021, 19:37   #7
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Sounds like they're using billy-bob shade tree mechanics. A real mechanic wouldn't use Water Displacer #40 instead of something like PB Blaster, nor would he just break the head off of a frozen screw instead of finding a way to loosen it up.
But do you want for a measly hundred bucks an hour.
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Old 08-03-2021, 19:41   #8
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Hi...

I really dislike these kind of stories because one way or another they GOT YAH.

First, everything in writing before they do any work. If things get complicated then they need to call you to see if you want to continue or put back together as is . If you want to continue, then you need an updated estimate of which hopefully you can negotiate. Most often than not, you are stuck with the updated estimate because what are you going to do...put everything back together again and start from scratch in the next boat yard?

Nobody likes surprises...but being upfront from the start as to the possibilities of what can add to the charges and having good communications with the customer during the work process may have made the process more palatable.

As far as Florida being pro business and the little customer gets screwed....try California which is anti business, less competition, more environmental regulations which the consumer ends up paying. Pick your poison...I take Florida. Why do you think Catalina left California and industry leaving including Tesla?

We used to be able to go to Ensenada but the boat yard there I believe is owned by the same folks in San Diego and the prices now are not much different....so I heard.

Good Luck,

Abe
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Old 08-03-2021, 21:30   #9
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
Snow Goose I am not sure you got ripped off. Plenty of people on this forum will tell you about a 5 minute job on their yacht that ended up taking all day.
Cheers
Exactly, I can't tell you how many straight forward jobs turned into multi day extravaganzas when a bolt was seized, when metal was corroded, when things snapped, when a part turned out to be made out of unobtainium. It's a boat.

You could have done the prep work yourself and then let the yard do the install. That way you'd know what the issues really were.
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Old 08-03-2021, 21:48   #10
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Rule #1.

Unless you have as much money as Warren Buffett never, never, never tell a boat yard, any boat yard no matter how honest, to do something, anything, no matter how simple then walk away and leave them to it.
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Old 08-03-2021, 21:56   #11
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Dropping the rudder, checking bearing alignment, quadrant removal and dealing with corroded fasteners are stock in trade for a professional service provider.

Rudder clearance and the need to lift can be determined with a tape measure.

If these guys were taken by surprise by these items then they are not qualified to deliver the due care and diligence reflected in the charge out rate.

Offer to pay materials, external hire and $0.25 in the dollar for labor.
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Old 08-03-2021, 22:29   #12
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Hi, been there done that, the best option in my opinion is discuss the issue with the vendor, in the nicest possible way, and when that proves useless pay the man, get the boat launched and sail away, making sure that everyone and anyone is aware of the actions of the yard . It is surprising how good the word of mouth system is.
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Old 09-03-2021, 05:34   #13
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

We need to face it, boatyards are a licence to print money and once they have they have you.
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Old 09-03-2021, 05:44   #14
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

This is a bit on you.

If paying a boat yard to do something you can’t walk away and expect it to happen without issue. You need to be onsite and oversee the work or this will happen.

The real fix is to use a diy yard and do the work yourself. It’s likely that the quality of work will be better and the cost certainly lower. Just because someone is employed by a boat yard doesn’t mean he’s actually more qualified than you to do the work. In my experience most “professionals” in the boat world are hacks at best.
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Old 09-03-2021, 06:13   #15
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Re: Disputing Boatyard Charges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowgoose71 View Post
Hello all -



Some advice needed. I have my Beneteau 351 in the yard and requested two major jobs (bottom paint and replace propshaft). I asked for estimates up front, in writing, but was not given anything. I knew basically the cost of bottom job is pretty standard among boatyards. For the propshaft, the boatyard manager said about $700 for the shaft and 8-10 hours for remove and replace.



Soooooooooo....when I checked on progress and current charges as I planned to have some cosmetic work done I was told the propshaft charges were around $4800 and not the $1800 I was expecting!!!



The explanation was complications with coupler and removing screws and that it was seized, etc. Also, problems dropping the rudder because of seized quadrant. I understand that there can be unseens in work performed....but I was initially charged 44 hours labor + sub charge of 335 to remove quadrant. They reduced the hours to 33 and the sub amount stayed the same.



Seems pretty excessive to me.....and added to the fact that communication was lacking and no estimates given up front for either job or other minor work is just irritating. Plus instead of 3 weeks max this has turned into 2+ months!



Interesting in what you all think about this and is there any recourse? Just a bad experience overall. Below is the job desc:



coupler socket head screws are stripped out; spec &

order; remove old shaft seal; install new; coupler is

mounted to transmission; get cap screws for coupler;

correctly mount coupler; begin new shaft install- cant

install shaft without dropping the rudder; try other

routes- shaft wont fit; remove mounting hardware &

cables to drop rudder; will need to lift vessel up on

slings to get rudder down far enough to install shaft;

use portapower to relieve pressure off shaft pins to

remove rudder- bottom pin through shaft is free to

move, top pin it sticking; spray stuck pin with WD40 to

help loosen up; got pin 90% extracted- had to use air

hammer to get movement; need to get a different

extension to get pin out to drop the rudder; drop ruddercap

screw broke off head on quadrant; attempts to

remove screw- will need to be sent out to get drilled out;

install shaft & rudder; install quadrant on rudder; adjust

rudder cables; op test-sat


Please provide before photos of the work area.

If it’s neat/clean accessible and corrosion free, you got had.

If it’s an unexplored jungle of rusty stuff that stays hidden, you got the charges that may be appropriate.
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