FRIDAY, MAY 4: Boating season is here and if you haven’t already prepared your boat for the water most likely you are in the process or getting ready to begin.
Be careful and be prepared for any unfortunate circumstances that may arise in preparing to put your boat overboard.
When it comes to boats, Consumer Affairs frequently receives the following complaints; cost, missed deadlines and missing service providers.
Close consideration must be given to the cost of boat maintenance and repairs as it can be very costly. Shop around. Don’t start any work until you have a few written quotes, not estimates, for the cost and time involved.
Your quote should include itemized components to the job and all parts and materials needed.
Once you have agreed to the quote and all it’s terms and conditions (you need to pay very close attention to the terms and conditions), sign a written contract agreeing to the terms and cost of the work and ensure that you have a payment schedule in place, with no more than 30 percent (rule of thumb) of the total cost given at the start of the project.
The quote is very important. Both you and the person working on your boat must sign and date it. You are entering into a contract and the more you have in writing the safer you are.
It is essential that you plan your maintenance and repair projects with enough time, and room for unexpected delays to have your boat in the water when you want it.
Your contract should clearly state the estimated time to repair your boat, apart from of course Mother Nature and other unforeseen circumstances that may cause delays.
Ask questions and understand the scope of the work being done. Are there going to be delays? Are all the necessary parts and materials on island? If not get a firm commitment as to when they will arrive.
In some cases you may have to inspect the work daily and if things start to go wrong or the project starts to get delayed, jump on it right away, don’t wait.
Another thing to remember is that if your insurance company is paying for your boat’s repairs you can decide who does work on your boat and you should stay actively involved throughout the entire process.
Missing service providers
It is not uncommon for a marine service provider to drop one project in favour of another that is more profitable or which he deems more urgent. This is where the contract becomes vital and your participation and persistence can save you a lot of aggravation. It is the contract that binds your marine service provider to your project.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to assess your boat’s needs. Hopefully you already have a good relationship with a qualified marine service professional and a maintenance schedule for your boat, based on their suggestions.
If not, take the time to find a good marine service provider and be sure to get references if you don’t know the person.
If there are problems, work with your marine service provider to resolve any issues first. If that does not work, you can contact Consumer Affairs for assistance or to file a complaint.
Remember, under the Supply of Services Act 2003, work must be completed with a) reasonable care and skill; b) within a reasonable time; and c) for a reasonable charge by the standard costing for that particular service.
• For more consumer savvy information, visit the Consumer Affairs website at www.ca.gov.bm.