Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cruising: Boat Problems in Exotic Locations

Sometimes it's hard to explain to people how we spend our time. We told you about the boat projects we work on, how a trip to the grocery store takes us 3 hours round trip, etc, etc. Everything takes longer than it does on land. For the most part we're OK with that. We like the laid-back pace of the Caribbean. But sometimes you can't blame problems on the laid-back pace. It's just poor customer service! We've been dealing with one example of that for almost a month.

This is a picture of one of the 2 towing rings on the underside of our dinghy. Our dinghy is a year old and the tow rings are badly rusted. In mid-October we discovered that AB, the manufacturer of our dinghy had issued a recall because a number of dinghies had mistakenly been made with tow rings that were not stainless steel. We went in to Budget Marine here in Grenada to inquire about having the tow rings replaced under warranty. The manager of Budget Marine was not in the store and we were told we needed to speak to him. Could we come back tomorrow? Sure, no problem. We came back Saturday morning only to be told the manager wouldn't be in until Tuesday (Monday's a holiday mon) could we come back then. We went back on Tuesday and were told the manager wouldn't be in until Friday. What! No one else was in charge and could help us even though the other workers were aware of the recall. It took us almost two weeks to get an answer from Budget Marine on the repair. Then the manager informed us that he didn't have the parts in stock and it would take a week to get them shipped in. On Wednesday of last week we were told the parts were in and they just needed to clear them. When Jim asked when they could do the repair he was told "You'll have to speak with the manager. He'll be in Friday." On Friday the manager said the repair could be done on Tuesday. Just bring the dinghy to the boatyard next door by 8:00 a.m. Jim took the dinghy in yesterday and the boatyard manager said he still hadn't received the parts from Budget. Back over to Budget where Jim was told they still hadn't cleared the parts. After a couple of hours the boatyard manager suggested Jim not wait around and they just try again this morning. So now Jim is headed back there. We checked late yesterday and the parts were delivered so hopefully all will be fixed today. None of this is AB's fault. Yes, they installed the wrong rings but they are taking responsibility and fixing the problem. Budget is facilitating the warranty repair but in a very poor manner. We should not have had to make numerous trips to get an answer. If the manager chooses to never be in his store the least he could do is put someone else in charge. Sorry for the soapbox but I spent a lot of years in retail management and have trained thousands of sales associates. This is not a laid-back Caribbean approach, it's just bad business!

If all goes well today (can you tell I'm still not convinced) we are ready to head out to start year 4 of cruising. Our plan is to head north to the Grenadines and spend some time in the Tobago Cays. Then we'll island hop our way north to Antigua. Mid-January we'll head to St. Martin where we'll be meeting family and friends. So we're looking forward to another great year. Hope you'll travel along with us.


  1. Hi Wendy & Jim,
    Now you know my background and "recall" gets my attention! If the recall is considered "safety" related I think the manufacturer would be very happy to step in and help with the "dealer" if that is what "Budget Marine" is considered. The manufacturer can be held liable if the recall is not performed well or timely. If my company had a customer notify us of such an issue with a dealer we would be all over that dealer. Just an suggestion if this trip doesn't pan out. Good luck! Angela

  2. Boating is a ton of work, and as they say, Break Out Another Thousand!!! Happy sailing! :)

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