I'll owned tons of new boats. I've had problems with almost all of them. I've had dealers screw up tons of stuff, and I've had dealers bend over backwards to not only fix my boat correctly, but to minimize any inconvenience to me during the process.
I'll not name names, but I had a 2007 VLX that developed a few small spidercracks along the front grab handles in the bow, and also had a small tear develop in the vinyl on one of the seats. I took it into a particular dealership (not in the Chattanooga area - our BU dealer is awesome) in November of '07. Well, come February, the repairs still had not even been started. We always start riding in March, so I was anxious about getting the boat back. Well, I got a phone call in March saying that the boat was ready. I went to pick it up and not only was the tear in the seat not fixed, but the dealer used the wrong color gel to fix the cracks int he bow. It looked terrible, and when I complained, the dealer told me that my boat must be a "custom" gel color, and that I was going to have to pay for "custom gel work", which was not covered under warranty. I was so mad that I just took my boat over to another dealership, which sold other brands, and left it there. I called Malibu and explained the situation, and how upset I was. In a nutshell, Malibu convinced the BU dealer to take the boat back and fix it correctly. What's crazy is that the BU dealer tried to essentially get me to buy a new vlx instead of fixing my '07, but didn't offer me a very good deal. While he was fixing my boat, I found a buyer for it, and when it was done, I dropped it off at my friend's dealership and left with an '08 SANTE 230. I loved that VLX, but I refused to continue to own BU, so long as I was going to have to go through that same dealer.
On the flip side, the guy who sold me my Nautique runs American Boat Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, and always, and I mean ALWAYS, was on top of his warranty work. For example, in the middle of my first season with my '08 230, the trottle positioning sensor went out. I called ABC and told them what happened. I explained that I really wanted to have the boat fixed asap, because the 4th of july was right around the corner. The NEXT DAY, a guy from ABC drove 80 miles to Chattanooga and picked up the boat, brought it back to Knoxville, had the parts overnighted from PCM, fixed the boat, and dropped the boat off in Chattanooga 3 days later. That's what I call good service.
One other story of good service that I experienced involved Boatmate trailers. I had the LED lights stolen off of the boatmate trailer that I had built for my '09 SANTE 230. The theives managed to mangle the wiring on the trailer. There was a tournament in Nashville that I wanted to take my boat to the following weekend, but I obviously couldn't trailer it with no lights. I called Owen at Boatmate and explained my situation. Instead of just sending me parts and having me try to rewire everything, Boatmate sent a rep to my house from Knoxville, straightened out all of the wiring and installed all new lights for me. I couldn't believe it.
The moral of the story is that there are good dealers and not-so-good dealers out there. Sometimes it has to do with the fact that a dealer is new and is still figuring out how to run a business. Sometimes it has to do with a dealership being run by a bunch of people who view their customers as being one-and-doners (sell 'em one boat and forget about keeping them happy and don't worry if they ever come back). Unfortunately, whether it's CC, BU, MC, etc., the dealer is not the manufacturer. If you are having major problems with a dealer, then try to get the manufacturer to help lean on the dealer to fix the boat correctly and/or GO TO ANOTHER DEALER who sells the same brand - even if you have to drive a few hours.
For a variety of reasons, I ended up switching to Axis. I would not have done so had the local Chattanooga Axis/BU dealership (Marine Outfitters) not been so awesome to work with. I seriously could not be happier with MO, and every little issue I've had has been ironed out with minimal inconvenience to me.
Every boat will have issues. When factoring in what to buy, the dealer network for the particular brand you are considering is crucial. It sucks when a dealer gives a brand a bad name. Conversely, it's awesome when a good dealer keeps their customers happy, despite the problems that will occur with a new boat.
Last edited by chattwake; 07-03-2012 at 6:12 AM.