Since I purchased my first Epic in 2011 - it was always rather difficult to find a marina/maintenance shop. First winterization was done based on a buddy's usual routine with his maintenance guy (independent). Replaced boat the same winter and went back in spring to the same guy but when I was asking for additional work to be done - it always seemed like I'm a nuisance and not a customer. Anyway - boat had an issue in the first summer - needed to find a shop with Mercury engine experience and found after I don't know how many calls one who was willing to look at the boat even on short notice - everybody else said in 2 weeks etc. I have gone back to them ever since - same marina who put the surf gates on the boat. I'm happy with them and they do what they can and eventually get me in on short notice - so really no complaints at all.
However I have an issue with the boat and after looking at this back and forth - we both agreed that I should bring this once to a shop which is specialized in inboards as they're doing work on everything from 20ft all the way to the big cabin cruisers on the St. Croix.
So I called another shop (affiliated/dealer of major brands talked about here all the time) on July 3rd. Understandably a busy day - got transferred to VM and left a message to the service manager. Never got a call back - so thought - oh well - only 20 minutes away - I'll drive over. Explained situation and eventually got an appointment for the following week. Sent them additional info of what has been done so far, pointed out that alignment might be part of the issue etc. Fast forward - dropping boat off on 7/15 around lunch (apt. is for 7/16) and being told that the person who was supposed to look at it was on jury duty. I assume that he got the notice quite some time in advance but I guess the shop was hoping that he wouldn't get called in but he eventually did. Told them that I could leave the boat there until Friday but if they wouldn't see a chance to get anything done then I would rather pick it up and go boating and get another appointment- summer is short up here. Called them on 7/17 - still on duty - won't happen so I'll pick boat up the same day and get another appointment for 7/22 instead.
On 7/22 I'll drop boat off again - service manager I dealt with prior is on vacation - the other service manager has seen videos/email but otherwise not much else. I explain what I would need to have looked at - express again that repair/fix etc. may not be straight forward and understand that it may take some time but would prefer to have the boat done instead of driving back and forth. I also authorized initial repairs etc. for 1K and asked for an update if more time is required but would also assume that the first task (alignment) likely wouldn't take up an entire day (water testing was part of deal which I was aware that I would pay for the time too). Being told that technician is finishing up another boat and would then start with mine.
The next day by 2pm - still no update and I had a feeling that nothing so far has been done but didn't stop by and called. Left VM - an hour later still no response - so called again and was put on hold for 10 minutes. Finally talking to the service manager and asked for an update. Quote: "The repair on the other boat took longer - he just fnished up and is pulling your boat in".
Ok - I dropped off boat yesterday and expected an update so you haven't even started?
But you told us that we can keep boat to get repair done?
Yeah - to get it worked on - not to have it sit around.
So picked up boat an hour after that but was fuming and literally wish that the service manager once makes an appointment for his car or whatever toy he has and when he comes back in the evening that he's being told 'oops - sorry we didn't get to it'.
Still venting/ranting ... I don't know why I made appointments as I could have avoided both times to drop the boat off as it was clear that on the day of the appointment nobody would be able to work on (jury duty on the first, prior boat still being worked on the 2nd and not just for a few hours - no it eventually took 1.5 days more). A simple call would have saved me 4 trips - provided me with 3 more nights of going out wakeboarding.
Am I expecting too much and/or has everybody succumbed to the idea that owing a boat is one thing but getting service is like begging for mercy instead of getting decent customer service? The one thing it reminded me off was the Seinfeld episode with the rental car reservation ...
still funny for those who didn't grow up with Seinfeld (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T2GmGSNvaM