What I have attached below is a portion of a letter I recently sent To the President of Walker Bay. This is in response to problems I have had with Walker Bay and 5 other units owned by members of our sailing club. I address the product quality and the poor customer service offered by Walker Bay. These are all hypalon units. When not in use they are protected from the sun.
If you have a Odyssey, inspect the tubes where they join the transon for any deterioration. If you are considering the purchase of a new inflatable, consider this a warning.
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Stefano Rista, President
Walker Bay Boats, Inc.
717 Butterfield Rd.
Yakima, WA 98901
I have owned and maintained my boats for over 40 years. During this time I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of equipment and talked with dozens of manufacturers.
I am amazed how cooperative these companies have been at assisting me in solving my problems. They have talked me thru repairs, provided parts, mailed assembly instructions and even made follow-up calls to make sure I was satisfied with the performance of their products. More important, they live up to the obligations of the warranty that they issue. In several cases, even when I haven’t asked, parts have been provided at no charge even after the warranty expired.
Walker Bay seems just the opposite. Calls to your warranty department are met with requests for a variety of data, records, photos and forms whose only purpose is to make your customer end his search in frustration. These people aren’t to blame. They take orders. The fault for this misguided approach to customer service starts at your office.
A year ago, with a 3-year old Odyssey Hypalon that was delaminating so badly, your warranty department tried every trick they had to delay meeting their obligation. They began buy offering to replace the defective unit for only $1085-pretty hefty for 3 years use. After many calls and interaction by the local dealer, you honored your obligation. My problem was solved; However, I was angry with the effort it took to accomplish what should have been a simple matter. This cost Walker Bay some money. And yet, because of the foolishness of your actions, I was still angry.
Walker Bay has 2 problems:
• You manufacture a product that delivers less than what should be expected. You have cut too many corners and selected too many low bids on parts and assembly. The result is that the finished product quality is less than satisfactory. If the product failures that exist in our sailing club are any example, the situation is serious. The quality problems I’ve seen with Walker Bay Inflatables make me question their reliability and safety for the occupants.
• Your warranty is designed to play games with your customers and insult their intelligence. Walker Bay does everything possible not to honor warranty claims. An example is with the pair of 800 numbers listed on your warranty certificate. Neither is correct. From the beginning you assume that your customers are liars and cheats. Then you make them prove they are not.
The problem with the valves on my inflatable could have been solved for a few dollars by sending me 4 valve stems, or turned down immediately. I would have replaced them myself and been a happy customer. Or I would have been angry, but not mad. You would not have annoyed your dealer with another claim and wasted my time when you knew it was not a covered claim.
All 4 valves have been difficult to operate from the day I first put it into use. 2 of them are now rusted. These “just like Halkey-Roberts” valves are manufactured from material of so poor quality that they cannot maintain their integrity under the conditions they were designed to function. To suggest that I file a claim with the valve manufacturer (who no one can identify) was ludicrous.
Not for a minute do I think I am telling you anything you don’t know. You are not ignorant. Walker Bay advertising is slick. The product design is good. You are smart enough to know of The Company’s quality and service problems, just not smart enough to fix them.