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Old 04-05-2002
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Beneteau vs Hunter

If anyone chooses to do an archive search on "warantee" or "warrantee" I also suggest a search on "warranty." You probably will get more hits on the last one.

I''ve written on these lists before what I know about Catalina warranty policy. Frank Butler still chooses to handle warranty claims himself. He always has and probably always will. The good part of that policy is that the man himself knows exactly what is going wrong with his boats. He can literally walk to the production line and make a change right then. The bad part of that policy is with the high sales volume of Catalina these days. I don''t see how the man can keep up--and obviously he doesn''t always.

I talked to a former Catalina dealer here in Maryland who partially stopped selling Catalinas because of the delays and confusions caused by Butler''s process. The dealer said he would get a single letter from Butler dealing with many boats and the dealer had to sort out which comment/decision applied to which boat. He said many dealers would fix simple things themselves to keep the customer happy, and that only served to piss the dealers off.

How do I know all this? I wrote an article on the history of Catalina for a national sailing magazine, which was published a year or so ago. I had numerous telephone interviews with Frank Butler, and also one face-to-face in Annapolis at the show. His is a terrific story, and he cares about his boats. But he tends to be a control freak, and that can be a problem with warranty work when you sell a thousand (maybe more?) boats a year.

Having said all that, and as pointed out by others on here, there are thousands of VERY loyal Catalina owners out there. It is not uncommon at all for people to buy 3 and 4 Catalinas of increasing size during their sailing careers. The company obviously is doing something right.
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