I walked into my shop today and there was a guy waiting for some parts to be modified. I asked what he was having done and he handed me what looked like a 1/2" stainless bolt that was being modified to have a round rather than hex head. It looked just like a threaded terminal for heavy boat rigging and he confirmed that it was. He named two big well known quality boat manufacturers he was doing the work for.
I looked at the bolt threads and although it had been polished, they were seriously pitted. After he left, I looked in thebox he left for more to be done and noticed 6 of them in a bag from McMaster Carr and they were all equally bad. They almost look as if they were cast in a poor quality mold rather than turned on a screw machine.
When the parts get sent out I intend to suggest they find a supplier of better quality stainless. This looks like cheap chinese stuff that I would not allow on my boat. I may even call the boat company and suggest they inspect the parts.
Any ideas on what I should do?
Frankly, if I were in your shoes, or acting as your legal adviser (which I am most assuredly not) and I had any suspicion that the parts you describe might be defective, or of poor quality, such that they might represent an unusual hazard to someone relying upon them for their rig, or elsewhere, before doing anything on/with them in any manner, I would advise the prospective client of my misgivings both verbally and in writing (so that they have affirmative notice) and request that they sign an acknowledgement of such notice which, ex post facto
, will indemnify you for liability in the event a 3rd party suffers a loss or injury by their use (in which case the vendor and everyone that's had any connection to the defective parts is likely to be, if not certain to be, sued for negligence, at the least).
Your prospective liability can be inferred/arise from the legal theory/principal Qui tacet consentiret
: the maxim of the law that "Silence gives consent" or "agreement". If you knew, or by virtue of your profession, skills and experience, reasonably should have/could have known of the hazard/danger to an unsuspecting user and yet did nothing to alert/warn the vendor and by extension the user, you are/were, ipso facto
, "negligent". The foregoing may sound a little radical or excessive, and I agree that to some extent may be, but in the hands of a plaintiff's trial attorney, could easily be used to make toast of your business and/or bank account. ("If you knew, why the hell didn't you say something/warn anyone..."?)
As for this silly debate about West Marine verses McMaster/Carr, a vendor may stipulate certain specifications/standards for the products it intends to offer to the public but, unless it has a knowledgeable Quality Control officer/agent that can test and assure that the stock they acquire for resale meets the stipulated specifications, the vendor has no way of ensuring/knowing, unequivocally, that it does. Jeeze, even McDonald/Douglass and Boeing have been known to unknowingly buy and install counterfeit parts in the military and commercial aircraft they build. It is a little much to expect vendors like WM and M/C to do much better, no? One of my professors in graduate school once observed that "if something doesn't look/feel right, it probably isn't". Frogwatch has observed that "something doesn't look right". Given that, it might be wise for him/her to act accordingly for his/her own protection, No?