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View Poll Results: Do you think this is a scam?
Yes 8 24.24%
No 25 75.76%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-15-2011
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Question Outboard motor shop scam?

I have a situation... On my boat when I bought it one year ago was a 2-stroke Nissan 9.8, still unsure of the exact year but I want to say a mid 90s model. It ran really good all through the summer, started right up and ran even after sitting for a week or two. Towards the end of summer, it started to smoke more then usual and idled a bit rough then it did. For the most part it still ran good enough. About 4 weeks ago I brought it to an outboard motor shop which was listed as an authorized Nissan service center. I told them it was smoking a bit and idling somewhat rough, also to go ahead and do an annual service on it. I told him to replace the battery terminals so I can get the electric start working. The guy there told me it was $75 and hour and usually takes 1.5 hours for annual service. So I am thinking about $200 for the service plus a bit more for the battery terminals and clamp screw.

A day after, I got a call from them, he said the motor was indeed overheating that he will have to replace the water pump and it will be $365 for everything. I thought it was a bit pricey but gave him the go ahead to do it. Then I get another call the next day, the guy says it is still overheating so there could be corrosion in the lower unit. He then calls back and says there is some corrosion and it will be $400 more on top the $365 to clean it all out. So $765 and he said most of it was labor. I told them I will call them back, not sure I want to go ahead with it. Then I decided to let them do it so I called back and told the lady to let him know to go ahead and do what he has to do and call me when it is ready.

Weeks went by and I never heard anything. I did tell them I was not in a rush to get the motor back but after several weeks, I would think they should call and at least update me. I even called them about once a week and the lady told me he would call me back but I never heard nothing. Today I called and after putting me on hold forever, she said oh its ready. I then asked ok how much is it, put on hold again and finally she came back and said $851 plus tax which is $925. So where does the $851 come from after they told me $765 which was the price I agreed too? Ok I don't know much about outboards but this seems TOTALLY ridiculous for a small outboard like this. Especially since it is a decent running outboard. At $75 an hour, they would have to work on the motor for 8 or more hours. So now I am left with a decision, should I go ahead and just pay this insane amount or just buy a new 2011 Mercury 6hp 4-stroke for a few hundred more? I am about ready to abandon this motor, I will say that much. I can almost swear I have a feeling they are ripping me off. I am posting this poll here so others can respond and let me know what they think. Something just don't seem right here and I am not sure what to do. I can certainly argue the $851 after I was quoted $765, that is darn near $90 difference.

The opportunity is all over this situation for them to scam me. How do I know that motor had corrosion in the lower unit? How do I know how long they worked on this motor? How do I know ANY of this without seeing them do it? Of course I am not going to go home and disassemble the whole lower unit! I do know it was overheating but they could have replaced the water pump and it was working fine. Then they could have just said it had corrosion in the lower unit even though it did not. Then just let the motor sit for a few weeks as if they are working on it, then charge me labor hours that were not even actually done. I have a bad feeling about all this and hope some people here can shed light and give suggestions on how I should proceed here.

So I would like to know what to do by Friday. If I do pay this and truely feel like I was ripped off, should I have this motor disassembled and verify that work was indeed done? How else would I know they done this work? I just don't trust these people at all. I don't know them, they never called me back, although it appears to be a fairly large service center I still have a sick feeling. I brought it there because that place was listed on Nissan website as an authorized Nissan service center. It is not a Nissan shop, I am not saying the name because I can't confirm its a scam just yet. Don't want to give them a bad name if for some reason it is not. Even though thats pretty bad they don't even call me back, plus up the price I was quoted. So far I am not very happy with the place, I will say that much.
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2011
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Seems to me they kept you informed of the escalating cost pretty well.

Having worked in a similar sort of service industry getting a definitive diagnosis can be a multistage process so while they could be scam merchants I don't see that they have to be.

But paying more than it is worth sucks!
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Old 03-16-2011
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The repairs may well have cost that much. However, don't you think that any self-respecting shop would be concerned if they suggested doing repairs that total nearly what a new engine would cost? Would it be reasonable for an auto shop to suggest replacing the brakes, transmission, and motor on a 1995 Civic... no.
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Old 03-16-2011
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I also am in a service oriented buisness. Projects which do not go as qouted are probably a result of inexperince on the part of service provider. I have under estimated time myself. I have ate myshare of labor. Also, I have begrugeonly paid for a learning experience of a provider.

My position would be "I was willing to invest $x.xx in this project. That is amount to which WE agreed. I don't wish to invest more than that. Now I am faced with the desecion to invest an inflated amount or to abandon this project. Where do we go from here?"

Can't say this was scam, only the service provider would know this.

Wish you luck on this one...
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Old 03-16-2011
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A scam? No. Worth it? Also no. An hour and a half for a service on an outboard is also a bit excessive, I had mine serviced recently, new plugs, new oil, tune up, new gear oil etc, took the guy about 30 minutes.
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Old 03-16-2011
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I'm thinking buying a new motor might be the way to go. But first you might call them and say, since they have the motor there already, just go ahead and pull the top end and change the rings.
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Old 03-16-2011
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Talking

and "oh ya rebuild the carb" ,,,,"forget that put a NEW ONE ON".....then walk away from it....
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Old 03-16-2011
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Get a specified bill and post it.
That may tell what work has been done and which parts have been changed.
If they refuse, then it might be something going on.
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Old 03-16-2011
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A day after, I got a call from them, he said the motor was indeed overheating that he will have to replace the water pump and it will be $365 for everything. I thought it was a bit pricey but gave him the go ahead to do it. Then I get another call the next day, the guy says it is still overheating so there could be corrosion in the lower unit. He then calls back and says there is some corrosion and it will be $400 more on top the $365 to clean it all out. So $765 and he said most of it was labor. I told them I will call them back, not sure I want to go ahead with it. Then I decided to let them do it so I called back and told the lady to let him know to go ahead and do what he has to do and call me when it is ready.


You have to drop the lower-unit to change the waterpump at which point any issue with corrosion that would affect cooling would be apparent

Now they can be difficult to get apart if they have not been serviced in a long time but that was not mentioned by them
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Old 03-16-2011
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Ouch. I don't know whether the shop is actually scamming you, but you virtually gave them permission to do so.
Here's how:
1. All communications were by phone, without actually eyeballing the suspect parts.
2. You told them you weren't in a hurry.
3. You didn't tell the shop what your spending limit was.
4. YOU DIDN'T DO IT YOURSELF.

Seriously, outboard motors are not rocket surgery. a $30 manual, $100 invested in new tools and a good internet connection would have allowed you to master your O/B

http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|215570|530904|292251|314576&id=53904
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Last edited by bljones; 03-16-2011 at 07:59 AM.
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