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post #21 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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Originally Posted by gbm4th View Post
I was told the boat was ready in June and again in early August only to find the engine on the cabin floor. I missed the entire summer.

I asked for everyones bills the end of August and the mechanic sent me a bill with a different make of boat. Rather than sending me a new bill he filed a lien.


George
Two thoughts....When I read your complaint I thought the engine was never installed, but now apparently it has been installed. The second thought is that the mechanic might be confusing your boat with another and is putting the lien on the wrong boat. FWIW
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post #22 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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George,

I feel your pain but, I'm not clear on what the real dispute is.

From what I can gather from your posts so far, you already paid for the engine and the Bill is for labor and material to install. You didn't obtain a quotation, rather it was an vague estimate, I assume on a time and material basis? Did you sign a release that allowed him to start work based on the estimate? ( I have to sign a contract/release for any work done on my boat by the yard)

The engine has now been installed but not tested because it's on the hard, and needs some work to fair the exhaust port.

Is the fairing of the exhaust port something the mechanic would do? Or would that require another contractor? Was the hole necessary to install the engine properly?

I think it's important to understand exactly what resolution you are seeking?

It sucks, that the season is lost, but I don't think you can expect a bill reduction or compensation for that. While you were very badly treated IMO, in a sense, you allowed it to continue, The mechanic could have been discharged the 1st time.

The mismatched name of the boat sounds like an clerical error but probably doesn't relieve you of the debt.

If you didn't receive the corrected/adjusted invoice ask for a copy..and go over it with the mechanic. If the sea-trial is on the invoice and it hasn't taken place yet, it's reasonable to ask to have it removed. Are there any other discrepancies?

It sounds like all you need to do is fair the hole, splash the boat and start the engine..and negotiate a fair settlement of the bill. I get that you are pissed, but throwing money at a lawyer will not get the season back for you. Do you think there's enough money in... actual..dispute to make it worth the time, energy and expense?

Best of luck to you! There's always next season and you will have a new engine!

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Morgan, NJ

Last edited by Tempest; 10-03-2011 at 09:58 AM.
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post #23 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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I am a lawyer. I have no experience in marine law, other than owning a sailboat. I understand everyone's frustrations with lawyers and costs, but agree with some of the earlier posts that you should see one. A good lawyer will give you the lay of the land (legally) and outline your options. You can then make a decision on what you want to do. Most of these initial consultations will cost you very little, or nothing. I get a lot of people who ask me to "just write a letter", and I understand what they think will happen, but it usually doesn't. Find a local, well recommended and get an hour of his/her time. Then, you make an informed decision. Bring all docs and specifics when you go to that consultation. You'll get better information that way. Good luck.
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post #24 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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Right or wrong, the mechanic has a reason for thinking they are right or they wouldn't have filed the lien. There is no one on the water without a collection of miserable boat yard experiences.

I once received a refund after paying an inflated bill in full. I was hanging in the slings waiting to take her away when presented with a bill for twice the estimate. Pay it or no splash. I paid, but wrote to the President and threatened to post my estimate and bill on the Internet for others to see how long they claimed a very straightforward job took. This was routine maintenance, by the way.

If he had a counter argument, I'm sure he would have just come to the forum or Active Captain to dispute his position, but he knew his guys were wrong. He refunded half the bill that I already paid in full.

You might consider having a discussion with them that you plan to out the details, copies of your bill, name of the yard and mechanic, etc. However, I would not threaten anything I wasn't will to do and you will have to consider their rebuttal, which only you know at this point.


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 10-03-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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post #25 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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It's funny, in a way, how we respond when there's "matters of the law". If we broke our leg, would we start a thread on a community web page and ask about how to proceed, or would we see a Doctor and get it fixed? More often than not, we would see the Dr., but when it comes to matters of law, we're quicker to follow the advice of absolute strangers than to seek a professional. I'm not a lawyer, but I think the profession gets a pretty bad rap from the minority's actions. I do know this much, if we postpone seeing the Dr. for the broken leg, then that problem will become much bigger (read more expensive), the longer we wait. I'd say the same applies here.
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post #26 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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Quote:
There is no one on the water without a collection of miserable boat yard experiences.
Me. This is one reason that I do my own work. Less stressful, cheaper, and a good workout.

I have no legal advise to provide because I am not an attorney. But my brother was an attorney and I learned from him that establishing an honest dialog can break through many log jams. It is necessary to remove ego and I'm-Going-To-Win-itis from the equation. I've seen this work many times professionally and personally. I would recommend talking with the mechanic, in person, while standing in front of the boat (so there is no confusion regarding which boat).

Good luck, I feel for you.
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post #27 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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GB,
I would do both, first get an open and honest dialog going with the mechanic but also research the lein/auction process either with a lawyers help or on your own, the internet is wonderful.

One things for sure if the lein is enforceable and the boat goes to auction there would now be a third party's interest in the boat and a lawyer would certainly be required to get it back. And that would be messy and expensive.

John
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post #28 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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I've told my agent, I refuse to even play a lawyer on TV, it might ruin my reputation.

"first get an open and honest dialog going with the mechanic "

But I'm sure the first thing an attorney would say, is DO NOT CONTACT THE MECHANIC because anything you say can and will somehow come back to bite you. Contact the authorities and the attoreny first, and then if they say to contact the mechanic...that's something else again.

If the guy somehow "finished the job" twice while leaving the engine in the middle of the cabin floor, his communication skills maybe in question. Among other things.
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post #29 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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A good reason to document instead of state registering the boat... In some states (like CA) - a documented boat cannot be held by a mechanic or boat yard for payment disputes. Yes, they can go through the process of obtaining a Lien through the coast guard, but the documented vessel must be released to the owner.
In comparison, a state registered boat may be held hostage with very little effort....
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post #30 of 56 Old 10-03-2011
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A good reason to document instead of state registering the boat...
Sorry, most states require you to register the boat even if it's documented. You pay the taxes, register the boat, and get the paperwork. Even though you don't display the numbers on the bow, it's still registered.

You might mean "titling" instead of "registering." In most cases, documentation takes the place of titling.

As for the OP's dilemma and sketchy details of the situation, it sounds like the work was done but took much longer than he would have liked. Although I'm not a lawyer, I think he still has to pay for the work that was done unless he had a contract with a penalty clause for late completion of the work. It's a real shame that he lost a season of sailing, but it does not excuse him from paying. Unless he has a concrete argument that the charges were excessive for the work that was done, he should consider getting the promised sea trial, pay up, and start enjoying the boat.


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Last edited by TakeFive; 10-03-2011 at 03:08 PM.
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