From the Editor: August 2003

Every month we get a number of readers asking us to help...

Every month we get a number of readers asking us to help resolve a dispute between them and their dealer or broker. I?m not talking about the minor glitches that affect every boat, but major problems that require the boat being out of the water for months, and thousands of pounds to put them right. The loss of time out on the water and the expense of rectifying the problems are punishment enough, but some of you are left fuming because you?re unable to get any satisfaction from the manufacturer or dealer responsible.

One chap?s boat is significantly slower than it should be but the manufacturers won?t sort out the problem for him. Another bloke?s boat is taking water into the engineroom through the air-intakes. Yet another owner?s port engine has gone bang but the engine manufacturer won?t help because it?s three weeks out of warranty. We make a call or two on your behalf, but the answers we get usually highlight the fact that there are two sides to every story, and that customers sometimes have unrealistic expectations.

Indeed, we have occasionally been gobsmacked at the unrealistic expectations some customers have ? do they really think it?s reasonable to neglect routine servicing for five years and then expect an engine manufacturer to sort out the (inevitable) problems that occur as a result? For every horror story we hear from readers about the shoddy treatment they receive at the hands of their dealer, that same dealer will tell us a similar number of tales of unreasonable expectations from owners.

With this in mind, we?ve taken a look this month at what to do when things go badly wrong between you and your service suppliers. We hope that by following our suggestions boat owners and boat dealers can resolve their problems before they consult their solicitors.