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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got my boat back after having a Raymarine S1000 Autopilot fitted at Eurotek Marine Ltd at Brighton Marina.
Before taking it to them I phoned around for quotes and they gave me the best quote at £130. As they are also a Raymarine Dealer I took it to them on the 15th of march for a job that should have taken no more than 2 hours according to the instructions. It is also a job that that the manual said I should be able to do myself. I wanted to be sure that it was done properly so decided to pay the 'experts' instead.
It did not take 2 hours, it took 11 days! First of all they said they needed some adaptors for the hydraulic steering which would take a couple of days. Then they said that they needed some different pipes, another couple of days.
Finally they called today to say that it was ready.
I got there expecting to pay a few quid more for the extra bits and pieces and was presented with a bill for £517.00:yucky: .
£350 of that was for labour, £70 for parts, £20 for a software update + VAT.
When I refused to pay that much and told them I was quoted £130 they tried to say it took longer than expected. They are not kidding:uhuh: . I refused to leave until the bill was reduced and eventually the woman in the shop gave in as she was going to be late for a doctors appointment and I ended up paying £250 + Vat.
They had my telephone number when I left the boat with them and I also had numerous conversations with them over the last 11 days so could have told me at any time that the bill was going to be a lot more but did not.
I am still not happy that I ended up paying considerably more than quoted and would like to know: Is a Quote different from an Estimate? From my understanding an estimate is effectively a educated guess at a price but a quote is a definite price, am I correct?
A word of advice to anyone getting work done on their boat especially at Eurotek Marine, get it in writing first.
 

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A quote is generally for a fixed price job, an estimate is not - it can go up (rarely down). The only way round this - and for both Quotes and Estimates - is to agree in writing what the quote/estimate covers, and what is the agreement procedure for any changes. A quote is of no value without a description of what it covers anyway, and if they had given a quote for £130 without a written definition of the work they could easily say afterwards that the quote was for fitting the standard bits, and did not cover any extras that were not previously agreed. There is no reason why a marine shop cannot work to the same principle as the better garages - give a fixed price for a job, and if they find extra work is needed that increases the cost, they phone first for authorisation to proceed. Unfortunately very many marine shops are not so well organised. I'm afraid it is often down to us, the savvy customer, to manage these people not the other way round!
 

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A quote is given as a fixed price for a job. Any variation must be agreed by both parties. However remember the 'Goldwinism' "A verbal contract is not worth the paper it is written on".

An estimate is an educated guess and nothing more.

Your legal position as a customer.... If you consider that the work carried out is below standard, or has caused damage or (most importantly in this case) charged out at more than the quoted price (for whatever reason), you have the absolute right to question these charges in law. The way this is done is to offer only the quoted price as agreed in the first place. The tradesman HAS TO accept this figure and has no legal right to impound your goods or property. In fact if he were to, it would be a criminal offence. However he has the right to challenge the 'underpayment' of his bill. To do this he must take the case to The County Court. Bare in mind though if you were to loose the case before the county court you would end up with a County Court Judgement against you ( a CCJ) which will jeopardize your credit rating.

Afishionado
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. As I thought, They can not complain then as they got an extra £30 for any extra work involved and they should have phoned me if it was going to cost more than double the quoted price.
Having checked the workmanship once I got home I am not happy with it. One of the hydraulic pipes had quite a severe kink in it and they had not replaced all of the screws that they removed from a cover. I have just spent over an hour rerouting the pipes to remove the kink.
Lesson learned.
 

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When people ask me for a price to do a job. I will only give them an estimate. As an boats, you can come across unseen problems. Especially under floors.
I will do the job cheaper if it was easier than expected, but i will charge more if needed. The customer is told this before i take the job on.
99% of people will agree and go ahead with job.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Autopilot I had fitted did not involve any underdeck work and came with a video showing how to install as well as instructions and was very straightforward to fit. They had a problem with fittings on the helm being a different size to expected which was why I knew I would have some extra parts to pay for which was fair enough.
Even if they charged £70 per hour there is no way the job would have taken 5 hours and if it was going to take that long I should have been informed and given the choice of whether to pay that much or go elsewhere.
I also asked them to replace a broken switch on the boat, which was not done. I will not be going back to them again in future.
 

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If it had been me I would not have paid the extra. I had exactly the same situation with a car being repaired. I asked for a quote. Okay do the job.
When I went to collect the car the bill was double. No contact was ever made to say extra work was needed. I refused to pay and said I am taking the car and put the original amount in cash down on the counter.
They said we have the keys try taking it away. I waved the spares at them and started to walk out. We will call the Police! Fine I say. No problem I have done nothing wrong, I paid you.
They collapsed and gave in immediately gave me my keys and a receipt and that was it.......
I now tell anybody I get work done by. If it is going to cost more than the agreed "quote" I want to know nefore you go ahead.

Looking at the car later they said the extra work was because the dash had to come out. The torx screws retaining it were full of the dust and crap that gets there over time and use. That dash had never been out in it's life! The relay they replaced which was the original fault. Was an old one too it had a chip off one corner. I was billed for a new one!
 

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We have a problem with semantics in this country, probably due to the drop in educational standards and we fortunate ones educated in the 1950' have given up the fight and allowed our standards to slip too.

The LAW is written in Standard English Language (Talkin' propper) so there is now quite a gap between what we 'think' we said and what the person we talk to 'thinks' he understood.

The 'same' is not 'the same' it should be 'similar'. You can never have the 'same' again!!

An estimate is according to the dictionary.....An approximate calculation of quantity or degree or worth. Therefore not by definition a final or total amount.

A quotation is....A statement of the current market price of a security or commodity. Therefore by definition a finite amount.

So being a pedantic old fart pays off as far as I am concerned. If you do not want to be ripped off, understand our language and be quite pedantic about getting Written QUOTATIONS for work done.

Afishionado
 

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Being a slightly younger fart, educated in the 60's, and then educated in the Law in the 90's I must disagree with one or two points made.

To say that you cannot have the 'same' again is misleading in the extreme. If in the case of a pint of beer you ask for the 'same' again you quite clearly cannot have the same beer again. However you can have the 'same' quantity and brand of beer again. Thus 'though in one context you have had similar it is none the less true that you have had "the same again".

With regard to the legal implications of a "quotation" vis-a-vis an estimate, I am ashamed to say I cannot remember the case law on which it is founded, but it has been held in a case which reached the Court of Appeal that there is in law no material difference between an estimate and a quotation.

What is needed in either case is a clear definition of the scope and nature of the work to be undertaken. If the scope and or nature of the work changes significantly from the quote or estimate, then it is to the agreement between the parties to determine what should be done.

Where the parties have not reached agreement as to what should be done it will be for the courts to decide (as so often) on the reasonableness of the actions carried out.

So if a customer is presented with a bill which differs greatly from the quote or estimate, the courts would look at whether the work was broadly similar or required to complete the task agreed. They would then look to see if the charges was broadly reasonable.

Had the contractor in the above scenario decided to fit a totally extraneous piece of kit and tried to charge for it then that would probably be deemed to be unreasonable. However to simply carry out the necessary works and fit the appropriate parts required to fit the autopilot that in itself would probably be reasonable. The labour reasonable labour charge could then be deduced from the general charges for labour agreed between the parties, and the number of hours assesed based on what is reasonable in the particular circumstances.

If the above is clear then my apologies, my legal education was totally wasted :D
 

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Quote.................If the above is clear then my apologies, my legal education was totally wasted

I am going purely on my experiances in the Motor Trade and in respect of information given to my company by the Local Trading Standards office as and when cases arose. We were told in very definate terms that if a customer refused to pay for work over and above the work 'Quoted for', he (the customer)
was entitled to take his vehicle away after paying only the amount on the 'Quotation'. Our only recourse was to argue our case in the county court for the differance and reasons for it over the quoted ammount. WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD THE VEHICLE OR REMOVE ANY ITEMS FROM IT because of the deficit.

Subsequently all our "quoted" work was stated on a specific form titled ESTIMATE
with a clear warning that the final bill my be higher thant the 'estimated' amount.
The customer was required to sign that he understood this. We also had in large print at the point of signature the ledgend We will not add any other work/items to the estimate without your written permission. We did this although it caused delays in time waiting for written permission after a series of "Yes you did"/ No I didn't" arguments over whether additional work was in fact agreed. All of this was done at the recommendation of our Local (Dorset) Trading Standards Office.

So my experiance is rather more practical than erudite halls of the Inns of Court but I can obviously only talk about this on the basis of my experiance as a manufacturers Main Agent
:)0)

Afishionado
 

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believe it or not that is in total agreement with what I wrote above :D

At least it ain't in disagreement ;)

The warnings given would apply equally to either quotes or estimates - the warning etc all form part of the agreement between the parties to the contract
 

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O/K i think i have got it sussed,only deal with a repairer who will give a QUOTE IN WRITING, and if the invoice needs to be ammended they phone you before carring on with excess work,have i got it ?? == PAT
 

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O/K i think i have got it sussed,only deal with a repairer who will give a QUOTE IN WRITING, and if the invoice needs to be ammended they phone you before carring on with excess work,have i got it ?? == PAT
Tha's about it. But make sure that it says to contact you by phone before carrying out any work IN WRITING somewhere on the quote!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just as an update. Today I tried out the autopilot. Initially you have to put it through an autolearn procedure. This involves the computer putting the boat through a series of Zig-Zags. We went round in ever decreasing circles until we were dizzy!
I can see air pockets in the hydraulic pipes and guess that this could be causing it. My theory is that when it turns the first part of the zig-zag the air goes into the pump and stops it turning the other way. Could I be right?
 

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You need that air out before you have any chance of it behaving. You should have a couple of bleed nipples on either end of the steering ram.
 

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As a general observation and at the risk of making myself unpopoular with the members who are involved in the business I do think the leisure marine service industry has low standards of professionalism. A couple of posters have already made comparisons to the auto industry which I agree with but I work in the IT sector and the same applies there. We are very careful if we provide a client with an estimate to say that it's not a commercial offer and that we cannot be held to it etc but if they do come to us for the work we will stick to, or undercut, the price unless there is a damn good explanation. The reason is simple and that is that next time they will go elsewhere because they can.

I and people I know have compared similar experiences to Cascar's. I won't name anyone now because we all had our choices and took the decision to settle with the suppliers in question but it does fill you with dread whenever you need something done.

I think the reason is twofold. First the industry is basically catering to a leisure market which can convey the impression that customers have money and time to spare. Second, that market is captive . If I want work done on my engine I am likely to chose the agent for that brand which is nearest, usually in the marina. If outlets were lined up along the quayside as you sailed past I think there would be a different story.

I know it wont change overnight but I think the pressure has to come from the market so the advice already given about getting it in writing, getting it understood that any changes have to be approved etc is all good. Keep the pressure on the suppliers to do the job they promised to the standard and date they promised. In time we will all benefit.

That's it - feeling better now, aahhhh!
 

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Quote...I know it wont change overnight but I think the pressure has to come from the market so the advice already given about getting it in writing, getting it understood that any changes have to be approved etc is all good. Keep the pressure on the suppliers to do the job they promised to the standard and date they promised. In time we will all benefit.


You are so right. We MUST be better and more exacting customers before things wil change. It is only market pressures that will improve things. With the internet research is easy. If you can buy the materials yourself and get the job done on a labour only basis, and shop arround for the best price on everything too.
A local chandler has LED cabin lights on display at £26 + Vat, I have just had 2 of exactly the similar lights delivered this morning £30 the pair inc' P&P.
I am often bemused by the British inability to bargain. There is even a TV prog' these days showing people how to do it!!

Afishionado
 

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Quote...I know it wont change overnight but I think the pressure has to come from the market so the advice already given about getting it in writing, getting it understood that any changes have to be approved etc is all good. Keep the pressure on the suppliers to do the job they promised to the standard and date they promised. In time we will all benefit.


You are so right. We MUST be better and more exacting customers before things wil change. It is only market pressures that will improve things. With the internet research is easy. If you can buy the materials yourself and get the job done on a labour only basis, and shop arround for the best price on everything too.
A local chandler has LED cabin lights on display at £26 + Vat, I have just had 2 of exactly the similar lights delivered this morning £30 the pair inc' P&P.
I am often bemused by the British inability to bargain. There is even a TV prog' these days showing people how to do it!!

Afishionado
I'm still trying to figure out a way of bargaining on the web? That needs a face to face or at least phone conversation to get down to it.
Emails don't seem to cut it in the same way. Webcams?
 
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