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David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 177
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 - 10:04 am:   Edit Post Print Post

This thread is a bit of a social experiment. People can be dissatisfied and mad as hell about the job someone fouled up for them, but they will limit their communication about it to face-to-face encounters. Confronting the bad actor in a public forum is a little too uncomfortable for most of us.

If I screw up, which I do occasionally, I want to know about it so I can make things right. Usually the way that happens is that I'm dissatisfied with some approach I took or I think of a much better way to do something and I redo the work at my expense. People will very rarely criticize my work unless they are really long time customers and come to learn that I will not take it badly. I actually do perform when it's appropriate to invoke the Electric Marine guarantee. Usually they complain about how much money they have spent on me over some period of time. To which I can only ask if they know any way to have gotten equivalent work any less expensively and we both smile. Skilled craftsmanship does not come cheaply. I live in Southern California too, and have not lived here long enough that my house is paid off. Consequently people do a lot of work themselves and live with the results, good or bad. It is also why boats are a generally expensive avocation. If you run into work that needs to be handled professionally it will put a dent in your wallet. Anyone who has ever had work done in a boatyard knows this to be true.

A few of my best customers keep complaining about how much I am costing them even as they keep dreaming up new projects for me. That is just fine with me. You can complain about the cost all you like as long as you keep calling me with more work.

I feel somewhat badly about owners of truly limited means who need services of the caliber I can deliver but they truly cannot afford to pay for it. I try to spot them early in the process and avoid wasting either my time or theirs. Regarding my own boat, I'm one of them. If I couldn't do almost everything that needs doing myself it either doesn't get done or I have to wait until I have the money to have someone do it. If I could do it but don't feel really strongly about it it usually doesn't happen. This explains why my old boat looks like an old boat and does not have a coat of lovely epoxy paint on her topsides. Her brightwork is also gradually reverting to natural, unfinished teak. I am happy to pay the diver's bill for a clean bottom, also because he does not charge very much for the service.

Now, what I consider to be my screwups tend to be an order of magnitude less serious than what some people tell me about when relating bad experience with a tradesman. What I see when I fix someone else's screwups is usually cluelessness, although it may be very neatly done cluelessness. It may have all the wires making neat right angle turns and wire tied to perfection but the work can still be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what was required to accomplish the task. Usually though, there is also a misunderstanding of what constitutes craftsmanship or an inability to execute. Unfortunately, the combination is often how we recognize do-it-yourself projects.

So social inhibition may limit both praise and condemnation to talk among friends. But occasionally people tell me they wish they had a forum to warn the world about some particularly bad actor. Here is your forum. Have at it if you dare.

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 133
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 07:38 am:   Edit Post Print Post

This thread is for sample positive or negative reviews of fictional boat tradespeople to give you an example of what a negative review might look like., I think it's pretty easy to figure out how to write a positive review. We want to stay out of libel or slander territory, so everything should be factual. Where it is your opinion, identify it as such. You do get to say whether you were happy or not.

First, lets be clear that the opinions expressed are those of the posters and they do not in any way represent the position or opinion of Electric Marine or David Sheriff.

Start a new thread for each person or organization.

David Sheriff
Board Administrator
Username: admin

Post Number: 134
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 10:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Example 1) John Q. Mechanic of Supreme Diesel worked on my boat last week and I am very unsatisfied with the experience. (You state fact and describe your own feeling, no one can argue with this.) John arrived 45 minutes late for our 9:00 appointment. After working for 30 minutes he told me the boat had a fuel problem. He replaced two fuel filters, which he had to go to the store to secure. After another two hours he pronounced the engine repaired and charged me $550.

When John left there was fuel residue all over the engine and in the bilge, which I have had to clean up using six large bilge pads. The boat smelled strongly of diesel fuel for days. There were also grease marks on the floor which I have had to clean up.

I have not noticed any change in the engine; it still "smokes" under full load. I have called John to complain but he says the boat is "overpropped" and that is why it smokes.

Before my engine developed this problem it ran fine with the same propeller.

I am dissatisfied with the service and would not recommend John Q. Mechanic to anyone.

(You have limited yourself to stating facts and relating what the mechanic told you, as well as giving your feelings about the service. You have not said that John is a terrible mechanic or otherwise characterized his work beyond describing it. If John feels you have inaccurately described the experience he must dispute your facts. You did not indulge in name-calling. John can also reply here and give his side of the story.)

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