Not Sea-Trialing The Boat After Repairs Are Made
A client purchased a used powerboat with a large outboard that had a cracked head. Because he wrote into the contract that the engine had to be working before he would buy the boat, the dealer had the engine fixed and claimed they performed a compression test to verify everything was fine. After paying for the boat, the first time the new owner took the boat out, the rod blew a hole in the side of the engine. The dealer he bought it from first said he'd replace it with a used engine, but eventually said that the contract stated that boat was purchased in "as-is" condition and was working on the day of the sale.
Lesson: When contingencies are written into a contract, spell out the details and don't formally accept the boat until you've verified that all repairs have been made properly. Because of the high value of the engine, it would have made sense to have an independent technician check it out and even come along for a sea trial.
Not Allowing A Shop To Attempt To Honor Their Warranty
A client took his family out for a Memorial Day weekend trip when the inboard engine in his boat quit. In hopes of getting the boat fixed quickly to get back out on the water as soon as possible, he scanned the newspapers to find a repair shop. The shop he chose found water in the engine, estimated the repair at $1,500, and said it would have to send the head out for reconditioning.
When the member got the boat back and the engine was still not working, he lost confidence in the shop handling the repair and immediately took the boat to another shop, which fixed it. The member contacted the original shop to ask for his money back or have them reimburse him for the additional work. It refused, saying they were given no opportunity to correct the problem.
Lesson: Pick a shop carefully. Warranty law allows a shop to be given the opportunity to correct a problem. If you take your boat to another shop for further work, the first shop will have no obligation to refund your money or pay for extra work.