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Mar 04, 2021

How To Exercise Your Consumer Rights

There are several critical steps that are the boat owner's responsibility, which will improve your odds of a successful resolution. Importantly, you have to create a legitimate paper (or digital) trail.

1. Act quickly. The longer you take to contact a company's customer service, the worse it looks. Also, problems tend to compound over time. By simply reporting an issue while under warranty, you'll have an opportunity for remediation even after the warranty has expired. If you have a problem but the product is a year out of warranty, technically the company is still supposed to solve the problem, but only if the same problem was first reported while under warranty.

2. Document, document, document. When you have a problem, immediately write a letter or email to the company. Don't call. Putting your complaints in written form formalizes your outreach, and the date, proving that you asked for help while the product was under warranty. Send an email, even if it's just a small problem, because it could later become a larger problem. In addition, keep all repair invoices and maintain a written log of the problems, recording pertinent details like fuel consumption, handling ability, and so on. Also keep a log of all of your communications, including phone calls. You'll be glad you did if you need to escalate later. Remember, when getting a problem repaired, usually the only way to get reimbursed later from the manufacturer is if you use a repair yard or company certified by the manufacturer.

3. Don't threaten to sue or post your complaint on social media. Avoid saying you're going to get a lawyer or go online and tell everyone you know. That shuts down your lines of communication. Instead, document everything.

4. Go out and use the product. Often people will discover that the boat or product had a problem after the warranty expired but they hadn't fully tested it prior. Be sure to use all the capabilities of a product and test it while it's new. This will help catch any issues while the product is under warranty. This is also good advice after a repair that comes with a warranty. If you wait too long to test the repair, the warranty may have expired.