Tuesday, January 1, 2013

There be sharks! (by Lee and Zaneta)

There be sharks in Florida and they are not all in the water!

We had our first encounter with the two-legged kind.

On October 31, we had our boat "hauled out" (video of someone else's boat haulout below) and inspected ("surveyed" in nautical lingo)...That's when we met The Shark. He befriended us, gave us his card, and said "Call me up if you need some work on your boat." 

We did, and he started work on our boat. We were presented with a steep estimate of three-four jobs: up to $9,500, so Zaneta did the businesslike thing and called other companies to get quotes. He found out because he's well-connected and came to us -- excuse the language -- "butthurt" that we'd gone around his back, in his words. He felt like he owned us, and he didn't!! 

He then wanted either (1) a $2,500 deposit and a commitment toward future work, i.e., the big projects discussed, or (2) payment then and there for work completed. We said we'd do the latter. He came up with some much-higher than anticipated figures on a paper invoice, and we said we didn't agree with the total. He actually said, You need to pay me right now, and added "in cash". He then gave us a much higher printed invoice. We said, "We'll send you a check; that's the way we do things." He then hung out near our boat in the marina for several hours until nightfall. 

He came back the next morning, and several more times over the next few days -- one day, he sent a coworker. That was beyond creepy. We paid him a lesser amount than he demanded because his invoices was jacked up by $500 from one day and the next. We wrote him a very long letter explaining our position, and we felt BLESSED that we hadn't signed on with him for the long term. Look, I know that some people are going to blame us, but The Shark gave us the creeps and was not forthright with us. He was unprofessional, aggressively demanded payment, threatened to blackball us to other marinas and other mechanics, etc. We could not believe our ears!

Later, we talked this mess over with another boating couple, and they said they'd used The Shark's services. They had to watch over him closely because he did work that they did NOT ASK FOR and charged them for ($15,000 for just one job). Ouch. Now that we're done with him, we thank our lucky stars... Hang in there for better news next post!

NOTE THE FOLLOWING VIDEO IS NOT OUR BOAT, but representative of what a haulout consists of: A giant piece of machinery hauls the boat out of the water for below-waterline inspection..(P.S. I liked the gay* military music.) *light-hearted, uptempo, happy...

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