Budget Marine have failed to honor the warranty on my Tohatsu 18 hp outboard.
The engine was bought from Budget Marine St Maarten March 2012.
The defect was reported to Budget Marine St Maarten February 2013. At this time the engine was still running but had developed a harsh noise at ¾ throttle and some power loss.
I take it to Budget Marine Grenada as instructed who examine the engine, fit two new spark plugs and send me away.
I complain several times to Budget Marine Grenada saying that I am not happy with the engine as I still hear the harsh noise at ¾ throttle and still have some power loss and fear there is some serious defect but get no response.
On the 29th of March 2014 while in use the engine suddenly slows down and stops with a 'clonk'. It is seized. I know this is not good.
I have the engine stripped down to diagnose the problem. On inspection I can see that the lower crankshaft seal has failed letting water into the lower cylinder and lower crankshaft bearing. The lower bearing has broken up, most likely due to corrosion and parts of the bearing have damaged the piston. See pics. one and two below.
On Monday 31st of March 2014 I visit Budget Marine in Falmouth Harbor Antigua to see about the parts needed and explain that I expect this to be covered under warranty. I also explain that I have a deadline of the April 25th as I am leaving Antigua to sail south as my crew has to fly out of St Lucia mid May.
The runaround started.
I am asked to fill in a Budget Marine warranty claim form which I do using the engine data from the original invoice. This includes the engine number.
Budget Marine inform me that engine number is not recognized by Tohatsu.
I supply them with all the numbers I can find including those on the engine itself.
I make repeated visits and send several emails inquiring as to the progress of the parts order, the delivery date and warranty situation.
On the 16th of April I discover that the parts have never been ordered and express my displeasure to the manager of the main store at Jolly Harbor. She promises to 'make it right' and and I remind her of my departure deadline. Note this is 16 days and several visits and email messages after my original visit re ordering the spares.
On 22nd of April I visit the Falmouth Harbor branch and speak to the Jolly Harbor manager on the phone. She tells me she has good news, the spares have arrived, the bad news [ her words ] that I have to pay for the spares and the freight charges and the Customs charges. I ask her about the warranty situation and she is non committal. I email her asking her to give me in writing exactly what she expects from me, exactly what the warranty situation is and what the costs will be. I have yet to have a response from her on this. I get an email from another member of the staff giving a bald list of the charges involved.
I ask her to release the spares to me FOC and get no direct response from her. As of 25th April the spares are not in Falmouth Harbor Budget Marine and I have to leave to go South.
I instruct my mechanic Gregg to deliver the dismantled engine to Budget Marine Falmouth Harbor.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Why is the incorrect serial number shown on the invoice
Why was I not asked to fill out a Budget Marine warranty form when I first reported the problem or when I visited Budget Marine Grenada.
Why was I told that the warranty is parts only. I have a copy of the warranty form that is used between Budget Marine and Tohatsu. It clearly shows that labor charges are included. I suspect I this was shown to me in error. See pic. Three.
Why were the parts not ordered right away the first time I visited. I made it clear that I was departing Antigua after the Classics regatta.
WARRANTY STATEMENT FROM ROBBIE FERRON founder of Budget Marine.
Our warranty service, for instance has improved hugely. Digital systems enable us to collect warrenty information in a structured way and deliver it to the manufacturer, receive their response in rapid order, and resolve claims very quickly. I never would have thought it could be as efficient as it is now.
Well you can not use me as an example. 14 months after I report the problem I have still not had anything done for me under warranty except two new spark plugs which made no difference.
I do not have a working engine.
I do not have the parts to repair the engine.
I have not even seen the parts to repair the engine to check if they are the correct parts..
Tohatsu advertise a 5 year warranty on their outboard engines.
Some personal details that are relevant to the situation. I am an experienced mechanic with City and Guilds Qualifications and hold an additional advanced Motor Vehicle Engineering Engineering Management Diploma. This was a three year full time course offered at Loughborough and validated by the Institute of the Motor Industry. In the past I have tuned and raced two stroke engines in karts and scramblers. I know the sound of an unhappy two stroke engine.