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Old 02 August 2006, 14:11   #1
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A Bad Day, er month, season actually! In a word - Lencraft!

Unfortunately the time has now come to give the full story of my experience so far with Lencraft which ended yesterday with the return of my RIB with no tubes and a refund cheque . Chances of getting it retubed in time for my holidays in a week anyone?

This thread is to share the facts so people can perhaps be advised to be more diplomatic or whatever when dealing with Lencraft to avoid the stress and frustration I've experienced. I'd also like to invite opinions on what I should do next.
Sorry if it's long and may need to split over a few posts but it is a saga.

However to add some interest I've selected and high-lighted some quotes. Feel free to vote on which one is the best.

I paid for and collected the Hypalon retube last July but didn't get to use the boat much last year. However it did seem to need to be pumped quite a bit on the few occasions I did get to launch. I put this down to sunny days, a dark colour tube and pressure-release valves meaning it needed pumping on a cool morning. The nagging feeling there was a problem was compounded by a steady transfer from the bow chamber to the adjacent starboard chamber when pumping.

During the Winter with the boat laid up under cover it became clear there was a problem as all five compartments went completely flat. So I emailed Lencraft March 6th and Jerry Lennon asked me to bring it in to them whenever I could. As this was going to entail round trips of hundreds of miles I enquired whether as all 5 compartments were going down could this be something that might be fixed by attention to the valves or pressure release valves. Nope - it had to come in but 'we'd only need it for a few days'.

So I went to land it in toward the end of May but because of a full work-load it didn't suit them to take it until the start of June. No problem I thought - it's just for a few days - I'll only miss the one weekend. So I'm off work early Monday June 5th to return the boat as agreed when I get a call from the receptionist to say they have no space and I can't bring the boat in until the next day. Three people landed unscheduled repairs on them was why I got bumped. I bring the boat in the next evening expecting it back within the quoted 'few days' but allow for a full week.

Friday same week June9th I ring to know if I can collect it Saturday or when. I'm told by the receptionist it'll be at least another week. I'm surprised by this as it only took three weeks to retube the boat from scratch last year and not a little disappointed as a chunk of June disappears but I reconcile myself to waiting and don't ring again.

It's actually June 23rd, fully two weeks later I get a call from Jerry to say the boat is now sorted after finding several leaks at the bow joint and elsewhere requiring the removal of the rubbing strake but if I "want to be sure it's right" before towing it back to West Cork, they need to keep it for another weekend to complete pressure testing. No explanation was available on why it originally got out of the factory with those faults. I complained about the length of time it had taken and that I'd had to do all the fetching and carrying at my expense and while I'm reminded I've been facilitated with out of hours return times, this results in a free set of spark plugs and gearbox oil change.

I collect it the following Tuesday June 27th - a full calendar month after I'd tried to give it to them and it's been in their factory for 21days spanning 4 weeks. Quotable quote from Jimmy Lennon on pick-up - "we did a great job of sticking on those handles off the Griffin tubes".

So I'd lost the month of June but still had July and August to look forward to so I brought it the 130 miles back to the end of West Cork - trust me this is not like main road towing what with potholes, narrow roads and silage harvesters! While it's being fitted out with the full electronics package - DSC VHF, Chart plotter and lights, it became apparent the tubes are not quite firm. I explain this away by two cold nights- literally refusing to believe the tubes could be leaking before even 48 hours have passed since collecting it from the factoryand it's not even been off the trailer.

Déjà vu! By the weekend it's clear we're losing air faster than ever just days after collecting it after the weekend long pressure test. The good news was it was now only on 3 out of 5 chambers, the bad news now noticeable within hours of pumping. The boat is on it's newly laid mooring (between electronics, chain and concrete I've been spending money for a big Ribbing summer this year ) but needing air twice a day to be useable. Monday 3/7 I ring Lencraft for advice - several times - but can't get Jerry at the factory or on his mobile despite leaving several messages. I decide I have to recover the boat and trail it back to Cork city as it clearly has to go back to Lencraft again.

With no phone calls by the next day 4/7 I make my feelings and the situation known by email. This gets an offended email response 5/7 and it's clear Jerry and Lencraft are a lot more annoyed by my irritation than concerned about reasons for my frustration. He did apologise if I'd felt ignored - not for the failed repair attempt etc. I'm also quoted warranty terms as being return to base. However he is now willing to collect the boat to fix it. Worthwhile quotation this time out from many options "we did tell you in March that we would need only days to repair and check your RIB".

I phone him back and ask what fixing it entails, how long it will take and why I can reasonably be expected to trust it'll be right and whether he's going to provide a loaner boat.

Jerry will not provide a loaner, will not commit to a repair period and will not provide any assurance they'll get it right this time but they'll do their best. I point out I've afforded them every opportunity to repair the tubes and propose that he make a new set of tubes for the boat which is what I'd paid for and clearly would not be getting with two repair attempts. It would also allow Lencraft ensure the new tubes were perfect while not impacting their current commitments and I would then return the boat for retubing whenever suited them while using it as best I could in the interim.

I made it clear I was unwilling to be without the boat again for an unspecified period and low confidence of a satisfactory repair.

Jerry countered he would not replace the tubes and I had two choices
1) Let them try to repair the tubes again or
2)They'd remove the tubes and give me a refund which I took as a particularly insidious offer given normal tube lead time not to mind high season.
He told me decide what I wanted and call him the next day Thursday 6/7.
I made some calls and establish another Irish rib manufacturer can get and fit tubes in about 6 weeks and provisionally ask him to book a slot while I confirm the arrangement with Lencraft. This is I'll order the tubes, use the boat in the interim and when the tubes are available I'll return the boat to Lencraft to remove their defective tubes and give me a refund and I'll get it retubed elsewhere.
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Old 02 August 2006, 14:19   #2
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Lencraft's take on a refund

I ring Jerry Thursday 6/7 evening as requested and tell him I'm accepting his offer of a refund , the arrangements I've made - that I'll bring the boat back in about 5 or 6 weeks when he can remove the tubes and issue the proffered refund. I point out this solves his obvious workload issues and while I was willing to let him retube it I would settle for nothing less than new tubes. Jerry was obviously taken aback asking who I'd be getting tubes from someone - which produced another quotable quote : "there's only a few suppliers and that Lencraft stopped getting tubes from the UK because of quality problems". However he agreed to the refund as he'd offered and my plan. He confirmed taking the tubes off would not require a lot of notice and said they'd have the tubes off in 10 minutes whenever I brought it in. I told him I'd confirm the arrangement on email and finalise the order for tubes from the other supplier.

I was literally sending the email 20 minutes later when Jerry rings me to say he'll arrive tomorrow to collect the boat and remove their tubes. Jerry insists they need to get the boat back to understand what went wrong with the tubes to avoid any risk to me using the boat and presumably anyone else with a related batch of tubes.

I'm blown away by the obvious vindictiveness at deliberately trying to deprive me of any sort of use of my boat for the remaining part of the season and I say so. Jerry introduces legal warranty terms to which I react strongly pointing out I'm entitled to Repair/Replace or Refund and I've allowed the repair option, been refused the replace option and now I was getting a vindictive response when I accepted the offer of a refund. Jerry wouldn't budge and I assured him that since he introduced the legal angle and was blatantly determined to compound costing me June by denying me any use of my boat for 2006 he'd be hearing from me and that I'd be including this episode on my update of the Ribnet article on retubing where I'd commended Lencraft last year.

Interestingly he referred to this as a threat to 'bad-mouth Lencraft' but insisted on coming to collect the boat and remove the collar.

I thought about the whole mess overnight and the long-term damage this could result in all round but especially to a family run business. I reminded myself they didn't set out to mess me about even if it appeared they needed some help in customer service. Basically I didn't want to be the one to seriously damage nice people and their business reputation just because of an off-day. So I decided to offer an olive branch and rang Lencraft the next day.

I got Jerry on his mobile and explained I was ready and motivated to go to war but in conscience couldn't do so without giving one more attempt at resolution. I pointed out I had done nothing but facilitate them and yet was approaching half way through the season with no boat and pure stress. Worst case I walk away from €5k worth of tubes but the cost to Lencraft would be far more serious. Jerry agreed it could have been handled better and asked what I wanted to make it right. I said I wanted a new set of tubes but not to be without a boat. I proposed he make a new collar and I'd return the boat whenever they were ready to fit it. That way he could do the tubes at his leisure and I'd only be without the boat for the week or so to replace them.
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Old 02 August 2006, 14:21   #3
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Would you use this loaner?

He called me back to say he'd loan me a boat but he'd have to swap my engine to it but I declined saying I'll use my boat as is until they're ready to retube it. He reverted the following Monday10/7 offering me a a 4.9 Valiant with a 70hp Johnson if I'll use that for the 4-5 weeks to retube my Griffin. He insisted they needed it to make the pattern for the tubes etc. Remember they'd retubed the boat from scratch in 3 weeks in July/05. It's a reasonable replacement even if it deprives me of the use of my new DSC VHF and Chartplotter and the 3.5auxiliary backup.

Although I'll make do I really want to know when I can have my freshly outfitted Griffin back for my holidays however cannot get a commitment. But at least I'm finally going to be on the water albeit past mid-July. I accept and I even agree to wait until the following Monday/Tuesday as it doesn't suit Lencraft to get the loaner to me ahead of the weekend of 15th of July.

The day it arrives 18/7 I take the Valiant out for a shakedown trip in Cork Harbour as it's safe and sheltered with plenty of traffic - ideal for checking out a new boat before using it around Mizzen Head. Sadly the Valiant is repeatedly temperamental with the battery going flat trying to restart it after it cuts out going into gear just off the trailer. After jump-starting it cuts again a number of times but worst is sudden death at cruise and refuses to start creating a Pan-Pan situation as we drift on to a rocky lee-shore. This is nasty as wind and tide push us ashore inside a couple of minutes and I literally have to go over the side to keep us off the rocks.

As we're arranging recovery it starts with the last gasp of the battery and gets us home but continues to cut occasionally when selecting gear. None of the obvious stuff was at play - e.g. low petrol, kill cord, breather, kinked hose, etc.

I call Lencraft the next day - Jerry's surprised as they'd tested the boat on the water for an hour with no problems. He does mention it was running on a 50:1 premix as well as the oil pump. He was disappointed I didn't like the Valiant as he was going to offer to let me keep it. In fact I like Valiants - when they have reliable engines! The only option he offered, apart from me arranging confidence building testing with another boat in attendance, was to take the Valiant away and transfer my Mariner to it for the next four weeks or so. I declined yet again as I feel this is a recipe for complications but I'm to think about what I want done - the good news is the new tubes for the Griffin are now being manufactured.

Next day 20/7 I just ask them to take the Valiant away as it's no use to me in its present form and to get my Griffin back to me as soon as possible. To my surprise the response is along the lines of OK we'll have someone pick up the Valiant asap "and will be in touch very soon". Worse though Lencraft will not make a commitment to even the nearest week on returning it as Jerry claimed that's what caused problems with the last repair by "allowing ourselves be hurried about repairing it."
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Old 02 August 2006, 14:32   #4
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toys get thrown out of the pram

(You need to read these posts ranked oldest first to get the order right)

I give it a week and hear nothing as the Valiant collects leaves and rainwater in my garden and sunny July ticks past. After several phone calls/messages over 26-27/July I get an email apologising for the delay in collecting the Valiant and an explanation that 3 people are away/out. It also says the collar for the Griffin "is being made this week and it will need at least 2 – 3 weeks to settle". I'm not pleased by this as yet again the time frame is stretching out and there is no commitment to when the boat might be ready but it's vaguely implied we're looking at approx 2-3 weeks into August before actual retubing begins which will probably take 1-2 weeks. The boat was retubed from scratch last year and the boat was only in the factory for 3 weeks!

I email back my frustration and irritation and ask Jerry to please return my phone calls so we can discuss this. The conversation is brief and heated as he insists I'm without a boat because I won't let him transfer my engine to his loaner and he will not commit a date to have my boat back - not to a month, not to a week. The quotable comment is he thought I was "happy to be without a boat until your rib was ready".

He gave me the choice of swapping my engine on to the Valiant or else waiting until whenever the Griffin was ready or to have my money back. In frustration I reminded him it was entirely Lencraft's doing I was without a boat for the season so far and I was supposed to wait until they handed it back at the end of the season with a tough-titty about my season going up in smoke and clearly there was a difference between 50k customers and 5k customers.

Jerry insisted I'm taking it personal and asked me what I wanted to do so I said I want a reliable boat at least for my holidays to which he replied he'd no boat as I didn't want the Valiant. He kept saying he couldn't make time pass faster to when the tubes would be ready and what did I want. Yet again I pointed out he was making his problems mine - I was at this point only interested in my problem - No Boat.

So I said just get my boat back to me as fast possible and "we'll see what happens". He professed to take grave offence at that demanding to know what I meant by "we'll see what happens". On the spot, I said well you failed to make the tubes right, failed to fix them, failed to loan me a reliable boat so we'll see what happens with how long it takes to get the boat back to me and if it'll actually be right this time. He continued to demand to know what the phrase 'We'll see what happens' meant and I responed "you're a businessman - I'll keep my options open".

With that he said "you're getting your five grand and your boat back " and literally hung up on me.

I'm attaching some pics showing the boat as returned. Despite how busy things are for Lencraft both Jerry and Neil showed up for the exchange and had actually almost hitched up and driven off with the Valiant before my hitchlock forced a knock on the door.

My selected quote from this transaction is in the picture showing the "With Lencraft Compliments" slip attached to the refund cheque. I still can't decide was this meant to be a thumbing of the Lencraft nose at me or just plain thoughtlessness.

I've included another pic showing the enthusiasm with which the tubes were removed - along with a large chunk off the port transom tube support.

Maybe Lencraft will yet realise they haven't been very good about this and try find a way to make amends after landing my bare hull back to me. If they do I'll happily report that.

So I'm back where I was when I offered the olive branch - except I now have my boat with no tubes and back then I had it with leaking but sort of useable tubes. Now I start looking for someone to retube it at the start of August. I could have been 4 weeks into the lead time required to do that if I hadn't tried to help Lencraft understand how customer service matters when things go wrong.

So what would you do?

I'm still sitting here stunned that the end of the Summer is in sight, I'm off on my holidays next week with no prospect of a boat. I've had no boat for the entire season and nothing but grief and stress to show for 2006. Anyone know where I could rent one and what I should do with the bill?
I'd welcome your opinions on what I or indeed Lencraft should have done or yet do and whether I was unreasonable in my expectations of Lencraft. But at least you have the facts and verifiable dates so you can decide for yourself.
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Old 02 August 2006, 14:43   #5
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They must be related to Olmec ! sorry you had a rough time .Olmec The Sad Saga
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Old 02 August 2006, 14:43   #6
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after being shafted last year on a boat build,and in turn losing my season on the water,i feel for you,

and 5k for set of tubes kin ell,,, i was quoted max 3k for 7 mtr osprey this year cash deal though to be fair
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Old 02 August 2006, 15:31   #7
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Blimey and I thought I had some tube problems

I feel sorry for you and I must admit from all the stories I have heard on here I'm not sure I'd ever bother getting a RIB retubed, has anybody actually ever had it done successfully?!

I think I'd chuck it away and buy another one, shipping it 16,000 miles to get a retube and then finding out it was dud and needed sending back would be toooo much to bear...
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Old 02 August 2006, 15:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nugent
and 5k for set of tubes kin ell,,, i was quoted max 3k for 7 mtr osprey this year cash deal though to be fair
Nugent I think thats euros not pounds so about £3400 about what you were quoted.

Freddie
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Old 02 August 2006, 16:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
Blimey and I thought I had some tube problems

I feel sorry for you and I must admit from all the stories I have heard on here I'm not sure I'd ever bother getting a RIB retubed, has anybody actually ever had it done successfully?!

I think I'd chuck it away and buy another one, shipping it 16,000 miles to get a retube and then finding out it was dud and needed sending back would be toooo much to bear...
Yes i can comfirm the distinct unpleasure of having a new boat tubed by Olmec ,but fortunately haveing the support of the company who supplied the boat did have Henshaws retube it to a good standard and in 10 daysat a cost of 2,400pound or their abouts(not to me though).But i would also have every confidence in Paul Tilley as a re-tuber
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Old 02 August 2006, 16:54   #10
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I think the reality is you are going to end up having to put this down to experience and be glad you got your original money back.This is not right i know.Any shop who has any experience with boats would have known from day one what the problem was it would seem you have been strung along for a good amount of time.It could be posible Olmec suppleid the tubes to Lencraft but thats no excuse for Lencraft.On the subject of Olmec i would hope now that all boat builders have come to the conclusion we (the customer pay a good price for a product that they supply to us and we will no longer put up with rubbish so give us a good standard of workmanship.The standard of which you actually originaly promise and your public will praise you not slag you.Their are many dealers that are let down by their suppliers but some keep going back for more because the price is right.
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