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.