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I am considering purchasing a Cayman 246 here on the west coast. We will be relocating to the east coast (NC) within the next two years. I'm trying to decide whether I should purchase a boat from the local dealer here in CA or purchase from the NC dealer and bring the boat back to CA. If I have a problem with the boat will I be left without any support from a dealer that I did not purchase from?  I could purchase from the NC dealer but that may make solving any new-boat issues somewhat difficult. What is Robolos policy on warranty work? Do warranty claims / work need to be handled by the dealer that you purchased from or is any dealer able (required?) to provide warranty support?

TIA. 

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Warranty issues,  Robalo handle with Dealers. Remember that dealers do not work for free so when they take care your boat they charge to Robalo. Off course if you buy locally your relations with your dealer will be closely that if you buy from an outside dealer. Now I would bring to my dealer the numbers from the outstate dealer to see if they can give me the same deal, if they said no, at least you gave the opportunity to sale you the boat and they turn over. Now as you are moving it is a different picture, I would let my dealer call to the new dealer to put me in a good hands. 

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My recommendation is to be very careful in reference to this choice.  I haven't even finished my purchase from a dealer within my own state and the book below represents the way my local dealer (Fish Tale Boats, Fort Myers) has been treating me:

I am absolutely disgusted by the support I am receiving from the only Robalo dealership in my area.  I’ve literally been told to expect extended wait times for any service request because I haven’t purchased from them.  How can I be comfortable even attempting to have a dealership service my boat who has expressed an intent to provide substandard support?!  I truly hope Robalo Corporate can talk some sense into the leadership of Fish Tale Boats.  This has been sent to Robalo Corporate, Fish Tale Boats, and Bob Hewes Boats:    

I am growing increasingly frustrated with the interactions experienced at the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats location.  I’ve purchased BMWs for $20,000 less than this purchase and have consistently received world-class customer service.  My recent experiences at Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats has compromised my trust and confidence that my post-purchase service requests will receive the attention and quality support they deserve.     

We have been considering purchasing a Robalo 246 Cayman for over a year, and stopped into the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats location several times in order to review their inventory.

On one occasion, in June 2018, we spoke with Joe Davis.  He was courteous and receptive, representing himself and the Fish Tale Boats brand very well.  He took the time to engage us in a candid dialogue, wherein he was able to manage our expectations by fully appreciating our circumstances and intent.  We left the exchange feeling as if our business would be appreciated when we were ready, and confident our future purchase would be supported by a customer service focused staff.

On 17 December, we were indeed ready to make our purchase.  After reviewing the inventory online, we arrived at Fish Tale Boats at 4:45 PM, roughly one hour before they closed, fully prepared to purchase the 2018 Robalo 246 Cayman listed (Listing # 4851).

We traversed the length of their inventory lot twice, looking for the boat advertised online, without receiving a welcome or acknowledgment from a Fish Tale Boats representative.  As we entered the sales office, we were surprised to learn there were three representatives inside, none of whom were actively engaged with other customers.  We literally were the only potential business on the property, yet none of the three representatives made us feel welcome.  Two representatives looked up at us as we entered the sales office, made eye contact, then wordlessly shifted their attention back to their computers.  The third, walked out from the farthest office to speak with us.

When we expressed interest in the 2018 Cayman listed on the website, the representative informed us the boat had been sold last week.  No attempt was made by this representative to learn what had interested us in that particular boat in order to present an alternative.  Instead of feeling as if our business were appreciated, we were made to feel as if our presence was a nuisance due to how close it was to closing time.

Disappointed in the experience, we returned home, did a little more research, and then drove from our home in Fort Myers to Miami.  The next morning, we went to a Robalo dealership with a well-established reputation for being customer service focused, made our purchase, and expect to receive delivery on 07 Jan 2019.

As of 20 December, the same 2018 Robalo Cayman (Listing #4851) was still being advertised on the Fish Tale Boats website.  One would expect a staff with such a hyperfocus on their computers versus on consumers actively attempting to conduct business, and after having had the issue of an inaccurate listing on the website brought to their attention, would have ensured the listing was removed.

This negative experience was shared on the Fish Tale Boats Fort Myers & Naples Face book Page (https://www.facebook.com/FishTaleSales/), on Google (https://www.google.com/search?q=fish+tale+boats&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1#lrd=0x88db3d100117dfb5:0x88bd28d0e733dbc,1,,,), and on Yelp (https://www.yelp.com/biz/fish-tale-boats-fort-myers-fort-myers) in order to ensure the personnel with whom we interacted recognize their failure as an opportunity for improvement, and how being discourteous, lazy and unprofessional can impact a business.  As consumers, we have several options at our disposal in reference to where we choose to spend our money.  The men we interacted with on 17 December would do well to keep this in mind next time a customer comes in 45-minutes before closing time.

The leaning post of the 2018 Robalo 246 Cayman I intend to purchase from Bob Hewes in North Miami, did not come equipped with flip up bolsters.  As this is an important option for me, I returned to the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats location in order to compare/contrast the leaning posts with and without flip up bolsters.  

After having gone back and forth multiple times between two boats offering different leaning post configurations, I was approached by a representative who courteously introduced himself as Bruce and inquired if I needed any assistance.  

After I had explained the reason for my actions, the representative asked if I owned a Robalo.  I stated I did, to which he inquired which year, then if I had purchased from the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats.  When I indicated I had not, he asked if I lived in the area then, after learning I lived in Fort Myers, stated, “They weren’t supposed to sell it to you.”  When I asked why not, the representative stated, “Because you are out of his territory.”

I acknowledged this and shared that the sales representative from Bob Hewes actually attempted to dissuade me from purchasing at the North Miami location, indicating he was concerned I would receive “push back” from my local dealer if it came to warrantee service issues.  Nevertheless, I was adamant in my desire not to purchase from Fish Tale Boats due to the negative interaction on 17 December.  

When I attempted to steer the conversation between the Fish Tale Boats representative and I back to the flip up bolster issue, he recommended I contact Robalo directly.  I then asked if he was refusing to address my request for information because I did not purchase from Fish Tale Boats?  His response was, he was “just a sales person”, and my question was “service related”, then he paused our interaction to state, “I’m going to be honest with you, if you bring your boat here for service you’re going to be a very low priority.  We’re going to take care of those who purchased from us first, then get to you when we can.”

When I took exception to this, the Fish Tale Boats representative stated, “What do you expect?”  I stated, “I would expect this facility to provide services in good faith in the order in which they were requested.  It’s unreasonable to expect me, as a Robalo owner, to accept an extended wait period for a scheduled service simply because I didn’t tolerate substandard customer service, which resulted in my choosing to purchase elsewhere.”  

The Fish Tale Boats representative responded by stating he wasn’t going to argue with me and shifted the conversation to the positive attributes of the 246 Cayman.  

I have shared this correspondence with Robalo Corporate via their website, I am requesting a representative from Robalo contact me to explain how this is an acceptable representation of the Robalo brand.  

I am demanding a response from the leadership of Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats in reference to the sub-standard performance of the sales staff delineated above, as well as an explanation of the expressed dealership’s position of Robalo owner’s service requests not being addressed in a timely manner as punitive actions for failing to purchase from Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats.    

Is this truly the type of support I am expected to accept as a Robalo owner from a Robalo dealership?  What would happen should I purchase a Robalo boat then be relocated due to the requirements of my career?

Funding is completely in place for this purchase, however, unless I receive satisfactory responses to the issues identified in this correspondence, I am no longer confident moving forward and accepting delivery.

 

 

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FYI - you haven't shared this with Robalo Corp by posting here.  Unlike most companies, Robalo doesn't maintain a presence on their own forum.  There is a company representative, who occasionally posts, but not as an official company response.  

It appears that nearly all your complaint deals with 1 dealer, and how they're handing pre-purchase, i.e. advertising product that is sold (not uncommon for boat and car dealers to do this), and having salespeople unfamiliar with company policy.  

To my knowledge, Robalo dealers provide warranty support on Robalo boats.  So if you have a warranty issue on your soon-to-be-new Robalo boat, any Robalo dealer will provide warranty support.  Note that they have to get Robalo's approval for all warranty support, and the company is not fast moving in that area.

My dealer has repaired several things without issue, including a recent seam that pulled out on my Bimini top.  I have no idea if Robalo approved the repair or not, but it was clearly a defect, and the dealer got it repaired, and didn't charge me.  

Don't expect a dealer that you didn't buy your boat from to do anything until Robalo responds with approval.

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Thanks for the feedback, Rick.  I wasn't aware of the Robalo warranty work approval process and am appreciative you took the time to inform me.   I have shared the issues outlined in my initial post with Robalo Corp, Fish Tale Boats, and Bob Hewes Boats via their respective websites.  The type of responses received will certainly guide my decision to move forward.  I'm not one to accept substandard customer support, or do business with a company which shows no appreciation for it, hence the reason I chose not to spend my money at Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats.

My concern wasn't with the very common issue of a boat being advertised online having been sold before I arrived; it stemmed more from the lack of engagement from the sales staff.  They were completely apathetic in reference to wanting to determine what aspects of the boat interested me in order to see if they had a similarly equipped model to present as an alternative.   

The frustration arose from the poor performance of the representatives of the Fort Myers Fish Tale I have dealt with.  They have been disengaged, dismissive, and non-responsive.  One would expect the quality of service to be consistent regardless of who is representing the Robalo brand.  This absolutely is not the case here.  To hear a representative of my local Robalo dealer unabashedly state I would be receiving a lower quality of support because I did not purchase from them is breathtaking.  To be clear, he didn't qualify the extended wait times I would experience would stem from the Robalo warranty support approval process. He specifically stated I would be a low priority for any service request due to my failure to purchase from Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats, and they would facilitate the service requests of those who purchased from Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats first, then address my service request.  This policy is ridiculous.

The premise this is an acceptable practice is tantamount to having a completely different, less efficient service request process, or having boats serviced at a different facility by personnel with lower competency levels reserved for those who did not purchase from a given dealer.  I do not believe it to be an unreasonable expectation to have Robal service requests addressed in the order in which they were received, regardless of where the Robalo brand boat was purchased.  

The dealer I am buying from, Bob Hewes, has been very responsive.  The performance of their sales representative has met and exceeded expectations.  It's disappointing I had to drive 2 1/2 hours from my home to find quality customer service from a Robalo dealer. 

While Robalo Corp may not monitor this thread, it is my intent to share this experience with as many people as possible in order to ensure they are aware of how Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats addresses the pre-purchase process and post-purchase service support. 

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Totally understand where you are coming from.  However, your experience is not dissimilar to that when buying an automobile.  Dealers are independent, some Ford dealers give great service, some not so great service.  Some jump through hoops for you, some don't.  I wouldn't expect Robalo would get involved when a salesperson at a dealer that sells their brand (and others) isn't up to snuff.  Very different than a refusal to deal with a warranty issue.  If I spent $50k at a dealer, and you didn't, and I came in with an issue, I'd expect my salesperson to jump, and do everything he could to get me back on the water.  I wouldn't expect that for you, because they're going to wait for Robalo to respond, and make sure it's covered, before doing anything.  Just the nature of the beast.

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I recognize this has no direct bearing on the topic of this thread, however, in order to be fair to Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats I felt it only fair to share how they have reacted to my shared experiences.

I am compelled to amend my initially negative assessment of Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats based upon their genuine concern and response after reviewing the circumstances surrounding recent experiences. Upon being made aware of my feelings and experiences, the Sales Manager called me directly on Christmas Eve, in order to convey how disappointed he was with the experiences I had and the impression I came away with. The passion and sincerity in his words were moving, however, I still had reservations in reference to moving forward and doing business with Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats.

As the date for my scheduled sea trial, with a different Robalo dealer, grew closer I continued to review the Robalo Cayman thread on The Hull Truth website; jotting notes on issues other Robalo owners shared, then going back to Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats after their normal business hours in order to be as intimately familiar as possible with my purchase prior to the sea trial. After reading 176 of the 242 pages, spanning three years, multiple Robalo owners were highlighting one additional trend; it was how positive their experiences were at Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats due to the attentiveness and customer-focus of their team. These sentiments supported the Sales Manager’s assertions that my experiences were anomalous and not indicative of the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats philosophy. The Sales Manager, Ray John, went on to ask why I had not escalated my concerns to him, thereby affording him the opportunity to address them. I conceded this was a fair question. As a retired Infantry Marine, I tend to judge an organization’s leadership based on the actions of its members. I made an emotionally charged decision, which was unfair to Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats, by failing to allow Ray John the opportunity to address my concerns prior to publishing a highly critical review of their facility.

On New Years Day, knowing they were closed, I once again went to the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats lot in order to continue familiarizing myself with the 246 Cayman. Within a few minutes, a Fish Tale Boats representative unexpectedly approached us, introduced himself as David Melvin, and asked if he could help us with anything. I responded by stating I was aware they were closed and did not want to take up his time on what was technically his day off. Mr. Melvin would not hear of it, and our interaction turned into a conversation lasting over an hour, wherein he addressed all questions stemming from my reading of the Robalo Cayman Thread, as well as other questions that came up. It should be noted again, the business was closed, yet Mr. Melvin addressed the totality of my questions and concerns in a patient and professional manner. His conduct reflected great credit upon himself and was representative of the Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats customer-focused reputation so many Robalo owners have conveyed on the Robalo Caymen Thread, and on several other websites and social media forums.

So impressed and comfortable was I with Mr. Melvin I decided to allow him the opportunity to "build" a 2019 246 Cayman to my specifications so we could compare numbers with the 2018 version I was intending to settle for. I’m very glad I did. While we may have to wait a few months before we receive delivery, we will truly be buying the boat we want, not one we would have to modify post-purchase.

A representative’s professionalism on a day in which a business was technically closed was able to eclipse the performance of multiple lesser skilled representatives on normal business days. The genuine concern and customer-focus demonstrated by Ray John and David Melvin have salvaged my trust and confidence in Fort Myers Fish Tale Boats, and I look forward to establishing a long-term business relationship with them.

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