OAK PARK, Ill. – The Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) has received additional response to its January call for the recreational boating manufacturing community to help dealers enhance the boating experience for consumers by offering “stem to stern” warranties, the association reported in a statement yesterday.
Island Packet Yachts of Largo, Fla., and Australia’s Whittley Cruisers, which recently opened a plant in Georgia, both told MRAA they either already have such warranties in place or plan to offer the coverage in the near future, according to MRAA.
Island Packet Yachts said it presently offers, and has since 1990, a comprehensive “stem to stern” warranty for its yachts and all OEM installed items for two full years.
“Island Packet is increasing that coverage to three years, effective with our 2004 model year,” Bill Bolin, vice president of sales, said. “Island Packet also reimburses our dealer network at full retail labor rates so that warranty work performed on our behalf receives the same priority as any other retail customer coming in for service.”
In addition to its “stem to stern” warranty coverage, Island Packet conveys a “Golden Wrench Award” status to dealers reaching a certain commitment, empowering them to make warranty decisions with no pre-authorization or approval, MRAA said.
“This is a real commitment to growing our industry and make satisfied customers,” MRAA Chairman John Sima said.
Whittley Cruisers has notified MRAA it will be offering a “bow to stern” warranty on the product it will be introducing into the U.S. market, MRAA reported.
“We intend to build our product right from the beginning and we certainly won’t expect our dealers to suffer if we don’t,” said Neville Whittley, the company’s president. “Our U.S. policy will be an extension of what we do here in Australia – we always cover dealer’s labor rates.”
“Whittley Cruisers, who recently announced their commitment to become a MRAA Patron Member, will be starting out on the right foot with the U.S. consumer, it appears,” said Phil Keeter, MRAA president.
MRAA said in its release that consumer warranty repair has “probably been one of the biggest shortcomings of our industry for the past four decades” and the association believes boaters are still poorly served on warranty issues.
Several boat manufacturers quickly answered MRAA’s call to action by saying they were already providing those types of warranties or were studying the adaptability of some type of “complete” warranty, the association said.