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Dealer service


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Have a friend who's in a bit of a pickle. He has a Malibu purchased a few years ago from a dealer that's 200 miles away (Malibu didn't have a local dealer at the time of purchase). Since owning his boat, there's a new Malibu dealer 45 minutes away from him. He's had a few items worked on at the new dealer in the past, made an attempt to get a small warranty issue taken care of last week.

He took the boat by the dealer to show the service dept the issue, waited 30 mins and was never helped. He's got great kids but they became unruly...my buddy left. Once he got home, he sent an email to the dealer outlining the problem with pictures of the issue, asking for assistance.

He got an email reply yesterday basically saying "we're busy, having trouble keeping up with the customers who bought boats from us, sorry we can't help you, call the dealer you got the boat from".

My buddy is looking to buy a new boat in the near future, think it's gonna be tough for him to buy another 'bu. Is he out of line to be upset after this experience?

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Well that certainly is a unfriendly way of getting future business for your friend. Providing service on boat sold there first is understandable, but why not look at the problem and determine if parts need to be ordered and at least get the ball rolling. I think most would understand that a dealer is busy and simply could say we'll get ya worked in just please be patient with us.

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That certainly does not speak well for the dealer. Not exactly what I would call customer service.

Perhaps some communication with Malibu outlining the problems he has encountered would be in order?

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Well that certainly is a unfriendly way of getting future business from your friend.  Providing service on boat sold there first is understandable, but why not look at the problem and determine if parts need to be ordered and at least get the ball rolling.  I think most would understand that a dealer is busy and simply could say we'll get ya worked in just please be patient with us.

Got tired of typing..one add'l thing. The customer service was helping in front of my buddy was having the mechanic explain the step by step instructions on how to disable a low oil pressure warning buzzer because he didn't want to pay to have the sensor replaced. ugh...

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...customer service was helping in front of my buddy was having the mechanic explain the step by step instructions on how to disable a low oil pressure warning buzzer because he didn't want to pay to have the sensor replaced...

Wonder what the Malibu corporate folks would think of that....

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I've seen that kind of reaction by dealers in the past. I certainly understand taking care of the customers that purchased a boat from you. It just seems to me that there has to be a better way to communicate this without alienating a potential customer. Why couldn't the service department just say, we are happy to help. Right now, we are backed up. Can you bring the boat back in a month or whenever. You don't have to make the guy feel like a second class citizen because he didn't buy the boat from you.

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I bought my first Malibu in 1995 from a dealer in Columbus, OH that I will leave nameless. A few months later, No Wake Marine opened up only about 20 minutes from my house. They went out of their way to help me with my boat that I had not bought from them. Since then, I have bought 2 more boats and they were from No Wake Marine.

I could understand if he bypassed the local dealer for a better price or some other reason and then wanted warranty work done by the closer dealer. However, they weren't even open yet. You would think that they would realize that good service today may mean a new boat sale tomorrow.

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I wonder what drives that kind of mantaility? I've not had the pleasure of that kind of service before but I have to think that it's only a matter of time. What happens when I move somewhere else?

Maybe there's something to it that I don't see/comprehend but, it seems to me that their shop has a shop rate and that warrenty items are paid for under the contract established between them and Malibu. Either way, aren't they making money anytime a boat gets worked on, it's not like they are going to do somethng for free.

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Heard that blast...gotta tell ya, you have one heck of a dealer there - No Wake. I was on a quick trip to the area earlier this year, stopped by the dealer in between meetings. I let them know that I was in from out of town, just browsing. They went out of their way to show me stuff (like Galaxy Toad's boat before he picked it up ;) ). Great peeps all the way around.

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My buddy is looking to buy a new boat in the near future, think it's gonna be tough for him to buy another 'bu. Is he out of line to be upset after this experience?

What would his future situation be in this case? I do not yet own a Malibu and we are fortunate that there is a very good dealer in our area, but I understand that there is an agreement that dealers are not allowed/supposed to to sell new units out of state. Would this be his only option for a dealer when he gets ready to buy a new boat or does he go back to where he bought his current boat?

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Would this be his only option for a dealer when he gets ready to buy a new boat or does he go back to where he bought his current boat?

My guess is a discussion with the regional rep at Malibu would easily pave the way to purchasing a boat from another dealer. Downside is that my buddy will be without local support on the new 'bu too.

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I had the exact same experience for my non Malibu boat. The Service manager said to me " why should I take care of you when you didn't even buy from us." I told him that I spent nearly three hours "trying" to buy a boat from you but the deal was not there. I reminded him that this was an authorized dealership. He told me to get out. The best part about this is that their pro shop manager constantly calls me to get my products into their store. I won't do it. I will not do business with anyone who treats people poorly. It takes more time and energy to treat someone like crap than it does to be nice.

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I wonder what drives that kind of mantaility? ...

It's idiocy, plain and simple. As a dealer, if you don't realize the average tournament inboard owner turns his boat every three years, then you shouldn't be in the business. If you aren't smart enough to convey that to your service employees, then you shouldn't be in the business.

If Malibu can't straighten this attitude out of the rogue dealerships that continue to view 'non-buyers' this way, then Malibu will soon drop from the top spot.

If that happened to me then I'd make every effort to let corporate know, Ellery, Amy, Mike and Bob. They all have email addresses and direct dial phone numbers. They'd hear from me.

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From what I understand, Malibu just lets the dealers run their business how they, the dealer, see fit.

If the dealers wanna say "hey, go somewhere else cause you did not buy your boat from me" I dont think Malibu, will, or wants to interfere. To me its kinda letting the tail wag the dog. But I dont think Malibu is gonna make a dealer do anything.

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From what I understand, Malibu just lets the dealers run their business how they, the dealer, see fit. 

If the dealers wanna say "hey, go somewhere else cause you did not buy your boat from me"  I dont think Malibu, will, or wants to interfere.  To me its kinda letting the tail wag the dog.  But I dont think Malibu is gonna make a dealer do anything.

Not sure I believe that. I'm a manufacturers rep (different industry) and if one of my dealers was treating consumers poorly I would certainly address the situation and find a remedy or pull my product line(s).

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The dealers are all in cahoots. They're not supposed to sell you a boat if you live closer to a different dealer. When a dealer violates this, the other dealers complain. My dealer willingly violates this and blows boats out at prices the other dealers in the state won't match. His service has been great as well.

Here in WI anyways, Malibu really tries to enforce non-compete deals. It's a load of crap IMO. These boats are ridiculously overpriced as it is. Let the customer shop around. Our VLX was several thousand less than dealer A would sell the identical boat for...

Back to the OT, it's no surprise to hear a dealership say that. Most of them keep their staff a little thin in the service departments to cut down on their off-season overhead costs. When the summer season is in full swing, most service departments have a lot of work...

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The dealers are all in cahoots.  They're not supposed to sell you a boat if you live closer to a different dealer.  When a dealer violates this, the other dealers complain.  My dealer willingly violates this and blows boats out at prices the other dealers in the state won't match.  His service has been great as well.

Here in WI anyways, Malibu really tries to enforce non-compete deals.  It's a load of crap IMO.  These boats are ridiculously overpriced as it is.  Let the customer shop around.  Our VLX was several thousand less than dealer A would sell the identical boat for...

Back to the OT, it's no surprise to hear a dealership say that.  Most of them keep their staff a little thin in the service departments to cut down on their off-season overhead costs.  When the summer season is in full swing, most service departments have a lot of work...

This is true but the dealer even said go to the dealer you purchased it from. This is a fatal mistake IMHO. He could have said we're extremely busy but we'll work you in over the next several weeks or something along those lines. I think most of us would have understood.

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From what I understand, Malibu just lets the dealers run their business how they, the dealer, see fit. 

If the dealers wanna say "hey, go somewhere else cause you did not buy your boat from me"  I dont think Malibu, will, or wants to interfere.  To me its kinda letting the tail wag the dog.  But I dont think Malibu is gonna make a dealer do anything.

Not sure I believe that. I'm a manufacturers rep (different industry) and if one of my dealers was treating consumers poorly I would certainly address the situation and find a remedy or pull my product line(s).

Honeslty I dont wanna to have to believe it either, but after a few conversations I have had, its a little more true than not.

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From what I understand, Malibu just lets the dealers run their business how they, the dealer, see fit.....I dont think Malibu is gonna make a dealer do anything.

Not sure I believe that.

Honeslty I dont wanna to have to believe it either, but after a few conversations I have had, its a little more true than not.

Malibu may be putting on the face of "It's their dealership" but behind the scenes applying pressure to get the desired results. It would accomplish the goal and allow the dealership to save face and not look like Malibu was "pushing them around". If Malibu is not using their popularity and consumer demand as leverage against dealers with poor customer service habits then they are wasting a valuable tool.

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If he don't mind driving to Indy..we will get him fixed.

317-984-7004 ext-1 goes right to my desk.

Wes (madman)

Edited by Madmanacrossthewater
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It is mind blowing how many companies that were created under the bases of customer service don't get that concept. Malibu won't accept too many complaints prior to them getting involved.

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It is mind blowing how many companies that were created under the bases of customer service don't get that concept.  Malibu won't accept too many complaints prior to them getting involved.

Then why does UWS in Rancho Cordova still have the same manager???? Mad.gif

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