They were back the third day. A one day installation job turned into three days, and I started wondering if I would be asked to pay for the for the lost time due to these technicians’ incompetence and lack of experience. The one, that spent two days at the top of the mast was happy to be finished there, went about his job of drilling through the bulkhead, bringing the cable into the cabin, then working it through the storage lockers under the seats, behind the stairs on the port side, and behind the chart table up to the back of the helm navigation station. In the meantime the second technician, who spent the last three days just hoisting his friend up to the mast, standing by the winch to occasionally lower or rise his position slightly, and once in a while send a tool or part up to him by means of a continuous loop line they had rigged for that purpose, repositioned the cut-out template on the nav-station according to my suggestion. Then he started cutting the fiberglass panel. However, this time he had placed the template’s left edge a bit too close to the existing instruments, such that his power jigsaw would not fit. He had to remove the wind indicator display unit in order to complete the cut. After all was done, they hooked-up the power and antenna cables and tested the unit. Both were very happy with their accomplishment and left with smiles. I was sitting at the helm, looking at a my new toy, also with some joy because it was finally installed, in spite of the fact that the display unit was placed slightly crooked, and the bottom edge did not perfectly follow the bottom edge of the panel.
Two days later Laura, the BVI yacht Charters manager informed me that the invoice from key electronics was in. When I walked into the office she said, “I think you should sit down for this” while handing me the emailed invoice. It was over $4,000. They had charged a total of 2x20hrs of labour at $90/hr. in addition to the cost of the bracket and the extra cable with customs duty added, some small parts and the $250 Fedex bill for shipping the parts express from Florida.
I was outraged, not only at the charge out rate, but also for asking me to pay for the two man to fool around for a day and a half just to figure out how they would do the installation.
The bill is still in dispute, I will let you know when we settle. But the moral of the story is that; never get any work done on your boat by the locals without agreeing on a final total price beforehand.
Well, this was really a frustrating story, but I did not forget about my promise to tell you an exciting and a merrier story. Please wait for the follow-up blog.