The trouble with Fairline is that once they have sold you a boat, that seems to be the end of their relationship with you. In the case of Sealine and Princess, their dealer network is company owned so at least they continue to have contact with the customer. Fairline appear to think they are in the car industry where the manufacturer is distanced from the customer. You can understand why Fairline are like this, it would cost them money to take an interest. This is a real shame because the product is great, but I wonder how much repeat business they are losing out on.
From my own experience, and others on this forum, Fairline have problems with their aftercare service, or lack of it. All warranty problems are dealt with by the dealer (who is not directly employed by Fairline). Thus you are completely at the mercy of that dealer. Some are good, some are bad. When I had my boat I would phone the dealer every Monday morning and give him a list of the faults that had arisen during the weekend. I would also chase progress on the resolution of faults previously raised but still not fixed. Most things would get fixed eventually. Some never got fixed. A typical excuse might be "we’re busy commissioning new boats at the moment so haven’t got round to fixing yours yet". My perception was that those who shouted loudest got their boats fixed. As a result of this Fairline and Peters cannot possibly know how long it takes for problems to be fixed.
Once a boat has been delivered to the customer the customer has one month to report all defects. During this period the dealer is responsible for rectifying these faults. At the end of the month the customer effectively signs-off the boat. All faults are documented with their resolution. Fairline and Peters would be advised to press very hard to ensure that the customer is happy with his boat.
After the first month has elapsed then all faults must be reported direct to Fairline themselves. This would be via an (international) freephone number which would operate 6 days a week. Customers would be given a fault number. These faults would then be prioritized and assigned to a dealer or a third party to fix within a specified time. The dealer or third party would be notified by e-mail that they have a new fault pending. Any fault that is keeping the boat in port should be fixed within 24 hours. All others to be fixed within 14 days. Once the fault has been fixed then the dealer would report back to head office. A letter would then be sent to the customer advising him that the fault has been fixed. The result would be that all problems are prioritized and Fairline could check that a customer’s problems are being dealt with in a timely manner. One month before the boat is a year old the customer should be reminded that his boat is almost out of warranty. He should be prompted to notify head-office of any unreported problems so that they can be fixed under warranty.
After the year has passed, the boat would no longer be under warranty. If there was a three year warranty on the engines then the above procedure would continue to apply for engine problems.
When the boat is a year old a letter should be sent to the customer inviting him to comment on the first year of ownership and inviting any suggestions for improved service. These should be returned to the MD of Fairline for his personal attention.
The fault logging system described above should be Internet enabled so that all dealers would have access without expensive installations. Using the data held on the system, Fairline would have access to lots of MI. They could spot if a particular boat has had more than its’ fair share of problems or whether there are any worrying trends. Dealers providing a poor service would be easy to spot.
1) Fairline would take responsibility for the ownership of engine defects and arrange for these to be repaired by Volvo. They would not refer the customer to Volvo as they do at present.
2) At the end of year 1 an extended (at extra cost) warranty would be offered to the customer.
3) Fairline and other manufacturers should offer servicing packages that include engine servicing, anti-fouling, winterising, anodes etc. This would be of immense benefit to new boaters.
Disclaimer: al the above IMHO, E&OE, SWALK, etc. Consultancy rates provided on request.