Im not really sure why James/Last Resort Marina treated us the way he did; all I know is we would never go back to Last Resort Marina nor would we recommend anyone go there. I think the majority of the issues we had with James stemmed from the fact that he had no business messing with mechanics or welding and he had no communication skills he misled us because he was so greedy for business. What we learned from our experience is:
1) use a marina that is licensed and insured;
2) only use a marina that lists their prices in writing;
3) dont sign anything unless you know what it is and a copy is available for your retention;
and 4) physically visit the marina before consenting to their services.
We actually ended up buying a brand new boat from a marina in Pinckney and are considering using Metro Boats or Sunset Boats for storage and maintenance next year.
Here is our story...
In September of 2011 we contacted Last Resort Marina (LRM) via telephone to haul, winterize, store, and to make some repairs on the pontoon we had just purchased. We were quoted $265 for the storage, motor winterization, and hauling and we specifically requested that the boat was not to be shrink-wrapped. The boat ended up getting shrink-wrapped. Our main reason for choosing LRM was that James, the owner (as this is not a corporation or LLC, Last Resort Marina is James assumed business name,) informed me over the phone that he had on-site-staff who could make welding & mechanical repairs while the pontoon was in storage; James said he could not give us a quote on the welding or mechanics until he got the pontoon in for his guys to look at. To my knowledge James has no staff; he outsources other companies, then charges double the service call fee. James had my husband sign off on (what we thought was) a hulling request releasing LRM from any liability as a result of the hulling; James did not give my husband a copy of what was signed and it ended up being a contract stating we would pay $10 per day for storage after April 30th.
When James picked up the boat he told my husband that because we were having so much work done he would cut us a break and only charge us $300 for the storage, motor winterization, and hauling; but then went on to claim he could not give a estimate for the welding or motor repairs because he was only the driver- not the owner. The owner James ended up being the same guy that picked up our boat claiming to be just the driver.
As it was made clear that we wanted an analysis of the motor sooner than later, I became concern when weeks went by and we had not heard back from James. From September through to January I called James every 2-4 weeks. During the majority of this time period our pontoon sat on the shoulder of Pontiac Lake Road (with the cover off the motor-until we drove by and put it back on) without shrink-wrap. Every time I talked to James he told me he would call me back in a few days with the pricing for the repairs. During my November inquiry, in which I wanted to get our brand-new-never-used-battery off of the boat, he stated that he had not yet winterized the motor, but not to worry because there would be no issues as a result of it, and that he was having difficulties finding a welder and that he would call me back in a few days. At this point it was beyond obvious that there was some kind of issue and that James did not have a welder on site (I had actually located a welder that would come to our house, prior to using LRM) and we were beginning to wonder, what was the deal with the mechanic? To this date we highly doubt the motor actually got winterized; I called around to other marinas who recommended having the motor winterized prior to November 1st.
The next time I phoned James (because he never called be back, in a few days, as he often stated he would) he told me he was waiting for the weather to break to assess the repairs. We then drove past LRM and couldnt located our boat, it was no longer on the shoulder and every boat in sight was shrink-wrapped.
So, I called him during a week in March when we had 80 degree weather because we wanted an update and were concerned, so we wanted to see the boat at that time he told me his other business is taxes and he is not doing anything with the boats until tax season is over, and that I would have to make an appointment to see the boat because he was up-north.
On April 28th we were amazed to hear from James (this was the first time he had initialized a call to us). He left a voicemail stating that the welding had been done and a mechanic would be calling us in a few days. James never gave us a price for the welding-he just had it done.
The mechanic contacted us a few days later and said the motor was shot, but they could sell it for us for $500 and get us in a better one. This is why it was our intention to have the pontoon stored at a marina that had a full staff on site-why would we have welding done if the motor is blown? We were looking for a one stop shop that could break down and itemize how much money repairs would cost and what needed to be done.
We sold the pontoon ourselves, we got $1000; I actually had people begging me to sell it to them sight unseen for $1000, so I must have under priced it. But the marina/mechanic the people who know about boats told us ours was only worth $500. The morning before we sold the pontoon I called James to get squared away, as if things were not bad enough they got worst. According to James he would have never quoted us $300, he goes on to imply that $300 must have been all that my husband had on him at the time the pontoon was picked up and thats why we only paid $300 the charge is $375. This is after James quoted me $365 on the phone, and after he told my husband he only had to pay $300. There are also no formal receipts at LRM twice now, we have received a business card with chicken scratch writing on it alongside the dollar amount we paid, no itemization. Then James tells us that we own an additional $125 for the welding, $80 for having the mechanic come out, we owe for the shrink wrap, and its $10 per day storage fee after April 30th. He ended up waving the $10 per day storage charge and the shrink wrap, because he didnt even call us about our boat until April 28th and we specifically stated we did not want the boat shrink wrapped.
That day we went up to LRM (Friday at 6:30pm) to pay James he would not answer his phone or door. (I believe he lives on the property) The next day, Saturday, I called him again to arrange when we could make payment no answer. The following day, Sunday, we went up to LRM and officially met James for the first time; he was in his truck hulling pontoons , just as he was when my husband met him and he claimed to be just the driver. He was super cocky from the rip and very impolite; he took pontoon rental calls without apologizing or excusing himself, while we were in the middle of discussing the payment that was due. James had ZERO communication skills; at one point he asked me what I wanted to pay, all I could get out was that we owed for the welding, but then he cut me off by screaming at me saying I was crazy and called him all the time. I told him to lower his voice, but of course he didnt listen. (I was actually trying to tell him we would be willing pay for the welding and the $80 mechanic fee even though we believed he was very misleading.) I then stated I had enough and began writing a check for the full amount, as I filled in the check I looked up at him and said this whole thing is shady. Just then he began flinching in a manner which one would use to display the threat of physical violence; as he began opening his truck door, my husband asked him if he planned on assaulting us over this? Needless to say he got back in his truck and shut his door. As I went to rip the check out of the book he (once again yelling again) said youre not getting that boat until that check clears.I immediately said we will go to the bank then and be right back, will you be here? Of course he wouldnt answer. We went to the bank and when we got back to LRM he was gone, luckily we crossed paths at the gas station down the street where James confirmed he would have the path cleared so we could get our boat out on Monday. James did not make it easy for us to get our boat out on Monday either.