Side effects of the crisis?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by CDK, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Due to my remote location I use the web for most purchases, have everything shipped to a friend across the border and pick up the collected items once a month. I've been doing that for years and by selecting trustworthy sellers it has generally worked very well.

    One of my recent purchases was a number of flexible engine mounts to replace the old ones that were badly corroded; yes they cost $40 each because it's boating stuff but that doesn't keep them from rusting.
    What I received were not the parts I ordered but somewhat smaller unbranded lookalikes that do not fit the mounting holes and the adjustment bolts. I tried to get in touch with marineparts24.com , until then on my "trustworthy" list, but they now ignore emails and have the phone answered by a nobody who promises that someone better educated will call back and that is the end of it, so I erased them from my list.

    Because one of my engines is waiting to be lifted in after repairs I contacted another shop, explained the situation and requested them to verify that the correct items were available. The owner called his source and confirmed the same day, so I placed an order for 10 more pieces.....
    That shipment contained exactly the same Chinese lookalikes!

    The source is a fairly large Dutch wholesaler (www.allpa.nl) supplying the products from their 550 page catalog in several European countries. They use to be reliable.
    I contacted them by email, assuming that there had been some sort of mix-up in their warehouse; with so many small items in stock it seemed possible to me that someone made such a mistake.

    Their astonishing answer was that they were well aware of the fact that the product was substituted with something similar but not interchangeable. In their experience that was a widely accepted policy and if I didn't like it I should take it up with the shop I bought the products from.

    With sales dropping and the outlook grim this is not quite the attitude I expected. My "trustworthy" list has become alarmingly short.
     

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    1 person likes this.
  2. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I have had the *exact* same problem!

    I don't think it's so much a side effect of some kind of crisis (which we are largely through now), but just a lot of greed and dishonesty among suppliers.

    My story is just like yours. I ordered these through Fastenal, manufactured by Suncor. $90 for a pair:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.fastenal.com:80/web/products/detail.ex?sku=0543540&ucst=t

    I went so far as to call Suncor, a supposedly reputable stainless steel manufacturer in the USA. I asked about their 316 stainless and specifically these eye bolts. I wanted to make sure (as I have with any metal on the boat) that it is not of Chinese origin and is real, quality 316 like my rudder posts. The rudder posts were mined in Sweden, then forged in Pennsylvania, USA - 316L stainless from Skandvik. That's the kind of quality I was looking for.

    I ordered the Suncor eye bolts through Fastenal and immediately upon opening the package, knew something was wrong. They weren't even properly polished - a dead giveaway of Chinese garbage. Upon closer inspection, there was already some rust forming on them!!

    I returned them to Fastenal and will never buy another Fastenal or Suncor product again. Huge waste of time.

    I am finding the only way to get quality parts is to buy them used - from the 1980's or so. In place of the Chinese junk, I got a pair of bow eyes from 25' trailerable power boats form the 1980's in an marine junk store in FL. They were 316 stainless, looking as good now as the day they were forged, probably in 1970 or something! Got them for $30 for the pair.
     
  3. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    It has little to do with crisis but with care and knowledge of the people working at these companies. The number of suppliers for many components in the US has basically gone to zero. So the remaining companies are buying Chinese an reselling. I have caught several Chinese companies just plain lying on specs and many American re-sellers are not checking them. I am surprised at Suncor, I will be careful with them myself. If you think finding good quality SS is bad try looking for good quality Bronze. Used market is a good idea. As far as I know you can still get good quality parts out of Australia.
     
  4. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    I find the same is true with auto parts. Many suppliers are using commie made parts from asia, even some US auto manufacturers. I will shop by brand name, but even than they can switch suppliers on you. I can go get a used factory distributor for my '80's Toyota from a wrecking yard for $18, and it is better and more durable than the re-manufactured one (rebuilt in Mexico with Chinese parts) that cost $180. I buy starters, alternators, and other parts that way as well, at those prices I keep one or two spares around at all times.

    The parts stores claim that they are "OEM" quality, and I say no-way. One time I got a set of Beck-Arnly rings for my Toyota, and found they had three different size rings in the same box! B-A used to be a reputable supplier, I returned them and ask the store to order another brand for me.

    Used factory part are always better than new junk (many of which are defective right out of the box).
     
  5. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Buy second hand, as it is unlikely you will find quality any more - the rot has set in and only total collapse will sort things out.
     
  6. BPL
    Joined: Dec 2011
    Posts: 217
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    Location: Home base USA

    BPL Senior Member

    The problem is people and information. Now price is the number one factor for the mass of buyers. It drives quality production out of business. There is always a way to ship from someone who undercuts the price. People have created this problem by always looking for the lowest price and calling that smart buying. Bad for the few who know what quality is and want higher quality.
     
  7. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Corley epoxy coated

    Your absolutely right as far as I'm concerned now when I have a customer call me all they are interested in is price and brand. The price so they can see if they can get it elsewhere cheaper and the brand so they can save themselves from actually having to think and make a value judgement based on supplied information. Important considerations like quality, longevity and value for money seem to come a distant last.
     
  8. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Hi Corley,
    At that type of enquiry, I ask is it for a boat, do you want safety by quality or cheap and nasty, if there is reluctance based on price I suggest buy on that then if you survive after it fails then come back and see me for assured quality. If I cannot deliver quality I will suggest where that item is available (if I do not stock it or cannot get it in)... One pays for what one gets - or do it yourself... There is seldom a second chance in matters boats and boating.

    That is essentially what one of my suppliers told me and I stuck by him and got reliable product service.
     
  9. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    same thing happened when I ordered repair panels for my truck. Months later I finally got some nice heavy ones. But it took months and help up the whole show.

    Classic

    apparently
     
  10. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Modern " Just in Time " manufacturing has been causing trouble for a few years ... its even worse with the crisis. Virtually no stock on suppliers shelves ,with everything custom machined on demand. The price has remained stable but the time delay has driven up shipyard hard standing cost drastically.

    Contractor migration has also been amplified by the crisis. To save money on shipyard workshop rental, contractors have relocated off the waterfront into the countryside. In the past a workday was 8 hours of tool time. Now I get billed 7 hours tool time and one hour transit time.

    In the " crisis" Costs have gone up for the consumer.
     
  11. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 3,324
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1819
    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    It is not the fact that a wholesaler tries to buy cheaper and I have no real objections against Asian products for non-essential applications.

    What makes me mad is their attitude. In my opinion replacing a product with something totally incompatible without informing the customer is simply fraud. If you buy from some obscure webshop offering bargain prices you can be prepared for surprises, but from a respectable company this is something I wasn't prepared for.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    What makes me mad is they lie. Sometimes they don't know they are selling, but most of the time they know. I had a construction crane fall down on me, it almost kill me and another. The crane was american, but some of the supports made in China. The metal cracked instead of bending. When I tried to get some recourse they ignored my calls and then closed shop. Apparently, they had many of these failures.

    Point is, a wrong metal in a bolt or component can be more than annoyance and I have a hole in my head to prove it.
     
  13. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    This is exactly what happened to me. They claimed a good, quality product, even when called to double check. Then, they shipped me garbage.

    Fraud, through and through.

    They lost a pretty big customer (a guy building a new boat) and will likely lose more from this thread. Was it worth it to try and rip people off to get higher margins? I doubt it.
     
  14. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    CDK,

    I feel for you.

    It must be very frustrating and discouraging.

    What a drag.

    Have a drink on me my friend.
     

  15. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I never buy mail order, never have never will in my entire life, unless I know what it is and have had it before. I want it in my hand before I pay for it ---wise up.

    You hand over money for something you hav'nt seen --now theres an unusual concept,--Il'le bet you could make a lot of money on that.

    Ever heard of a pig in a poke.
     
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