Marine Canvas, Docapesca, 8400-279 Parchal — A set of three bespoke boat covers which are not fit for purpose and "unethical behaviour "
I am making a serious complaint for negligence in the design and manufacture of three bespoke weatherproof boat covers made by Marine Canvas during 2013/2014. These covers were to be made to fit my 50 foot yacht "Gentle Rush" which currently lies ashore in Marino Portimao Boat Yard, Parchal nearby Marine Canvas premises.
The order for the covers were made by Wife and myself in March 2013 for delivery by the end of May 2013 at the agreed price of €3, 000.00 with the proprietor Mike Cheston, who insisted on an intial deposit of €1500.00 to purchase material and commence work on the covers with immediate effect. I offered to pay this sum by debit card into his bank account. He refused to accept payment by this means and preferred that I make this payment direct to his bank account from the UK. This I did from my Company account of Systematic Piplines Ltd.
I did not receive a reciept for this money, but just an acknowledgment that he had received the €1500.00.
During the early part of 2013 a key member of his staff who had been working on the boat covers left his employment for a nearby competitor.
This caused a delay in the manufacture of the covers when production was stopped.
Despite many enquiries, the covers where still not complete in November 2013 but I was assured by Mike Cheston that the covers were almost ready for fitting to my yacht which is situated within a 5 minute walk from his place of business.
I was in Portugal at that time working on my yacht. On the Saturday afternoon before I returned to UK, Mike Cheston arrived in the boatyard to ask me to pay another advance on the covers as they were almost ready. He asked for a payment of €1000.00. At this juncture I had not seen the production of the covers so I was reluctant to advance further payment as the original delivery of end of May 2013 had not been met.
Again I offered to pay him by Debit Card. He refused to accept payment by Card saying there was difficulty with his bank and this time insisted on a cash payment of €1000.00.
I gave him €1000.00 in cash as I trusted him to complete the order for the covers. When I asked him for a reciept for the cash, he refused to comply stating the the revenue were very strict on cash payments.
I became alarmed as I had already advance €2500.00 in advance payments for covers I had yet not seen.
On 8 November 2013 I received an email from Mike Cheston asking me to pay the balance of the full account and when he could put the covers on the boat. It appeared that he was not going to put the covers on the boat until the account was paid in full. I found this puzzling as he had free access to my boat during 2013 to measure and manufacture the covers.
On 28 November 2013, I received another email form Mike Cheston to say that the covers had been fitted to my boat with attached photos. The delivery of the covers had been delayed for 8 months, so I decided not to settle the final account until my next visit to Portugal when I would see how the covers performed over the winter of 2014/2015.
On 14 April 2014, I received another email from MIke Cheston to say that the covers had been subjected to three gales saying the covers was still doing its job as he had not heard from me in 3 months.
This was not true as friends who have a boat nearby in the same yard told me that the covers had started to rip and tear along the sides due to wind damage and a major connecting zip on the covers had broken during the winter of 2014.
They were not performing as they should have done and should withstand any weather. MIke Cheston as been resident in Portugal for many years so he should be aware of the climatic conditions that the covers would be subjected to and therefore should have been designed accordingly. It was apparent that the covers would not stand up climatic conditions in Portugal.
I therefore declined to make any further payment until the covers were inspected. Mike Cheston had not adhered to our initial specification as we had asked for extra reinforcement of the cover material where the damage had occurred.
I then mobilised for a UK Overseas Contact in Kazakhstan for 18 months which prevented me from visiting Portugal although I had said that I would make a visit during the second week of May 2014. Unfortunately pressure of work in Kazakhstan prevented me from the visit
I was reluctant to pay this final account as the covers were not performing as they should have done. The covers were ordered to be all- weather and I relied on Marine Canvas as an experienced Contractor to provide a fit for purpose set of covers. They were clearly not performing as intended and had failed.
I returned to Portugal in May 2015 when my work commitments were completed. The covers by that time had been left on my boat resulting in further damage.
I inspected the covers on return to find that a feeble attempt at repairing the covers insitu had been carried out by Marine Canvas by sticking self adhesive circular patches on the damaged covers. The patches had all dropped off the covers onto my boat deck and proved to be useless. The covers should have been properly repaired by Marine Canvas by removing them to the workshop.
I went to see Mike Cheston to say that I would not pay the final account until the covers were repaired and made with the reinforcing strip as instructed. I then asked him to remove the covers and carry out the repair under warranty.
He brought all of his staff to remove the covers for repair in my presence. The covers were removed to his workshop.
Some weeks later I visited his workshop to see how work was progressing on the repair. MIke Cheston then told me that the covers had been removed from his workshop for storage until my account was settled in full payment.
No work had started on the repairs and would be charged for following payment of the final account. He stated that the charge for repair would be €600.00 and I objected to this as this was not stated when he removed the covers from my boat
He was clearly holding me to ransome in removing the covers from his work premises.
I was now faced with the prospect in having paid out €2500.00 with no reciepts. I complained to Portimao Boatyard mangement of the situation as they also lease out Marine Canvas workshop to Mike Cheston.
They advised me to take legal advice from their Solicitors and took me to visit them. A Solicitors letter was sent to Mike Cheston on 1July 2015 to obtain reciepts for the payment of €2500.00. A copy of the legal correspondance is available for examination which I will forward regarding this matter.
Eventually a letter from Mike Cheston solicitor arrived producing receipts for the advanced payments made during 2013. The receipt for the cash payment of €1000.00 is dubious and why was I asked to pay cash at that time, instead of transferring money's to his account by Debit Card or interbank transfer? I believe he was trying to extract cash from me without declaring this payment to the Portuguese Authorities in 2013.
Following many visits and discussions with Mike Cheston he agreed to return the covers and carry out the repairs if I paid the final account. I trusted that he would do this so I agreed to pay the final outstanding money to him.
Again he refused a payment direct to his bank account but asked me to pay cash again or credit his account by paying Portimao Boatyard, who would transfer my payment to his account. I demanded a bill of sale on this occasion before I made any further payment.
The bill of sale was made out some days later and I transferred the money to his boatyard account.
Subsequently he then refused to carry out any repairs under warranty and would only do so if I paid € 600.00 in advance. I strenuously objected to this treatment as his business ethics so far had been deplorable and he was now again trying to extract cash payments from me.
At this juncture he still had my covers and refused to return them to me having paid the final account. This was a shocking development.
I left Portugal in late December 2015 with Marine Canvas still holding my covers.
I returned to Portugal on 6 January 2016 and demanded that Mike Cheston carried out the repair work as promised. He did nothing.
The covers were eventually returned to me in the boatyard on a pallet without notice on 20 January 2016. No work had been done on any of the three covers which were in the same damaged condition before they were removed from my boat by Mike Cheston. He had done nothing to the covers except use them as a means to extract the final payment from me.
I am now faced with a set of three defective covers that are not fit for purpose and will not stand severe weather conditions that happen from time to time in Portugal.
I have now made payments totalling €3584.86 to Mike Cheston for a set of boat covers that have been poorly made. They do not fit the boat correctly and have been subjected to damage due to bad workmanship and omissions on the original specifications given to Marine Canvas
Would like to claim a full refund on the defective covers of €3584.86 plus €140.00 in legal fees.
Mike Cheston has proved to very unscrupulous and his business ethics are very bad.
So far during my stay for the last 6 years in Portugal, I have contributed over €40, 000 to the Portuguese authorities in services to my boat.
I have been treated fairly with other Contractors who have worked on my boat previously. The treatment by Marine Canvas is not acceptable.
The most recent photo of damage sustained by not fit for purpose boat covers
This is the latest cover failure on work carried out by Mike Cheston of Marine Canvas, Portimao, Portugal.
They have failed consistently after installation on three separate occasions . This time the covers completely collapsed in the wind onto the deck of the boat, with zip fasteners breaking apart and in some locations, the stitching of zips to the covers had completely disbonded. Many or the zips are now completely useless and need replacing.
The covers were intended to be attached to the boat by canvas loops stitched at intervals along the bottom of the covers. These in turn were tied to pad eyes on the underside of the teak rubbing strakes with thin prices of string threaded through the the loops, all supplied by Marine Canvas at the time of manufacture.
The string was clearly not strong enough to withstand gusts of wind and had snapped in the wind. There are 38 such fastenings on the three covers. In locations where the string had not snapped the stitched on loops parted from the covers due to inadequate stitching. Only two rows of single stitching had been machine sown on the canvas loops. The stitching on the loops failed and they parted company with the covers.
Again, I went to see Mike Cheston has I had laid out the failed covers on the concrete hard below my boat for inspection. He refused to walk 5 minutes from his workshop to my boat, saying he believed in what I was saying, but would do nothing stating he was too busy.
Be very wary in any dealings associated with this man. He cannot be trusted to do a good and in my case he has failed to provide a fit for purpose set of boat covers and held me to ransome to extract cash payments.
The most recent cover damage. These were made by Marine Canvas, Portimao