Munson Marine — Bad experience
The following has been my experience with Munson Marine of Fox
Lake, Illinois over the past 4 months. They have left me no choice but to take legal action and precede though Honda Marine Group...
I purchased a brand new 2009 South Bay Pontoon with a Honda 50 HP 4-Stroke Motor from Munson Marine of Fox Lake in April of 2010. I paid for the boat with a check on the spot and test drove the boat immediately after. During test drive, I noticed the boat not accelerating properly and stalling out numerous times when we accelerated. The Munson mechanic who was on the boat actually tried to tell me this was normal! He was also extremely limited to what features of the boat he knew about, like the navigation, fish finder, radio, etc. I spoke to a service person, as well as Sam, the Sales Manager of Munson, when we got off the boat and told them something was not right with the motor. They both assured me everything would be checked and repaired before delivering the boat to me in early May - 4 weeks later. I believed them.
In early May I took delivery of the boat. I wrote a check in access of $300 for delivery of the boat, and tipped the delivery person $20. He put the boat into the water and not more that 100 yards out into the water I noticed the motor having the same issues it did on the test drive. A minute later the engine stalled out again and again, multiple times before I could even reach my dock. I called Munson, spoke to Pete the service manager, who told me they had tested the motor numerous times and had found no problems with it before delivery. I told him that was impossible. I knew I was in for a long summer with the boat and with Munson, especially since they have started off our relationship with a blatant lie. He said he would send someone up to look at it.
The next weekend a mechanic from Munson came up to the house to check things out. He removed the fuel line from the manufacturer's (South Bay) fuel filter, essentially bypassing it, and connected it directly to the engine. He told me that Munson technicians bypass the manufacturer's fuel filters all the time because they tend to cause problems with the fuel. He said this Honda motor had its own fuel filter on it anyway so it shouldn't matter. He had also squeezed the fuel pump ball multiple times to make sure it was working properly. When he did so, I noticed a small amount of gasoline trickling down alongside the motor and into the water. He said this was a common event and that sometimes fuel can accumulate in certain parts of the engine components and will wash off into the water. It didn't sound right to me, but what do I know, right? He's the mechanic. He said to try things out and let him know if it was still having problems after he left. I took the boat out a couple hours later and it was having the exact same issues I was having on the test drive and before he came to service it that day.
I called Munson back, again speaking to Pete the service manager, who told me they would have to locate a new fuel pump from Honda. After a couple weeks he had located one and scheduled a time to come up and install.
The same mechanic from Munson who came out before came out to install the new fuel pump. After the new fuel pump was installed, the boat did not stall anymore for about two months, but it also did not seem to be running very well. It would chug while in neutral and seemed like it always wanted to stall. Finally, in early August, the boat began to stall every time I had the boat in idle. It also took about 10 minutes to get the boat started every time I took it out. I knew something was still wrong with the motor and it was indeed not fixed. Keep in mind the motor had 25 hours on it at this time. It was practically still brand new. I called Pete at Munson. He told me it would probably cost in access of $350 to come up and look at it and perform a 20 hour service on the boat which may or may not take care of the issue. After discussing the issue with him, we had agreed that the best option was to take it to the local marina and do an oil change and have the mechanic adjust the throttle and see if it fixed things. I did that. The owner of the marina performed an oil change and lightly inspected the engine. He told me there were bigger issues with the engine than anything oil or throttle related. There was most likely a problem with the carburetors and that I should have Munson come up and assess it. I called back Pete at Munson and he told me that it would take at least 2 weeks to get someone up to the house to look at it. At this point I felt there was something going on and Munson was indeed not going to stand behind the motor or take care of me as a customer. If I didn't trust them much before, I definitely lost all trust now.
I called a very reputable Mobile Marine Specialists with 30 years experience in the business to come assess the motor and give me an outside, honest opinion of it. After inspection, he told me that the #1 Carburetor was broken and had fuel leaking out of it. His recommendation was to have Munson replace the motor or to replace all 3 carburetors. He said in his 30 years experience it was not commonplace to see a brand new motor have this many issues this soon. Again, the motor had a little over 25 total hours on it at this time.
I called back Pete at Munson and told him what the gentleman had found. I told Pete I was fed up with this motor and that I wanted either a new motor or 3 new carburetors. Pete's reaction? He laughed at me. He literally laughed out loud at me over the phone. You can imagine how I felt as a customer of Munson at this point. Pete said he would send someone up to take a look at it at his earliest convenience. After a few days he called me back and asked for a credit card number for the trip charge. Trip charge? I said I was not paying any trip charge for a repair that should have been made at the dealership before I took delivery. A repair Munson promised would be made after I had already paid for the boat in full, in good faith. I said I wanted to speak to the owner, Craig Munson. He said he was not available. I asked what Craig would think about the service I was being provided and he told me Craig was the one who put into place all the ways Munson handles service. I had no choice but to tell Pete I would have to have my lawyer call him. At that point Pete said he needed to hang up the phone and broke all contact with me. I tried to call Craig directly a couple days later. Sam, the Sales Manager, answered the phone. She told me he would not speak to me because I threatened legal action and I would need to have my lawyer call them. That was the last contact I had with Munson Marine. I am now in the process of going though Honda Marine Group with my lawyer to make sure I am not left in the dark with this motor.
I have done business with stand-up people in my life and feel I am a stand-up person as well. Maybe I was a bit naive to think that Munson Marine would fall into this category. I have learned a valuable life's lesson in all of this. I will be in the market for 2 more boats and a couple of jet skis in the next year or two. Munson has truly lost a great customer. I am hoping to find a quality marine dealer in the Midwest who can fulfill my future needs. I also hope Honda Marine can sympathize with the ordeal I have gone through with their Authorized Dealer, Munson Marine of Fox Lake, Illinois. I have always heard good things about Honda products, now we will see if they stand behind them as I would expect.