I know, I know, you read this headline and you immediately think about masked robbers on an open boat with machine guns causing trouble by the Statue Liberty. Well, not so fast, my Captain! The pirate we encountered in the NY Harbor may not fit that description but if it wasn't for some quick and clever detective work it could have cost us hundreds of dollars anyway. Here's the story:

A few weeks ago we were due for maintenance on our engine and since it's still under warranty we thought we'd let a "certified" mechanic do the work. So we scheduled a visit and planned to be there, at least at the beginning. Well, the guy, supposedly got lost and showed up an hour late, which made it impossible for me to be there in person. So when he called saying he'd arrived I asked him to call me back when he was done and let me know how it went. 3 hours later I got the call. Everything was fine. The work was done. Bye Bye. I wondered why it took 3 hours if everything was OK but didn't feel like making an issue out of it.

That was until I called the next day to find out what the bill was and learned I was being charged for 4 hours, not 3. Now, I don't mind paying extra if someone takes time to do a job well done, but I'm not stupid either. Of course I complained but was given a whole list of excuses about how long it took to get in and out of the boat and how hard it was to get to the engine and how he wasn't really done when he called me to say he was done...

So I called the marina and asked if they remembered when the guy came in and out. They said they didn't but they could easily check the security tapes. Ah! Brilliant idea! Sure enough, the tapes quickly sowed that the guy did not spend 4 hours on our boat. Not even 3! To our surprise, the guy spent just over 50 minutes on our boat!!!

Of course, I ended up getting the service for free. Attempting to charge FOUR TIMES the actual time is not a administrative typo in the paperwork. That's plain robbery!

And I thought "pirates" were only found in remote countries with unstable governments... Stay alert out there. Even before you leave the dock!

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