The Raymarine warranty #1, truth and fiction
OK, so about a year ago Raymarine made an interesting change to its warranty practices. In addition to the standard two-year “send it back to the factory and we’ll fix it” policy, Raymarine also offers one year of onboard warranty service for gear that retails for more than $2,500 and is professionally installed. The change is that now the installer must be certified, either directly by taking a Raymarine training/test, or indirectly by earning an MEI or CMET certification from NMEA. No certification, no onboard warranty. All this, clearly spelled out here, makes good sense to me…one, the existing extra warranty for boaters who spend the money to have a professional installation (which should mean fewer warranty problems for Raymarine), and, two, now trying to make that installation truly professional by mandating installer standards.
But a weird thing happened. Raymarine’s new policy has become a bit of a PR disaster thanks to some sloppy journalism and the wicked power of the Web. In March, NMEA’s Marine Electronics Journal published an article on the new policy that flatly began, “Marine products manufacturer Raymarine will no longer warranty its products unless they are installed by a certified installer…” The article is really an ‘inside’ piece for installers, and it does eventually reference the actual ‘onboard’ warranty change, but it is, shall we say, not as clear as it might have been. It led to the discussion pictured above on the Hull Truth (where there’s an excellent electronics forum), in which self installers started to get seriously upset. Thankfully that thread was brought back to reality by a well spoken installer named Jim Maier, but the misinformation one can read into MEJ’s confusing article has spread further. In fact, don’t be surprised if you hear tomorrow or a year from now that Raymarine won’t give you warranty on electronics you install yourself. It’s total bull, but the rumor is out there in much worse form than I’ve discussed today. Prepare for a RANT tomorrow.