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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Research Attorney; Private Practice; Attorney Mentor; Mediator
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We have a 1993 Starcraft Eurorider 191, 220hp Mercrusiser Alpha

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We have a 1993 Starcraft Eurorider 191, 220hp Mercrusiser Alpha V6. We bought this boat without knowing that the engine block was cracked. So we took it into a marine mechanic who said he could weld it with no problem. We also asked him to take a look at everything with the engine out to see if it was even worth it. He said everything looked good except we needed to replace a fuel pump. Because that was all he found, we agreed to do the repairs. $2300 later, we picked our boat up which fired up with ease. Moving on to the next weekend, we took the boat out to a lake and tubed for 2 hours and came home. The following weekend we attempted to start and it sounded like it was grinding. Took the boat back to the mechanic and low and behold, there now is a hole in oil pan. With oil in the bilge and water in the oil.
My husband and I know nothing about boats, but it sure seems fishy that my boat didnt have any oil leak problems before this repair and now have essentially a boat that the junkyard would question taking. They said we would have to replace the motor now for appx $6k. Did I get completely scammed?????
I am thinking of taking this company to small claims court. Is this a viable case? What can I do on my end to make this case stronger?
Hi! LegalGems here. I have extensive consumer law experience and will use this to assist you with your issue today.

I am very sorry to hear of this.
The first step would be to get a third party mechanic's opinion (written) as to whether the subsequent oil leak was caused by the mechanic's prior repairs; and also whether the engine failed due to the leak being undiagnosed. If so, this would help your case tremendously.

The cause of action would be negligence (negligent repair). Since the repair is under $10K, small claims is the appropriate action. What is nice is that most California counties have a free mediation that small claims litigants can participate in for free. Also, small claims itself is a much simpler process.

Generally, before filing a suit, it is best to write a demand letter requesting compensation for the negligence. Here is a sample letter you can conform to your situation.

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0296-sample-consumer-complaint-letter

And here is a link to the small claims info-it has all the forms you will need. But hopefully the letter with the mechanic's statement will resolve this. http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm Please let me know if you have further questions. Thanks.
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