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Old 07-07-2016   #1
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30
Opinion Needed-Sotar Warranty

Iíve been a big fan of Sotar boats for 30 years now. My first boat, 14í, lasted 25 years with rough treatment. Sotar told me that I could spend more money on my old boat regluing it or just get a new one made of better materials. Got a new one, duh. I boasted about these rafts just like the folks on the Sotar web site. Iíve purchased 3 Sotar rafts. A 15.5 for my old age party boat and one for my sonís graduation from college. You can see my sonís boat on their web page at the ST section, orange and black. My buddy is ready to eat it hanging off the rope.
Purchased the 15.5 in fall of 2011. About 8 months ago I started noticing a discoloration on the top surfaces of my very yellow boat. Looked a little like scuff marks. In April I went to see if I could rub it off and an area broke open like a blister. You could see broken fibers hanging out, yikes. The discoloration was starting to spread like 3 day old poison oak over many of the top surfaces. I immediately contacted Sotar. They said there had been some cases of bad material out there and I would have to bring it to them to see if it could be repaired. They never notified me to be on the lookout for that. How about you? Did you folks hear anything about this? Their warranty runs out in 6 years. In late April it was at their facility. Late May they did the evaluation and forwarded the information to management. On 6-22, about 2 months after leaving my boat with them, they let me know how the warranty coverage would apply. They want me to pay approximately 60% of the replacement cost. Around $4200.00. It will take a month to be produced once I ok the deal . Also, the new boat will have the new 10 year warranty and be made of better materials. They agree that this problem is not my fault and is due to a material defect that was showing up in 2008 to 2011 boats. They also said it really wasnít their fault. It was the suppliers.
This last week I checked with Maravia, NRS, and Aire who all said without hesitation had that problem shown up in any of their boats it would be replaced at no cost to the customer. One of those 3 said they have covered such situations like this even after the warranty has gone out.
I've requested it be repaired at no cost to me. It's still under their 6 year warranty. They don't want to do that. Tuesday I heard from Sotar that now they feel that they can repair it. Why wasn't this said 6-22? I spoke with my 28 year old son, who had talked to this same representative at Sotar a few weeks earlier, and he says that during the 50 minute conversation they had that the rep told him something to the effect of, " We can give you this offer, or we could do a half assed repair that will get you out of our hair until the warranty expires. I'm not advocating that we ever do the second one, but there are companies out there who might do such a thing".
I know Iím biased but, do you think itís unreasonable of me to expect my boat to be replaced at no cost? The warranty says nothing about depreciating a boat that turns out to be a total loss.

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Old 07-07-2016   #2
Minturn, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 153
Well, knowing what I know now, Sotar will never ever be considered for my future purchases, nor will I recommend them to anyone. I own two hyside rafts, the customer service is great, they have even replaced a boat without much fuss.

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Old 07-07-2016   #3
Paul7's Avatar
Post Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 781
I'd ask for a written copy of their warranty. Does it disclose depreciation?

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Old 07-07-2016   #4
Commerce/the Junc, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 27
They should fix it good as new or replace at no cost. Depreciation is a joke in this case. Sounds like they are just pulling a number out of there butt to save some $$$!

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Old 07-07-2016   #5
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 30
I've asked them twice for a copy of the 2011 warranty and they haven't sent it yet. The 2016 on their web page says nothing about depreciation.
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Old 07-07-2016   #6
Voodoo003's Avatar
Eugene, Oregon
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 64
That's bullshit. That's like saying "sorry you got food poisoning from my restaurant it wasn't that we cooked it wrong it's just that the broccoli was bad and you should track down the farmer if you want your money back". They sold the product, they are responsible for it, period.

That's really too bad. They were top of my list for my first brand-new boat purchase someday in the future, I will definitely be looking elsewhere.

That's a paddlin'.
Aloha Mr. Hand.
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Old 07-07-2016   #7
Total Newb
Grants Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 15
The vibe there has changed in the last year or two. Can't quite put my finger on it. I went into their shop a couple times this year and where they used to have a fully stocked pro shop, they now only have a few odds and ends. Kind of disappointing.

I asked someone behind the counter where everything was and he said "we sold alot". I didn't buy that and next time I came in, I asked the same question of someone else and the response was "What is it that you need that we don't have?" And frankly, both conversations gave me the vibe that I was bothering them and should just buy something or go.

Not sure why I'm even posting this as I haven't posted anything here in forever, but it struck a nerve as I remember when Cheryl used to work there and she was GREAT, always made me feel welcome.

I do love my Sotar IK, no question about that, but....
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Old 07-07-2016   #8
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Their management changed a year or two back. Cheryl left and a new "business" guy took over. Keep pushing, don't back down. Start a small claims filing if you don't get movement quickly.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 07-07-2016   #9
wildh2onriver's Avatar
irvine, California
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,197
I own a Sotar raft. Based on the reputation and cost, if I had this issue, I'd raise hell. No way would I except that bs. I hope this thread shames then Into doing the right thing -- if what you're saying is the real deal.

Uh, Sotar? This is a big accusation? On one of the biggest rafting blogs?

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Old 07-07-2016   #10
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 50
This is definitely sad to hear, like many others, purchasing a Sotar is on my wish list. Hearing stories of shady customer service and bunk warranties will for sure make me think twice buying a boat from them. At least my other dream boat is a Hyside, which still gets positive reviews.

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