We had held out posting our 1.3-year dinghy review until we heard back from Porta-bote on our inquiry regarding warranties (so we could include at least one piece of useful information for our “used porta-bote”-Googling friends). Since they didn’t respond, we just posted the review anyway and mentioned that Porta-bote was not being expedient about getting back to us (with a palpable note of irritation). We again emailed Porta-bote, this time to ask about outboards since we were looking to possibly buy a 9.8 Tohatsu and the company used to deal Tohatsu outboards, and we got a fantastically prompt response. So Joshua responded once more asking if they had received our previous email regarding the Porta-bote and if there was a warranty; again, no response. A couple days later, Joshua responded with an irritated ‘curious-you-respond-so-fast-to-a-potential-sales-lead -but-not-to-a-warranty-inquiry’ and gave the URL for the bote review blog post, in case they were interested. Within one hour, a lengthy rebuttal was posted to the blog by Sandy, the president of Porta-bote. Of course, I had to type out my lengthy response to his very defensive response, and well you know how it goes. And he still hadn’t answered our question as to whether there was a warranty.
But at last Sandy has responded to my response to his initial response and has confirmed that yes, there is a one-year warranty on the plastic seats and transom. He also added: “if you treated an aluminum or fiberglass or inflatable dinghy the way you described treating your poor porta-bote so vividly in your blog, you wouldn’t have a dinghy left to say nasty things about. 59,989 owners can’t be wrong! Yeah for Porta-Bote!” Which, for one: I have to say I’m surprised to hear he read so extensively in my blog because I only described one incident where the bote took a wave that trashed the transom. Another: what makes him think we treated our bote poorly? By exposing it to the harsh sun? By using the rowing set-up? By actually taking it in the ocean? That an inflatable or hard dinghy of another material would have survived the abuse we supposedly lash upon our poor bote is false, as any owner of such a dinghy could verify. And did I really say anything nasty? I feel I wrote a fair and constructive review.
But back to the warranty; our bote is 1.3 years old (although the seats broke at around 9ish months and the transom at 11 months), yet Sandy has generously offered to replace our seats and transom at no cost. We sent a reply asking to have the seats and transom shipped to my mom’s house so we could pick them up next time we visited but never got a response. Two weeks later and about when we had given up of every hearing from Porta-bote again, Mom sends me an email saying that a tall box full of some weird black plastic things just arrived!
So there you have it: all you broken transom/seat bote owners (provided you are in the US) can get replacements if it’s been less than a year. If it’s been more than that, well, I guess you have to assert yourself as a major pain in the ass to get any response.
Links to our other posts on the subject of Porta-Bote.