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Old 05-03-2006, 08:19 PM   #1
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Anyone ever use defender.com? Their prices seem reasonable.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:49 PM   #2
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I have, many times. We bought our Achilles dinghy from them, our most recent GPS, and many other things. Prices reasonable, service excellent!
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. They are so far below West Marine I was afraid that it sounded too good to be true.
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:39 PM   #4
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I, too, like Defender's prices.

But I LOVE West Marine's Customer Service, Return and Price Matching policies... so I always quote the best price I can find on anything I need and WM sends it to me for that price. They even match prices listed in web based suppliers (such as SailNet) at the moment.

The best example was when we were in Guam and tried to order a Lavac toilet from West Marine at a Defender sale price, which I'd found advertised in a year old Latitude 38 magazine. The guy at WM said that they don't even carry Lavac toilets but said he could get us one... however the best price they could do was about $40 more than the year-old sale price I'd quoted. Fair enough. So - a month after the toilet arrived in Guam - Defender advertised the toilet again at last year's price. I mentioned this to the guy at WM - just to let him know that I was not hallucinating - and before I knew it, West Marine sent us a check refunding MORE than the difference - on a product that they don't even stock!

It is that kind of customer service that gets my kind of customer support.

My only hope is that West Marine's agressive marketing policies don't gobble-up Defender, like they have with so many other regional chandleries, leaving them no competition with which to match prices - and we consumers with fewer suppliers & less variety of products to choose from.

Lastly - I am sometimes blissfully amazed that the Caribbean's local chandliery chain - Budget Marine - often carries fine quality, European sourced parts, at prices up to 80% less than the American equivilant.

That's almost as good as finding the parts you need in a dumpster!

Life is good.

Kirk
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:02 AM   #5
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I bought my LectraScan unit ($999) from Defender and it was the lowest price I could find and they were all great to deal with. For Electronics, I bought my: GPS, Radar, EPIRB, VHF, and Many more items from Anchor Express. I bought my ACR Cat II EPIRB for $834 and West Marine has it on sale for $1025, all the other items had simular savings and shipping was only $20 for the whole order! (no I have no relation to them...just a happy customer)

anchorexpress.com

Oh...and one more thing, I found this site last week and have been enjoying all the info. I just bought a Pearson 365 Ketch and after refitting, I will be heading off for 1-2 years with my Family of 4 on an adventure...so see you out there soon!
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:48 AM   #6
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Welcome aboard - hope you learn as much from the posts here as I do.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:17 PM   #7
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Boatfix has really good prices, usually better then Defender, but I find that if you have a part number it is best to "froogle" it. You can then sort by the lowest prices for that item. I've bought from numerous places but stay well clear of West Marine unless I have to have something from the local store. Last thing I priced there was anchor chain at $7 a foot. Bought the same chain (same manufactor) for $2 a foot. 150 feet saved me $750 for not buying at West Marine. They have the most horrible prices. Even their specials are still way overpriced. If you are shopping WM then you are wasting a ton of money.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:07 PM   #8
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One of the realities of marine merchandise retailing these days is that a firm must compete on overall value, including the quality of service provided, not just on price. On that basis - low price with excellent service - I find it very difficult to beat Defender, even for items they do not carry. This has proven true when cruising outside the USA, too - even in Europe.

I personally find it disappointing to hear stories like Kirk's, for exactly the reason he mentions near the end of his post. None of us want to see competition reduced or eliminated in marine retailing; competition makes good companies better, improves service levels, and gives us both choices and competitive prices. It's for just this reason, and despite being a West Marine fan in some respects/for some purposes, I stopped doing the 'price matching' gig that Kirk used. The only reason that lower price was there in the first place was because a company like Defender was offering it. To take a purchase like that *away* from the firm that made it possible, and instead make the purchase with a vendor (WM) who generally has the worst prices in the industry, is cutting off our nose to spite our face. There may be other circumstances in Kirk's case given the location involved (Guam) but WM's price matching policy is a momentary pleasure that works against our collective interests, IMO. I hope anyone using it will reconsider, for our collective long-term benefit.

Jack
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