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South Austin Marine

Additional Locations

Phone: (512) 892-2432 Fax: (512) 892-5462 View Additional Phone Numbers 5340 W Highway 290, Austin, TX 78735

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New and used boat sales, financing, parts & accessories sales, service, and boat storage.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that South Austin Marine meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for South Austin Marine include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 2 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

2 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 1
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 1
Total Closed Complaints 2

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on South Austin Marine
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

BBB file opened: May 01, 1984 Business started: 09/15/1974 in TX Business started locally: 09/15/1974 Business incorporated 08/31/1982 in TX
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Rd, Austin TX 78744
Phone Number: (800) 792-1112

Type of Entity


Business Management
Mr. Mike Black Mr. Wayne Black
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Mike Black
Customer Contact: Mr. Wayne Black
Business Category

Boat Dealers Boat Equipment & Supplies Water Skiing Equipment & Supplies Boat Storage Boat Repair Boat Covers, Tops & Upholstery

Products & Services

South Austin Marine sells the following brand(s): Bennington, Epic, Formula, Indmar, Mercruiser, Mercury, Monterey, Moomba, Regal, Sea Fox, Shallow Sport, Skeeter, Supra, Volvo, Yamaha

Method(s) of Payment
Cash, Check, Master Card, Visa, Discover, Amex
Alternate Business Names
South Austin Marine, Inc.

Additional Locations

  • 3003 Highway 620 N

    Bee Caves, TX 78734 (512) 266-2225

  • 5340 W Highway 290

    Austin, TX 78735 (512) 892-2432


BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

11/2/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I purchased a boat from South Austin Marine two years ago and prior to purchase I asked how much the annual service would be. I was told "around a thousand dollars". Last year the service was ~$1,400. This year I asked for an estimate for a service for the boat and was told ~$3,000. I disagreed with the number of hours labor they estimated but believed this to be an estimate (because it said 'estimate' on it) and tracked the actual amount of hours they worked on the boat which was less than 8 hours. When I got the bill it as for over $4,000 and the labor component was for 14.5 hours. Their mechanic was on the boat less than 8. I questioned a number of items on the bill including the labor and they reduced (without explanation) some of the items but not the labor - which is obviously the main component. They sent me a registered letter demanding payment and I sent them one back explaining how the labor element had been miscalculated. Without responding to my letter, they left me a voice mail telling me they were turning the debt over to accounts collectors and sending the matter to their attorneys which would entail further fees to us. We called and said we would pay the undisputed amount of the bill but they refused. I asked them to respond to my letter which they did by email. In the email, they state that it doesn't matter how many actual hours were spent on the boat, we agreed to have the work done therefore we agreed with the estimate - no matter that the estimate was double the actual. I did agree to have the work done but have it in writing that I disagreed with the estimate. Their own paperwork says "Estimates are not quotes, there may be differences in the final invoice from an initial estimate" - so their own paperwork says an estimate is an estimate and not a fixed cost. After reading the Attorney General's Consumer Affairs page which advises that you pay the bill and then file a complaint, we have paid the bill in full and are not submitting a complaint. Thank you for your assistance, ***

Desired Settlement: South Austin Marine refunds the difference in labor charges to reflect the actual amount of labor supplied.

Business Response:



ID Number: ********

South Austin Marine disputes *** ********’s complaint regarding billing or collection issues.  First issue is Mr. ******** was given an estimate for service of $4,175 and not $3,000.  He is correct that the service to his boat last year was only $1,150 which is less than the service he had done this year.  The difference is that after a certain number of hours the engine requires additional service or maintenance than the previous year, the same as a car would after a certain number of miles.  The annual service this year included changing the engine oil & filter, transmission fluid, water pump impellers, fuel filters, and air filters on both engines for all the service listed above. The previous year, only the engine oil & filter on both engines had to be changed and the generator had to be serviced.  The customer also wanted his refrigerator fixed which required replacing the thermostat and indicator light.  We gave Mr. ******** a breakdown of the costs before we started working on his boat and he agreed to have the service done.

Second, we did reduce the freight charges from $36.00 to $9.00, eliminated $68.50 in shop supplies which were calculated incorrectly, and removed three LED lights of $48.00 and one NEMA 2000 male terminator that should have been warranty.  Mr. ******** was correct that the shop supplies were calculated incorrectly and the LED lights and NEMA connectors should have been no charge to him.  The freight charges we reduced as a goodwill gesture to the customer.  After reviewing his letter we removed the items in dispute, except for the labor amount and corrected the invoice.

Third, we did send Mr. ******** a letter asking for payment since the repairs had been completed almost six months earlier. I have included a copy of the letter.  He then responded with his own letter, which I discussed with ******* ***** and ***** ***** our service manager and corrected and adjusted the items I discussed above, but not the labor charge.  I then left several voicemails with Mr. ******** to discuss his invoice with him, but never received a call back.  ******* ***** and ***** ***** also called several times with no response.  So finally  on my last call, I urged Mr. ******** we needed to resolve the issue or I was going to have turn the matter over to my attorney for collection.  **** ***** in service received an email from Mr. ******** that said he hadn’t received a written or emailed response from his bosses.  Still there was no attempt to call me with his dispute.  I responded to the email Mr. ******** sent to **** ***** and went into detail with each one of his issues on the invoice.  As I replied to Mr. ********, a simple phone call back to me would have been a lot faster and easier instead of having to communicate by email or letter each time.  Ignoring the issue makes the matter worse and sends the wrong message, especially since the invoice was six months overdue.

The last issue in dispute and Mr. ********’s biggest complaint is over the number of labor hours charged on the repair invoice.  This is probably the most cut and dry issue I have ever dealt with since I have been in business.  Like I tried to explain to Mr. ******** in my earlier email response is that labor hours are calculated on flat rate time by the job, not actual hours spent working on the job.  Every car and boat dealer calculates labor this way.  Mr. ******** was given a labor quote for the maintenance items on his boat and he was charged as per the estimate.  He added repairing his refrigerator which was not one of the maintenance items requested, but was given an estimate of 1.5 hours to repair which he was billed for.  I have included a copy of the repair order and you can see the labor repairs are all routine maintenance items.  I do dispute the number of hours Mr. ******** claims ***** ***** the technician actually worked on his boat.  He was there working on and off for three different days, but as I replied to Mr. ******** earlier it didn’t really matter on his actual time because the job is calculated by flat rate time, not actual hours.  I encourage Mr. ******** to call different boat or car dealers in the area and see how they charge for the same type of repairs he had done to his boat.

In conclusion, South Austin Marine will not be refunding the difference in labor charges Mr. ******** is asking for.  This how we have calculated and charged for labor since we have been in business, which is over 40 years. 

Consumer Response:


Please allow me to address the issues as described by Mr. ***** in his response to our complaint..

“First issue is MR. ******** was given an estimate for service of $4,175 and not $3,000”

This is incorrect.

On February 27th 2015, ***** Lawder of SAM sent me an estimate of $4,730 which I questioned with Mr. ******* ***** on  the same date.

On March 4th 2015, *****Lawder of SAM sent a revised estimate for the work for $3,849. Both of these estimates contained two types of pricing – those with the word Est. in from and those without. For example:

Oil filter change on both main engines                  Est. $675

Replace anodes if needed                                            $695

The Est. refers to an estimated cost. If it doesn’t have an Est. in front of it, it’s a fixed cost.

I also disputed these costs with Mr. ******* ***** in an email sent March 23rd 2015 and in a subsequent conversation agreed that they were estimates based on time. The work proceeded and as I have stated previously, I was happy to do so because the deviance was in the estimated labor costs which I knew I could track.

From the second estimate of $3,849, I received a bill of $4,091 based on 14.5 hours of labor when there had been a maximum of 8 hours of labor supplied. On the bill, South Austin Marine state:


So, it seems from South Austin Marine’s perspective that an estimate is only good if its more than the actual but if its less, they reserve the right to put up the price.

Once again, I ask South Austin Marine to charge the correct hours for labor, 8 hours and stop trying to tell me that because I read an estimate of 14.5 hours, they provide 8 but want to charge for 14.5 because somehow agreed to the estimate – I agreed it was an estimate, not a fixed charge.

Thank you.


*** ********

Consumer Response:

Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

Mr. *****’s response is confusing. He wrote:


“Estimates are given so the customer has an approximate cost for the repairs which could be more or less etc. etc.”


My point exactly. The costs could be more or less because its an estimate – its approximate, not actual. The labor hours written on the estimate given to me by South Austin Marin specifically said “Estimate”. I took that to mean estimate, not actual, fixed cost.


Later in the note, Mr. ***** asserts:


“we don’t quote labor hours” – I know, you estimate them based on the documentation you provided me and as an estimate they are subject to change to become an ‘actual’ cost. South Austin Marine’s own bill says:

“Estimates are not quotes, there may be differences in the final invoice from an initial estimate”.


South Austin Marine estimated the labor charges – it says so on the documentation from South Austin Marine. I think any reasonable person would believe that estimates are obviously subject to change to become the actual costs – which in this case is far less than the estimated 14.5 hours on the bill – to the less than 8 hour actual.


I also took Mr. *****’s advice and asked my local Jiffy Lube how much it would cost to service my car. The gentleman gave me a price. I asked if this was an estimate, he said “No, that’s how much it will cost for the work described in a service”. In other words, he’s not estimating how much it will cost to service my car, he’s telling me how much it will cost – its called fixed cost pricing.


I also asked another dealer to price servicing my boat. They itemized the work to be done, put a price on it and wrote in prominent position:


“This is an estimate only and price is subject to change”.


In other words, its an estimated cost, not a fixed cost.


South Austin Marine gave me an estimated cost and don’t like the fact that the real, actual cost is much lower than the estimate. Or, more accurately, the fact that I don’t like paying for something I didn’t get and didn’t agree to – namely 6.5 hours of their mechanics’ time.


I again ask South Austin Marine to please refund at your earliest convenience.




*** ********

4/8/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I bought a new boat from South Austin Marine in Austin, TX. I picked the boat up on February 27. I drove to Austin from Benton, AR to pick the boat up. When I arrived one of the employees told me the salesman was out testing the boat to make sure everything worked as it should. When he returned to the dealership with the boat he went over it and its' features with me. One of the features of the boat is a ********** 788ci HD Di fish finders. One mounted at the bow of the boat and one at the console. Both are mounted in dash. Both of these units have GPS with integrated gps antennas. He told me the one in the bow of the boat works great and picks up gps signal right away but the one in the console took a little longer to connect gps because of interference form being mounted in the dash. He said I may have to install an external antenna for it to connect faster. As it turns out that unit was defective right out of the box. Being mounted in dash had nothing to do with it not working properly. After only a few times out on the water the gps quite working altogether. There were also other issues with the sonar keeping in contact with the bottom while the boat was in motion. I asked them if I could trade it for a new unit. They said they don't have one and it is a discontinued item. I asked about a different comparable unit that we could trade out but they weren't willing to do that. They say that my only recourse is for me to send the unit to the manufacture to be refurbished/ repaired. I don't feel that I should have to settle for refurbished when what I purchased was supposed to be new. I paid for a new unit but I got a lemon and now they don't want to stand behind it.

Desired Settlement: Either replace with a new unit of the same model, or upgrade to the next model of the same brand with the same features, or refund the purchase price of $799.00

Business Response:

****** ******

Better Business Bureau



Case ID: ********


  Mr. **** **** did purchase a new Skeeter boat with two new *********** 788 ci HD DI fish finder GPS combo units from South Austin Marine in February of this year. The customer requested these two *********** units to be installed by South Austin Marine before he took delivery of his boat. He wanted one unit to be flush mounted in the drivers console dash and the other unit to be flush mounted in the bow of the boat.  His salesperson **** ******* lake tested the boat the day before the customer drove from Arkansas to pick up his new boat.  **** checked all systems including the engine, accessory components, and the electronics that were installed. Everything was working correctly, but **** noticed the *********** unit mounted in the drivers console dash was slower to connect to GPS than the one mounted in the bow.  To verify the situation, **** called *********** technical service and explained the situation to them and they explained to us that these units have internal GPS antennas installed in them and sometimes there could be interference when flush mounted in the console dash which may cause the unit to take longer to connect to GPS, upwards of 20 minutes.  The unit mounted flush in the bow is mounted horizontally open to the sky and would connect faster to GPS. The unit mounted in the drivers console dash is mounted vertically with the fiberglass console and windshield covering the unit which could make it harder for the unit to connect to GPS since it is not completely open to the sky. *********** said the customer could purchase an optional *********** external GPS puck antenna that could make the unit receive GPS signals better. **** told Mr. **** that the unit mounted in the drivers console took about 20 minutes to connect to GPS and he may have to purchase the optional *********** external GPS puck antenna. He was fine with this at the time of delivery.  One final note, both units were working properly when the customer took delivery of the boat, his claim is false that it was defective right out of the box.

  On Monday March 30, 2015 Mr. **** called **** and said the drivers console dash mounted unit is not receiving a GPS signal at all.  He took his own unit out of the drivers console to test if it would receive a GPS signal when removed from the dash. It would not pick up any signal at this time which is different than when he took delivery of the boat because it would connect to GPS in about 20 minutes.   **** asked Mr. **** to call ***********s customer service line to get a RMA number to get the unit repaired. Mr. **** stated at this time he did not want the unit repaired but replaced. **** told the customer he would have to take this up with *********** because it was a warranty issue with them and the unit had already been warranty registered with ***********. On the morning of March 31, 2015 Mr. **** called **** and explained to us that he spoke to *********** and they would not replace his unit and it would take 3-4 weeks to repair and return his unit. Mr. **** explained to **** that South Austin Marine needed to replace his unit with a new one and for South Austin Marine to send his unit back to *********** and deal with the warranty issue. **** told Mr. **** he would call *********** to see if they could give him a new unit. **** called *********** customer service and asked them to look up Mr. ****’s conversations about the *********** in his dash not working. **** explained to *********** what was going on with the customers unit not working. **** told the warranty representative at *********** that Mr. **** would only be happy with a new unit and not repairing his current unit. **** was put on hold while she went to talk to her supervisor and she explained to **** that *********** does not make that unit anymore and they could not replace it. We then asked if they could replace it with a newer style unit and he could pay the difference, and she said he could not.  **** explained to *********** that the 3-4 week turnaround was not acceptable and they needed to expedite the repairs on his unit. The *********** agent gave **** a RMA number with notes in it to give to Mr. **** and they would have his unit repaired and sent back within 3-5 business days instead of the 3-4 weeks Mr. **** was told earlier.

  **** ******* called Mr. **** back that morning and explained how *********** was going to resolve the warranty issue on his unit, but he was not satisfied with their resolution and still wanted a new unit and wanted to speak to the owner of South Austin Marine. **** then went to the parts department to check if we had any units in stock like Mr. **** had purchased so we could possibly give him the same unit he had purchased, but we did not. The only units that were in stock were the newer style units that have different transducers and cables. ***** ***** the owner and **** ******* then called Mr. **** back that morning to try and resolve the issue. We had told him if we had the same unit that was mounted on his boat we could trade him out because the transducer and cables are the same. He still wanted us to give him one of our newer style units but we tried to explain to Mr. **** that we would be stuck with used cables, transducer and unit that we could not sell as new or warranty register. He still insisted on a new unit and not having his unit repaired since he had just bought the boat a month ago. We then explained to Mr. **** that we have to adhere to ***********’s warranty procedures and they were not willing to give him a new unit, but only repair his unit since the unit he purchased is no longer available from ***********. At that time Mr. **** asked for our company name and if I was the owner of South Austin marine and he was going to take us to small claims court. I then told him our conversation was over.  I feel South Austin Marine did everything possible to resolve the issue with Mr. ****, but he was unwilling to abide by ***********’s warranty procedures. Mr. **** even spoke to ***********’s customer service department directly and was told they would not replace his unit with a new one, but repair his unit. He should not be upset with South Austin Marine, but thankful we were able to get *********** to expedite the repair of his unit. *********** was willing to repair his unit in a reasonable amount of time, 3-5 business days and he would he would receive his unit back working properly with the same warranty. All issues would have been resolved and his unit would still be under warranty.

Thank You,

***** *****

South Austin Marine

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:
I appreciate the fact that sometimes gps units can have problems connecting due to interference from obstructions. That makes sense to me. However, that isn't the case in this situation.  I did a test yesterday (4/1/15 ) to see what would happen if I installed the bow unit into the console dash. I mounted it exactly as the defective unit was mounted and used the same power hook up. Everything was exactly the same. The two units are exactly alike. If one has problems connecting the other one should as well. I powered on the unit and the gps was working within 30 seconds. Later on after I had put my boat back into my garage I powered the good unit back up  to see if it would get signal from inside my garage. It worked. The good unit got gps signal inside my garage. The obstruction theory is not valid. I have video to prove this. I maintain that the unit was defective from the start. Therefore, it should be replaced with another brand new unit, or a refund. It should be the responsibility of South Austin Marine to make sure my brand new boat and all of it's contents and features are new and working as they should. None of it should be a refurbished item. I will be glad to send the video that I spoke of earlier to Mr *****. I hope that he will live up to their mission statement that is posted on the South Austin Marine website. It says in part " ensuring that you have the best experience possible". I was having the best experience possible until all of this. I'm not a hard person and I'm not trying to get something for nothing. I just want what I paid.


**** ****

Business Response:

April 2, 2015

I am sorry Mr. **** is not satisfied with our response to his complaint. We are not debating that his unit is defective because *********** has offered to repair it at no cost to the customer. As *********** stated, sometimes it is normal for the units with the internal GPS antennas to take up to 20 minutes to connect, that does not make the unit defective. The unit was working when we delivered the boat to Mr. **** as we have stated earlier. Mr. **** spoke with *********** directly about this and knows that is a fact.  Mr. **** keeps suggesting that because he bought a new boat and had electronics installed on them that every time something breaks he should receive a complete brand new unit. He says in his response that it is South Austin Marine’s responsibility to make sure his brand new boat and all of its contents and features are new and working as they should. If this true, if his engine has a part failure is he going to want a brand new engine, or something goes wrong with any other component is he going to want a complete replacement? How long will South Austin Marine or any other manufacturer of the boat and components he purchased have to replace something that is defective with a complete new unit and not repair the defective unit? That is not how warranty works, the item is repaired and returned working properly. The replacement parts that are used to repair the item are not refurbished, but brand new components. The unit is still under warranty just like the rest of the components on the boat. Finally, Mr. **** has spoken to *********** directly and he should know we are telling him the truth about how their warranty works. We are trying to help him get his unit repaired in a timely manner so he can continue using his boat. 

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

He just doesn’t get it! Well, maybe he does and just doesn’t want to take responsibility and do what is right for the customer.

·         He says “The unit was working when we delivered the boat to Mr. ****”. It was working but not properly.

·         He says “sometimes it is normal for the units with the internal GPS antennas to take up to 20 minutes to connect”. Why is it then that the good unit from the bow of the boat worked perfectly when I moved it to the console? It didn’t take it anywhere near 20 minutes to get gps signal!  It was less than 30 seconds and even worked under the canopy of my garage. The two units are exactly the same. If one works properly in the console dash they both should work properly.

·         He says “if his engine has a part failure is he going to want a brand new engine, or something goes wrong with any other component is he going to want a complete replacement?” If the engine or any other parts are bad at the time of purchase you’re darn straight I’m going to want a new whatever it is or I’m not going to purchase it. I’m not buying defective engines, electronics, or anything else that’s supposed to be new and in perfect working condition.

I can pretty much tell that Mr. ***** isn’t going to budge from his irresponsible stance in this matter, or live up to the lie on his website that speaks to customers having the best experience. There is nothing more that needs to be said in this matter, other than the fact that, I am not pleased with the outcome of doing business with South Austin Marine. BBB feel free close this but, not with any resolve!


**** ****

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