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Legal Question regarding boat sale

Old 12-24-2019, 02:54 PM
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Default Legal Question regarding boat sale

I have been looking to buy a boat, even though I dont really need one, and now isnt the best time. I was looking in case the perfect boat fell into my lap. Well one did. I found one that I wanted, called and discussed over the phone with seller. I kicked the tires a little, and haggled with him on price. We eventually came to an agreement that I would purchase the boat for 43k. I told the owner that I wouldnt want to drive over 10 hours to miami to with 43k cash, and he probably didnt want 43k in cash either. He said he had never sold a boat before and wasnt sure what to do. I asked him if he had a Suntrust (my bank) in Miami which he said they did. I said we could do the money and title transfer at the local suntrust then. I told him that I wanted to perform a oil test on boat motor. I took off work for 2 days, drove for over 26 hours, rented hotel, all the works, to see the baot. Sea trialed it, and told him I love the boat, it was exactly what I was looking for, and that he will regret selling it, because the new boat he was getting wasnt going to perform the same. I really like the guy and his dad, super nice people. After sea trial, I told him I wanted the boat, and was going to get it, pending the results of the oil sample test. He chuckled and said, well we have nothing to worry then, because we(owner and dad) took extremely good care of both the boat and motor. I offered to post date a check, and sign a contract, and they told me it wouldnt be necessary. I obliged, and thanked them again for their time.

I sent the oil sample out the day of my return. I reckon that due to christmas time, the post office is draggin their feet, or either the oil sample company was swamped, either way, the oil sample took longer than expected. Owner text me and asked if I had received results yet, to which I said no, I am glad I didnt stay in Miami waiting on results. He lol, and said no problem, just to know, is that the only thing your still waiting on, to which i replied yes..

Yesterday I called oil lab, and they still havent gotten my analysis done, although they said they have received it, and it would be reaady this thrusday. So I text owner, that oil results would be in on thursday. Owner replied, ok, I got a deposit on it this morning. Showing boat this afternoon. He later told me that they closing deal on Thrusday. I replied that is screwed up, we had an agreement, which he said yes, but this guy willing to pay 5k more, and is ready today.

Is this legit? Is this morally/ethically ok? I feel like we had an agreement, a sales pending so to speak, and he continued to shop the boat, found someone willing to pay more, so he jumped on it. He thinks he did nothing wrong, and I feel like he shopped the boat behind my back, after we made an agreement, in which we have communicated more than once.

I am screwed, I have already reserved a slip, taken out a loan, and didnt buy my family christmas presents other than a life vest. This was suppose to be a huge surprise for them, and now I am left empty handed, and disgruntled on christmas eve. Not to mention, I took 2 days of leave from work, traveled over 1300 miles, wear and tear on truck, rented hotels, gas, tolls, etc.

Am I in the wrong for thinking I was done dirty?

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12-24-2019, 03:32 PM
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Seller did nothing wrong, do you know how many people will say yes, and then you never hear from them again? Money talks and BS walks, and unfortunately for you, you put no $ down, had no Bill of Sale, and thus have nothing. If you wanted the boat, you should have made a deposit, but you didnt and thus have no damages to sue for. It sucks, but seller is not in the wrong here. Had you done so, then yes, I could see your point, but until you sign and exchange a deposit, you are just another tire kicker, no matter how far you went to look at the boat. Sorry this impacted your Xmas, but there has to be another boat out there you like, just remember to do so next time.
Old 12-24-2019, 03:06 PM
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My caveat, I am not an attorney.
You didn't have anything in writing though. What he did is bullshit and I'd call him on it. I'd post his name everywhere possible because people like that suck. You are out money and time and had a verbal agreement. I'd take him to small claims court in your home state for the maximum allowable up to $5,000. If you get a judgement against him, that is not a hit I'd like to take.

One thing that I've learned dealing with people. Always get something in writing. Always.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:09 PM
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In the used market there is always risk to manage . Oil samples need many performed over a period of time to I D an issue . Sorry you worked so hard only to be kicked . Have a merry Christmas anyway !
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:10 PM
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To file a claim you'd have to have a demonstrable loss. Sounds like the price of the oil test is the only real monetary damage. Sure... what the guy did was shitty but without a contract and deposit there was no agreement.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:15 PM
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What the boat owner did was neither ethical or moral, but if the boat was so important to you and you're going to rent a slip and commit to a loan, you erred in not getting a written agreement.

Swallow hard and move on.

Old 12-24-2019, 03:18 PM
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You failed to protect yourself with a written sales agreement. I’m always willing to provide a sample agreement for anyone who asks. Sample brokers agreements are floating around as well. Free is well worth the price.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:25 PM
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What the guy did wasn’t nice BUT- You never signed a contract or gave him a deposit. Next time you need to do a contract and pay a deposit. Make your contract subject to sea trial and survey. For a 43k boat and especially since you don’t seem to know much about boats, get a survey. It’s worth the bucks. Sorry, but this happens a lot in the boating world. Next time you’ll be prepared and you’ll find a better boat. Happy holidays.
Old 12-24-2019, 03:29 PM
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Merry Christmas
Old 12-24-2019, 03:32 PM
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Seller did nothing wrong, do you know how many people will say yes, and then you never hear from them again? Money talks and BS walks, and unfortunately for you, you put no $ down, had no Bill of Sale, and thus have nothing. If you wanted the boat, you should have made a deposit, but you didnt and thus have no damages to sue for. It sucks, but seller is not in the wrong here. Had you done so, then yes, I could see your point, but until you sign and exchange a deposit, you are just another tire kicker, no matter how far you went to look at the boat. Sorry this impacted your Xmas, but there has to be another boat out there you like, just remember to do so next time.
Old 12-24-2019, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
My caveat, I am not an attorney.
You didn't have anything in writing though. What he did is bullshit and I'd call him on it. I'd post his name everywhere possible because people like that suck. You are out money and time and had a verbal agreement. I'd take him to small claims court in your home state for the maximum allowable up to $5,000. If you get a judgement against him, that is not a hit I'd like to take.

One thing that I've learned dealing with people. Always get something in writing. Always.
and what exactly do you suggest he present to the small claims court if there is nothing in writing? The situation sucks. Sorry OP.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:35 PM
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Maybe the oil test will come back bad, the boat wasn’t surveyed so may have costed you thousands of dollars in hidden repairs, then you would be really pissed. In the future, put a deposit down, get an agreement signed, and get a survey done for best insurance.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Slab tech 1 View Post
Maybe the oil test will come back bad, the boat wasn’t surveyed so may have costed you thousands of dollars in hidden repairs, then you would be really pissed. In the future, put a deposit down, get an agreement signed, and get a survey done for best insurance.
Unfortunately for you, you had the dream boat you wanted at an acceptable price but failed to lock it down when you had the chance. I have had that happen to me a couple of times, but never on an item that cost more than $500.00 or so.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:40 PM
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Offered a post dated check as a deposit & expected him to think you were not just another dreamer hoping you could qualify for a loan before another buyer showed up?
Asking if he wronged you........ for selling a for sale boat to a ready, willing and able buyer?
Is this your post dated April Fools thread?
Old 12-24-2019, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jillybird View Post
What the guy did wasn’t nice BUT- You never signed a contract or gave him a deposit. Next time you need to do a contract and pay a deposit. Make your contract subject to sea trial and survey. For a 43k boat and especially since you don’t seem to know much about boats, get a survey. It’s worth the bucks. Sorry, but this happens a lot in the boating world. Next time you’ll be prepared and you’ll find a better boat. Happy holidays.
This above plus you could have said you did not liked the oil sample and walked . How long has it been since you looked at it ? He may have been thinking your dragging your feet . I have made deals to sell and never heard from the people again ..
Old 12-24-2019, 03:41 PM
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I would get off THT at this point if I were in your shoes and get the family some presents. Don't need everyone bummed out around the tree in the morning.
Old 12-24-2019, 03:46 PM
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I certainly agree with those who say you should have had a deposit and contract. I understand your position, on the other hand, some time had gone by and the owner had not completed the sale. Although what he did was morally wrong, he probably saw it as being to his advantage.

I have been on both sides of this type of situation. One I was selling a boat, and one of the first people to call made me an offer at less than my full price, but with cash etc. I accepted over the phone. Later I got several offers which were 5K higher and I said the boat was already sold. I also had asked for first right of refusal on a boat that I had not been able to see. A price was agreed on, I had to wait a few days because of personal commitments to drive up and see/sea trail/survey the boat. The day I was leaving, I got a call--the owner had shown the boat, and the potential buyer had offered 5K more. What did I want to do? I told him, I was heading that way, I was going to bring a cashier's check for the original amount we had agreed on, but was brining the 5 K in cash, and if there were any issues which might decrease the value in my mind we would negotiate. I found that although he had represented the boat as having a full "camper" enclosure, it only had screens, not watertight canvas/vinyl. We agreed I would pay 2K less than the re-negotiated price. I felt the boat was worth the extra 3K after inspecting it/sea trial/and my own survey.
Old 12-24-2019, 03:50 PM
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There is no point in trying to pursue a legal action. You took a very conservative approach to deal, and I don't blame you, but the risk is that you potentially miss out on an opportunity.

Should have given a deposit, signed an agreement, etc. Not that those things would have fully protected you, but it might have helped.

Money talks.
Old 12-24-2019, 04:00 PM
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I spend 40 years in a career where they emphasized that if it wasn't written down, it didn't happen.

Hopefully next time you want a boat you will take the advice of other posters and put down a deposit and write something down about the seller's commitment should the tests work out ok.
Old 12-24-2019, 04:01 PM
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Your the one that dragged your feet
you had no deal. You avoided a deal.

​​​​​
You kept yourself the out to cancel at any time if you didnt like some oil test result. You had nothing to lose, but the other guy did...another potential buyer in the meantime.

The way it works...in every purchase ive made.....to hold the boat for you....you give a security deposit. Maybe 5-10%. If you want contingent on test results, sea trial , survey, put in writing, so you have recourse to get deposit back. If you back out....for any non written reason....you may forfeit your deposit.

Same thing here....the other guy gave a deposit....you didnt.

Until you give deposit....theres no deal imo. Just jawboning. MANY buyers dissapear , never to be heard from again, after saying they "want" something. Many wont qualify for financing needed either....

You could get in to the legalities of verbal contracts, its all a waste of time...no proof.

Ive let people off that changed their minds, when i could have kept their deposit money.... I didnt have much invested in the sale....but if i trailered it 100 mi and spent $100 and an afternoon seatrialing..and turned away other buyers.....i would have kept the money, or part of it.


As a seller, i would have called you and said i have another buyer....wire me a deposit in x hrs or he gets it.

Last edited by mbb; 12-24-2019 at 04:21 PM.
Old 12-24-2019, 04:18 PM
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You didnt buy your family christmas presents because of a boat?
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