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Legal Recourse?

Old 06-03-2015, 10:19 AM
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A lawyer I am not by any stretch - I would actually say that I spend my life avoiding all things legal... However, many of you out there are more versed on these matters than I am. So I figured why not ask.

This is a little long - so I apologize for that. I was looking at buying my first I/O boat. Something I freely admit I knew very little about besides what I read on-line as to "what to check out" etc etc. Well, On 05/01 of this year I met the boat owner and a marine surveyor at the boat I was looking to buy (surveyor was listed on the Boat US website) He and I discussed the pre-purchase survey prior to this date and what it would entail - he gave me all of the information and I specifically asked if he was going to do a compression check (because I had read online how this was a great indicator of the actual engine condition). He said he does not run a compression check. Instead he uses an inferred viewer and a laser thermometer instead because finding hot spots is a better indicator of what may be wrong with an engine. Again, I admit I knew nothing about this process, assumed this guy with years of experience and certifications knew what he was talking about. A lot has been learned since that day.

So back to 05/01 - we meet at the boat - he does his full check on land. checks the hull, electrical, bilge, reviews for safety equipment and placards, etc. We take it out for the sea trial, get the engine fired up and up to operating temp. He checks the temps and notes the port side is running a bit hotter than the starboard side - but both within spec. If i remember correctly it was 145 and 160. We motor back in, and i ask him specifically "So whats the verdict sir? should I buy the boat?" he asked the price. I give it to him and he says "Buy the boat."

Cut him his check, cut the owner his check, and off I drive to the marina to put the boat in storage. (this was on a Friday)

I confirmed with the owner and the mechanic he used and through records the annual service was performed in November and all should be fine through the season. That, and through receipts the whole top side of the engine was re-built 3.5 years ago as well. So Saturday and Sunday we take it out - great time - no problems. Next Saturday and Sunday we take it out - great time - no problems. The following Saturday we take it out... and well - you see where this is going. Water intrusion into the port side of the engine. Block didn't crack, but according to my mechanic (who is a family friend and I do trust) the corrosion was bad enough that a long block replacement or re-power is the only option.

Now, I am not a litigious person by any stretch. But something sunk in last night (over 2 weeks now without the boat - should be back next weekend). After getting towed in that Saturday, I came back to the marina Sunday morning to see if the marina mechanic could determine the problem. (at the time i thought it wouldn't start because of dead batteries) The spark plugs were pulled from both side, and even a novice like myself could see that they were shot. Wet and rusted, covered in "gunk". And I couldn't help but think, "If the surveyor had run a compression test he would have had to pull the plugs... he would have seen this rusty build-up and had at least an idea of water intrusion."

Was the surveyor negligent in his duties by not running a compression check and still advising the purchase of the boat? Do I have any recourse? Isn't the idea of paying for a full pre-purchase survey so that you don't ride off on a boat that'll break down in 2.5 weeks?

I did take what he said for truth when he stated that his inferred and thermometer are better at diagnosing issues on an engine. If i'm way off base, let me know and i'll drop it. I've already paid for the new engine on the boat anyway. So if anything, the lesson learned is ALWAYS pull the plugs on a used boat.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:26 AM
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Sorry for your loss. First thing to learn is....a surveyor is not a mechanic (for the most part). Next boat, have a wrench look at the mechanicals, then hire a surveyor if you think you need one. Most mechanics can check the running gear, electronics, etc, and they charge a lot less than surveyors.

To answer your question, I don't think any recourse is possible, because the boat was sold, "As is, where is", and you took it out a few times after the purchase. Tough entry to boating...my condolences.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:28 AM
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" He said he does not run a compression check."

Followed by

"Was the surveyor negligent in his duties by not running a compression check"

How can he be negligent for not performing a task he told you he was not going to perform?

Bottom line, you have no recourse, imo.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:31 AM
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A boat survey is not the same as an engine survey. You have no legal recourse with the surveyor-he specifically said he doesn't do compression checks. Never mind he was talking out of his ass when he said an infrared scan and laser thermometer show more than a compression check will. They can possibly expose a problem, but a compression check is a much better indicator of a possible problem.
Sorry, but this is on you...although you were shined by the surveyor.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Jersus View Post
" He said he does not run a compression check."

Followed by

"Was the surveyor negligent in his duties by not running a compression check"

How can he be negligent for not performing a task he told you he was not going to perform?

Bottom line, you have no recourse, imo.
Exactly as above. If he told you he was doing a compression check, and he did not, that would be a different story. Instead, he told you he was not going to do a compression check, and he did exactly what he said.

It would be worth a "polite" email to the surveyor telling him what he missed, and your disappointment, however I don't think he was at fault here, aside from not doing as good a job as he should have.

Even IF the surveyor had lied about doing a compression check, (not the case here) I honestly think you'd be hard pressed to get anything other than a refund of your survey $ out of him. Maybe I'm being overly skeptical, just my suspicion.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:56 AM
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I bought a 35 Delta back in late 80's and it had a detailed survey done on it in Melbourne, guy's name was Jim, that was the piss poorest excuse for a survey that has ever been done, I believe you are just going to have to suck it up and foot the bill for that motor, it hurts, but that is the problem with buying used, could be the owner might kick in a little.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:57 AM
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That's what I was looking for

at least when I get the boat back i'll know the engine is new this time!
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by M.A.CCruiser View Post

he gave me all of the information and I specifically asked if he was going to do a compression check (because I had read online how this was a great indicator of the actual engine condition). He said he does not run a compression check. Instead he uses an inferred viewer and a laser thermometer instead because finding hot spots is a better indicator of what may be wrong with an engine.

.

Lets assume for a second you want to file a lawsuit that costs approx. $2000 to prepare and file ...

Unless you have documentation from the Surveyor that he specifically told you "not" to do a compression check because the thermal laser was a better method - then all he will do is tell the judge he never said that and you are now going to be liable for both sides legal fees...

Plus I assume you signed an exculpatory clause in your contract with the surveyor that relieves him from anything but gross negligence ...

Write this off as a learning experience... Always hire a surveyor, engine surveyor and always sea trial a boat ....

Sorry for your loss ...
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:03 AM
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This will be a lesson learned for you and I see others do this allot to. You need to have a mechanic inspect the engines/drives and a surveyor inspect the boat. One is not the other, its two different functions.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:06 AM
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Boat was running good during the sea trial, boat was running good the next weekend you took it out, boat has a problem the weekend after that.

How would a compression check be able to predict that the corrosion was going to break through 2 weeks in the future?
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Barefoot View Post
Boat was running good during the sea trial, boat was running good the next weekend you took it out, boat has a problem the weekend after that.

How would a compression check be able to predict that the corrosion was going to break through 2 weeks in the future?
I'm guessing he's thinking the corrosion would've been identified and he's thinking he'd have walked as a result.

OP, tough pill to swallow, but next time, bring your mechanic friend instead of a boat surveyor.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronn Burgandy View Post
I'm guessing he's thinking the corrosion would've been identified and he's thinking he'd have walked as a result.

OP, tough pill to swallow, but next time, bring your mechanic friend instead of a boat surveyor.
tried to get that worked out - Mechanic is about 90 minute drive away. Though he was able to make it to pick up what is now a fancy raft instead of a boat.

Tough to swallow for sure - hopefully someone reads this and doesn't make the same mistake.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:26 AM
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I do diesel engine surveys, and used to do gas engines too. That statement about the IR gun being a better tool than comp test for determining engine health is complete bs.

IR gun is a very useful tool. Comp check is also very useful. Each determines very different things. And they are only two of a whole suite of tests and checks we do. Even then, there are things that may be close to failing that are impossible to see.

If ran well for a couple trips, there's a good chance the problem would have been invisible at survey time. If water was in engine, it would not likely have run very well.

.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by triplenet View Post
Lets assume for a second you want to file a lawsuit that costs approx. $2000 to prepare and file ...

Unless you have documentation from the Surveyor that he specifically told you "not" to do a compression check because the thermal laser was a better method - then all he will do is tell the judge he never said that and you are now going to be liable for both sides legal fees...

Plus I assume you signed an exculpatory clause in your contract with the surveyor that relieves him from anything but gross negligence ...

Write this off as a learning experience... Always hire a surveyor, engine surveyor and always sea trial a boat ....

Sorry for your loss ...
2 things on this - but you are right - time to write it off.

1. Never signed a contract with the surveyor. didn't receive the surveyors report until the day after i purchased the boat (first time i would have seen the exculpatory clause)

2. I retain pre-paid legal services. (I try and avoid all things legal. Doesn't mean i'm not prepared.)

The reason I brought it here instead of just calling up an attorney in-network is I don't want to put a business owner through the ringer if he did his job and this is on me. If I had posted this and what came back was "Whoa... he didn't do a compression check? are you serious? blah blah blah certification requires blah blah" I would have made a call. But considering what the previous posts have said, either way odds are this is going back on me. So why waste his time, or mine?
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:45 AM
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Word to the wise...FLUSH your engine for at least 10 minutes after EVERY trip in salt water. Warm salt water inside the block causes rust. You'll be doing risers and manifolds about every 5-7 years, maybe sooner if you don't flush it.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by agallant80 View Post
This will be a lesson learned for you and I see others do this allot to. You need to have a mechanic inspect the engines/drives and a surveyor inspect the boat. One is not the other, its two different functions.

X2 and you bought an old [22 year] used boat with no express Warranties, caveat emptor. Prepaid legal, good luck with that. Fix it, keep it, enjoy or sell it.



p.s. Your friend should have told you I/O's are a bad idea in Florida.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Schmaltz~Herring View Post
X2 and you bought an old used boat with no express Warranties, caveat emptor.
Stop being a jerk. Offering him fish eggs isn't gonna help him.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
Word to the wise...FLUSH your engine for at least 10 minutes after EVERY trip in salt water. Warm salt water inside the block causes rust. You'll be doing risers and manifolds about every 5-7 years, maybe sooner if you don't flush it.
Spoke directly with Doug Brogdon at Superflush last week ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLDk7oLUSF4 )- After that conversation I ordered the SF-400 with the brass fitting upgrades. Even with that, risers will be swapped every 2 years. They seem to be the main culprit. That will get delivered tomorrow - boat is back next Friday (hopefully) back on the water next weekend doing a break-in cruise.

thank you again everyone and happy boating
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Schmaltz~Herring View Post
Prepaid legal, good luck with that. Fix it, keep it, enjoy or sell it.
It's come in handy the few times I have used it - But if I ever get a ticket in Georgia, i'll let you know instead.

as said above - fixing it - breaking it in - and then using the hell out of it.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by M.A.CCruiser View Post
It's come in handy the few times I have used it - But if I ever get a ticket in Georgia, i'll let you know instead.

as said above - fixing it - breaking it in - and then using the hell out of it.


That's the best bet, get her fixed up like new and enjoy the hell out of her!


Originally Posted by Ronn Burgandy View Post
Stop being a jerk. Offering him fish eggs isn't gonna help him.

Have you stopped selling babies yet?
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