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Old 10-12-2018, 14:26   #1
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US documentation scam

from "Maritime Documentation Center," a private ripoff outfit having no
relation to the National Vessel Documentation Center, their usual
"send us all your money now...all application and processing fees are
non-refundable."

don't do this. Wait for the correct letter from the aforementioned
official office--you remember the one, "any changes? If not, please send
this back to us with appropriate fees...."

let Marine Documentation Center die a seemly death, as it will if
we stop falling for this outrageous scam.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:42   #2
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Re: US documentation scam

Quote:
Originally Posted by swan36doe View Post
from "Maritime Documentation Center," a private ripoff outfit having no
relation to the National Vessel Documentation Center, their usual
"send us all your money now...all application and processing fees are
non-refundable."

don't do this. Wait for the correct letter from the aforementioned
official office--you remember the one, "any changes? If not, please send
this back to us with appropriate fees...."

let Marine Documentation Center die a seemly death, as it will if
we stop falling for this outrageous scam.
We just received one of their BS "Notices". Note that the US Coast Guard Documentation Center will send the managing owner of a boat a Notice of Renewal via USPS approximately 45 days prior to the expiration of a boat's documentation. The cost is minimal, $26.00 (as of 2014) for timely renewal or $31.00 (including a $5.00 "late fee") for renewals later than the expiration date.

FWIW...

PS: For more see (click on) "National Vessel Documentation".
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:27   #3
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Re: US documentation scam

Thanks for posting. I just got mine, too. I scanned it in so others can see what the scam looks like.

Note that they very carefully worded it to stay just this side of outright dishonesty, while ensuring a casual reader will get a totally wrong impression.

Not visible here is the very official-looking watermark. But at least they've stopped violating federal law by using the Coast Guard insignia.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:44   #4
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Re: US documentation scam

There's been a similar scam for Internet domain registrations.


The professional-looking document informs that your domain expires on such and such a date (which it does) ;it then invites renewal at a rate which is probably a multiple of normal rates (eg $45/yr vs ~$12/yr from a discount registrar, in my case). Buried in the fine print is authorization to transfer your registration to a new company.


I bet a significant number of people fall for these.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:30   #5
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Re: US documentation scam

My wife almost fell for this for last years renewal. Luckily she stopped and called me to see if I wanted to renew for multiple years. Which immediately made me suspicious.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:35   #6
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Re: US documentation scam

I really have to admire this con. There is a not-insignificant percentage of boat owners who prefer to spend more, as long as it can make them feel important. They like to have "people" to do simple things for them, like making a few clicks on the USCG documentation web site. And, frankly, the multi-year thing is a good idea, at least until the 5-year renewal program is finally implemented.

The words used in this document are a work of art. Just deceiving enough, without actually crossing the line into outright lies. The social engineering is also perfect, focusing the reader's attention on certain things and using both phrasing and location to make the negative things less likely to "sink in" on the casual reader.

PT Barnum would be proud.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:43   #7
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Re: US documentation scam

Wish they had included a stamped, self-addressed envelope for me to return to them empty, but I guess they figured out too many people were doing that. Maybe we could all email them with detailed questions about unsigned bills of sale and transferring registration from Malta or Azerbadjan.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:55   #8
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Re: US documentation scam

It's not really a scam, It's more an "idiots beware".

BTW - you can renewal online now with a credit card. Now if only they could email you the renewal and it would be good for more than 1 year.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:59   #9
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Re: US documentation scam

Report it to the USCG.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:14   #10
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pirate Re: US documentation scam

This is similar to the ESTA scam here in Europe.. you can do it online yourself for $14.. or fall for the official looking site and it will cost you 50..
My crews son fell for it and was well tee'd off when I told him.
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Old 12-12-2018, 15:06   #11
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Re: US documentation scam

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
It's not really a scam, It's more an "idiots beware".

BTW - you can renewal online now with a credit card. Now if only they could email you the renewal and it would be good for more than 1 year.
I understand the change to 5-year renewals for recreational vessels is in the pipeline now. No clue as to when it'll be finally implemented, but it'll be a good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorrison146 View Post
Report it to the USCG.
There's nothing to report. The service, and the letter, are perfectly legal. There's no law against charging someone a fee to do something they could have done themselves with a few clicks on line.

This is a new format letter. The old one, with the USCG logo and totally misleading text, with no indication they were a private entity, was illegal. Apparently they've hired attorneys to make sure this one (barely) passes for legal.

And I'm quite sure I'll run into someone on a dock somewhere who will proudly tell me they don't bother with renewals, they happily pay a service to do all that menial stuff for them.

Again, you gotta admire a good con.
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Old 20-12-2018, 11:05   #12
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Re: US documentation scam

Still no firm date, but an update on the 5-year renewal policy:

https://content.govdelivery.com/acco...letins/2228fc5

Quote:
The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 - 5 year renewa

U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 12/14/2018 02:29 PM EST

"The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 was signed into law on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Included in this Act is a provision providing recreational Certificate of Documentation (COD) holders the ability to select a multi-year renewal (1-5 years) during an implementation period (January 1, 2019-December 31, 2021), after which a five-year document (recreational vessels only) will become automatic.

Implementation of this provision will require an update to automated systems at the National Vessel Documentation Center (NVDC) in order to accommodate multi-year renewals. Additionally, the Coast Guard is evaluating what revisions to existing regulations may be needed to incorporate the provisions of the Act. Recreational vessel owners should continue to follow the current process for requesting/renewing CODs.
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Old 06-03-2019, 15:38   #13
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Re: US documentation scam

Actually I think there are a couple of companies doing the exact same thing. It wouldn't surprise me if they were owned by the same person(s)
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Old 07-03-2019, 16:46   #14
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Re: US documentation scam

It not as much of a scam as a documentation service company going too far to get your business.

If you start at the USCG home and use the pull down menu, you'll end up at the right place.
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Old 07-03-2019, 16:53   #15
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Re: US documentation scam

Just a work of caution - don't rely on the reminder from the real folks, last year for whatever reason mine never came and I missed my renewal by a few days, so I sent the late fee in, and had everything kicked back a couple of months later because I had filled out the form without my wife's name (she's on the original documentation with me). It took another several months and a re-certification fee to get it all sorted out. I did get the official reminder this year, but I now have a reminder in my personal calendar a month prior to my renewal.

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