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Old 20-03-2015, 19:32   #1
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HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Hello!

Our offer was accepted on a Catalina 30 and this morning we went and gave him the deposit and did some paperwork. While we were going over the paperwork, we all noticed the hull identification number listed on the license does not match the one that is listed on the transom.

The current owner contacted the broker he used to buy the boat a few years ago, as well as the previous owner of the boat, and all of them had it this way and claim to have been unaware of this.

Is this bad? Could this be fixed/updated when we fill out the form to transfer the license?

-Mike
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Old 21-03-2015, 02:57   #2
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

If they don't match, it means the license is not for that boat. Which means you have no way of knowing if the boat you are buying is stolen or has a lien against it or what ever.

I find it har to imagine that the boat went through a broker sale without the broker ntoing this - In most sales the broker certifies that the boat listed on the papers is the same as the physical boat.

Personally - I would call this a deal breaker - at least until everything was cleared up. Even if nothing happens you can end up not being able tosell the boat later (simply because the papers don't match), or either not being able to buy insurance or you can end up having a claim being denied (after - the boat that now is damaged is not the one listed in the papers - get it?).

Get a lawyers opinion - and if the seller is serious, he will pay for the lawyer. OR else simply demand that the seller supply documents where the HIN number matches the boat - that way getting them is his problem
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Old 21-03-2015, 03:50   #3
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

What Carstenb said plus

Yes it is bad. There is always a reason why such inconsistencies exist but at this stage you don't know the reason.

At the best, it is just a honest mistake and one you will have to explain in the future or fix somehow; at the worst, you will lose the boat or more.

If it is simple to fix, let the current owner do it otherwise it would be a deal breaker (at least it would be for me).
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Old 21-03-2015, 05:00   #4
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Whoa !!-- something SERIOUSLY wrong here.
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Old 21-03-2015, 05:04   #5
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Does it look like a typo? Just a digit or two that are incorrect? Or, is it obviously the completely wrong number from another (or non-existent) boat? either way it has to be fixed. If its just a typo you can be reasonably sure it was an honest mistake somewhere along the chain of ownership. If its a totally different number I would be more suspicious of some kind of fraud.
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Old 21-03-2015, 08:56   #6
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

I suspect you have fallen in love with this boat and now have stars in your eyes. Otherwise, you wouldn't even be asking this question because you would realize this is a serious red flag. Run away! Run away!
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Old 21-03-2015, 09:16   #7
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

The boat you are buying is the one on the bill of sale, not the one you looked at. The owner needs to fix this!
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Old 21-03-2015, 09:38   #8
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Stop payment on your check, tell the seller why. Give him an opportunity to straighten out the paperwork. Contact the broker directly, to verify. Check the broker's licences. I see you're in BC. Call the customs folks to see if the boat was properly imported and all taxes were paid. Call Catalina, and see if they have a report on the boat. If all is fixed, go right ahead. I'd look for another boat, good luck.
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Old 21-03-2015, 09:44   #9
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

My advice is if you like the boat very much, don't give up right away because you may be able to correct the problem. I was able to correct my problem, but I was dealing with people I felt I could trust, but it was nerve racking at times.
I had a very similar problem with my boat when i bought it. I did not realize the problem until I started to register my boat in the state I lived in TN, which was different from the state I bought it in, VA . It turned out I had three different HIN# numbers; one number on the title, a different number on the survey, and a third number on the bill of sale, plus the actual number on the boat had been painted over to where you could not read it! No one wanted to help fix my problem that obviously was not caused by me. They kept telling me to take care of it myself until I finally got upset and accused them of illegally selling me a boat without the correct HIN#. The broker returned my call and fussed at me and then started working to fix the problem.
At first he still wanted me to fix it and I reminded him legally he had to provide the correct title. The survey had the correct HIN#. The title had an HIN# missing four zeros. The original owner commented that his attorney must have made a mistake on the title when they put all of the owner's asset in his newly formed trust earlier. The bill of sale had a typo error missing one zero.
My broker called the VA state boat registration agency, which only boat dealers can call, and explained the problem. I then mailed the incorrect title to the VA state registration agency with a letter requesting correction of the title. The new correct title was mailed to the previous owner which he signed and then mailed to me.
It was a real pain in the ass, but everything turned out okay and I am very happy with my boat.
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Old 21-03-2015, 10:31   #10
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Deal is off unless they can provide boat and paperwork that matches.

If it's an honest mistake, the owner can sort it out easily enough or it's going to be a mess you won't want to deal with.
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Old 21-03-2015, 11:59   #11
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Danger Will Robinson!


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Old 21-03-2015, 13:30   #12
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

It is not uncommon.

My last boat had the issue from a bad rubbing from the surveyor.

If it is a documented vessel, the USCG can get weird till it is straightened out, the state of Maryland was easy and cooperative for me.

I wouldn't buy it till it was straightened out, but hardly a reason to panic, call off the deal, or be overly suspicious.

Just be cautious.
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Old 21-03-2015, 14:22   #13
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

We had NYS DMV insist a HIN was one digit too short, even though it matched the boat and had been accepted for many years. Sometimes, a clerk makes a typo or a database gets corrupt. Sometimes, there's been a con man down the line, or a thief.


Either way, what the chorus has said: This is not a deal breaker, provided that the PO remedy his registration (and title if needed) and that your contract makes it clear that he MUST and WILL remedy these things promptly, or else he pays all damages. Which could mean putting the entire purchase price into a escrow account, to be delivered to him when he gives you good and proper title & registration, or else refunded to you in xx months.
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Old 21-03-2015, 14:27   #14
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

To the OP,

If you wanted to take the boat to Mexico ever, and leave it there for some reason, the discrepancy could get you major difficulty with your Temporary Import Permit. It is the HIN at which they look to determine if it's your boat when you want it to go back on a cruising permit.

Yes, I agree with the others you stop the sale till the discrepancy is cleared up. No need to start screaming stolen boat or anything. It is merely a detail, among many, that the seller will have to address. However, if they get weird about it, I, too, would run like h***.

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Old 21-03-2015, 17:02   #15
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Re: HIN on licence and boat don't match on sailboat we're about to buy

Most boats have the HIN in several places.
Mine has it on the transom, the starboard aft aka and both amas as well as in the engine compartment.
There may be more that I haven't discovered.
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