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Old 02-01-2015, 14:29   #1
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Caveat Emptor?

We have done a lot of research and sailed a number of different boats in our search for the one we think will best serve our needs. We are convinced that we have found the sailboat - a new one - we want to buy. We have had some experiences in our interactions with the sales person/sales unit that frighten us a bit. Besides some ambiguities, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in our communications over the past few months, twice in the past few days we were thrown curves as we picked up pen to actually sign a purchase agreement.

I learned long ago that most people convey the quality of their character early on in their interactions, and that what they convey in those early interactions, they tend to sustain for the duration of the relationship. I try to listen to those early indications, and I will walk away from transactions where it’s pretty clear that the other party is not being careful with their words. In this situation, I feel somewhat bound. Normally, I would probably walk away from a situation like this, if only for a while, but in this particular circumstance, we've done a lot of research, we believe this boat will work best in its field for our intentions and we know of only one US dealer for it.

I presume many of you have more experience than we do with this kind of purchase, so I turn to you for whatever advice, comfort, caution, insight or wisdom you may have to offer my wife and me.

Any advice besides ‘caveat emptor’?
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Old 02-01-2015, 14:34   #2
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

Read the contract very carefully. If there are any promises made by this salesmen, make sure they are clearly stated in the contract withpit cluases that let them get out of it.. Check the viability of the business he is working for -- are they solvent enough to stand behind the contract. In the end, you are buying a boat, not a relationship with a salesmen/broker.
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Old 02-01-2015, 14:35   #3
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

Maybe give us some specifics? About the inconsistencies so people can make a more measured response?
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Old 02-01-2015, 14:52   #4
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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Originally Posted by jslindner View Post
...We are convinced that we have found the sailboat - a new one - we want to buy...
we know of only one US dealer for it...
A single source! Don't alarm bells go off when you paint yourself into a corner?
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Old 02-01-2015, 15:00   #5
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Read the contract very carefully. If there are any promises made by this salesmen, make sure they are clearly stated in the contract withpit cluases that let them get out of it.. Check the viability of the business he is working for -- are they solvent enough to stand behind the contract. In the end, you are buying a boat, not a relationship with a salesmen/broker.
Thank you. It is especially helpful to be reminded that it is the boat we are buying, not the salesperson.
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Old 02-01-2015, 15:50   #6
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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Originally Posted by S/V Willow View Post
Maybe give us some specifics? About the inconsistencies so people can make a more measured response?
Good point. I am thinking about how to reply to your suggestion.

It is difficult to speak of these inconsistencies without implying the identities of the manufacturer/dealer, then losing what meagre focus my question may have.

On the most important level, I think the focus of my question is probably more on the internal issue of managing my sense of being manipulated than anything else; particularly as it pertains to such a major expenditure.

For instance, I found an earlier poster's reminder that I'm buying the boat, not the salesperson, to be helpful.

Your suggestion was also helpful to me in discerning exactly what was I was asking when I posted my question.

Thank you.

PS,
I love the name of your boat. :-)
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Old 02-01-2015, 15:57   #7
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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A single source! Don't alarm bells go off when you paint yourself into a corner?
Of course they do.

Interestingly enough, if I told you (*****) has only one dealer source in the US, I think you would find it very hard to believe. I do.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am grateful.
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Old 02-01-2015, 17:47   #8
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

A few thoughts.

Get any representation they've made verbally in writing as part of the contract. Otherwise, you can't hold them to those things.

Read every word carefully. If there's something you're not comfortable with, change it.

I don't know the dollar amount you're dealing with or the total situation but if it's dollar justified, I have an attorney review any contract before I sign. Now, in my case, I have an attorney that I have a great relationship with and knows I just want them to bring up major issues and not nit-pick a contract to death and the maximum billing should be less than an hour of time.

Ultimately you may have to agree to some things you don't like in the contract to get the boat. Only you can decide if it's worth that compromise.

The reality is in purchasing a new boat, the warranty is from the name of the company on the warranty document. It tells you exactly who is behind the warranty. The dealer generally has no obligation. Legal entities can be simple or a nightmare. Sometimes it's hard to fill out who is selling you the boat. I've seen cases of a buyer initiating suit and taking months to get all the right entities sued.

The financial situation of the builder is important. Typically if they have trouble and end up in any form of bankruptcy and a sale ensues it's of assets only and your warranty is dead.

Any money paid prior to delivery, know who is holding it and how. If something happens you'll have a hard if not impossible time getting it back.

And the final word is "SURVEY". Yes, even on a new boat. Do not take acceptance or take it away until problems are remedied. Don't take delivery on a promise they will be corrected. Wait until they are.

Now, not knowing the manufacturer involved I can't say how many of these precautionary warnings are necessary.
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Old 02-01-2015, 18:08   #9
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

As a gentle reminder: you are not buying a boat, you are buying a grand series of parts. Fixing warranty issues may, must may, require you to deal with many more folks than your single salesperson.

I agree, however, that regardless of who this dealer is, your explanations about your reservations leave a LOT to be desired, so, we can only generalize our responses.

Could you consider amplifying on your concerns (beyond "bad vibes"?), without naming names? I'm sure a "he said, but then he did..." approach might be helpful. Any specific items or are you just really way too early into buyer's remorse?
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Old 02-01-2015, 18:31   #10
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

Other's have danced around the subject but:

The GOOD News is you are buying the boat of your dreams

The BAD News is that your current frustration and concern is just the beginning of a very long series of concerns and frustrations. Outfitting, debugging, and learning about a new boat, no matter the size, will cause you to doubt, many times over, the sanity of the purchase.

If you are so befuddled by the simple part of the business, the purchase contract, you might want to re-think the whole boat ownership idea. You will find that ownership is a never ending series of negotiations with people and businesses that are hard to deal with, difficult to contact, don't do what they say they will, and in general make your life difficult.

On the other hand, boat ownership is a great joy if you can keep the long perspective of " this to shall pass " and always remember there is a solution for every problem. Perspective is all that separates long time boat owners from new boat owners.

Sorry to be so cynical but 40-years of boating and 20+ years of big boat ownership has not increased by confidence or faith in the commercial side of our boat life.
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Old 02-01-2015, 18:51   #11
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
Other's have danced around the subject but:

The GOOD News is you are buying the boat of your dreams

The BAD News is that your current frustration and concern is just the beginning of a very long series of concerns and frustrations. Outfitting, debugging, and learning about a new boat, no matter the size, will cause you to doubt, many times over, the sanity of the purchase.
There was a boat that really interested us. It just had the perfect features in it's size range. So forward in design.

Well, three had been built, one had sued the builder and won. All three were on the used market within a year of the initial sale. The litany of issues in reading the court documents told me that if 10% were true I'd never deal with the builder. No boat is enough superior over it's competition to make me deal with a dishonest, untrustworthy company. I learned too long ago in business that nothing good could come of that.

Oh and Northern Marine/New World. Well, another case of someone letting their heart carry them away. A very smart businessman did things he would never have done in his business because he was sold on what would be done. Well, he pretty much paid for the boat but doesn't have it. And was this predictable? Well, it was if you'd talk to others in the area, it was if you talked to the others who had built recently and those who had current builds taking place.

I don't accept you're buying a boat and not the salesman. You're buying the entire company. You're putting money on a boat, trusting you're get it and trusting it will be good. If I didn't like the salesman, then I'd talk to someone else in the company. I am not buying from someone I don't trust. Hopefully the company is trustworthy.
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Old 03-01-2015, 12:44   #12
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

Well, the first thing I can say is you're not alone, in buying a new boat and having some questions about doing the right thing. We are currently going thru the same process, & I am sure, on our end, breaking many of the boat-buying commandments. Committing my life-long boat savings account to a boat/company/salesman without ever having a chance to actually sail our specific model. But how bad could it be?
I am so looking forward to being involved with the delivery, rigging, commissioning, & sea-trials, all with the supervision from a representative of the manufacturer. I seriously doubt that we would need a surveyor for a new boat. I have every confidence in the manufacturer to stand behind their work. If they don't, then the world will hear about it. I am pretty sure this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I can't wait.
Good luck! YOLO.
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Old 03-01-2015, 13:06   #13
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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Originally Posted by jmadenwald View Post
Well, the first thing I can say is you're not alone, in buying a new boat and having some questions about doing the right thing. We are currently going thru the same process, & I am sure, on our end, breaking many of the boat-buying commandments. Committing my life-long boat savings account to a boat/company/salesman without ever having a chance to actually sail our specific model. But how bad could it be?
I am so looking forward to being involved with the delivery, rigging, commissioning, & sea-trials, all with the supervision from a representative of the manufacturer. I seriously doubt that we would need a surveyor for a new boat. I have every confidence in the manufacturer to stand behind their work. If they don't, then the world will hear about it. I am pretty sure this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I can't wait.
Good luck! YOLO.
If you doubt the value of a sailor for a new boat, just google "Kakawi". I know most people don't use surveyors, but so much better to get issues corrected before taking delivery. Plus, I just don't want to have to take it back. I'm not going to be close. As to the manufacturer standing behind it, perhaps you do have full knowledge of the manufacturer and owners but keep in mind that can change tomorrow. And telling the world about it does you no good.

Now you do seem to have a good knowledge and intend to be involved all the way so that's much to your benefit. Your list of delivery, rigging, commissioning, sea trials looks good but I'd add one more thing, a shakedown cruise. A couple of weeks of actual use but still where you're returning to where you purchased to get issues that arise corrected. One builder even sends one of their people to accompany you on a shakedown cruise but that's very much an exception.
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Old 03-01-2015, 13:14   #14
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

I think the OP has been offered some good advice to handle the situation as he perceives it.

However, as a general life stance, I think it is a good idea to heed our intuition. Perhaps the OP would be better served by re-examining the whole situation. I find it hard to believe there is no other boat that would serve his needs/desires. If he feels something shady is going on, even if he can't quite exactly define it, maybe it's better in the long run for him to follow his feeling. Doing that can be hard to teach yourself to do, but over the long haul, it gives you a lot of freedom.

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Old 03-01-2015, 13:32   #15
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Re: Caveat Emptor?

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I think the OP has been offered some good advice to handle the situation as he perceives it.

However, as a general life stance, I think it is a good idea to heed our intuition. Perhaps the OP would be better served by re-examining the whole situation. I find it hard to believe there is no other boat that would serve his needs/desires. If he feels something shady is going on, even if he can't quite exactly define it, maybe it's better in the long run for him to follow his feeling. Doing that can be hard to teach yourself to do, but over the long haul, it gives you a lot of freedom.

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