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Old 02-05-2017, 15:12   #1
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Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

I purchased a sailboat this last October from a broker in Indiantown, FL. I called him up, told him what I was looking for, and he happened to have exactly the right boat for me (his words, not mine). I signed the paperwork and was given a bill of sale. I took the bill of sale to the DMV to title the boat. They said it needed to be documented through the coast guard as it had been previously. I filed change of ownership documents through the coast guard, but received a response from them that the documentation expired in 1998 and that I needed to provide bills of sale from the last documented owner on file to the owner who sold me the boat. I relayed this to the broker, and he has since stopped returning or answering my phone calls. I also found out that the broker purchased the boat from the person who I received a bill of sale from and title jumped it to me. So, I am stuck with a boat that I can not title or document in my name; nor will that state of Florida let me register it or pay sales tax on it. I assume I cannot sell the boat either, as I have nothing legal that establishes me as the owner. Anybody have any advice on how to get legal title to the boat, or get my money back?
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Old 02-05-2017, 15:16   #2
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

I would hire an attorney and have an official demand sent from your attorney via certified mail. That might scare them into submission. Will likely cost you a half hour of legal time.
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Old 02-05-2017, 15:59   #3
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

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I would hire an attorney and have an official demand sent from your attorney via certified mail. That might scare them into submission. Will likely cost you a half hour of legal time.
+1. Light a legal fire under his ass...a letter from an attorney is often all it takes.

Also discuss it with a documentation service and see if they can be of any help.
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Old 02-05-2017, 19:20   #4
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

Stop, do not discuss this with a documentation service. Only, go direct to the USCG itself. There is an organization that looks like it's the USCG, uses that in its name, but isn't. You can use them, they charge more than the Coast Guard, though.

Is there some law in FL about having to have CG documentation? Usually, it's a choice, not required. If you have a bill of sale showing you are the new owner, find out what State department registers boats, and take it there. There may have been a communications glitch at the outset. Once you have the proper state registration, then, if you want CG documentation, approach them again.

Perhaps, first try State registry. If you need more than you have, make an appointment to see the broker in about a week, and tell/ask him to have ready for you whatever's necessary at that time. You may already have what you need. Imo, this cannot be done by e-mail, too easy to lose track of it or ignore it if this is intentional. Phone him, or Skype him or her, but let them know the trouble and you can listen to their voice as they try and explain. Perhaps they've already put something in motion, perhaps not, but their voice may give you a hint. Be a squeaky wheel.

Ann
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Old 02-05-2017, 20:51   #5
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

I am not aware of any FL regulation that prevents a previously documented boat from changing to FL state registration. A documented vessel is exempt from the requirement of a state title but as far as I know it is not prevented from ever being state registered.

I would call the state offices of the FL DHSMV at 850-617-2000 to get the definitive answer.
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Old 02-05-2017, 21:21   #6
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

The problem is that he is not on the CG documentation. You can change your boat from CG to Florida Title because you already own it. A CG Documented vessel is the same as being titled. So, he needs to prove the chain of ownership. Now he is stuck in a hard place. Broker is required to deliver a good title or he can lose his license. Time for a lawyer.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:07   #7
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

Talk to The Florida Yacht Council. More importantly call The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation who will go after his Broker License for you.
If it were me, I get an attorney fast before he leaves town.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:25   #8
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

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If it were me, I would get an attorney fast before he leaves town.
The faster you get on this the better.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:39   #9
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

The CG response is normal. It requires a chain of ownership, since 98 that might be a bitch. I would imagine your best bet is the state title. I should think the broker would have given you a signed over title not a bill of sale. Best of luck. Is the broker actually a broker?
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:56   #10
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Stop, do not discuss this with a documentation service. Only, go direct to the USCG itself. There is an organization that looks like it's the USCG, uses that in its name, but isn't. You can use them, they charge more than the Coast Guard, though.

Is there some law in FL about having to have CG documentation? Usually, it's a choice, not required. If you have a bill of sale showing you are the new owner, find out what State department registers boats, and take it there. There may have been a communications glitch at the outset. Once you have the proper state registration, then, if you want CG documentation, approach them again.

Perhaps, first try State registry. If you need more than you have, make an appointment to see the broker in about a week, and tell/ask him to have ready for you whatever's necessary at that time. You may already have what you need. Imo, this cannot be done by e-mail, too easy to lose track of it or ignore it if this is intentional. Phone him, or Skype him or her, but let them know the trouble and you can listen to their voice as they try and explain. Perhaps they've already put something in motion, perhaps not, but their voice may give you a hint. Be a squeaky wheel.

Ann
Ann, I don't know what you have against documentation services, but they have been helpful to me in the past. Because the CG is sooo backed up on documentation processing, they can be a real pain to deal with. I've used ASAP Marine Documentation (ASAP Marine Documentation and Registration, Inc.) in FL a couple of times, and they did good work. Yes, because my vessel is owned by a trust, its a bit more complicated then a straight ownership transfer, but then so is this guys problem.

Scott
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:00   #11
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
The CG response is normal. It requires a chain of ownership, since 98 that might be a bitch. I would imagine your best bet is the state title. I should think the broker would have given you a signed over title not a bill of sale. Best of luck. Is the broker actually a broker?


My understanding is that a boat can be either documented with the CG, or state titled, not both. So there is no title. The owner on file would have to withdraw his CG documentation and then apply for state title which would transfer just like a car. A marina owner recommended that he foreclose on my boat, apply for a title, then transfer it to me. This sounds a little shady to me. Might be time to call my attorney.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:01   #12
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

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Originally Posted by aaronroesner View Post
My understanding is that a boat can be either documented with the CG, or state titled, not both. So there is no title. The owner on file would have to withdraw his CG documentation and then apply for state title which would transfer just like a car. A marina owner recommended that he foreclose on my boat, apply for a title, then transfer it to me. This sounds a little shady to me. Might be time to call my attorney.


And the broker is licensed.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:06   #13
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
The CG response is normal. It requires a chain of ownership, since 98 that might be a bitch. I would imagine your best bet is the state title. I should think the broker would have given you a signed over title not a bill of sale. Best of luck. Is the broker actually a broker?
There is a simplified "chain of title method" which I read as allowing a copy of the state title of the seller to document. See bottom of page 1 here:

https://www.uscg.mil/nvdc/instr/inst%20exchange.pdf
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:07   #14
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sainted View Post
Ann, I don't know what you have against documentation services, but they have been helpful to me in the past. Because the CG is sooo backed up on documentation processing, they can be a real pain to deal with. I've used ASAP Marine Documentation (ASAP Marine Documentation and Registration, Inc.) in FL a couple of times, and they did good work. Yes, because my vessel is owned by a trust, its a bit more complicated then a straight ownership transfer, but then so is this guys problem.

Scott
There are some documentation services that can offer value, especially on a new purchase if you need to verify clear title and if the service included title insurance.

The reason for Ann's comments, there are currently companies out there that are charging large premiums for simple renewals and have put up web sites that masquerade as the real USCG website. These guys to me are scammers, barely skirting the law.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:49   #15
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Re: Purchased yacht, but can't document. Broker unresponsive. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronroesner View Post
My understanding is that a boat can be either documented with the CG, or state titled, not both. So there is no title. The owner on file would have to withdraw his CG documentation and then apply for state title which would transfer just like a car. A marina owner recommended that he foreclose on my boat, apply for a title, then transfer it to me. This sounds a little shady to me. Might be time to call my attorney.
Yep! I hope you haven't been snookered. As I recall not much in Indian Town.
It may have been abandoned on the hill. At the marina. Get an attorney the scenario sounds like it maybe for sale again by the same "broker". And you lost everything.

I hate being a cynic but good luck and get a lawyer.
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