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Old 18-01-2013, 19:49   #1
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Recourse for Surveyor Mis-stating Condition?

I hired a surveyor for a boat I was considering. He did a mostly good job. One item he noted was the engine mounts "appear serviceable". Long story short, one of them is broken and I only discovered it a couple days after I bought the boat. The local marina noticed it and determined that it had likely been that way for a long time, probably 2 years or more.

My question: do I have any recourse against the previous owner or the surveyor? The repair will cost almost as much as I paid for the survey.
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Old 18-01-2013, 19:56   #2
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

If they are reputable, they will likely cover it. Most carry errors & omissions insurance for just this. That said, the cost of an engine mount is fairly trivial in the big picture of boat ownership, and a good surveyor would just cough it up out of pocket.
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Old 18-01-2013, 20:10   #3
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

"appear servicable" is not a ringing endorsement. You are probably on your own here.
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Old 18-01-2013, 20:24   #4
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Do you want to sue the survey guy? He did a good job but something needs work. Wonder how your Halyards are or the pulley bushings, or condition of the bearings in the winches.
Hope he gave you a good idea of the condition. You bought the boat. You get a general idea of the value and condition and then you decide the risk survey guy is not going to nail every imminent failure . Lets here what you bought and copy us the survey report then we can advise.
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Old 18-01-2013, 20:36   #5
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

Suck it up and replace all the engine mounts. There will be other stuff he missed as well. It is a boat and will always have stuff breaking. Continuously. Forever.
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Old 18-01-2013, 20:50   #6
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

What the last three posts said +1.
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Old 18-01-2013, 22:32   #7
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
What the last three posts said +1.
+2

It's a survey not a guaranteed condition report. For sure, the report includes a laundry list of standard disclaimers.

Spend your energy on more positive pursuits. Fix it, and the other stuff he may or may not have missed, and go sailing. Enjoy the sunset. Life's short
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Old 19-01-2013, 03:24   #8
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

I would raise it with the Surveyor - just don't have great expectations!

How upset I would be depends on what the terms of the Survey were, but likely that the mechanical (engine) side has plenty of disclaimers! (they are not usually also Marine Engineers - and even those do not have X-ray specs!). In an ideal world the engine would have been fired up and run under load which should have shown some effect (excessive vibration / movement) from the engine having only had 3 legs! (was a sea trial done?).

A visual inspection alone would have made spotting it difficult on at least some of the mounts, if not all (some installations really suck!).
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Old 19-01-2013, 03:27   #9
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He did not state new. Eat it and enjoy your sailboat.
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Old 19-01-2013, 05:08   #10
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

I would mention it to the surveyor, in the tone of feedback for future reference, and not make any demands. You might get lucky if he appreciates the feedback and decides to pay for the engine mount or installation or both or refund or discount the survey. Surveyors depend on their reputation (at least to some extent) to get future work and generally want to have satisfied customers.
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Old 19-01-2013, 06:33   #11
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

Sounds to me as if you have a very inexpensive surveyor or a really expensive mechanic! I would look for a mechanic that doesn't charge outrageous prices or better yet fix it yourself.
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Old 19-01-2013, 06:46   #12
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

Responsibilities and Liabilities of Marine Surveyors ➥ Surveyor's Negligence
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Old 19-01-2013, 07:20   #13
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

After all the comments, I had to go back and re-read the OP. It would seem that many of you have been hiring undesirable surveyors. Years ago in my boat yard days I held membership in SAMS, NAMS, Underwriters, and NFPA. I charged top dollar for a survey. In my contract it specifically stated that there was "no responsibility for non-discovery of faults not visible to the naked eye or those that require destructive testing procedures".

The yard's certified diesel mechanic took care of engine surveys, and would likely catch a failed engine mount. That said, I DOUBT I would have missed it, as it is a VERY common failure point. However, if he and I both missed something that obvious, and a client purchased a boat based on our surveys.... we would eat the repair!
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:05   #14
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

If the survey was as cheap as replacing one motor mount should be, then you got what you paid for. How much did they want to replace the mount AND REAlIGN the engine?
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:21   #15
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Re: Recourse for surveyor mis-stating condition?

It seems to me any potential recourse will depend on the contract and conditions agreed to in the survey arrangement.

Personally, I'm not aware of any survey or surveyor promising their survey results will be 100% accurate. Most specifically state their survey is in good faith, but may not catch, assess, and report every potential problem accurately. You have a loss, but suing also requires showing a breach of duty and causal connection between that breach of duty and the loss. You have stated the surveyor did a good job overall, so unless he/she specifically promised you absolute accuracy, I don't see what failure of duty is actionable.

Personally I feel if your needed repairs only cost as much as the survey, I'd count yourself lucky, very lucky. It's unrealistic to expect anyone to discover every possible problem in the short time spent on a survey. Problems uncovered after use can run many, many times that of a survey. I had to drop a new transmission in for example.
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