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Old 09-10-2007, 03:43   #1
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Avoid Boat-buying Scam--Escrow Service?

I found what looks like might be a great deal on a sailboat, but am concerned it might be a scam. The owner purportedly lives in England, and the boat is located in the United States. Does anyone know if it's possible to use some type of escrow service for the purchase of a boat? I'm thinking in terms of--1. the seller sends the title to the boat to the service, 2. I send the money to the service, 3. the service verifies that the title is okay, 4. the service sends the money to the seller, and 5. the service sends me the title.

Jay White
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:38   #2
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I am not familliar with escrow for boats, but what you describe is exectly how it is done with airplanes. You might want to check with BoatUS, they may know how to get this done. Others here may have more specific info than I do.

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Old 09-10-2007, 07:07   #3
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Images: 240 is often cited as a reputable Escrow Service:

See also:

Important Information About Fraudulent Escrow Sites:

Fake Escrow Services and Scams:
Boat and yacht Escrow services.
Gord May
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Old 09-10-2007, 13:40   #4

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Sounds like a guy who was on the forums a year or two ago, claiming he'd bought a bought in NJ that was all ready to go to sea (except, the photos in the yard made it clear it wasn't) and all he wanted was some nice American chaps to help bring it to Bremuda or someplace for him, at their expense, because he wouldn't be allowed into the US because he was a pensioner and wouldn't be able to show financial proof that he could leave again...yadayada.

Forget escrow and look first to the basics. IF you buy a boat, unless it was pre-1972, you should be able to obtain a title (or state registration) or documentation and you establish the title (regardless of the flag of the vessel) and pay the TITLE HOLDER to buy the boat. Along with buying title insurance to protect you in the event the title is bad or their are claims and liens against the vessel.

The title holder has the title with him, overseas? Find, let him hire a US representative, which could be a broker, bank (someone's got to accept the money for him), or lawyer. Make the exchange in person here. If the boat is at a yard, someone from the yard will be able to exchange paperwork for a reasonable fee.

Meanwhile, you should be able to get a clear photocopy of both sides of the title and conduct a title search on the vessel.

It would probably help to know more--like how the vessel is flagged and titled, and the nationality of the owner.
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Old 09-10-2007, 14:22   #5

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Also, do a search on Google for Atlantic Boat Documentation. They have all the services you need. They don't use escrow, but it's a little more simple. They hold everything until the transaction completes. No payment or no clear title? No transation. Very simple and a reasonable cost.

They also can document your boat for you after you buy it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 17:25   #6
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Does anyone know if it's possible to use some type of escrow service for the purchase of a boat?
If it is sold from a broker then it's standard procedure. Using an escrow service is possible. Any seller that would not use an escrow service should be avoided.

Paul Blais
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