Cruisers Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-02-2010, 20:17   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2
Disreputable Broker and Buyer Protection - HELP!

After much consideration me and my husband thought we found our new 48' sailboat. We put a offer down pending Survey Sea trial. We viewed the sailboat twice and asked about any major issues that we should be aware off. We told the broker that if the boat had major mechanical issues or structural damage we were not even interested. We were told by the broker that the engine top end had been rebuilt. He told us the motor was solid, there was just a small leak in the transmission coolant line. We were told the deficiency would be fixed prior to the survey ( to include haul out and sea trial). The contract was made on the 23rd of January. He had until the 16th of February to fix this issue.

The survey was today ( 16 February ). Today when myself, my husband and the surveyor showed up the broker told us that we might have a issue because for some reason the motor isn't starting. He assumed it was the batteries and if not would have a mechanic in that morning to fix whatever "minor" issue was going on. It was not the batteries. The mechanic showed up, sprayed some ether in the engine, the engine started and ran ( harshly and at a very low rpm). The mechanic ran it for 3 minutes, shut it down, tried to restart and it would not start. Then he stated that the transmission coolant line had not been fixed and that the transmission probably needs to be replaced. The surveyor inspected the gear box and found it was dry of any transmission fluid. The motor also had other major issues that made sea trial and haul out impossible. The broker told us these were issues that the owner and himself were aware of weeks ago (before we initially viewed the boat). He said he had told the owner to fix them. He did not tell us about these issues prior. We stated multiple times since day one that we were ONLY interested in the boat if it could be surveyed sea trialed. He agreed to this and it was added in the contract.

When we showed up today it was not capable to be moved under its own power. We were not given any prior notification of this issue. So we showed up with our surveyor and proceeded with the survey not having the knowledge that the motor had major issues and that the transmission leak had not been repaired ( the broker was well aware of this ). The broker had us initiate the survey even though he knew the boat could not be hauled out or sea trialed. This was contrary to the contractual agreement. He did not tell us the haul out was a no go until mid afternoon.

The broker had no information that the surveyor needed even though he was supposed to obtain the knowledge from the owner. His answer to the surveyors questions were most often " I don't know it's not my boat". He proceeded to become more and more rude as the day went on. From the moment we showed up untill the moment we left the impression we got was he was more interested in getting the survey and not interested in even selling the boat. He asked repeatedly for a free copy of the survey throughout the day. He told our broker and us that we could just pay for sea tow if we wanted to have the boat pulled for inspection. We stated that the only way we would even consider purchasing this boat was if a certified Perkins mechanic could come out and inspect the motor. The broker refused and only wanted to use his mechanic. He said there is only 1 Perkins mechanic in the whole Cortez / Bradenton FL area and that the mechanic was not reputable so he would not allow that. He said if we wanted to proceed with the buying process we would have to pay sea tow to take the boat to the yard another day. Reschedule an additional survey for the haul out and sea trial then negotiate on price with the "new" deficiencies.
Is this a breach of contract since the boat could not be sea trialed and hauled out even though the contract explicitly stated this was a requirement? Also, both the broker and owner were aware of major issues on the boat that they did not tell us about prior to the contract. Isn't a broker required to be honest about the condition of a boat?
To add insult to injury, after all was said and done the broker told us he made a good faith effort to get the boat in operable condition so he was entitled to the survey! FOR FREE! This broker was not only unprofessional, rude and a liar but he also went the extra mile and threatened arbitration for the survey when he figured out we did not want anything to do with him or this sale!
Please tell me this is illegal. We feel that this broker had no intention of ever making this boat sale happen and that he just wanted a free survey.
Does anyone know who we can contact about this broker?
Can we put a lien on the boat or sue the broker / owner for the in water survey cost?
Any information would be helpful. We feel like we have been had and we don't want another sailor walking into this trap!
Thank you
TopoJo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2010, 20:33   #2
Registered User
bluzzin's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Northwest
Boat: Dehler 39
Posts: 39
The broker has no legal claim to the survey. The survey is property of the surveyor. You as the person who paid for the survey has a right to read it and use if for loan applications and insurance, but in most cases even you do not have a right to sell it. That the broker has a right to the survey is hogwash. If he wants the boat surveyed he can pay for one himself.

Even when dealing with a very reputable broker, when I received my survey that showed issues with the boat I was buying I did not let the broker have a copy. I was not going to give the seller a free survey if our final negotiations over issues brought to my attention by survey were not dealt with either by repair or monetary discount. I relayed to broker verbally what the issues were, but made it clear I was not sharing my written survey with anyone. No one said one more word about the survey.

bluzzin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2010, 21:03   #3

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tampa to New York
Boat: Morgan 33 OutIsland, Magic and 33' offshore scott design "Cutting Edge"
Posts: 1,594
I'd also go to and file a complaint against his license. His name wasn't Jim S+$el by any chance was it? If so an unscrupulous slob. I've seen this idiot sell the same boat to numerous people at the same time. Don't know how he's still walking around a free" man".
forsailbyowner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2010, 21:05   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tasmania
Boat: VandeStadt IOR 40' - Insatiable
Posts: 2,317
Images: 91
For what its worth, I believe the correct word is "disreputable" (but admit to frequently being wrong).

[Edit: You are correct, Weyalan, and the title has been corrected. TJ]

The broker has no right to your survey.

Assuming that you are still interested in the boat (and I'd be saying "caveat emptor right about now, and assume that there are other problems too) Work out the likely cost of either repairing or, more likely, replacing the transmission and engine. Deduct that from the price you were going to offer (assuming the survey had gone well) and use that as your starting point for negotiation. Make it clear that the reason for the low offer is because you are taking into account the cost or repairing or replacing the engine.
Weyalan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2010, 21:11   #5
Registered User
Polunu880's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: San Diego, Ca
Boat: 880 waller catamaran
Posts: 56
Images: 3
Tell the jerk you will see him in court. for the amount of monies you are out go to small claims court, it's just you, him and the judge!
Polunu880 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2010, 22:54   #6
Moderator Emeritus
hummingway's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gabriola Island & Victoria, British Columbia
Boat: Cooper 416 Honeysuckle
Posts: 6,933
Images: 5
Interesting comment about not owning the survey. A common practise up here (west coast BC) is, in the case of a survey not satisfying the purchaser, for the owner to buy it at half price which in effect reduces the potential purchase price for any future interested party.
hummingway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 00:36   #7
CF Adviser
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,317
Assuming that you no longer want this boat (why would you?) and that the contractual relationship with the surveyor was between you and the surveyor, then simply tell the surveyor that a report is not needed or wanted. Thank him for his time, pay him what you owe him and then go on to the next boat that interests you.

Send the broker a short, direct letter (no nastiness necessary) that states that since the condition of the boat was such that the survey and seatrial could not be completed, you no longer want the boat, the purchase and sale agreement is now void, and to refund any money you've put down within the time allotted in the agreement. Also inform him to put any future communications to you in writing. Thank him for his time and tell him that you will not be seeking any further services from him.

The idea here is simply to close off your business dealings with this person as quickly as possible according to the terms of the contract. Then, go find someone you can deal with that is trustworthy.

Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 00:53   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: East Coast, Florida
Boat: Caliber 40LRC
Posts: 18
As a marine surveyor, I agree whole heartedly with Intentional Drifter. If I was surveying, and the perspective buyer (my client) immediately decided not to buy the boat, I would even go as far as not to charge my client anywhere near as much as a full survey. Probably just an hour or two of my time. I would also know of any and all qualified mechanics in the area, or have the means to find out.

I tend to disagree with Bluzzin, however. Should the report be finished, and paid for, it is the property of the client, to do with what they wish. Actually, this isn't all that unusual a request from the broker or present (selling) owner. It's just a way to get a free survey. I never comply and always advise my clients not to comply.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
fmastin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 05:15   #9
Registered User
markpj23's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Bradenton FL
Boat: Med Yachts 62 Trawler
Posts: 1,180
Images: 47
I would also make sure that the Broker - usually not the same person as the salesman - or owner of the business is aware of your intense dissatisfaction with the salesman. Then cut all ties / dealings with that broker.
markpj23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 06:34   #10
Registered User
RickD's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Colorado Springs
Boat: Transworld Formosa 41
Posts: 233
You paid for the survey, it's YOURS, not the Broker's. He has no claim to it - where did he get THAT idea?
Rick Donaldson, CET, NØNJY

If you survive today, tomorrow will be better.
RickD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 07:09   #11
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Oct 2007
Boat: Endeavour 42CC
Posts: 1,182
Definately contact the state of Florida. They are one of the few states that licence boat brokers.
gettinthere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 07:24   #12
Registered User
bluzzin's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Northwest
Boat: Dehler 39
Posts: 39
I wish I had in my hands the survey I briefly was shown on a boat that was too far gone to pursue. I was only shown it by the selling broker as a heads up as what to expect when I looked at the boat. At the end of the survey their were words to the effect that the survey belonged to the surveyor with a liscense for use to the named buyer of the survey with further words that made it sound like copies could not be sold or original sold without surveyors permission.

In my brief boating life I have only see a few surveys and only one like this. I just figured (maybe wrongly) that the surveyor maintained rights to his work and was liscensing it in effect to the purchaser. Much like software companies do with a piece of software for a computer.

bluzzin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 07:30   #13
Eternal Member
Chief Engineer's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: North of Baltimore
Boat: Ericson 27 & 18' Herrmann Catboat
Posts: 3,798
If you pay for the pay for the survey....

I don't believe the owner is under any obligation to pay you....

If the broker wants a survey let him pay for it....

Another vessel to run away from.
Chief Engineer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 07:30   #14
Senior Cruiser
bstreep's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Antonio, TX/Bocas del Toro, Panama
Boat: 1990 Macintosh 47, "Merlin"
Posts: 2,827
Good advice above. 2 quick points:

A part of your survey is an appraisal. I'm a licensed appraiser. The survey is the property of the client (you), and can not be distributed to anyone else without the client's (your) approval.

As noted above, file a claim in small claims. It will cost you $50-100 - and the broker will get served, probably at work. It will be worth it just have him pucker up. You WILL win - especially since it was in the contract. However, the judge may give you only a partial award, since you should have told the surveyor to leave right away, when the boat wasn't ready for survey.

In negotiation, never, never, ever EVER fall in love with a deal. ALWAYS be prepared to walk away, at any given point. ALWAYS.

Finally, for those who find themselves in a similar situation, you should have turned to the surveyor early in the day and said "I think we're through here - what do I owe you for your troubles".
Bill Streep
San Antonio, TX (but cruising)
bstreep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2010, 07:55   #15
Registered User
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 4,994
Images: 6
Originally Posted by bstreep
...turned to the surveyor early in the day and said "I think we're through here - what do I owe you for your troubles".
I would say that in this case "early in the day" should have been the very first moment you realized that a proper survey and sea trial would not be possible.

As far as whether or not what the broker did was illegal... probably not. There are laws concerning fraud, and you could argue that the broker violated them, but I doubt you'd get a prosecutor to file charges.

It is up to you (the OP) to decide if it is really worth your time to follow up in small claims court to try to recoup your costs. There may be a certain satisfaction in doing so, but do you really want this broker, and this deal-gone-bad, to continue to occupy your life for the next several months? It might be well worth the expense to simply write it off as a lesson learned, walk away, and get on with your life.
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can You Force Buyer to Change Boat Name? sailingmonica General Sailing Forum 54 18-02-2014 10:20
First Time Buyer - Need Advice on Boat jmd063 Dollars & Cents 4 14-02-2010 19:22
Check out what my buyer did!! (need to vent) ssullivan General Sailing Forum 40 05-11-2007 10:30
Seller / Buyer responsibilities MysticGringo Monohull Sailboats 14 23-03-2007 10:22

Advertise Here

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:15.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.