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Old 13-10-2021, 08:26   #1
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How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Not selling my boat (yet) but just tried to sell a car and turned out every single inquiry was a scammer with the exception of 2-3 low ballers that offered half the price or less on what was already a good deal.

Of course I know enough that nothing concludes until I have fully confirmed funds in my bank, however even that is a risk.

Example, three checks I mailed to one of my suppliers were stolen. I didn't even know about it until over a month after the checks were deposited when the supplier contacted me about late payment. It took three weeks of back and forth before we figured out the checks were cashed but deposited in a different bank in a different state from my supplier.

This was in May. I had to jump through many hoops including filing a police report in Alabama where the checks ended up and submitting a notarized affidavit signed by me and an officer at the vendors company swearing we didn't do it. Then the banks investigated and finally returned the funds two weeks ago, five months later.

So theoretically someone could steal or counterfeit a check from a real person or company, pay for the boat, the funds could be deposited in my account and 100% confirmed by the issuing bank but I could still lose the money months later.

What's the answer? I could demand an Irrevocable, Confirmed Letter of Credit but that's a hassle and expensive. Cash works but selling an expensive boat that's a lot of cash for buyer and seller. Wire transfers maybe but could one of those be called back?
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Old 13-10-2021, 09:14   #2
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Not selling my boat (yet) but just tried to sell a car and turned out every single inquiry was a scammer with the exception of 2-3 low ballers that offered half the price or less on what was already a good deal.

Of course I know enough that nothing concludes until I have fully confirmed funds in my bank, however even that is a risk.

Example, three checks I mailed to one of my suppliers were stolen. I didn't even know about it until over a month after the checks were deposited when the supplier contacted me about late payment. It took three weeks of back and forth before we figured out the checks were cashed but deposited in a different bank in a different state from my supplier.

This was in May. I had to jump through many hoops including filing a police report in Alabama where the checks ended up and submitting a notarized affidavit signed by me and an officer at the vendors company swearing we didn't do it. Then the banks investigated and finally returned the funds two weeks ago, five months later.

So theoretically someone could steal or counterfeit a check from a real person or company, pay for the boat, the funds could be deposited in my account and 100% confirmed by the issuing bank but I could still lose the money months later.

What's the answer? I could demand an Irrevocable, Confirmed Letter of Credit but that's a hassle and expensive. Cash works but selling an expensive boat that's a lot of cash for buyer and seller. Wire transfers maybe but could one of those be called back?
I don't know of a situation where a wire has been called back. We're I to sell my boat I would have the deal close in escrow. They hold all of the executed agreements and receive the buyers funds. When you say go they send you the money and the buyer the documents of sale. Simple and safe.
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Old 13-10-2021, 10:00   #3
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Options are:
- cash (meet at your bank)
- escrow (reputable, local company, broker can assist)
- cashier's check (meet at issuing bank)
- crypto (if you know what you are doing)
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Old 13-10-2021, 10:02   #4
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Maybe use an escrow service and let them handle it? Title transfer not concluded until funds have cleared? I thought wired money cannot be revoked? Not sure though.

When it comes to cars etc I have them go to the bank with me and get a cashier's check that I see the bank make. Or cash in hand. Then hand title to the buyer, or go to the title agency and we transfer there.
It's a good idea to go to the title transfer anyway because you can sell a car for cash, give the title and the buyer may never transfer the title! This happened to me and I got a court order for like 100 parking tickets in the city! The guy never transferred and just parked downtown without paying for over a year!
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Old 13-10-2021, 10:05   #5
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

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Originally Posted by George_SD View Post
Options are:
- cash (meet at your bank)
- escrow (reputable, local company, broker can assist)
- cashier's check (meet at issuing bank)
- crypto (if you know what you are doing)
I think a cashiers check when meeting at the issuing bank sounds good.

Escrow, if all the funds from the buyer go to the escrow company and then that company gives a guaranteed, irrevocable payment to my bank. I know they hold the buyer's deposit in surety but do they do the guarantee of the payments?

Cash. If selling a boat for $100k or more is a lot of cash. I would be fine with that assuming the transfer is done at a bank or other secure location but would the buyer?
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Old 13-10-2021, 11:05   #6
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Not selling my boat (yet) but just tried to sell a car and turned out every single inquiry was a scammer with the exception of 2-3 low ballers that offered half the price or less on what was already a good deal.

Of course I know enough that nothing concludes until I have fully confirmed funds in my bank, however even that is a risk.

Example, three checks I mailed to one of my suppliers were stolen. I didn't even know about it until over a month after the checks were deposited when the supplier contacted me about late payment. It took three weeks of back and forth before we figured out the checks were cashed but deposited in a different bank in a different state from my supplier.

This was in May. I had to jump through many hoops including filing a police report in Alabama where the checks ended up and submitting a notarized affidavit signed by me and an officer at the vendors company swearing we didn't do it. Then the banks investigated and finally returned the funds two weeks ago, five months later.

So theoretically someone could steal or counterfeit a check from a real person or company, pay for the boat, the funds could be deposited in my account and 100% confirmed by the issuing bank but I could still lose the money months later.

What's the answer? I could demand an Irrevocable, Confirmed Letter of Credit but that's a hassle and expensive. Cash works but selling an expensive boat that's a lot of cash for buyer and seller. Wire transfers maybe but could one of those be called back?
Doing this with airplanes I do the following:
  • Create a simple sales contract that describes what is being sold, its condition, as is/where is and so forth
  • Include full names and addresses or buyer and seller, including photocopy of driver license
  • contract includes the sales price, that funds will be wired, from where and to where
  • Actually go to your bank and sit with buyer and bank person, have them initiate the wire
  • once the back has confirmed receipt of funds, then sign the BoS and hand over keys etc
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Old 13-10-2021, 11:10   #7
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Escrow companies carry insurance and should cover any problem with the buyer's check/funds if they don't clear properly. Their whole purpose is to ensure that there is no fraud and you remain whole. You either end up keeping the boat or the money.

Yes, 100K would be a lot of cash and that's why I say it should be at your bank. It's the buyer's problem to bring that much cash to the safe location (your bank), instead of you trying to take it there.


Wire can be reversed. In fact, it happens regularly in cases of fraud, as long as the transfer is not international. We sometimes work with banks and/or FBI to reverse wires. Sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's slower, but the important thing is to notify the receiving bank, tell them law enforcement is working a case that involves this transfer and they need to put a hold on it. Every bank has cyber-security and fraud department that works on such issues. Once the money leaves the country though, it's pretty much gone (unless it's a branch of bank that has branches in the US, which is almost never the case with fraud.)
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Old 13-10-2021, 11:28   #8
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

People seem to make this complex

In a brokers case, they receive the money into a client account, at that point bills of sale are enacted.

In a private sake , either irrevocable instruments ( cashiers cheque , bankers draft etc )or verified transfer of funds.
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Old 13-10-2021, 13:48   #9
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Not selling my boat (yet) but just tried to sell a car and turned out every single inquiry was a scammer with the exception of 2-3 low ballers that offered half the price or less on what was already a good deal.

Of course I know enough that nothing concludes until I have fully confirmed funds in my bank, however even that is a risk.

Example, three checks I mailed to one of my suppliers were stolen. I didn't even know about it until over a month after the checks were deposited when the supplier contacted me about late payment. It took three weeks of back and forth before we figured out the checks were cashed but deposited in a different bank in a different state from my supplier.

This was in May. I had to jump through many hoops including filing a police report in Alabama where the checks ended up and submitting a notarized affidavit signed by me and an officer at the vendors company swearing we didn't do it. Then the banks investigated and finally returned the funds two weeks ago, five months later.

So theoretically someone could steal or counterfeit a check from a real person or company, pay for the boat, the funds could be deposited in my account and 100% confirmed by the issuing bank but I could still lose the money months later.

What's the answer? I could demand an Irrevocable, Confirmed Letter of Credit but that's a hassle and expensive. Cash works but selling an expensive boat that's a lot of cash for buyer and seller. Wire transfers maybe but could one of those be called back?

Scammers are everywhere unfortunately. Some things to try and consider.
1) Get a picture of remote buyer and Driver's License
2) don't accept ANY checks. Do transaction via wire or reputable escrow broker.
3) Consider running a background check on the buyer
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Old 13-10-2021, 15:59   #10
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Example, three checks I mailed to one of my suppliers were stolen. I didn't even know about it until over a month after the checks were deposited when the supplier contacted me about late payment. It took three weeks of back and forth before we figured out the checks were cashed but deposited in a different bank in a different state from my supplier.
I really don't understand why you guys in the US still do this.
The rest of the world pretty much gave up on cheques years ago (especially mailing them!)



Even here in PNG, we do it all by debit card or internet banking with direct debit/credit between payer and payee accounts. All the banks have browser interfaces and smartphone apps with 2-factor authentication.


If both use the same bank, the transaction is immediate, if different banks, it may take up to 24 hours for the funds to be cleared for the receiver.
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Old 13-10-2021, 17:14   #11
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

If you sell locally its a plus. Low risk.

Irrevocably L/C is not unreasonable for a $100k+ boat. Use a real bank and confirming bank, not Bank of Nigeria.

Go to your bank, or talk to a broker. Escrow works too. One thing to keep in mind is no matter what they say, theyll screw you before they lose money. Best thing you can do is use a major bank, and open an account. Deposit money, pull it out ASAP.

You dont want to use your bank, as if its fraudulent theyll pull from you other accounts. This is probably illegal, but Ive seen it happen. Use a shill account with the sellers major bank.

All banks and all payments vehicles are risk. Ive been screwed by HSBC, and had a court overrule an irrevocable L/C. Cash is king.
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Old 13-10-2021, 19:13   #12
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

I think that a few of the marine documentation services will gladly handle the transaction for you even selling individually. I think that's really the way to go.

Good luck with it. We're using a broker for Rocket Science, just because we don't want to hassle with it.
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Old 14-10-2021, 07:48   #13
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

FWIW escrow companies and not all above board either, and certainly not a panacea for this sort of issue.

In the USA at least, you have to be careful if you drive around with 100k in cash as our criminal gangs aka law enforcement can steal it from you under the myopic concept of civil forfeiture.
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Old 14-10-2021, 10:00   #14
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

Following. Sooner or later we'll be selling, and it's good to know what to watch out for!
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Old 14-10-2021, 10:03   #15
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Re: How to sell a boat and avoid scams

I would post a paid listing on a reputable boat listing site such as SailboatListings.com;
I would post on an owners forum of the maker of your boat;
I would require wire transfers for: 1) 20% deposit
2) Balance upon sale.
I would spend time developing a relationship with your buyer, so that you would have confirmed their home address, work, etc.
These are not the ONLY things I would do, but at the very least.
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