Yacht Owner Alert
The current economic downturn has affected many aspects of our lives, and as is always true, adversity often brings out the best and the worst in people. For every story of decent people lending a hand to those in need, there is a story of someone trying to put a hand in your pocket… and often unscrupulously at that. Cons and scams that often appear laughably obvious can, under certain conditions, catch an unsuspecting individual off guard or at a point in their lives where they are under crushing financial pressure. More than a few folks have had the misfortune of losing funds to these predators at the worst possible time, all the while thinking that these opportunities, offers, or transactions are legitimate.
The California Yacht Brokers Association would like to alert all boat and yacht owners with a vessel on the market. A risk exists that they might be contacted by persons or groups offering options for purchasing their boat that are outside the usual process, or recognized norm of having a licensed broker list your boat, find a qualified buyer, and handle the negotiations and transactional details for the sale of your vessel. Suspect or questionable offers could be made that include a request to purchase your yacht or boat with little or no money down, and to then have you the owner provide the financing for a period of time. While seller financing can sometimes be appropriate, it is best done with the involvement and counsel of your yacht broker, an attorney, and possibly other entities such as your lender and insurance provider, who together can help advise you and help structure a program for you and your buyer that will protect both of you, your assets and your investment.
Countless other scams and rip-offs have existed for quite some time. Recently, we have seen numerous attempts by less than scrupulous individuals, to try to defraud the public. Some examples are:
- Offers to purchase boats for the full price, including freight, where the freight is to be refunded and payment is made by a bogus Cashiers Check.
- Purchases with bad bank checks.
- Offers to purchase from Overseas Buyers using Bank Drafts.
- Buyers requesting that Sellers produce phony Bills of Sale to defraud the Banks.
Chances are your broker, and most certainly the CYBA, have heard of or have had experience with these scams and others, and can quickly move to prevent you from entering in to a suspect transaction. If you have any doubt or questions about the terms being offered or even the legitimacy of an offer to purchase, contact your yacht broker or a CYBA director and we will assist you in determining if this opportunity is a safe one for you to consider.
Please remember that it is always good business and good sense to utilize the services of a California-licensed yacht broker or salesman when selling or buying your vessel. With usage of the CYBA’s internationally acclaimed yacht sales forms, with representation from a CYBA member who adheres to the broadest and most comprehensive Code of Ethics, your are positioning yourself to have a smooth and safe transaction. With the high values of today’s pleasure boats, and the complexities of doing business in a litigious society, protect yourself and your vessel by making sure you have the best representation. Ask your broker about his/her involvement with the CYBA; ask him/her about their participation in ongoing education such as the CYBA’s Law Seminar or the Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) program. The current procedures for a yacht sale, in a good or a tough economy, are sophisticated, multi-faceted endeavors. Ask questions of your broker and visit the CYBA website @ www.cyba.info for more information on how to protect yourself.