Fraud Awareness Tips for Boat Buyers

By Staff Writers



Palm Harbor, FL -- Buying a boat you find on-line is similar to buying anything else you find in a classified ad or other source. When buying a boat you find on, use your best judgment.


Get the Boat Inspected

Schedule an inspection with a professional technician or qualified service center if the boat is not in your area. Getting an inspection early on in the process can help you identify problems. However, keep in mind that an inspection doesn't identify all existing problems, won't guarantee the boat is free from defects, and isn't a warranty.


Know the Boat's Value

Be suspicious of a boat priced well below market value; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Confirm Seller's Contact Information

Do not send payment before verifying the seller's street address and phone number. Zip codes, area codes, and addresses should match. Be especially cautious if the seller is located overseas.


Use Email Wisely

DO NOT send personal or financial information (social security number, credit card number, or bank account information) to a seller via email. Email is not a secure form of communication and can be easily forwarded to others.


Get a Detailed Receipt or Bill of Sale

Most states require a Bill of Sale when buying or selling a boat. Ask the seller to include whether the boat is being sold with a warranty or "as is."


Get the Title

Make sure you know what's required in your state to transfer title of the boat you're buying into your name. If the boat is on a trailer, be aware that there may be separate requirements to transfer the title and registration of the trailer into your name as well. Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Licensing before proceeding in the purchase of a boat or trailer.


If the seller financed their original purchase, then their bank may hold the physical title to the boat and trailer. Include in the Bill of Sale that the seller agrees to pay off all liens, encumbrances, and interest in the boat and that they will immediately forward the original title to you, released with a notarized signature, by certified mail or other method that can be tracked.