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I purchase a used boat from a craigslist posting.It turned out to be a lemon. Is there any way to get my money back?

Mount Pocono, PA |

A portion of the sellers ad read:"Date: 2010-06-24, Type: Bow rider Engine type: Single inboard/outboard Use: Fresh water Length (feet): 19.0 Engine make: Mercury Primary fuel type: Gas Beam (feet): -- Engine model: 233HP Fuel capacity (gallons): 21-30 Hull material: Fiberglass Trailer: Included The boat features a 233 HP Mercuiser outdrive. The good stuff: 233 HP engine (Ford 351) 2005, New carburetor in 2005, New tilt cylinders in 2005, Trim tabs, Like new bimini, Full canvas, Outdrive replaced in 2007, Hummingbird Excellent teak trim, Surge Brakes, New trailer tires 2008 Call 973 343-XXXX for a great deal!" Today I put it on the water, never left the dock because the engine starting taking on water and shut it off. The engine block is cracked. Is there anyway to get my money back?

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Attorney answers 2


There is no lemon law for boats in most states. You must look to the uniform commercial code, (UCC), Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and local UDAP statutes to determine if you have a meritorious case here. Based on the advertisement, there seems to be no representations about the engine. If you didn't get a written warranty, you must generally rely on written or verbal statements made by the seller to create a warranty. The seller will surely argue this is an "as-is' sale. In fact, your purchase documents may reflect just that. (A lawyer would need to review all of your documents to provide you with a definitive answer here). However you should know that "as-is" it means you buy the boat with all its defects and nonconformities. Essentially, if the vehicle is not warranted, you may not have a claim. I suggest you provide all the documents and information to an experienced consumer protection attorney in P.A. You can find one at


In a used boat sale, your legal rights are mostly determined by the paperwork that you sign. Look to see if anything was written down about any kind of warranty or guarantee or right to cancel the deal. But that’s not the end of it. If you bought the boat from a private seller, then generally the only obligation on the seller is that they answer your questions truthfully and not hide anything that they know you would want to know before making your purchase decision (hiding something might be fraud). If you bought the boat from a dealer, then they have the same obligations as a private seller, but also more. If the dealer does not use sales paperwork that specifically denies (legally it is called “disclaim”) the warranty of “merchantability” or “fitness for use” then the buyer can end up with those warranties automatically and, in most states, that would be a four year warranty. Merchantability basically means the boat is at least as good as most any other boat of its type and age. Fitness for use just means that it is fit for the use that you said you wanted it for. Technically, these are called implied warranties and they can give you legal rights you didn’t even know you had, and the seller probably didn’t want you to get. This sounds like the seller should be responsible since the failure occurred right away and sounds like it may have already been there when you bought the boat, but you may need an expert to inspect it and tell you. If your engine failure is due to a manufacturing defect, then you may be able to argue with the manufacturer to get repair help, but if it is no longer covered by warranty, all you can do is argue and hope. To find out what all this means in your situation and in your state, you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you or you can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers ( and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give me a thumbs up. Ron Burdge,