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I purchased a boat that was described as being in excellent running condition. It wasn't. Do I have any legal remedy?

Spokane, WA |

The seller had a full add that described the boat as being in excellent condition and sound mechanical condition. Always serviced professionally, etc. The boat was 300 miles from our home an based on his description I purchased the boat without running it. When we got the boat in the water the rear main seal was leaking sand it had flooded the transmission previously and so the boat was inoperable although it would run. In addition, it would only start with the throttle in neutral but in a revving position. I spent $3200 in those repairs. In addition, a fender have been improperly installed by the seller which vibrated loose in transit and shredded the rear tire almost causing a roll over. Do I have any legal recourse? His position is "You inspected the boat and so I'm not liable.

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Filed under: Fraud
Attorney answers 1


A key question is if you signed a Bill of Sale whereby you accepted the item "as is". If so, the doctrine of "Caveat Emptor" (Let the Buyer Beware) may apply and the Bill of Sale arguably will supersede any prior misstatements of fact in the advertising. This doctrine states that a buyer can not recover damages from a seller for defects that make the property unfit for ordinary purposes, except if the seller overtly concealed latent defects or made material misrepresentations tantamount to fraud. In your case, if there is no written Bill of Sale or any other written acknowledgment that you accepted the boat in an "as is" condition, you may be able to recover under: i) breach of express warranty in the advertising, or ii) breach of implied warranty of merchantability whereby goods must be "fit for the intended purpose. You may also seek to rescind the sale agreement if the seller's intentional misstatements about the boat in the offer process constitute fraud.

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