Over the past three years Better Business Bureau received about 68 boat-related complaints and an additional 50 complaints from local BC consumers regarding boat purchases with companies outside of BC. Most complaints allege contract disputes and failure on the part of the business to provide the agreed-upon services or products.
"Buying a boat is a significant financial investment," says Rosalind Scott, BBB President and CEO. "We would like to recommend people to do their homework before they drop anchor on any boat purchase."
BBB offers the following advice on buying a boat:
- Determine how much money you have to spend on a boat and related costs (insurance, registration, required safety equipment, boat cover, accoutrements, storage, repairs, fuel, trailer, additional warranty, etc.).
- Will you need financing? If so check with your local financial institution for financing rates. A boat dealer may also offer financing, comparison shop.
- What kind of boating are you planning? Ocean, large lake, river or quiet lake? Sailing, paddling or motoring?
- What are your plans for the boat? Will you be fishing, tubing, water-skiing, sailing or cruising? Will these activities require you to purchase other equipment? At what cost?
- Where will you keep the boat? There options like a marina, on a trailer at home, rental storage area? What will the storage or mooring cost?
- How much maintenance is required and will you have time to perform the maintenance yourself or will you hire a company to perform it. How much will the maintenance cost annually?
Buying a Boat
- Ask the right questions. Before falling in love with a boat offered by a dealer, make sure the boat will cover your wants and needs. Find out what extras are included in the price and what other items you will need to purchase.
- Get All Promises in Writing. Be sure to document with whom you spoke and all verbal agreements (sale prices, add-ons, etc.) made or mentioned. Don't be pressured to put down a large deposit for fear of losing out.
- Research the boat dealer before signing a contract. Go to bbb.org to see a company's business review and any history of complaints. Make sure you look up the manufacturer of the boat as well.
- Bring someone with you who is not as emotionally or financially connected to you buying a boat. This individual may provide a different, yet helpful, perspective when talking with dealers or manufacturers.