The British people had an interesting way of referring a product of mediocre or low quality. They called it a “lemon.” The term quickly piqued the interest of Americans and they adopted the term; calling defective and worthless products lemons. The main use of the form nowadays is intended for worthless vehicles and boats. The most popular federal act related to defective boats and cars, commonly called “The Lemon Law,” is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The spark that triggered the creation of the first lemon law in Connecticut was when a buyer bought a car for a high price which turned out to be useless. Nowadays, customers are aware of the protection provided by lemon laws and look for solid warranties to ensure they’re buying the real deal.
The protection of the lemon law also covers boats if they have a warranty. Expert maritime attorneys say, to know if your boat is a lemon they have to suffer from chronic flaws that keep popping up no matter how many times they’re repaired. Whether your boat is new or used, you can count on the lemon law to cover it, if it came with a written warranty. While it may sound simple and straightforward on paper, some complications may arise when you’ve been deceived into buying a defective boat. We’ve made this mini-guide to help you know your rights and how to fix the problem.
While the first remedy that jumps into people’s heads when they are faced with a lemon of a boat is litigation. It’s necessary to understand that the legal course of action isn’t cheap. It’s recommended to create a list of all the defects you experienced since the purchase of the boat, preferably dated chronologically. A defects list will ensure that you’re staying on top of things as well as help you assess the severity of the situation objectively. The chronological order of the emergence of problems will help you add visual cues to the performance of the boat as time went by. It also provides a realistic time frame of how often your boat was breaking down instead of a subjective recollection. Once you start noticing one or more problems piling up with no clear solution on the horizon, you can be sure that your unit is a lemon.
When you’re faced with a problem with your boat, you’ll need to determine which plan to pursue in order to rectify the issue. A warranty can give you the luxury of repair and reimbursement from the boat maker and can also be used in a lawsuit to swing it to your favor by legally forcing the manufacturer to either repair or take it back completely. Every option comes with its pros and cons, but the most convenient option would be the manufacturer agreeing to fix all problems under the warranty’s coverage. Whether the boat is new or used, a warranty can still cover a myriad of problems and would help you get the boat back to a perfect state as soon as possible, or even have it replaced.
If the conditions of the warranty cover whatever issues the boat has, you’ll use the warranty to get your dealer’s attention and focus on the proper course of action. While it may seem a bit overboard, documenting the transference and deliverance of your boat for repairs is a great failsafe in case you decide to litigate later on. This will help list the problems you faced with the boat and the time it subsequently took for it to be repaired by the manufacturer.
Not having a warranty can be an unfortunate turn of events once you realize your boat is a defective one. The cost of the repairs on the boat will have to be paid upfront from your own money before you start pursuing the manufacturer for any measures. It’s very important that any defect in the boat is identified and officially documented by a well-known boatyard, with the cost of the repairs detailed. A surveyor letterhead on a manufacturing defect is also a strong addition to preparing for documented proof that you can send to the manufacturer directly. You’ll want to write a clear and straight-to-the-point letter to the manufacturer detailing the problem while providing all proof you could get your hands on.
The tone of the letter doesn’t have to be aggressive or passive. It should simply be written to be regarded by the manufacturer as a serious claim for reimbursement for the repairs done due to a problem from their end. You can provide a kind of ultimatum at the end of your message to let them know you’re serious about your intent while providing them with a reasonable timeframe to take action before you start legally pursuing them for the costs of repairs, litigation, and collection. Needless to say, be sure that you are within the statute of limitations because if you wait too long, your claim can be void completely and destroy your case.
If the manufacturer decides to turn a blind eye or refuse your claim, litigation may be the only option left for you to be able to rectify the problem of the lemon boat. If you happen to have warranty coverage that the manufacturer refuses to honor, it’s a very simple and straightforward case. The exact estimation of the losses due to repairs and stopping of your boat, if it’s commercial, are discussed with your maritime attorney. Your attorney is going to be of great help in these cases as it’s almost impossible to pursue alone without a professional by your side.
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to sail with the wind at your back because of a defective boat. It also adds insult to the injury if the boat was recently purchased under the pretense that it was perfectly operational. This is why you need to keep your strategy organized to get this over as quickly as possible, with the least damage possible.