Lee Marine / Misrepresentation

1 United States

In January I tried to buy a sailboat through Lee Marine of Phuket, having responded to a listing on their website for a two year old classic daysailer.

An independent survey costing over US$1, 000 concluded the boat was seven years older than advertised by Lee Marine, and quite unseaworthy in its current condition. The details of the boat in the Lee Marine Sales Particulars and legally binding Sales Agreement were contradicted by the boat's Hull Identification Number (HIN), an obvious point not picked up by Lee Marine in their deficient listing process.

Lee Marine returned my deposit after a vigorous exchange of emails, but repeated complaints to the Managing Director Joshua Lee have not produced either an apology for the expense and inconvenience their misrepresentation has occasioned, or an offer to donate a nominal sum to charity as token compensation.

Mr. Lee however did write to the broker responsible for the Lee Marine listing as follows:

"1. You should never had listed this boat. It was unregistered, uninsured and no tax paid. That is a red flag.

2. At some point [the surveyor] was not treated in the manner I expect of a professional working for our company.

3. Although the moving of the yacht to the waterside and preparing the boat for sea trial is not your (ours) responsibility it is fair for the buyer to assume you could assist the owners in some capacity to assure a smooth transition for the surveyor. It sounds to me like this was not done.

4. We could have avoided the HIN number issue with reference to the ownership papers (see point 1 above)

I now want you to check your entire file of all listings under your care to ensure that at the very least we have vessel registration to cross-reference important points such as year of build."

It is fair to conclude that until such time as Lee Marine have double-checked all their current sales listings, prospective yacht purchasers would be well advised to treat all Lee Marine's Sales Particulars -- published on their website, in the marine leisure press, and in Sales Brochures -- with extreme caution.


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