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Water delivery - non payment

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Yachtguymke, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

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    Completed a delivery this week of a Sportfish Yacht from NC to FL. Owner had me email my time and expenses to him post trip. He's now arguing with me about the amount of time he needs to pay me for. I have all of the email documentation to support the time and expenses. Stupid me should have stayed with the boat until I received a check but nothing prior to these events made me think he wouldn't pay. I'm stumped. Small Claims court? Lien on Boat? Anyone have any thoughts?
  2. docjr03

    docjr03 New Member

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    There are attorneys that specialize in collections; that's where I'd start.
  3. CaptNeil

    CaptNeil Member

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    I have had this happen. If the guy is in trouble financially you might as well write it off. Here is what happened to me. After running a boat around the Bahamas for a few weeks it was time to bring it back to the states. I left the Exumas and planned on stopping in Nassau to fuel before crossing. I fueled the boat and went to run the credit card. It was declined. Tried numerous times to reach the deadbeat owner for another card or wire transfer to the marina. No luck. So I had to put the fuel on my cc. $5000. By the time I was finished with dealing with the fuel it was too late to depart for a crossing. Got a slip in Nassau for the night another $500 on my cc. Left Nassau first light and crossed to Jupiter. Put the boat behind the guys house and went looking for him to collect for the two weeks pay fuel and marina charges. Guy was Mia no answers on phone no replies to text or emails. Called and emailed non stop for about a month. Finally I put a lien on the boat. After 8 months filed to foreclose on the boat. I then received papers from the bankruptcy court that the owner had filed for chapter 11. Game over!
  4. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

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    Yeah. I just googled the guys name and it came back with a long list of PDF's about Medicare Fraud, Felonies and Probation. I guess I won't be seeing any money.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Forget the advise to just write it off, and hiring expensive lawyers. That trip should fall within the limitations of small claims court. First, file a mechanic's lien on the boat, then take him to small claims court to perfect the lien. Then seize the boat and sell it. NEVER let a piece of cr-- take you like this or the word will go out that you're to be had. It's a small community, and the community of deadbeat boaters is even smaller.

    I had one guy short me $100. I sued him for $1,000. He got an attorney to counter sue (for his 10 year old battery charger that shorted out. lol). When contacted by his lawyer I asked if he was charging or doing it as a favor. When he said he was getting paid, I told him to expect things to drag out and for him to make a bunch of money. (The lawyer and I draggrd out the court appearance for about 6 hours while we "talked settlement". I probably cost that guy over $5,000. I filed during my off season, and scheduled court for when he'd have to take a day off from work. Another time a dealership stiffed me for $300. I ended up with an almost $700 judgment against them, and was about to take their business license when I decided to call the CEO. He had no idea. One of his salespeople was stealing from him and I got caught in the middle. The judgment was paid the next day.

    I spent many years in the collection business. NEVER allow anyone to take advantage of you. The dollars are irrelevant. It's your reputation and your getting on the deadbeat sucker's list that's at stake. You'll have to file in either N.C. or Florida, but it's worth it.

    P.S. There are some who would sink his boat with him in it if he stiffed them $1.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    One other thing. In nearly 30 years of running boats, I never laid out money for a client.
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    You may need a lawyer to guide you but you can do the footwork. Document everything while it's fresh on your mind. Update the ships logs. List any witness (mate, deckhand, mechanic) that knew you were a for hire captain.
    File a lien on his boat, any other boat, car, house (where boat is stored), dog (Boat security device), cat (only friend) and on the wet bikes and tender to the big boat. Something will stick. When you get his, his attorney or the courts attention let your attorney argue the rest of the way.

    Good luck but sometimes bad ship happens like this.
  8. CaptNeil

    CaptNeil Member

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    I would normally not do that either but I was stuck in a foreign country with a $5000 fuel bill and a cc that didn't work. My advise to write it off was if the guy wasn't financially sound. The courts protect the deadbeats and you will be wasting your time trying to make them pay. If they are able to pay then by all means go after them with both barrells.
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    BTW, keep in mind that in the collection business Florida is considered one of the four "deadbeat" states, the others being Pa, Texas & California. Very easy to skip out on debts in those states.
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Oh, along with the state lien, lay one on the fed document.
    NYCAP is correct. Don't let him walk away. Bankrupt will pay some pennies, Foreclosures will pay a lil better if the liens are in place before they happen.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If the money wasn't collectible, I'd go with plan B, but maybe that's just the NY way. I look on jail as just an alternative retirement program.
  12. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

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    He made me an offer for a lot less than what he owes me. I'll probably just take it rather than going through the motions. It won't take log before he makes quite the name for himself where he lives. He needs a TON of work done to that boat. I'm done being nice to people...
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Evidently not, but if it works for you then go for it. Let us know if he bounces the check and then offers to settle that for less. It's what I expect. If he's a really good deadbeat he'll eventually have you paying for the privilege of delivering his boat.
  14. saltysenior

    saltysenior Senior Member

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    Is the boat documented ???
  15. Yachtguymke

    Yachtguymke Senior Member

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    Boat is documented, yes. His offer is not far off, just a few hundred short. I'll walk away for that. I talked to an attorney in Fort Lauderdale that says it will cost me just as much as I am getting to fight this. In terms of not being nice anymore - i'll require funds up front and a wire transfer at the end. That's how he is paying me right now. I guess ill see if it ever shows up.
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    If you have a good legal case, you sue for collection fees also.
    Don't sign any receipts, get what you can, then put a lien on his stuff for the balance plus interest. Play dirty back.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    First you stated he made you an offer for a lot less than he owes, then you say his offer is only a few hundred less....which is it.....For a few hundred, I'd probably collect it and call it a day.........
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Guess it's just the NY in me, but not me. I charge what I charge because I'm worth it. If you short me you're intentionally insulting me and my professional worth to my face. That takes the amount of money out of the equation. Do that and it's like taking a bone from a dog. Mind you, I'll give my time for free. Just don't try to steal it.
  19. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    Get what you can, but don't sign anything. Then go after him in your spare time, this way you at least have something then you can aggravate him all you like.
    I'm curious, if you fill up a boat with fuel and the card gets declined and you are sitting there with big bill and no way to pay immediately, what do you do? Personally I'd leave the boat there until the owner pays up, or are you liable for the bill as you are the Capt? I learned a long time ago not to have any money out to owners, even ones that you have a long record with.
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Some things just aren't worth your time fighting over. To be honest a few hundred isn't worth my time or aggrivation. In the time you spend fighting with him to collect a few hundred, you could've made a few thousand. If I was younger, yes. But as I've gotten older I've learned to pick my battles.

    I was stuck with precisely the same situation when everything hit the fan at the end of 2008. Credit card didn't go through for $7k in fuel, owner told me to wait a day or two, we were at a marina that was ok with it as long as we were docked there. 2 days later it still didn't go through (meanwhile this was after we were already 2 1/2 weeks into a delivery and I owed 2 mates as well). I decided to put it on my card and bring the boat home. I paid both mates out of my pocket and all expenses to get the boat to Ft. Laud, another 10 days-2 weeks. However, I had worked for this owner for several years and he had been good to me. In the end he owed me close to $20k, it took him almost a month to pay me, but he did pay me in full. It's a tough decision. You're kind of between a rock and a hard place.