Join Date: Oct 2006
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I've bought two boats on eBay, and have been happy with both.
#1 was a guy who was moving to a new state and couldn't take the boat. He had advertised the boat locally with no success. He was running out of time so resorted to eBay to get rid of it. I didn't meet his reserve on the auction, but as the only serious bidder he was willing to work out a deal with me before he needed to pay winter storage.
#2 was a boat abandoned in a marina by its owner. The marina gained title and just wanted to get rid of it so they put it on eBay. (It's a project boat, but that's what I was looking for.)
In both cases I personally inspected the boats. I would never, ever consider bidding without doing so. If you're not familiar with the problems of older boats, bring a friend who's knowledgeable or hire a surveyor. Whatever you can't verify as good should be assumed to be bad, and your maximum bid set accordingly.
Surprisingly, on boat #2 of the several people who bid, I was the only one who actually looked at it.
Maybe the seller would allow sale subject to later survey and sea trial, but it looks like he's staring at an April 15th deadline for his summer slip bill. This boat's showing pretty good interest already. Given the number of boats I've seen relisted for non-paying bidders, if I decided I needed to get rid of this boat now, the last thing I'd do is allow some tire kicker the option to back out when he changes his mind about the boat.