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xort 08-13-2008 07:32 PM

mechanics lean
I'm having a dispute over a bill for parts & repairs. I called the provider and asked questions about the bill. He got defensive, said he would look into it and call me back then hung up. Haven't heard from him in 3 weeks. I'm willing to pay the appropriate amount. But I'm not going to call him begging for an answer he promised to give.

My question is can he file a lein or something on my boat without me knowing it?

Freesail99 08-13-2008 07:43 PM

Many years ago, a company I was an owner in was doing business with "the Donald" and I filled a $6 dollar mechanics lein just to make sure we got paid. Saved us well over 6 figures in hind sight.

He did not know about the lein, until he went to get the CO for the building. I assure you he knew full well about the money he owed us.

bogdog 08-13-2008 07:47 PM

I'm not sure if MI is any different than WI but here you have to file for a judgment (you know serve papers and stuff, go to a hearing) before any lien is granted. I would call the guy back and shower him with kindness like "I know your busy and I don't want to be pain, but I really would like to resolve this and pay what I owe as long as I understand the charges". If that doesn't get you the results your looking for don't pay him until it does. If he does sue for the bill, go to court and state that you DID try to resolve it in good faith. You'd be surprised how easy the courts are to navigate. good luck.

theartfuldodger 08-13-2008 07:49 PM

yes he can, at least in Canada, and he doesn't even have to infom you, but did you get an estimate first, and did you sign a work order, and approve the repairs. If by any chance you still fear action send a registered letter with your concerns to both the shop, the better busness bureau, and your local paper, such action usually brings good results.

PBzeer 08-13-2008 08:20 PM

One easy first step you can take is to send a certified letter requesting an explanation of the charges. Number one, it shows them you're covering yourself, and Number two, you are covering yourself. Might be all you need to get the ball rolling.

RickQuann 08-13-2008 09:03 PM

Xort, in Virginia a yard can file a lein with or without your knowledge and I'm almost sure they can take possesion of your boat (if it's in their yard) until the lien is released.
On another note, John's suggestion is a good idea. A certified letter keeps the dialog open.

k1vsk 08-13-2008 09:38 PM

As you are asking about an issue governed by state statute, the answer is very much dependent on --- you guessed it -- what state you are in or more precisely, what state the boat is in.

Having said that, most states require anyone who files a lien to be licensed by that state so this is your first priority and should be easily verifiable. Presuming he is and does file a lien, it is typical that, upon judicial review, you can sue him for treble damages - something which you might want to remind him about should he want to get frisky.

These type disputes usually turn on who has the stronger argument rather than who is right

poopdeckpappy 08-13-2008 10:58 PM


Originally Posted by xort (Post 353792)
My question is can he file a lein or something on my boat without me knowing it?


Well. he can file a lien without you knowing, but once it's filed you will get a copy and anyone else on the tile

nolatom 08-13-2008 11:07 PM

Depends on state law for boats within state waters. For a commercial vessel (and for documented yachts) a lien can be filed with the Coast Guard, or can be sued upon in federal court under admiralty law, for "necessaries" (such as repairs) performed on a vessel. And you may not know about it til this happens.

rewell6 08-14-2008 12:01 AM

Here's a little trick. When you pay off the bill, put this on the memo line or on the back of the check.

By signing I agree that I was paid in full for all materials and labor.

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