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Old 10-03-2011
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You may want to nose around and see if you can find others that this mechanic has done the same to. If it goes to court then that may be a decideing factor in the case.
Good Luck on the problem.
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Old 10-03-2011
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I'd also advise speaking with a lawyer, as they are the only ones who will be able to provide true legal advice.

What I would do, if you are able to document everything you've said, is put up a full 'review' website of the mechanic.
Specify everything that occurred with him, and all actions taken.
As Minnewaska said, they don't want bad press.
I did it once with a company that tacked on a lot of extra charges and bills for things that had never been done. When I went in to discuss it with them I just had them do a google search for their company name, it turned out my 'review' was the third result down, complete with photos of the final results, and copies of the original estimates, the quote, and the final bill etc. They were not happy and corrected the (in their words) 'errors' that had been made in billing.
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Old 10-03-2011
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Illeagle is a sick bird,,,,what they have done is just plain sick, laywer up and see what they say, liens are a dirty thing so my guess is they have done it before and has worked for them. Act quickley as they have done so.. Good luck to ya!!
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Old 10-03-2011
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Update on the situation at hand.

On the advice of my lawyer in Pa I had a discussion and provided supporting documents to the Lien Company. There was enough documentation that I got written confirmation that they were suspending the auction until the dispute could be resolved.

I have e-mailed the mechanic asking for the corrected bill he had promised a month ago. No response.

The lien company tried calling the mechanic, no response as of 12 noon today.

I cannot comment on the corrected bill as I have not seen it. There were several problems other than the name of the boat on the initial bill. I do not know whether they were corrected but I have supporting documentation.

The mechanic probably will not be able to do the gelcoat work. I am waiting for the mechanic's bill before I schedule additional work at the marina. I cannot schedule new work until all previous bills are paid.

The original bill stated a sea trial would be done and any work needed after customers last sea trial. No sea trial has been scheduled or completed.

My request to the mechanic via e-mail to resolve this issue was very simple:
1) Submit the corrected bill for my review.

2) After accepting the bill I will arrange for the gelcoat to be completed (one week to complete).

3) Schedule a sea trial.

4) Receive payment after successful sea trial.

That seems imminently fair to me.

I realize I can't get back my sailing time and the time spent with friends on the boat. I am rather new to sailing and that time is valuable to me. How do you explain that to kids. With my tight schedule this fall it is unlikely I will sail this year.

I am also a little upset with myself because I had a decent mechanic who did good work at my marina. On the strong recommendation of the engine distributor and against friends advice; I towed the boat 25 miles to a new marina/mechanic to have the work done. Live and learn.

I will keep everyone updated. Thanks for your suggestions and support,

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Old 10-03-2011
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Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
Sorry, most states require you to register the boat even if it's documented. You pay the taxes, register the boat, and get the paperwork. Even though you don't display the numbers on the bow, it's still registered.

You might mean "titling" instead of "registering." In most cases, documentation takes the place of titling.
Nope... I meant registering.... Some states, CA included dont require registration of a documented boat... And in all states, documentation takes the place of titling... At least according to the Feds.

Placing a lien on a documented boat requires a suit in federal court... It is not difficult to do, but does require more proof than the mechanics liens that are sometimes abused by shady boat yards.

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Old 10-03-2011
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I have been following this thread with out much to add, with that said good luck with your situation. I hope all turns out as well as it can given the circumstances.

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Old 10-04-2011
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Update on the boat:

Sometimes I'm just stupid. I confirmed that the mechanic has received my e-mails by using the tools available in AOL.

The invoice number and date from the incorrect bill are the same invoice # and date as those submitted to the lien company. The only difference is that the mechanic changed the name of the boat and reduced the price on the invoice he sent to the lien company. His revised bill is much closer to his original estimate.

I am not sure that it is legal to back date a new or revised bill. The mechanic still has not sent me the revised bill though he has read me requests.

On a positive note; the lien company has been very nice about the whole issue. After submitting supporting documentation, they have gone out of their way to assure me my boat will not be sold. They actually went out of their way to highlight the duplication in the invoices that I did not know about; I was just focusing on dates.


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Old 10-04-2011
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If you decide to proceed without at least consulting with a good lawyer, then there are probably several good books on self taught brain surgery that you will want to look at next. Talk to several lawyers. But be specific on who you are looking for. A great divorce lawyer won't know (necessarily) any more than you do about maritime liens. (although if you don't get this fixed, you may need him as well).

In your state, lawyers may be "board certified" by the state bar in different areas. Look for one relating to admiralty law. You will learn a lot by just talking to someone, and most lawyers will not charge you for the initial meeting to sit down and see if they can help you. If you look, you will find one that is a lawyer and knows something about this area. You can usually google "state bar" and your state name, and when you get to the state bar website, you can put in your area, and marine or admiralty law, and find someone that can talk to you. The people you get initially may be way above your head, people who handle things like a rig sinking in the ocean, but they usually would not be admiralty lawyers unless they liked the sea, and they will often know of another, less big time lawyer that would be glad to help.

The time spend finding someone that actually knows what to do is well spent. Don't bluff by trying to write the letters yourself, and get someone fairly quickly, there may well be time limits in how quickly you must contest a claim against your vessel. These rules were written for commercial vessels like the Exxon New Jersey, and they are equally applicable to all of us.

Lawyers are like doctors, police, plumbers, etc. There are good ones and bad ones, honest ones and ones that are not. But you will know that as you talk to them. Just don't hire someone that will do your divorce, your will, your boat and your overseas currency trade all at the same time. You want someone that knows what to do in 5 minutes, not 5 hours.

Good luck. And I do practice law, but not this kind, and this is free advice. I am not your lawyer, and don't want to be, because it isn't my area. You are not my client (the ethical rules make us say that). But really, there are a lot of good people out there, and you are in over your head. This won't get better. Go find someone to help you. Call the local bar association for your city. The key you want is someone who does admiralty law, or sometimes called marine law.

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Old 10-04-2011
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George, i would suggest this is exactly why you want to get some professionals (lawyer, consumer affairs, attorney general, etc.) involved ASAP and also formally notify AOL security that there is a pending matter of criminal fraud to please retain all emails from the relevant parties and to expect subpeonas for them to follow, etc.

You have, formally or informally, effectively placed the lien company on notice that they are being made a party to a criminal fraud. They're not gonna come back and tell you that, but the last thing they want to do in that case is to sell the boat, because once they know there is a fraud involved, if they sell the boat THEY may be liable to criminal charges AS WELL AS "making you whole" with the replacement value of the boat.

And since there are different states involved, and the item at question is a motor vehicle worth over $5000 (presumably) it is possible that this also automatically gets bumped up to a federal matter with the FBI and USAG involved. So even if the mechanic and the lien company were in cahoots (more criminal charges) it could get bumped out of their comfort zone very quickly.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. Call the free ones, the "Consumer Affair" and "Attorney General" type offices. Send paper letters with receipts, and if you can legally tape phone calls, make those too, taking notes with times and names. You may not have to hire a lawyer, but if the free ones say to call a lawyer--INVEST the two hundred bucks, whatever it will cost.

"But really, there are a lot of good people out there, and you are in over your head. "
I'd say you've gotten impeccably good advice. From a lawyer!
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Old 10-08-2011
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Latest update:

I filed a consumer complaint with the Maryland Attorney General about the invoice numbers and dates matching and lien/auction process.

The auction was canceled by the lien company and I guess that had the mechanic looking for his money. I got a call from the marina manager Wednesday looking to 'fix' the problem. The marina has been very supportive throughout this process. I told him that as soon as I had a valid bill from the mechanic he could start the transom work.

I still did not have a bill by Friday afternoon and canceled further work on the boat. In a message copied to the lien company I explained that I would like to resolve the dispute but need a valid bill before proceeding.

Late Friday night I received the 'corrected' bill from the mechanic with the original date and invoice number. Hopefully I will be scheduling the sea trial for next week or beginning of November.

Trying not to get my hopes up to soon. I have been down this road before thinking my boat was ready; and now the season is truly over. There is always next year.

Thanks again for the support and advice,

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