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Their online form asks for your social security number now. I went all the way through the application process, got to the $450 and said, that's not right, and exited out. Of course, now they have my soc number, my address, my vessel number, because I clicked next on everything....ugh. I'm filing a complaint just to cover my butt if my identity ends up stolen. I know better, too - I should have looked more carefully at the web address. Beware.
Pretty sure they didn't have your SS number, but they already have all your other info.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
Their online form asks for your social security number now. I went all the way through the application process, got to the $450 and said, that's not right, and exited out.
What is with the $450? Their (scam) website lists the highest fee as an additional $300 (for 5 years), thus the total would be $375 - No?
 

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FWIW The monthly marina newsletter I just received has the headline "Avoiding the US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Scam".
 

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FWIW The monthly marina newsletter I just received has the headline "Avoiding the US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Scam".
That's great. The more we talk about this, the better. If enough people learn about this scam, eventually, this cash cow for the scammers will dry up. They will find they are spending more money on postage than the revenue generated.

Everyone...spread the word. On another boating forum? Post there as well.
 

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OK, I just got my reminder letter from these people in MT. I wonder if I'll still get one from the good people in CA? I'm not sure, but I think they are both owned by the same guy.
Last year, after I was scammed, I sent an email to the people in CA letting them know what I thought of them and their business practice. I also said I was going to spread the word on every boating forum I could find. They said if I did, they would have their lawyers sue me for defamation.
So far, I haven't heard from anyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
...
Last year, after I was scammed, I sent an email to the people in CA letting them know what I thought of them and their business practice. I also said I was going to spread the word on every boating forum I could find. They said if I did, they would have their lawyers sue me for defamation.
So far, I haven't heard from anyone.
I am curious about how they contacted you with the threat of legal action after they received your letter. Telephone? Return letter? Rock with a note through a window?

How could accurately stating your experience equate to defamation? Unless, of course, the guy is admitting that he knows his business is a scam.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
It might be worth it. I've been trying to get a response from the NVDC for nearly a year. I hear nothing from them for several months, then "we couldn't read one entry on your PDF file, send it back in with this correction" I look at my copy of the PDF and it's fine, but I redo it, rescan it, send it back in. Then they go silent for another couple of months. The NVDC needs some housecleaning, or so it seems.
Bill,

Sorry for the late follow up on your post above.

Did you CALL the NVDC? I have, and they were polite, professional and very helpful over the phone.
 

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I’ve personally been to the Documentation Center in Falling Waters,WVa and had my boat documented in less than hour..and I have to agree they where very professional in all accounts when dealing with them..
 

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If you sent them an email saying you were going to tell everyone that their mailing looks like the USCG, but you were going to warn everyone that it isn't and they don't need to spend money on these folks, there is no defamation.

If you wrote that you were going to tell everyone they are crooks and are a scam, that could be malicious falsehood under the law. However, in practical terms, it would be very hard for them to make the case, given their credibility.

While I hate these guys, I think the reason they're still around is they actually do provide the product they are selling. It's a rip off, but that's not illegal.

The law I think should take them down is mail fraud. They intentionally try to get the reader to think its the USCG. However, think of all the mail you get that dupes you into opening it: "Time Sensitive Material inside", "Card enclosed", etc. They are all dupes, but the laws are too vague and our marketing society has too little integrity.

I personally wrote a letter to the CEO of AARP, after opening one of their mailings. The outside of the envelope was a complete scam on what was inside. The envelop looked like important government mail, with no reference to AARP, but was just a membership solicitation. I suggested this approach creates a reflection on their organization. Do they actually lack integrity? Why would I want to affiliate with a company whose decision making and values are represented like this? Never heard back.
 
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If you sent them an email saying you were going to tell everyone that their mailing looks like the USCG, but you were going to warn everyone that it isn't and they don't need to spend money on these folks, there is no defamation.

If you wrote that you were going to tell everyone they are crooks and are a scam, that could be malicious falsehood under the law. However, in practical terms, it would be very hard for them to make the case, given their credibility.
There is no defamation. I don't think I have ever mentioned the company by name, so even if I called them crooks, I doubt they could do anything.

The guy who responded to my email....all bark, no bite. Just trying to be the big shot and threaten me with legal action. Judging by all the threads I've seen here and other boating forums on the subject, there is a very long line of people they would have to go after before getting to me. Many people have been way more nasty in their comments than I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I said I sent them an email.
Yep, you did, and I even quoted you as saying that you sent them an email!
:hammer

Gotta admire that they got back to you though! :)
 

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Yep, you did, and I even quoted you as saying that you sent them an email!
:hammer

Gotta admire that they got back to you though! :)

While it all worked out ok and I got my document, in hind sight, I probably should have waited to get my document before going on a rant and telling the company just what I though of them.
 

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FWIW the same thing happens with domain registration.

I own a few domain names which cost about $14/year each to renew with godaddy.com.

Every renewal time I receive solicitations to renew for $75/$100 each from companies that I never heard of. Very official looking forms with vague warnings about how I will lose my domains if I don't send them right back.

I just toss them and chuckle that it must be an effective technique if they keep doing it.

Then I go on about my day.
 

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Bill,

Sorry for the late follow up on your post above.

Did you CALL the NVDC? I have, and they were polite, professional and very helpful over the phone.
I have called them in the past, and they were very helpful and professional. But then I had to send in the application to an e-mail address and that's when things went down hill. Actually, I should have replied sooner as well, because no sooner had I posted my rant about the NVDC and a day or so later my documentation showed up in the mail.

-- Bill
Belle Voile
PSC 34
 

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I just got my MDC solicitation in the mail today, so I thought I would read it to see how bad it is.

Unfortunately, while they must be hoping one doesn't read it, the language is clearly going to keep them out of court.

Plain and simple.

In the opening paragraph, the identify themselves as a "private firm".

In the second paragraph, it says "Use of our process requires payment of a service fee in addition to the government renewal application fee."

In the last paragraph, it says "You are under no obligation to utilize our firm's service."

Certainly possible they've tightened up the language, after being confronted. However, I don't think mail fraud would stick and it sounds like folks actually receive what is being offered. You simply don't need them whatsoever.
 
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I just got my MDC solicitation in the mail today, so I thought I would read it to see how bad it is.
Did your letter come from Cal or, I think, Idaho?
The one from Idaho (or one of the states up that way) is a little more open about being a private firm. The company in Cal, not as open. The Cal company even has a West VA return address, even though it was mailed from Cal.
 

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Did your letter come from Cal or, I think, Idaho?
The one from Idaho (or one of the states up that way) is a little more open about being a private firm. The company in Cal, not as open. The Cal company even has a West VA return address, even though it was mailed from Cal.
Sorry. Threw it out and don't recall.
 

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I also received a letter from Maritime Documentation Center and fell for their scam as well. Looked like they were a 3rd party vendor for the US Coast Guard- with our Official Documentation Number. I wanted to report them on every forum that I can — to warn others from falling for this. From Now on - I will be much more careful and less trusting.
 

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I also received a letter from Maritime Documentation Center and fell for their scam as well. Looked like they were a 3rd party vendor for the US Coast Guard- with our Official Documentation Number. I wanted to report them on every forum that I can — to warn others from falling for this. From Now on - I will be much more careful and less trusting.
Sorry you fell for it as well. There are multiple threads on all the boating forums about this, but feel free to raise the flag again. I'm sure there are plenty of boaters who still aren't aware of this.
 
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