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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.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, or mistrusting of everyone. Presumably, you did get your updated documentation. It’s when you get scammed out of your money for nothing that it would really hurt.

I do wonder why these folks haven’t been prosecuted for mail fraud. Although, the mailers do seem to have been changed to walk the line.
 

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The same thing happened to me. The "Maritime Documentation Center" charged me $150 for a 2-year renewal. An hour later when I realized that I was being scammed, I notified them that I did not want to use their services. They canceled my order, performed no services, and kept my $150. My credit card company could not help me because I accepted their terms and conditions by clicking "submit" on their website. Legal thievery!
 

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The same thing happened to me. The "Maritime Documentation Center" charged me $150 for a 2-year renewal. An hour later when I realized that I was being scammed, I notified them that I did not want to use their services. They canceled my order, performed no services, and kept my $150. My credit card company could not help me because I accepted their terms and conditions by clicking "submit" on their website. Legal thievery!
Did you pay the USCG again? If you did not get what you paid for, that’s grounds for recovery on your cc. Or just force them to provide it and not lay a second time. Something is odd with this one.
 

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WORD OF CAUTION:
My mistake, hope I can save someone else from making this error...

I received an official looking letter from "Maritime Documentation" thinking it was from the USCG. I signed up and then realized my error. I challenged the transaction with cc company, lost the appeal. OK, so I was willing to just move forward even if it cost 3x more - my mistake after all. Contacted Maritime Documentation and they told me that I had forfeited my $225 (I had signed for 3 years) and would have to re-apply...

WOW, that's as close as it gets to stealing/fraud as you can get. Nowhere on the fine print does it say that you if you challenge the transaction, that you forfeit your fee. It does say it is non-refundable. I was willing to NOT get my money back and just move forward with the application. NOPE, Maritime documentation kept the money.

STAY away from these folks. Just use the online USCG application process and renew online.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
WORD OF CAUTION:
My mistake, hope I can save someone else from making this error...

I received an official looking letter from "Maritime Documentation" thinking it was from the USCG. I signed up and then realized my error. I challenged the transaction with cc company, lost the appeal. OK, so I was willing to just move forward even if it cost 3x more - my mistake after all. Contacted Maritime Documentation and they told me that I had forfeited my $225 (I had signed for 3 years) and would have to re-apply...

WOW, that's as close as it gets to stealing/fraud as you can get. Nowhere on the fine print does it say that you if you challenge the transaction, that you forfeit your fee. It does say it is non-refundable. I was willing to NOT get my money back and just move forward with the application. NOPE, Maritime documentation kept the money.

STAY away from these folks. Just use the online USCG application process and renew online.
I would think that you could now challenge the transaction. You paid for, but did not receive their service.
 

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Sorry they got you too. Just do everything you can to spread the word, both here and other boating forums. As more and more people become aware of this scam, eventually this cash cow will dry up for the scammers
 

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I agree with you. I contacted the cc company and they said because I had signed the agreement (which included a no-refund policy) that I could appeal again. Maritime blocked my calls. My option would be to get a lawyer.... and file a claim that I did not get the services for which I paid. Maritime claims I knew that my application would be null and void AND that I would forfeit my money.

These people are scoundrels and I hope the word gets out and they go under.
 

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....Maritime claims I knew that my application would be null and void AND that I would forfeit my money..
For what? If you complained?

While they might establish a contract that makes their fee non-refundable, it's not a contract if both parties don't provide consideration.

I would try the credit card company again, for denial of service. I would also contact the US Postal Inspection Service and document your situation. You would be helping many other boaters to follow.
 
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Discussion Starter #52
I just received a letter from the;
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
VESSEL RENEWAL NOTIFICATION
APPLICATION FOR RENEWAL

If you are not changing anything, and you know your official documentation number (hint; it is written somewhere on the inside of your hull. It is NOT your HIN.), you can now go to www.uscg.mil/nvdc -> Order Products Online -> Renew (or Late Renewal) and renew your Certificate of Documentation on-line! :)

Hopefully, this will help take more business away from the Maritime Documentation Center scumbags.
 
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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.
I agree. It was such a smooth process and they were pretty transparent on being a private firm. I understand the fee was increased but their site was very easy to use so I didn't mind. Saved me the headache
 

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I agree. It was such a smooth process and they were pretty transparent on being a private firm. I understand the fee was increased but their site was very easy to use so I didn't mind. Saved me the headache
?????? You think it's smoother or easier to use this rip off company than just fill out the USCG's website renewal?

I recall their document discloses they are a private company, but it's far from transparent in my opinion. You have to read everything carefully to know. Their logo, envelope and documents are designed to dupe the user into thinking they are dealing with the actual USCG. Evidence is in this thread.

I suspect what they are doing minimally passes legal muster, but it's far from ethical, which tells me all I need to know about them.
 

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Interesting that a new member with no info in his profile makes his fist and only post, quoting what may be the sole somewhat tepid statement out of 6 pages of invective about this outfit, and talks about the "headaches" of documentation (which the thread makes clear are essentially minimal). Is it their lawyer?
 

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It certainly struck me as lame social media management of some kind. I’m not sure they would hired a lawyer for that. Maybe a millennial sitting in a Starbucks. :) then again, a millennial may have been more deft.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
I agree. It was such a smooth process and they were pretty transparent on being a private firm. I understand the fee was increased but their site was very easy to use so I didn't mind. Saved me the headache
If you like paying 3x what the USCG charges, then that is your prerogative. However, the USCG NVDC charges $26/year, sends a USPS mail reminder, and allows you to renew through their website. The renewal process has become much easier since I started this thread. If you can't follow the very simple registration renewal instructions that the NVDC sends you (in essence; enter your DOC number, confirm that the info in the database is current and correct, and then submit payment) then you should have trouble with the $75 Maritime Documentation Scam too.

Some people have trouble transferring or initiating their documentation. There are documentation agents that offer their services for a $200-500 fee to help these people through the process. I transferred the documentation for my vessel myself and saved the fee. I can read and write in English, however.
 

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Interesting that a new member with no info in his profile makes his fist and only post, quoting what may be the sole somewhat tepid statement out of 6 pages of invective about this outfit, and talks about the "headaches" of documentation (which the thread makes clear are essentially minimal). Is it their lawyer?
Looks like a shill to me.
 

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Old thread, but people need reminders from time to time. Also, from what I understand, the real CG doc office now offers, up to, 5 year renewals. Something a lot of people have been wanting.
Just remember folks, the real CG only charges $26 per year to renew documentation.
 

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I just received my official USCG NVDC renewal notice and renewed online for $26.00. I did not see a 5 year renewal option. I'm not sure I would have done it anyway. There is a disclaimer that all fees are non-refundable, even if the vessel does not qualify for a renewed Certificate. I imagined, if one were to sell their vessel, they would lose the remaining period.

The website had a big red warning that they just reopened on Jan 29 and provide a link to their "process". No doubt that means they are backed up. I have a serious bias against government operations that have absolutely no economic motivation to deliver service. In every real business, stuff happens, fair or unfair, and you just have to deal with it and catch up asap. These are the good guys, of course.
 
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