How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Richard Your Own Question

Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 47065
Experience:  32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
17027240
Type Your Business Law Question Here...
Richard is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I signed a boat moorage contract which requires me to moor/store

Resolved Question:

I signed a boat moorage contract which requires me to moor/store my boat with this company for a full year, including outdoor moorage in the summer and indoor storage in the winter. All well and good. I like them for summer moorage, they're very expensive for winter storage, so they sort of have you trapped. But ok...

However, then they tell you on their website (not specifically in the contract), that in order to store your boat with them in the winter, you MUST have your "boat winterization" (changing fluids, fogging cylinders, etc) done by them....and it has to be their 'Premium Service'....and they just happen to be 3x the cost of anyone else, including a good boat mechanic shop right next door that i would rather use! He costs $250, or, i could do it myself for about $40 in parts---they cost $780.

On top of that, the invoice they sent me (i haven't yet paid) also has on it PREpayment for 2 months of the indoor storage ($565), when they had simply been auto-charging my credit card on file at the beginning of each month for moorage. Why the requirement of a prepayment for storage??? In addition, also on the invoice is a request for prepayment of the RE-commission ($210), which is a service typically done and paid for in the spring when the boat is brought out of storage, but is not always necessary.

My question is, is there some illegality of them making me sign a contract for one thing, and then all of these other requirements are daisy-chained on as "part" of the original contract although they are not actually stated in the original contract? What's to stop them from adding ANYTHING on as a tether to the original contract as a "requirement" for fulfilling the contract???

I can provide the contract and the 'invoice' upon request.

Thanks!
ben.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.

Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. One party cannot legally unilaterally change the terms of a signed contract after it has been signed. If these items were not part of your original contract, the company cannot impose them now as conditions. If they attempt to do so and do not allow you to store your boat pursuant to the terms of the contract provisions that you signed, they are in default of the contract. That gives you the right to terminate the contract and/or ask a court for both an injunction preventing them from imposing these additional charges and requirements and/or damages resulting from their default.



I hope this has given you information that has been
helpful to you. If the information seems more general than
specific, please be aware that we are only allowed to
provide information and not specific advice.
If you have a follow-up question, please remember that
there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because
I may be helping others or taking a break.



If you do have any additional questions about my answer
please simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide
you with a fully satisfactory answer.
Please be aware that any rating of 1 or 2 is
reflected as a negative rating, reflects negatively on my performance, and I
receive no credit for my answers.





Thanks for allowing me to be of service to you. Please be
aware that the information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is
simply general information. All states have intricacies in their laws and any
information given is simply information only and specifically is not


intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal
advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship
with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.





Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi,


 


Thanks for the quick response. They're not so much "changing the contract" as, I believe, daisy-chaining on requirements of services, payment, etc.


 


Paragraph 1 of the contract is the ONLY item having to do with requirements:


SBC does hereby rent and lease to TENANT the dry storage space indicated above at SBC’s place of business at Seattle, King County, Washington commonly known as “Lake Union SkyLaunch™ operated by Seattle Boat Co.” for a term of ONE YEAR (twelve consecutive months) or commencing and ending at the time and date shown on page one.


 


However, when it comes time to move the boat from summer water moorage to winter storage, THAT is where they say "Oh, you MUST winterize it with us if you want to store it with us, otherwise, you pay a 4 month early termination penalty". In other words, i can choose not to use their service or store it with them over the winter, but i then must pay the 4-month penalty (early termination IS spelled out in the contract).


 


I believe they must store it over the winter (per the contract) but NOT require the significantly-marked-up service, OR pre-payment for storage and re-commissioning, none of which are specifically in the contract. Would you agree?

Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
You are correct. If this requirement was not specifically referenced in the original contract, they cannot now make it a condition. Any more than you would have the right to say, yes, I agreed to winter storage, but before I do, you must pay me $400 to do so.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks. Just one more thing--I want to make sure I am making the correct conclusion and i'm still a little uncertain.


 


Here is the "winter storage options" on their website:
http://seattleboat.com/content.asp?nav=116698&cpid=9885&


 


There it says:
Choose from more winter storage locations than ever before. All Winter Storage locations require winterizing services. View our Winterization Service Menu for more information.


 


However, it says nothing about winterization service in the contract.


Every time i have questioned it (unsure), they just say "the winterization service is required for storage", and "prepayment is required for winter storage". Although these are both on the website, they are not mentioned specifically in the contract.


I apologize for the uncertainty, but they sure do seem certain that I MUST do all of these things, per the contract for 12 months of moorage/storage, and as required by the "services/storage" listed on the website. ???


 


 

Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Their website language says only winterizing services required...it does not reference their services. If this were me, I would take one of two stances...i) I would find another place to store it and inform them in writing you are terminating the contract due to their default; or ii) I would store my boat under the contract, pay the fees for storage and services required, and then file suit to recover them based on breach of contract.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Could i do this third option, just to keep it relatively easy? Tell them they're in breach for requiring all of the "extras" (including pre-payment for 2 months' storage and re-commissioning service) and that i would like to simply fulfill my contract, which is 12 months of storage, and nothing else?


 


In all honesty, their winter storage is also fairly expensive, so financially it would be best for me to terminate the contract for their breach and find another place to store it for the winter. But i was just thinking of the above to keep it amicable.

Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you can do this, but it's unlikely that they will allow you do to this without a court order. Plus, finding an alternative is usually best when things get sideways to avoid those sort of "mysterious" things going wrong with your boat.
Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 47065
Experience: 32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
Richard and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Haha. Good point! :)


 


The "blue collar" guys that actually work at the boat dock on a day-to-day basis are actually really nice....there are a couple higher-ups (who were the dock workers at one time) who handle all of this contract stuff now, and they're more difficult to work with--i think partly because they just go by what they *think* is required by the company (but not the contract) and the system they go by.


 


Thanks for your responses!

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1767
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1767
    20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1495
    Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DC/DCraneEsq/2012-8-14_14436_DCrane.64x64.jpg MShore Law's Avatar

    MShore Law

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1233
    Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    1174
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/scottymacesq/2009-6-10_221523_small.jpg RGMacEsq's Avatar

    RGMacEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    504
    Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ohioatty/2009-1-22_185545_me.jpg J.Hazelbaker's Avatar

    J.Hazelbaker

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    393
    Experienced and trained in the area of business law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    373
    14 years practicing attorney, MBA
 
 
 

Related Business Law Questions

Chat Now With A Business Lawyer
Richard
Richard
Owner
2381 Satisfied Customers
32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.