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Delta-Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 3546
Experience:  10 Years Practice in Litigation, Products Liability, Intellectual Property and Governmental Relations
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We sold a used houseboat to a man for $17900 and have received

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We sold a used houseboat to a man for $17900 and have received all but $5000. One of the engines was cracked upon launch and we paid to purchase and install a brand new engine for $4000. He now wants to hold on the final deposit because he can't get insurance without a survey. I don't see how the insurance is our problem, is it? We have nothing in writing. Can he back out of the deal and demand his money back if we don't agree to pull the boat out for him (this is not easy) and wait for the insurance survey? Can we hold him to completing the deal?
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. As a matter of course, the answer to this question is quite simply. Unless it was explicitly stated in your bill of sale or contract for sale that the insurance survey would be your responsibility, then he cannot withhold payment. He is liable for the remaining balance. If he defaults on the payment, then you may repossess the boat and not owe him a dime.

I suggest that you send him a certified letter with a return receipt in which you also attach a copy of any contractual agreement to which you signed and point out that you have no legal duty, contractual or otherwise, to provide for an insurance survey. Also point out what he has paid and what he owes. Tell him that if he does not promptly pay what is owed according to the contract, you will seek any and all available remedies at law, including but not limited to repossession, attorney fees and court costs.

As long as there is no contract language that would affirm his current position, you are in very good shape, legally speaking.

The certified letter above will serve as legal notice of your position and will serve as great evidence on your behalf should lawyers or the court have to get involved.

Let me know if you have any other questions or comments about this matter. I want you to be comfortable moving forward.

Best wishes and thank you for letting me assist you.
Delta-Lawyer and 4 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are you still working on this question? Our follow up was in asking if there's a problem because we have nothing in writing and in asking at what point we should give him the signed registration?

I am sorry for the delayed response...we had a glitch that was not allowing my response. That said, the fact that he has nothing in writing works in your favor. It is undisputed that you guys exchanged property for an agreed upon amount. It is also undisputed that you bought a new engine (which shows good faith).

I would not give him the signed registration until he has paid what he owes you in full. Since you have no bill of sale, this is the remaining protection you have to assure payment for the remainder of what is owed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!!

My pleasure. Best wishes going forward!

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