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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55598
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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I purchased a boat online. The advertisement stated the boat

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I purchased a boat online. The advertisement stated the boat had only been used in fresh water; however, I later found out from Florida DMV that the boat spent most of its time in Florida in salt water. We purchased the boat in Freeport, NY so we specifically asked if the boat was a salty. The seller said no, the boat was from Illinois. NADA Guides states that a boat used in salt water has a value that is 10-15% less than a fresh water boat. My question- Is this a valid Small Claims Court claim? I would like to recoup the 10-15% difference in the value of the boat, between $2,200-$3,000.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. Yes, you absolutely have recourse. The seller is obligated to disclose anything the seller knows or should have known that a reasonable buyer would consider material in making the decision whether or not to buy the boat. This clearly qualifies as something that should have been disclosed. What you want to do is raise the stakes on the seller so that he knows that not complying with your demands is going to cost far more in the end than simply paying the value differential. You should send him a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the situation, including the misrepresentation, and demanding that he pay the value differential in total within a short specified period of time. Inform him that if your demand is not timely complied with, you will have no choice but to file a suit against him for your damages. Be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as deceptive trade practice and fraud actions, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit.

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