There are many benefits in importing your own boat. In particular the huge used boat market in the USA has proved to be very popular with Australian buys. But even import boats are targeted by scammers. Sadly I have helped three buys in one week, all who were scammed by the same person/company!
Here are some common boats scam.
- The seller will offer a really good price on a boat, and then when they find you're in Australia, or New Zealand, they offer to sell the boat all inclusive of the shipping. Once they have your money, they make excuse after excuse why it has not shipped. This can go on for months, until you get feed up and take control of the shipping at your cost. It then breaks the contract, and they walk away leaving you to pay the freight. Always arrange the shipping yourself, that way you are in control of the process, don't leave it to chance.
- Alternatively the seller may "recommend" a freight company, and so you approach the freight company thinking its independent. In fact the freight company is a fake web site which the seller controls. The fake boat shipping company then gives a really good price on the shipping, and offers to give proof of pickup so you can pay the seller once collected. This lulls you into a false sense of security thinking your boat is safe once the freight company say they have it. You end up losing your money for the boat, and the money for the freight. The fake web site then closes down...
So here are a few tips to keep you safe.
- Buy from a boat dealer only. Do not by private, or from ebay. Dealers can also provide the correct documentation needed for Australian and New Zealand Customs.
- If the boat price or the freight price is too good to be true, it most likely is. Always make sure your shipping price for your boat includes all the arrival charges such as Customs clearance and quarantine for example.
A great tool is the Netcraft toolbar which can tell you how old a web site is, and if there are any reports of scams. A new site is a danger and marked in RED.
99.9% of boats we ship have no problems and come from honest sellers. Just take care to make sure you're not the one who gets burnt.