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Consumer Affairs

 

BoatUS Consumer Affairs provides information to boat buyers, sellers and owners, and operates as an informal dispute mediation service and a salvage arbitration program.

Boat Buying & Selling Advice

Before buying or selling a boat, be sure to review our Buying & Selling advice to help ensure a seamless purchase or sale. BoatUS encourages both parties to use these two forms when purchasing or selling a boat.

Dispute Mediation

BoatUS operates the only nationwide informal dispute resolution program in the boating industry. Our involvement can help both sides in a dispute reach an amicable settlement without the expense of going to court. BoatUS does not become involved in complaints already in litigation, nor can we represent Members in lawsuits.

If you are having a problem with a boat manufacturer, dealer, repair facility or other marine-related business, we recommend filing a written complaint with the company, outlining your concerns, what steps have been taken to remedy the situation and what you believe would be a fair resolution. BoatUS offers a sample complaint template that can be used.

If the company has not been responsive and the dispute is not in litigation, please email a written description of the problems you've encountered, along with supporting documentation such as previous complaint letters, repair invoices, contracts or marine survey reports to ConsumerProtection@BoatUS.com. BoatUS will review and determine how we can best work with all parties on a resolution.

BoatUS also maintains the nation's only Consumer Complaint Database involving boat manufacturers, engines, boating products, and marine services. If you want to report a complaint about a marine business, please email ConsumerProtection@BoatUS.com.

Salvage Arbitration

BoatUS conducts a Salvage Arbitration Plan as a low cost, time efficient, equitable dispute resolution system for the recreational boating community. It is structured in a manner that strives to provide the parties with an objective, unbiased legally supportable outcome. When a salvage billing dispute arises and negotiations fail, either party may request an Arbitration Panel be convened. Upon mutual agreement to use this Plan, the parties are legally bound by the decision of the Arbitration Panel. Each party presents its case in writing. No in-person testimony is used. Each party has the opportunity to submit a written rebuttal to the case presented by the opposing side. The Arbitration Panel reviews the cases and decides a fair and reasonable settlement. The parties are sent a copy of the Award that includes the settlement amount and an explanation of the decision. BoatUS also has a sample salvage contract available for boaters to us. For additional information on the Plan, please email ConsumerProtection@BoatUS.com.