How do I prove my Boat is a Lemon?

You just bought the boat of your dreams and you cannot wait to take it out on the water. You have been thinking about all the various oceans and lakes it will...


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You just bought the boat of your dreams and you cannot wait to take it out on the water. You have been thinking about all the various oceans and lakes it will take you across and the good times you will have with friends and family while you do it. Until you are out on the water and realize your engine is not working properly, this can turn a great day on the water into one of stress and troubles.

You hope that the issue is a quick fix, you take it to a mechanic for the repairs and it seems now the boat is spending more time at the shop than it is in the water. This can be a huge disappointment for those who imagined they be boating all summer but are now stuck on the dock. If this happened to you, you could have a boat lemon law claim on your hands. Now you might be wondering exactly what a boat lemon law claim is, so with that said, let us take a look at how lemon laws protect you and other consumers and can help you get back to enjoying your time on the water.

What is a Boat Lemon Law?

Lemon Law helps protect consumers who buy a boat with faults or defects (could also be a series of various defects), that will make the boat a hazard to operate or negatively affect the resale value of the said boat. This safeguards them by ensuring they get the compensation they deserve if someone sold them a lemon and will require the boat manufacturer to compensate accordingly. They can do this by either replacing the boat or compensating them for all the repairs that were needed.

That said, it is required that you give the dealership or manufacturer that sold you the boat originally an opportunity to fix the issues on the vessel. If they are unable to fix the needed repairs because they cannot figure out how to correctly do so, or they have attempted multiple times and the problem keeps arising then your boat could qualify as a lemon. The boat lemon law also covers any small or large vessels such as:

  • Pontoon boats
  • Pleasure crafts
  • Motor boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Speed boats
  • Sail boats
  • Yachts
  • Jet ski’s
  • Catamarans

Now that we have taken a look at what a lemon law is and how it can protect you, let us discuss how you prove your boat is a lemon.

How to Prove Your Boat is a Lemon

We briefly touched on this subject above when referring to giving the dealership an opportunity to repair the vessel. But looking at it a little more in-depth your boat is more than likely a lemon when you are having to get constant repairs on it and these issues and or repairs negatively affect the boat value. These types of defects could be anything from; flawed navigation, it could have leaks, it does not float correctly, or as mentioned above your motor only starts every now and again. Your boat does also need to have some type of warranty in order ot qualify as a lemon and you have to take it to the dealership or manufacturer where you bought it. If you take it to a local mechanic, there is no way to prove it was actually their fault the boat is not operating correctly, and the dealership is no longer held liable.

Now, if you have taken the boat to the dealership multiple times for repairs it is instrumental to your case that you keep the receipts and records from these said repairs. You must do this in order to prove that you have indeed given the manufacturer or dealer a number of reasonable attempts to repair the vessel. Unfortunately, the law does not state exactly what the number of “reasonable attempts” is but it has been seen to be on average 3+ attempts or you have not been able to operate the vessel for 30+ days due to repairs, which does not have to be consecutive days.

Also, if you think you had a lemon but it has been too long to file a claim since you got the repairs you might be in luck. The statute of limitations in California specifically is four years for boats, but it is not wise to wait that long as you could get compensation much sooner.

A Lemon Law Attorney Can Help

It is difficult to go through this process on your own, a lemon law attorney can help you prove you truly do have a lemon. They have many years of experience and know exactly what to look for when proving the dealer sold you a boat that was a lemon. They can review any and all documents and receipts for repairs to ensure you gave the dealership their amount of “reasonable attempts” to fix the issue. And a lemon law attorney will also review the warranty on your boat or other said vessel to make sure you can get compensation for the defects under the lemon law.

You should not have to worry about if you were sold a defective boat and will not get anything out of your purchase. The lemon law and an experienced lemon law attorney are there to help you and hold dealerships accountable for this type of bad business. If you think you have a lemon, reach out to a qualified lemon law attorney today so they can review your case.


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