Waterkampioen watersport magazine

Don’t be fooled!

The ship of your dreams, once out of the water, three months after purchase, turns out to be almost rusted through. That can never have happened during the time that you have owned the ship. What are your rights?

There she is: the boat of your dreams and for a very reasonable price. Where can I sign! Unfortunately, this is how it goes all too often. The emotion wins it from the sense, with all its consequences. You have a good conversation with the seller, who tells you nothing negative about the ship and in good faith you pay the purchase price, but later it appears that the ship has serious defects. The law says that when you buy a vessel the purchased vessel must comply with the agreement and must have the properties that make a normal use possible. What if that is not the case?
Both buyer and seller have obligations when entering into an agreement. The seller has a duty to inform and the buyer has a duty to investigate. Which one weighs the most? It is important that the buyer’s investigative duty is limited by the information provided by the seller and on what accuracy the buyer may rely. Also, if the seller should have provided certain information, he cannot rely afterwards on the fact that the buyer did not do enough research. In short: the more extensively you as a buyer interrogate the seller about the condition of the vessel, the more extensively you inform him about what you expect from the vessel and what the arguments are for you to buy it, the harder it is for the seller to reproach you afterwards that you have done insufficient research.

Unfortunately it happens all too often that the seller says he did not know about a possible defect, a so-called ‘hidden defect’. Of course you can go to court and start an expensive procedure, but it is much wiser to avoid this kind of risk. However obvious it may seem: have the boat inspected. It will cost a few hundred euros, but that does not outweigh the damage and misery that can arise when the ship is in a condition such as that of Mrs. Van Vuuren. The riveted hull of her purchased k├╗tsje turned out to be rusted through to such an extent that the whole surface had to be almost doubled over. A very expensive operation. If only she had had the ship on a slope to have a flatness measurement taken. An expensive lesson. Especially with older ships, all kinds of defects can occur that cannot be determined by a layman. Also beware of the contracts that a ship broker usually uses! Often they will have you sign a purchase contract which includes a clause stating that the contract can be rescinded if necessary on the basis of the results of a subsequent expert survey. You can only withdraw from the contract if this expert finds “substantial defects” that require repairs up to a certain percentage of the purchase price. Don’t sign this! It is much better negotiating with a seller when you have had the vessel inspected beforehand. Sometimes there is even a provision that liability for hidden defects is excluded. This is of course out of the question. Remember that the broker acts for the seller and not on his own behalf and responsibility. This can lead to the situation where a broker makes statements about the chip and the seller knows nothing about it. The seller cannot be held liable because he did not make the statement and the broker says: “You should not be with me, I am only acting for the seller”.

In short: you get caught between a rock and a hard place. A prior inspection creates clarity and allows you to make a responsible decision. If you do discover a defect afterwards, inform the seller as soon as possible. The law says that you must complain within “reasonable time”. In practice that is between two and three months after you have discovered the defect. If you wait too long, this can work against you.

More information or download old articles: https://www.anwb.nl/kampioen/algemeen/digitaal-archief

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Frits Hommersom met groene bril

"You have the right to a lawyer who tells it like it is!"

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