Purchase Agreement Binding?

Dave G.

Member II
Hi all, Maybe there are some legal minds here on the forum. I entered into a purchase agreement with a broker for a 1984 Ericson 30+ on March 12. This boat was a trade in for a brand new Beneteau 38(according to broker). I have had a survey done and awaiting launch for sea trial which was due to happen this week. On Friday I received an email from the broker claiming the "buyer of the Beneteau had cancelled his order and wants his old boat back so sorry but you're deal is cancelled". Since entering into the agreement I have spent considerable time and $$ surrounding the purchase including securing a seasonal slip. He has simply asked where he should send my deposit money and a "sorry bout that" sign off. Still kind of in shock but thinking this does not pass the smell test in my mind. I welcome your thoughts and ideas.....
 

e38 owner

Member III
Fwiw It most likely comes down to all the text in the purchase agreement.
What does the written contract say?
I would request in writing hard dollars spent after the the purchase agreement. Cost of Survey, non refundable slip deposit
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Hi all, Maybe there are some legal minds here on the forum. I entered into a purchase agreement with a broker for a 1984 Ericson 30+ on March 12. This boat was a trade in for a brand new Beneteau 38(according to broker). I have had a survey done and awaiting launch for sea trial which was due to happen this week. On Friday I received an email from the broker claiming the "buyer of the Beneteau had cancelled his order and wants his old boat back so sorry but you're deal is cancelled". Since entering into the agreement I have spent considerable time and $$ surrounding the purchase including securing a seasonal slip. He has simply asked where he should send my deposit money and a "sorry bout that" sign off. Still kind of in shock but thinking this does not pass the smell test in my mind. I welcome your thoughts and ideas.....
Refer to the contract document. (You could post it here if you wish). A contract is a contract and if there are no seller contingencies (escape clauses) as you have said, he is bound to sell you the boat - that's the whole point of the contract.

The broker should know this too. If it is a broker contract, there may well be contingencies.

Changing one's mind is not generally acceptable once the contract is signed except as outlined in the contract itself.

The limit to this is whether you really would want to take him to court to force the sale. You, at a minimum should expect the seller to make you whole on any non-refundable payments you have made.
 

nquigley

Member III
If you paid a deposit, based on an agreed price, and have paperwork saying that your purchase is pending a successful inspection/sea trial (with signatures from you and the broker), I can't see how they have a way out - until/unless you say the inspection yielded findings that affect how much you want to pay for the boat. the details will be in whatever document you and the broker signed. You may have to engage your own lawyer to write them a letter on his/her practice's letterhead.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Thanks all, You know the most pain is I want the boat. I am in the Great Lakes so season is short and with covid19 it's impossible to view boats. For all I know he just got a better offer and telling me this story. I guess the question is can I force the sale with the signed agreement or do I have to go to court to get that done ?
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Forget court and inventive legal maneuvers. When this happened to me, the broker said "Unfortunately there is no way to force somebody to sell you their boat."
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi all, Maybe there are some legal minds here on the forum. I entered into a purchase agreement with a broker for a 1984 Ericson 30+ on March 12. This boat was a trade in for a brand new Beneteau 38(according to broker). I have had a survey done and awaiting launch for sea trial which was due to happen this week. On Friday I received an email from the broker claiming the "buyer of the Beneteau had cancelled his order and wants his old boat back so sorry but you're deal is cancelled". Since entering into the agreement I have spent considerable time and $$ surrounding the purchase including securing a seasonal slip. He has simply asked where he should send my deposit money and a "sorry bout that" sign off. Still kind of in shock but thinking this does not pass the smell test in my mind. I welcome your thoughts and ideas.....
Hi,
Sorry to hear about this development. How you respond might depend on how badly you want this boat. If you think you won't find as good a boat, or deal, in the future, then you could fight for this one, but I would get legal advice. In my lay opinion, a deal is a deal, unless it contains clauses that can cancel it. The seller cancelling his Beneteau is irrelevant in my opinion.
If you don't care too much, you could insist that he reimburse you for any costs you have incurred, and then let him have the boat back.
This is just my opinion, as I'm not a lawyer. It will be interesting to see what others think.
Frank
 

Dave G.

Member II
A little more back story. The broker represented it as a brokerage owned boat and there is no other party listed in the agreement. Early in the process when it was apparent they were contacting someone else to obtain details for me I asked if I should be talking to the owner and they told me they were the owner. So I guess I'm dealing with some type of fraud in the very least. I thought they were reputable as they are dealers for both Catalina and Beneteau in Michigan and Wisconsin.
 

1911tex

Member III
I would think that if you tried to push the agreement, once you had the survey and there were some expensive items that needed correction normally paid by the seller or deducted from the agreed selling price...the seller would now say...its yours and you would have to absorb the cost of any findings. Pissing off the seller typically does not create an advantage to the purchaser. I would push for compensation spent in a gentleman manner against the broker first... there are many more great Ericsons out there to put in your new slip. I think the current recession scared the seller from buying another boat.
 

goldenstate

Member III
Blogs Author
Tex points out one key challenge: - You should be able to haggle the price down after your survey and in this case you would have zero leverage to get any concessions on price (you would certainly have to accept the boat as-is at the contract price).

It's probably not worth fighting over, legally.

You could tell us the name of the broker and then we would know he/she is not a trustworthy counterpart. Nobody should be doing business with this person/company if they are tearing up signed contracts.

But first you should ask the broker to reimburse you for the cost of your survey and any other unrecoverable expenses.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Survey was done and haggled another $1k off sale price about a month ago. Doesn't do me a bit of good though if they won't close the deal....I will try and get my hard costs back for sure but have zero faith these folks would now be upstanding and reimburse me. The broker is Sail Place Inc. located in Muskegon MI, & Kenosha WI. Not a lot of Ericsons in the area, especially at the $$ this one is...was..
 

1911tex

Member III
Suggestion: If the broker will not cooperate with you on hard costs, tell him you are a member of several sailboat forums and will if need be, you will put the brokers name out in public. No names of forums please. If the broker bows his neck...give us the complete brokers name and email address as well as his employer. I for one will send him an honorable short email that may sweat his brow. No indication of where or who I am. Maybe others will as well. We are in a recession and no salesperson is going to want his reputation besmirched in public. This really infuriates me. An honorable broker will do all he can to make it right for you. I am assuming your contract is valid and nothing will hinder your effort for lost expenses...fine print.
 

K2MSmith

Member II
Did you share the results of the survey withe broker/owner yet ? You could ask them for compensation for the survey cost and provide them with the copy of the survey. I think there is some value in a seller having a recent survey done as a selling point should he change his mind in the future (if the survey was OK) - but it does sound like maybe it's time to move on to the next candidate boat. Maybe that boat was not destined to be yours anyway.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Thanks Tex, It's a boilerplate doc without any unusual fine print. Very simple and straight forward. You know even if I get back my hard costs I feel I've been swindled and that kind of sticks in my throat. I've now wasted months and plans for the summer are out the window. I know "whoa is me" but that's not reimbursable.
 

Dave G.

Member II
Suggestion: If the broker will not cooperate with you on hard costs, tell him you are a member of several sailboat forums and will if need be, you will put the brokers name out in public. No names of forums please. If the broker bows his neck...give us the complete brokers name and email address as well as his employer. I for one will send him an honorable short email that may sweat his brow. No indication of where or who I am. Maybe others will as well. We are in a recession and no salesperson is going to want his reputation besmirched in public. This really infuriates me. An honorable broker will do all he can to make it right for you. I am assuming your contract is valid and nothing will hinder your effort for lost expenses...fine print.
Hey Tex, can I ask what your line of work is ? I ask as when I lived in Texas I knew a Tex who was also a sailor.
 

Dave G.

Member II
UPDATE Well, interesting turn of events today. After getting support and ideas from all of you I decided to play hardball immediately. I sent broker an email stating that they had committed fraud by selling a boat that they did not own. Also that the cancellation of the actual owners new boat had no bearing on my agreement with them to purchase his trade-in as there were no contingencies in the agreement regarding same. I finished by saying I would need a few days to get legal advice before I could come up with a number to let them off the hook. 2 hours later I received an email saying "we have contacted the owner and he is willing to go through with the sale now. If you are ok with that please let me know and I'll schedule the launch for sea trial". Wow, really ? My take is they had a better offer for the boat and if they could get me to cave they could make a little more $. But probably never know unless I get a chance to talk to the owner at some point. Of course now I need to know(and see) they have title in hand before closing as I can't trust them for an inch. We'll see how it goes but for now deal is alive again!
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Not to worry... you can trust them "as far as you can throw them".... which is actually true for a host of businesses in all realms.
After a couple of drinks, someday, I will tell a story about SiriusXM and our 'breakup' with them, a few years ago. :(
 
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