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View Full Version : Buying first Mastercraft - Dealer NIGHTMARE


fouroheight68
02-11-2013, 02:21 PM
After a year of looking and saving, I thought I had found the perfect boat. 2001 xstar, advertised as the 330hp motor, 290 hours, mint condition, etc. I call the seller which happened to be a dealer, and saw the boat in person while it was being "detailed". Did a quick look over, talked some numbers, but couldn't agree on a price. I leave and he calls me back and we agree to 22500 out the door, if I pay for the service from the shop next door. Ok, I agree (all verbal) and the seller wants a 500 dollar deposit from me to hold it while its services before I take it on the water.

I give the seller the deposit, but make sure to use my credit card in case it goes south. Again, zero paperwork, all verbal. Boat is serviced and we take it out. Off the bat I notice the motor is the 310, it has 350 hours, it has no cover, dirty all over, the ballast doesn't fill or empty, and the perfect pass isn't engaging. We take it back to the dealer and I ask the owner to fix the non working items and mention the boat isn't close to as described. He says I'm welcome to fix it myself, but he's not fixing anything. Argument ensues and I tell him it's a totally different boat than advertised and I want my deposit back. His co worker steps in and offers to fix the items not working or missing. Alright I calm down a bit, and I tell him I can pick it up Monday since I'm on a business trip till Sunday.

Thursday he calls me and says everything is ready to pick up. I said ok, we'll take care of it Monday. He starts demanding an additional 1k deposit since he has "people lining up to buy it". No way, he has enough of my money at this point and he's extremely pushy. When final price is mentioned, he's saying its 23500+ out the door. No way, I tell him to I'm getting out of the deal and want my deposit. He says he's holding it to pay the boat shop for the maintenance (oil and impeller etc) and the rest for the test drive! Yeah right! It's a completely different boat than advertised, totally ragged, equipment not working, and you're gonna hold my deposit?!? Now the boat shop is calling me to pay them for the service. I finally called back and explained I never requested ANY service other than a compression test which I agree is part of my due diligence.

Has anyone heard of someone this shady?


Nevertheless I called visa and disputed the charges. They are 100% on my side especially since there is ZERO written agreement between us. If it comes back on Craigslist I'm going to be sure to post a warning to any interested buyers.

ps- tracked down the previous owner he bought it from 2 weeks ago who told me the trans had water in it, shaft was pitted, and needed a rebuild. Interesting especially since the fluid looked brand new!

End rant

fouroheight68
02-11-2013, 02:22 PM
FYI Dealer is "A Small Fishing Boat" in Sacramento.

brucemac
02-11-2013, 03:42 PM
Saw your post on another forum. Aside from saying that stinks all I can say is be patient. The right boat will come along. Be diligent about your search, maybe even contact local dealers and let them know what you're looking for. The right boat will come along and you'll be able to look back on this and chuckle (maybe). Best of luck.

Jim@BAWS
02-11-2013, 03:48 PM
Get it in writing...I tell my customers NO DEAL unless it is in writing from us. Sometimes that 20 min delay allows them to rethink. It protects you and them...get it in writing

Jim@BAWS

fouroheight68
02-11-2013, 03:53 PM
Get it in writing...I tell my customers NO DEAL unless it is in writing from us. Sometimes that 20 min delay allows them to rethink. It protects you and them...get it in writing

Jim@BAWS

Or put it on a Visa ;)

Jim@BAWS
02-11-2013, 03:55 PM
Or put it on a Visa ;)

NOPE...will not even do that unless there is a contract and it is all clear.!

fouroheight68
02-11-2013, 03:59 PM
NOPE...will not even do that unless there is a contract and it is all clear.!

Are you talking about as a seller or as a buyer? A seller who doesn't put contracts in writing is an idiot. As a buyer, I wouldn't have signed a contract that included a "non refundable" deposit as the seller claims. I will, however provide a deposit backed by a credit card on a verbal agreement.

rtw_travel
02-11-2013, 04:10 PM
I think you're both right - put it in legally binding contract, and leave your deposit with a credit card.

If you couldn't reach agreement on a legally binding contract at a specific price that included a refundable deposit subject to a water test... then you would have walked away at the start, and not suffered through the rest of seller's pranks

Jim@BAWS
02-11-2013, 04:12 PM
As a dealer...which I am. I want it ALL clear...so nothing can come back and haunt me or the buyer! "Oh you said this would be done" That is the worst feeling in the world when that line it used!

Everyone out there wants the best deal possible...and wants to be taken care of. i understand that, but if I did not put it in writing, first shame on me!

An inexperinced person...like the one you are dealing with should have NEVER presented that engine as a 330 LTR. You as an experienced MasterCraft person should have maybe seen by the photos that it WAS NOT an LTR...Correct?

BLOGS and postings like this can come across to folks in different ways. Protect yourself...don't rely on VISA to do that...get it in writing! Jim@BAWS

petermegan
02-11-2013, 04:13 PM
Sounds like you got tossed a tad, but please explain the VISA situation. Are they going to refund your money and on what grounds. Just curious as to the situation and whether I can use it to my advantage in future. ;)

TN Barefooter
02-11-2013, 04:14 PM
A friend of mine is going thru a similar situation. Last year he purchased a 2006 X-1 from a "supposed" boat dealer in NC. Engine problems from the get-go, dealer promises to put in new engine. Instead he rebuilds old engine and we end up throwing a rod while we were on the lake after the dealer had "repaired" the previous problems. Dealer says "no problem i'll pick it up and I will replace it with a new engine". So the dealer comes by and picks up the boat. That happened in September, fortunately my PS 190 was running like a top so we spent the rest of what was left of the summer on my boat. Here it is February and my buddy calls me today ticked off, he tried calling the dealer who is about 4 hours away and the phone lines have been disconnected.

I hate you're going thru this mess, good luck with it. I know it is still an aggravation but at least you only have a $500.00 dispute with your credit card company supporting you versus a $42,000.00 dispute and only a bill of sale (my buddy's predicament). As Jim mentioned earlier always get it in writing. When I started reading your post I thought you were dealing with the same boat dealer.

rtw_travel
02-11-2013, 04:28 PM
Sounds like you got tossed a tad, but please explain the VISA situation. Are they going to refund your money and on what grounds. Just curious as to the situation and whether I can use it to my advantage in future. ;)

We've used mastercard twice to get money back.

The first time was when moving. The moving company caused some damage to our dining room table, and then refused to fix it. We had paid already by mastercard, because movers won't unload without payment in full. We saw the damage on unpacking and complained immediately. However the movers refused to do anything about it. better business bureau was no help. We sent the whole file to mastercard including the contract, the pictures of the damage, the report showing the condition when the movers received the table, and an estimate for fixing the table. After a very short investigation, mastercard refunded the value of the repair to us directly and we had it fixed. The mover was livid, but there was nothing he could do.

The second instance was when we bought a boat (not an MC) a few years ago in the fall. We left a deposit by mastercard, and signed a contract for a boat to be delivered in the spring. They called a few weeks later and asked for payment in full. The contract said payment was due on delivery, but they said we were mistaken and demanded full payment. We said if there was a misunderstanding, that we'd like to cancel, and they said 'no'. So same deal - we sent the file to mastercard with a copy of the contract and their letters. Mastercard refunded us the deposit immediately and told the dealer to cancel the contract.

In both cases, we found mastercard to be fair, open and quick.Its nice to have a heavyweight on your side when you're dealing with a bad vendor. Note - in both instances, Mastercard's job was easy because we had full documentation including contracts, emails and photos. Jim@baws is absolutely right - put it in a contract first before any money changes hands.

bsloop
02-11-2013, 04:38 PM
Dispute the CC. Your issuing bank has all the power in a dispute and you have plenty of evidence that the deal was not as agreed upon.

Dealer is dumb, he is already going to have the $500 reversed plus $25-35 in charge back fees.
Any seller that tries to charge for a wet test for a ligitimate buyer is just raging stupid.

I own a CC processing company and work with my merchants all the time to do the right thing. They will never win with strong arm tactics, it WILL cost them more money and create bad will as illustrated by this thread.

TxsRiverRat
02-11-2013, 04:41 PM
I agree with Jim 100%... One of the 1st lessons I learned fresh out of college from my 1st boss at my 1st job was “get it in writing...”

I had top execs in new york cussing me out and slamming the phone down on me for it, but I did as I was told. it didn’t take long for me to get burned on surcharges a truck load shipment or two into our warehouse before I learned that doing things on a word or handshake is EXPENSIVE both from a financial and business relationship point of view...

learn your lesson from this – get everything in writing and leave yourself an out. Something along the lines of that if the boats condition does not meet your standards 100% you get a full refund of your deposit.

Remember, you’re the guy with the money. the sales guys can kiss your rear end or find someone else to scam.

fouroheight68
02-11-2013, 05:12 PM
I agree with Jim 100%... One of the 1st lessons I learned fresh out of college from my 1st boss at my 1st job was “get it in writing...”

I had top execs in new york cussing me out and slamming the phone down on me for it, but I did as I was told. it didn’t take long for me to get burned on surcharges a truck load shipment or two into our warehouse before I learned that doing things on a word or handshake is EXPENSIVE both from a financial and business relationship point of view...

learn your lesson from this – get everything in writing and leave yourself an out. Something along the lines of that if the boats condition does not meet your standards 100% you get a full refund of your deposit.

Remember, you’re the guy with the money. the sales guys can kiss your rear end or find someone else to scam.


I deal with contracts in excess on $1M in an almost weekly basis, so trust me, I know to get things in writing. In this instance, I had near to 0 risk by putting a $500 "deposit" down to keep the boat from being sold. Since the seller wasn't smart enough to put it in writing, clearly detailing his policy (which he failed to clearly explain either way), I knew that I had no risk as long as it was backed by credit.

I also made sure to print a copy of the ad and detailed each item that was blatantly misrepresented. In addition, kept a checklist of mechanical defects on the boat when I took it on the water. Believe me, I'm not worried about getting my money back, just the hassle of it all. I feel bad for the next person who isn't as diligent as I am.

Regarding the 310 vs 330 - I did not get a chance to look at the motor until I was on the water (in which case, the seller didnt take it on the water until a deposit was made).

broncotw
02-11-2013, 05:26 PM
In my experience, American Express also has an outstanding buyer protection plan... I know not every vendor accepts AMX -- but if they do and you have an AMX -- use it....

bbymgr
02-11-2013, 09:57 PM
As Jim@Baws said............always get it on paper. Sometimes the "power" of Visa isn't what you think. Back in 2005, I was managing a Lowe's Home Improvement in Schererville, IN. This guy special ordered $12000 worth of KraftMaid Cabinets. He was on a tight schedule, and wanted them installed by Thanksgiving, but purchased them around November 1st. When they were delivered directly to his house from KraftMaid, they were the wrong size. At this point there wasn't enough time for KraftMaid to produce more and still get them installed by Thanksgiving. The guy called me every name in the book, and then called Visa and had them get his money back. Then I called corporate, turned over all the contract paper work, and we got our money back within a month; because he did his own measuring for the cabinets instead of paying $40 for a professional to do it and get it right. I had the box checked on the contract where he refused the professional detail. It's good to have the contract.

milkmania
02-11-2013, 10:34 PM
I deal with contracts in excess on $1M in an almost weekly basis, so trust me, I know to get things in writing. In this instance, I had near to 0 risk by putting a $500 "deposit" down to keep the boat from being sold. Since the seller wasn't smart enough to put it in writing, clearly detailing his policy (which he failed to clearly explain either way), I knew that I had no risk as long as it was backed by credit.

I also made sure to print a copy of the ad and detailed each item that was blatantly misrepresented. In addition, kept a checklist of mechanical defects on the boat when I took it on the water. Believe me, I'm not worried about getting my money back, just the hassle of it all. I feel bad for the next person who isn't as diligent as I am.

Regarding the 310 vs 330 - I did not get a chance to look at the motor until I was on the water (in which case, the seller didnt take it on the water until a deposit was made).

yes, that's something I was going to point out that needed done.... because CL, Ebay and such ads are known to come up missing or altered.... Craigslist more so.

but then again, I can create and print a craiglist ad that can say anything I want it to say, and it'd be hard to spot the difference from a real ad:o

can't be too careful these days

musicmd
02-11-2013, 11:43 PM
This is an amazing story, and I'm glad that you have the ability to dispute and get out of the deal. And, I agree that the right boat will come along soon.

Luckily, I haven't had this kind of a nightmare situation. However, I did have a really bad experience at a MC dealer about 90 minutes away. I had been watching their website and saw a 2001 X-Star for sale. It had been abused a little bit as far as the upholstery was concerned; it was also missing the two front speakers for the stereo. However, the mechanical inspection stated the boat was in "great mechanical condition". I think the boat had 550 hours.

Anyway, the dealer was selling it on consignment for $22,000 or so. I called and talked to a salesman about the boat and he confirmed that it ran great but "needed TLC" as far as upholstery and audio was concerned. I was willing and able to fix both of those things but thought the price was a bit high, given the description of the boat.

The salesman, btw, was a complete jackass. He never returned any of my four phone calls. The only way I could get him was to catch him when I called in and he answered his phone. He was arrogant when I asked a question, i.e., about the steering cable, he said, "people who know MasterCraft don't worry about that, because it is never a problem."

(Huh? Really? Never a problem?)

He also acted like I was interrupting his coffee break. He acted like I was a hassle, even though we spoke a total of 10 minutes over 2 phone calls.

Still, I was intrigued by the boat. I told the salesman that I had $19,500 in hand, ready to buy the boat (which was true). Would the seller be interested in such a deal (since they were selling on consignment?)

His response was, "well, if you are interested, you need to come and put $500 down as a deposit, then we will see what the seller will agree to."

I said, "it's a 90 minute drive to your store, can you at least call the seller and see if he will take $19,500?"

The salesman's response - - - "you know, it's really a waste of my time to do all that."

I literally hung up on him.

Three weeks later, my more local dealer got a 2004 X-10 in and treated me like royalty. The boat was great and their service was top notch. I liked the owner and my salesman and I ended up spending $10,000 more than I had been quoted with the X-Star.

But, it was worth it. The boat is better for my family and the quality of service I've already received from the local dealer has done nothing but justify my purchase. (It's Redline Watersports here in Madison, Wisconsin, for those of you keeping score at home.) I'm thrilled with my purchase.

However, I could have easily ended up with the X-Star, if the salesman had shown even a small interest in making the sale happen. He didn't, and he lost.

I'm not upset about that. Redline earned my business and I love the 2004 X-10.

I have told this story to 5 other physician friends who are interested in crossover boats, warning them to stay away from that first dealer. In some way, I'll be happy if that salesman's arrogance and nonchalance ends up costing them a lot more going forward.

thatsmrmastercraft
02-12-2013, 12:48 AM
This is an amazing story, and I'm glad that you have the ability to dispute and get out of the deal. And, I agree that the right boat will come along soon.

Luckily, I haven't had this kind of a nightmare situation. However, I did have a really bad experience at a MC dealer about 90 minutes away. I had been watching their website and saw a 2001 X-Star for sale. It had been abused a little bit as far as the upholstery was concerned; it was also missing the two front speakers for the stereo. However, the mechanical inspection stated the boat was in "great mechanical condition". I think the boat had 550 hours.

Anyway, the dealer was selling it on consignment for $22,000 or so. I called and talked to a salesman about the boat and he confirmed that it ran great but "needed TLC" as far as upholstery and audio was concerned. I was willing and able to fix both of those things but thought the price was a bit high, given the description of the boat.

The salesman, btw, was a complete jackass. He never returned any of my four phone calls. The only way I could get him was to catch him when I called in and he answered his phone. He was arrogant when I asked a question, i.e., about the steering cable, he said, "people who know MasterCraft don't worry about that, because it is never a problem."

(Huh? Really? Never a problem?)

He also acted like I was interrupting his coffee break. He acted like I was a hassle, even though we spoke a total of 10 minutes over 2 phone calls.

Still, I was intrigued by the boat. I told the salesman that I had $19,500 in hand, ready to buy the boat (which was true). Would the seller be interested in such a deal (since they were selling on consignment?)

His response was, "well, if you are interested, you need to come and put $500 down as a deposit, then we will see what the seller will agree to."

I said, "it's a 90 minute drive to your store, can you at least call the seller and see if he will take $19,500?"

The salesman's response - - - "you know, it's really a waste of my time to do all that."

I literally hung up on him.

Three weeks later, my more local dealer got a 2004 X-10 in and treated me like royalty. The boat was great and their service was top notch. I liked the owner and my salesman and I ended up spending $10,000 more than I had been quoted with the X-Star.

But, it was worth it. The boat is better for my family and the quality of service I've already received from the local dealer has done nothing but justify my purchase. (It's Redline Watersports here in Madison, Wisconsin, for those of you keeping score at home.) I'm thrilled with my purchase.

However, I could have easily ended up with the X-Star, if the salesman had shown even a small interest in making the sale happen. He didn't, and he lost.

I'm not upset about that. Redline earned my business and I love the 2004 X-10.

I have told this story to 5 other physician friends who are interested in crossover boats, warning them to stay away from that first dealer. In some way, I'll be happy if that salesman's arrogance and nonchalance ends up costing them a lot more going forward.

Feel confident that you aren't the only potential customer that has been turned away by this dude's poor salesmanship.

Smoothie
02-12-2013, 01:49 PM
Get everything in writing. Customers only hear what they want too or how they want to. I am in sales and you may say one thing but that is NOT what the customer hears. Its not offensive to an honest person to ask for things in writing. Bought a boat from Jim that needed work he put it all in writing. There were some small lingering issues that were in writing he took care of it ZERO problem. Then of course in classic Jim way he took care of other things that were not on that list. However those were not his responsibility nor did I expect it.