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Old 10 December 2011, 15:49   #1
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Being pursued regarding 'stolen' rib 7 years later?? - Help!

I need some help and direction please ....

I have today received a letter from a solicitor telling me that in 14 days time they will take action against me.

Apparently a rib which I bought in September 2004 and sold in May 2005 was a stolen boat.

I certainly didn't steal it and I am pretty sure the chap I bought it from didn't either - I am currently trying to track him down ...

The chap I sold it to has apparently had a deal to sell it for £9995 and this fell through when the buyer found out that the rib is on a stolen boat register.

I am now being pursued for this £9995...

I don't really know where to start with this - can anyone point me in the right direction - either by way of advice, or tell me of a legal specialist that can help?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:12   #2
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If you were simply a private individual I would suggest getting down to cab on Monday, as you are a trader I am not sure if they can help and you may need to get professional legal advice.
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:23   #3
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Hi

This was a rib I bought privately myself, long before became a trader...

I did all the normal checks - bought it at the chaps (very nice) house, etc. My suspicion is that he unwittingly bought a stolen boat and then in all innocence passed it on to me...

CAB is an option, but I wondered if anyone had any more specialist legal knowledge?

Thanks
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:24   #4
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Sad thing is I think your liable and would have to recover your losses via civil action from the person you bought it from. Time does not come into it. If he can prove you sold him that boat (ie that the bill of sale has the h.i.n etc on it) he's in a good position. Was the letter the first you knew of the theft issue or has your buyer been in contact already ? Could it not be a scam ?

Give us some more info and we may be able to offer advice. There is a legal boffin on here too who may be along with legal facts.

Some points to make us aware of though to start

1) What boat was it
2) Did you do any checks yourself prior to buying, if so what
3) When, where was it stolen and when did you become aware if that fact
4) What was your selling price

Peter ~ Boatsandoutboards4sale ~ askboatsandoutboards4sale@sky.com ~ 07930 421007
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:26   #5
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the same thing happenned tp a friend of mine he bought a boat of a website sold it 2 owners down the line it's a stolen boat he got together with all the other vendors and they made an offer of compensation

I wont mention him by name but I will send you his contact details by PM
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:44   #6
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The boat was a 2001 Avon 560 Adventure with a Yamaha 115 and Bramber trailer.

I bought the boat from the chaps house / barn, and visted him there twice and went into his home. He was obviously the owner of the house (recent checks on Zoopla etc confirm). He had various service bills etc in his name. All of this gave me confidence that he had been the owner for the previous two years. i didnt check the history prior to his ownership ...

I dont have any information at the moment about the alleged theft, or what database it is recorded on. These are some of the questions I have for the solicitors who contacted me.
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Old 10 December 2011, 16:55   #7
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You need to make sure it's the buyer you sold it to making the claim. I'd have thought a buyer who then discovered he bought a stolen boat would have first contacted you, or the police but from what you say the letter was the first you were aware of any issue. Either way he can only sue you for what he paid for it. I'm assuming he paid more than the £9,995 he was trying to re-sell it for 5 years later so I'm confused as to why he's not claiming his full purchase price back ?

Speak with your solicitor but don't make any offers/payments in the mean time or accept any liability. Wait for the advice.

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Old 10 December 2011, 17:05   #8
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Have you checked the stolen boat register to make sure you're not being had?
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Old 10 December 2011, 17:11   #9
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I have looked on stolenboats.org and cant immediately identify the boat from any of the Avon rib descriptions on there ... ??

Are there any other databases I should / could check?

Anyone know of a specialist solicitor in the Southampton area with knowledge in this field?
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Old 10 December 2011, 17:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boats&Outboards View Post
Either way he can only sue you for what he paid for it. I'm assuming he paid more than the £9,995 he was trying to re-sell it for 5 years later so I'm confused as to why he's not claiming his full purchase price back ?
Because he has "enjoyed" it for 7 yrs and his loss is really only the loss of ability to sell the boat now for its current (unstolen) value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Lightning View Post
I dont have any information at the moment about the alleged theft, or what database it is recorded on. These are some of the questions I have for the solicitors who contacted me.
Well obviously they will need to prove that the boat is stolen, but I wouldn't be rushing to speak to the solicitors until you have sought professional advice yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Lightning View Post
Hi

This was a rib I bought privately myself, long before became a trader...

CAB is an option, but I wondered if anyone had any more specialist legal knowledge?
CAB will probably not have dealt with a stolen boat before, but it will be similar to stolen cars which they will have some idea about. I'd always be wary of legal advice dolled out on internet forums as there is absolutely no recourse against crap advice.

The RYA also have a legal department who would be able to offer advice if you are a member (you can join online today!).

On the positive side, it sounds like if your seller is still there then you might stand a reasonable chance of recovering any liability you have from him in due course. Because you probably want to involve a lawyer in that process (even if he is cooperative) it may be as well to engage professional help sooner rather than later.
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