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Boat-buyers: Beware of scams when you can't SEE the boat

'Better when you can SEE the boat'    Heather Robertson    Click Here to view large photo

With the great variation in comparative sailing boat costs around the world - in retail prices and in construction costs, many would-be boat-owners are either having built, or purchasing, the yacht of their dreams in a foreign country. But this is fraught with difficulties for the unwary, as one British couple discovered when they commissioned a boat in Poland:

The couple hoped to spend months of the year sailing around some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Visits were planned to Scotland and Ireland, and Christine Lloyd and David Diplock were looking forward to a new life on the sea.

But now the pair’s retirement dreams are in tatters, after they were duped into spending nearly £250,000 of their pension fund on a yacht they cannot sail.

The couple ordered a boat in 2009 from Hamblebased A-Board Yachts Ltd, which is now in liquidation.

During the following months, company salesman Shane Rowe produced fake documents to convince Mr Diplock to carry on giving staged payments for the boat, which was being built in Poland.

As the construction was beset by delays, Rowe even forged the signature of fellow company director John Board on documentation to stop the couple from pulling out of the contract, Southampton Crown Court heard.

When they eventually received the boat, Southampton Crown Court was told that the boat was 'not to the specification requested' and was 'unsailable'.

Shane Rowe was sentenced to 21 months in prison, but that doesn't restore the sailing dreams of Christine Lloyd and David Diplock, still £250,000 worse off, and no sailing boat to take them cruising.


by Daily Echo/Sail-World Cruising

  

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8:02 PM Fri 10 Aug 2012GMT


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