Costs Down to Mistaken Survey Finding

Slowboat35

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During the sale process of my boat the surveyor (contracted by the purchaser) reported a problem with the steering that required investigation. The purchaser had driven the boat hands-on for an hour and noticed nothing amiss. On investigating this myself my immediate reaction to the broker was nonsense, it's just normal wear and tear on a 30yr old steering system. The purchaser insisted this was investigated before the sale could proceed.
Engineers were unable to respond for ten days due pressure of work and eventually reported - word for word, "it's just normal wear and tear on a 30yr old steering system."
As a result this incurred around £600 in extra marina fees and engineering time which has been sent my way.
Had there been a problem I'd naturally have paid for the rectification but it seems a bit steep that I get striped for £600 because someone else's surveyor was somewhat over-zealous in 'finding' a 'problem' that wasn't a problem at all.
It strikes me that as the surveyor lead us up the garden path the fees should be down to the purchaser, not the hapless vendor.

What does the team think?
 

Buck Turgidson

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The surveyor was wrong in his assessment therefore he must be liable for the costs not you! I would tell the buyer to send the bill to their surveyor.
 

geem

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Most surveyors are not very good in my experience. its more about covering their backside than providing useful information.
I would have fired straight back at the surveyor and asked for details as to why he believed it needed further investigation that he could not do in his capacity as a surveyor.
 

RivalRedwing

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Not knowing the overall sale price of the boat, I would probably accept the hit and move on - seeking any other remedy is likely to incur greater cost. Put it down to experience and consider sharing details of the surveyor informally with others (but not on this forum or the thread will likely get pulled)
 

B27

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Normal wear and tear for 30 years is often quite similar to 'knackered'.

It's the purchaser's privilege to investigate anything .
His insurers will want proof that possible issues have been properly investigated.

There is a lot of gear on a 30 year old boat which needs stripping checking and rutting back together, even if it's all good for another decade.
Selling a boat takes time, storage costs are the owner's problem.
The buyer could probably have sorted this sooner had he really wanted.
 

Sandy

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"it's just normal wear and tear on a 30yr old steering system."
As a result this incurred around £600 in extra marina fees and engineering time which has been sent my way.
If you were purchasing a boat and your surveyor reported 'a problem' with the steering what would your reaction have been?

Give that your engineer agreed with the surveyor, but phrased it differently, was the boat sold to that buyer?
 

Refueler

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Horse has bolted .... but in such situation - I would have simply told buyer to investigate and if there really was a problem - then agree to pay .. but if results showed as it is reported - just wear and tear - then buyer can argue it out with his surveyor and pay the bill ...

If buyer is looking at a 30yr old boat - then he can expect to buy 30yr old wear and tear ...
 

Refueler

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If you were purchasing a boat and your surveyor reported 'a problem' with the steering what would your reaction have been?

Give that your engineer agreed with the surveyor, but phrased it differently, was the boat sold to that buyer?

mmmmm I took the surveyors comment to investigate to suggest the system was faulty .... not wear and tear .... as OP says - buyer sailed the boat and had adequate time to assess himself ....

Sorry - but I think engineer did not agree with surveyor. Surveyor was 'clever' in his words ... needs investigation .... mmmm not something I would accept as is - I would be requiring more info before proceeding further.
 

Sandy

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Sorry - but I think engineer did not agree with surveyor. Surveyor was 'clever' in his words ... needs investigation .... mmmm not something I would accept as is - I would be requiring more info before proceeding further.
We will agree to differ on that point.

I've had some interesting conversations with surveyors over the years and they have some odd ball ideas (especially when it comes to osmosis).
 

Fr J Hackett

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I sold a boat and the purchasers surveyor who described himself as a naval architect made the comment that the steering was defective and required overhaul. This was a brand new (2 year old Whitlock pedestal, under deck autopilot motor on rod linkage) his comment related to the fact that there was a difference of 1/16th ( less in fact) of a revolution on lock to lock port to starboard which the purchaser got an exorbitant quote for and used in negotiation to lower the price, as I had just left hospital after having two discs replaced in my neck I couldn't do the adjustment ( half an hours work) myself.
 

Caer Urfa

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Any reputable surveyor who finds a problem with the steering gear or he is not happy about will put it in his survey report, it is not his job to find the cause of the problem if it is not obvious.

Almost most surveys I do are for a new buyer before buying a boat and will report what he finds on the day of the survey which sometimes is not all good news

The fact quoted: 'the purchaser had driven the boat hands-on for an hour and noticed nothing amiss' unquote is irrelevant as how do we know what experience the new purchaser has and hence he sensibly engaged the service of a marine surveyor who's employed to ensure the boat is in a seaworthy condition and clearly any suspected problems with the operation of the steering system he will put in his survey report and discuss it with the purchaser

As we are all well aware what looks like an easy repair/ fix can turn out to be a minefield and again some problems can take ages just to find the cause

Any costs to rectify any problem found or incurred is the sellers responsibility or in some cases if a major problem might form part of a negotiation if the buyer still wants to go ahead with a purchase
 

Bouba

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During the sale process of my boat the surveyor (contracted by the purchaser) reported a problem with the steering that required investigation. The purchaser had driven the boat hands-on for an hour and noticed nothing amiss. On investigating this myself my immediate reaction to the broker was nonsense, it's just normal wear and tear on a 30yr old steering system. The purchaser insisted this was investigated before the sale could proceed.
Engineers were unable to respond for ten days due pressure of work and eventually reported - word for word, "it's just normal wear and tear on a 30yr old steering system."
As a result this incurred around £600 in extra marina fees and engineering time which has been sent my way.
Had there been a problem I'd naturally have paid for the rectification but it seems a bit steep that I get striped for £600 because someone else's surveyor was somewhat over-zealous in 'finding' a 'problem' that wasn't a problem at all.
It strikes me that as the surveyor lead us up the garden path the fees should be down to the purchaser, not the hapless vendor.

What does the team think?
Whoever ordered the investigation (regardless who prompted the request) is responsible for the bill... and the owner of the boat at the time is responsible for the marina fees. I assume that this is you ?
The time to negotiate was before.....such as, if there isn’t any issue you pay all costs.
 

Baggywrinkle

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If an offer was made and accepted as "subject to survey" then as a buyer, when the surveyor thinks something is wrong but can't tell me what it is, or how much it is likely to cost to repair, then the next step is on me as the buyer - after all "My surveyor says the steering isn't right" is no sound basis for a negotiation IMO. A second opinion is what the buyer needs to pursue or not. Unfortunately, who pays for storage on land and who pays for the expert opinion needs to be worked out beforehand - I guess it wasn'T.

I would accept the cost of obtaining an expert opinion as the buyer - it's to mitigate my risk after all and I would ask the seller if he could keep the boat on land for the duration of the investigation.

I would not consider it normal to bill the seller for an expert opinion that I contracted.

If I were in the OPs shoes, I'd try and extract myself by offering a compromise - "buy the boat and we'll split the cost of obtaining the useless 2nd opinion 50/50" - just to get it all over and done with. Sometimes it's cheaper in the long run to pay off awkward tw@ts at the beginning with a small compromise than get into a protracted argument.

If he hasn't bought the boat, then his contract, his cost IMO. The OP would be stuck with the marina bill anyway.
 
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Refueler

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I have a feeling OP jumped too quick into having the engineer on board ... now seeing the bill and having his opinion confirmed - is not happy ...

Time to sort that - was before calling in the engineer.

No disrespect intended to OP
 

Refueler

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mmmmm re-reading OP's opening post ....

"The purchaser insisted this was investigated before the sale could proceed."

I would now go back to purchaser and politely remind that HE insisted on the investigation - incurring delays and costs ... in my mind - morally its his problem ... It was HIS survey .. it was HIS insistence ...
 

Stemar

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mmmmm re-reading OP's opening post ....

"The purchaser insisted this was investigated before the sale could proceed."

I would now go back to purchaser and politely remind that HE insisted on the investigation - incurring delays and costs ... in my mind - morally its his problem ... It was HIS survey .. it was HIS insistence ...
The problem with that is that the seller always has the option to say no and look for another buyer. Saying, "You arrange it and, if there's anything wrong, I'll sort it" might have worked, but if the boat sold, I think I'd just be happy to see it gone.
 
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