Boat buyers are being warned about a scam which offers bargain priced canal boats, the catch is that the boats are not really for sale, and their advertisers don’t actually own them! And hire firms are being reminded about another scam that left a few of them out of pocket last year.

Boats for salePaul Lillie, Managing Director at Pilling’s Lock Marina Ltd reports that some of their genuine boat sale adverts including photographs have recently been copied and placed on websites like like “Friday-Ad”, “Loot” “Gumtree”, “Preloved” and local newspaper websites. The boats are offered at low prices with the apparent intention of encouraging would be purchasers to pay a holding deposit before viewing the boat. He sites a boat that Pillings Lock sold in January for £14,000 being offered online recently for just £5,100!

Because of the popularity of online advertising and the difficulty of tracing email contacts he thinks it is almost impossible to prevent this kind of activity, but hopes publicity may deter it’

His advice to prospective boat purchasers is that they must always exercise caution;

  1. Always go and see a boat before handing over any money.
  2. Ask to see documentation – previous bill of sale, CRT license data/corresponds with owner, BSSC, Mooring bills, boatyard bills…
  3. Ask owner for photo ID (passport or photo driving license) and evidence of address details.
  4. Or buy via an approved Marine Broker/Boatyard/Marina.

Meanwhile boat hirers are being warned by their trade body APCO about a scam which caught out a few companies last year, and has resurfaced.

A hirer books a holiday at the back end of the season and then also books a last minute break, bringing a ‘joint’ cheque for the 2 holidays. The cheque will bounce, but by that time the fraudster has had his short break and can’t be traced.

Thanks to Pillings Lock Ltd and APCO for information.

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