If I bought a lemon boat from a private individual, do we have any recourse?

My husband bought a boat off of Craig’s List. It wasn’t a great deal but it was fair. That was before we found out the lower unit was cracked and now may have to incur costly repair bills to fix it. The repair costs now make the deal a bad one. The boat is not worth the original sell price plus repairs. The post on CL stated the boat was in great condition with no engine problems. This was reiterated by the seller at the time of purchase. Unfortunately, it’s a boat, so test driving before purchase isn’t always possible. Then 5 minutes into putting the boat on the water for the first time we discovered there was a problem. Once the lower was taken apart it was obvious that the problem was pre-existing. The gears in the upper housing were rusted and pitted. This can only occur if water had been in contact with those parts for an extended period of time. We are talking months, even years.

Asked on July 27, 2012 under General Practice, Missouri


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The lemon laws of the various states do not apply to the boat that was purchased from a non-dealer.

However, if you can demonstrate that the seller of the boat knew that there were problems with it before the sale and did not disclose such to you and the problems are "material" to the transaction then you would have a factual and legal basis for a "concealment" cause of action against the seller for the lesser of the costs of repair or the diminution in value at the time of the sale.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.