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Consumer Alert - Warning to Yacht Purchasers

April 11, 2013

The Commission has recently received an increased number of complaints involving the international transport of yachts purchased by individual consumers. Examples of recent complaints include:

  • Delays in shipping and delivering cargo;
  • Use of boilerplate contracts that allow the shipping company to wait as long as a year to ship the yacht while requiring the consumer to pay storage fees and a significant penalty should the consumer cancel transportation service; and
  • Failure of the shipping company to accurately disclose costs and delivery terms of service.

To avoid problems with shipping yachts internationally, consumers should take the following precautions:

  • Ensure that the shipping company is FMC licensed and bonded. A list of licensed companies is available at: http://www2.fmc.gov/oti/;
  • Read and understand the shipping company’s written terms and conditions prior to contracting for services;
  • Understand the shipping company’s cancellation policy prior to contracting; and
  • Ensure that any required delivery windows are specifically provided for in the written contract.

For assistance resolving problems associated with an international yacht shipment to or from the U.S., please contact the Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services at 202-523-5807 or complaints@fmc.gov.