Monday, January 7, 2013
Help Me Howard: Sailboat
She sold her beloved sailboat to a family she thought would enjoy it for years to come. Turns out the opposite happened, and she started getting fined. It's tonight's Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- They say the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it. Not for Pamela Dicesare.
Pamela Dicesare: "I do miss it, but being I'm much older now than I was many, many, years ago, I'm not able to do the sailing that I did before."
Pamela has enjoyed sailing since she was a young girl.
Pamela Dicesare: "When I was 5 years old I took lessons in the Coconut Grove marina, and I always liked sailing as a child."
In 1980 she bought this Skipper 20 sailboat, but as the years passed, it seldom left her backyard. And then a fellow came to her house...
Pamela Dicesare: "...and thought of purchasing it for his two small children so it would be a fun vessel for them to sail on."
Pamela sold the boat and a trailer to the fellow for $1,500, and soon regretted it.
Pamela Dicesare: "And I really miss seeing that sailboat sitting in my backyard, but I was happy to see somebody who really, really appreciated the boat."
But apparently the man didn't appreciate it, leaving it anchored here in Biscayne Bay. A Fish and Wildlife officer noticed and was not happy.
Pamela Dicesare: "Citing me with several violations, including an outdated decal, a not-up-to-date decal. My boat was full of barnacles, and it was missing an anchor light, and several other violations."
According to Fish and Wildlife, the boat had not been used in months.
Pamela Dicesare: And it makes me sick. I'm teared up. I'm very teared up. That was a special boat for my husband and myself."
The new owner had also failed to transfer the title into his name and had left it in Pamela's name. In the state of Florida's eyes, she was responsible for it.
Pamela Dicesare: "I was totally infuriated with this gentleman, because I had taken his word that he was going to transfer this over into his name."
Pamela says she tried to contact the man, but he didn't respond. And if something isn't done, she fears she's the one who will be sunk.
Pamela Dicesare: "If you don't respond to it, they will tow the boat out of the water and I will be charged for it plus all the violations, which can amount to thousands and thousands of dollars, and I cant afford anything like this."
Well, Howard, Pamela has the bill of sale, a copy of the cashed check, but the title is still in her name. So what can she do?
Howard Finkelstein: "This is the same as selling a car, and the law gives does you a way to protect yourself. If you cannot get the new owner to put the title in their name, simply fill out a notice of sale form that is available at the Division of Motor Vehicles, and if the new owner has gotten tickets or fines already, the bill of sale will protect you from having to pay them."
We first contacted Florida Fish and Wildlife, and give them credit, they straightened it out. After reviewing the paperwork, they re-sent the citations to the man who bought the boat. He'll probably also get a citation for not transferring the title of the boat into his name within 30 days. When we contacted him, he told us he had been traveling and didn't have time to put the boat in his name. He then went with Pamela, and they transferred the title to his name.
Pamela Dicesare: "And everything is fine. We're still friends, and I hope he takes good care of that sailboat the way I did."
Pamela is glad she called, and even tried to make the man who bought her boat a fan of Help Me Howard.
Pamela Dicesare: "And he just kept mumbling all the time I was at the tag agency. He just kept shaking his head saying, 'Help Me Howard, Help Me Howard', and I sat there and smiled and said, 'Yes! Thank you, Help Me Howard'."
Now whether you sell a boat, a truck or car, the best thing to do is to go with the buyer to the tag agency to transfer the title, and if you can't go, in most cases the buyer wants the title in their name, so legally, they own it and can resell it if they want.
Howard mentioned, if your buyer didn't transfer the title, file a notice of sale form. The link to do that is at wsvn.com under this Help Me Howard story.
Anchored to a problem that's you left you sunk? Wanna see it set sail? Contact us. We may not have the wind at our backs, but we do have law books in our hands. With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles - Division of Motorist Services