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I am considering offering my boat for sale in Spain. A friend of mine recently sold their boat and had been notified of an issue with the vessel which they noted to the buyer during the sale. Is it advisable to employ a Gestor to handle the sale?

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When it comes to recreational boating, especially when buying a boat, there can be a lot of issues. Due to marine conditions and other factors, it is possible that boats are in poor condition and have hidden defects that are not always noticeable at first glance. This can cause serious trouble during a cross-over voyage, making us think about the condition of the boat.

The applicable laws and regulations vary depending on the parties participating in the sale of a vessel. The sale of a boat between two individuals is classed as a civil matter, so the regulations set out in the Civil Code are applicable. When it comes to a direct sale between the buyer and the seller of a second-hand boat, they are legally bound by the guarantees specified in the civil code. The seller is liable for any hidden defects in the boat for a period of 6 months. If undetectable to the naked eye, hidden flaws can hinder the boat's proper functioning and would have caused the buyer to offer a lower price had they been known.

 

When the vendor is a professional selling boats, and the purchaser is an individual, the Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 of November 16 is applicable, which approves the consolidated text of the General Law for Consumer Protection and other complementary laws. No matter if the boat is new or used. Therefore, a higher degree of consumer protection is in place when purchasing a recreational boat. In particular, article 114 of the Royal Decree mentioned states:

 

As part of the agreement, the seller is responsible for providing defect-free products to the consumer. In addition, they must accept liability for any lack of conformity that may exist on time of delivery. The lack of conformity that is included in article 116 of the same Royal Decree is presented as a fundamental piece, establishing as compliant, in this case, the boats that:

  • The product they have conforms to the description of the seller and is of the same quality as the sample/test or model presented by the seller.
  • They are suitable for the typical uses of boats in their class.
  • If the consumer or user has notified the seller of any special usage requirements upon entering into a contract and the seller has confirmed that the product is suitable for such use, then it will be suitable for all intended purposes.
  • Ensure that the product you offer lives up to expectations and provides adequate quality, performance, and reliability for its intended purpose.
  • These boats that fulfill these conditions would be thought of as appropriate, shown to be what can be anticipated based on the seller's descriptions and the purpose for which these boats usually serve.

Alternatively, the consumer shall have the right to ask for a full refund or proportional reduction of the cost if the repair/return of the vessel has not been completed in an acceptable timeframe as outlined in Article 121 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007.

 

The buyer must notify the supplier of any lack of conformity within two years from when delivery of the ship's materials is made for new boats; however, this has been amended and will take effect from January 1, 2022, based on article 16.7 of Royal Decree-Law 7/2021, of April 27. If the seller of a used boat is professional, the warranty may be reduced to a minimum period of one year from the date of delivery. When buying a second-hand boat from a professional seller, at least one year of warranty is required.

 

To sum it up, it is essential to inspect a boat thoroughly by an experienced specialist with extensive knowledge in maritime affairs both in the water and out before committing to purchasing it. Given the considerable costs of purchasing a boat, it is wise to inspect the vessel in all its facets before making a decision.

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I would recommend you to sell it to a professional. Perhaps the price will be less then you get going direct, but you will avoid any potential issue with buyer claiming something was wrong with the boat.

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