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Old 07-16-2017, 08:09 AM   #1
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Beware of third party "for fee" boat documentation providers!

I have been burned twice by getting online to purchase and then renew our USCG documentation.
Sites look like US Coast Guard and tabs will even say so. They will get your papers in order BUT....
You will pay 500% and more at these decieving sites.
Make sure you are on the official USCG site.

National Vessel Documentation Center
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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Yup. This would be maybe the 5th thread here on this very subject. Sorry you got burned.

On the bright side, your vessel is documented and you likely spent less than the cost of a nice dinner out with you and your wife.
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:37 PM   #3
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I think the same people provide USPS address changing services at 20 times the rate the USPS charges.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:38 PM   #4
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I just got scammed today because I did not pay close enough attention to the letter. Two minutes after I ordered the renewal I cancelled the order and they did that, but they refused to cancel the credit card payment. I have already contacted the FTC and the USPS, I will mail a letter to the real Coast Guard. Have these people (US Vessel Documentation) ever actually sued anyone or filed a lein?
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 68Deluxe View Post
I just got scammed today because I did not pay close enough attention to the letter. Two minutes after I ordered the renewal I cancelled the order and they did that, but they refused to cancel the credit card payment. I have already contacted the FTC and the USPS, I will mail a letter to the real Coast Guard. Have these people (US Vessel Documentation) ever actually sued anyone or filed a lein?


Call your credit card company and report the scam and explain you want the charge blocked/reversed.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:18 PM   #6
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Don't confuse these scam artists with legitimate businesses such as Atlantic Boat Documentation, near Annapolis. They do charge more than the bare USCG fees (about double) but they are often invaluable.

In one recent case they did a search for liens in surrounding states for a non documented boat I was buying. In another case they handled the closing of the purchase of a boat I was buying in Florida using an Annapolis broker where I was planning to take the boat out of state so I wouldn't have to pay Florida's sales tax.

But in simpler cases I have just handled the documentation process with the USCG's National Vessel Documentation Service myself and it worked fine.

FWIW, NVDC is one of the few federal agencies that the person who answers the phone can really help you. They speeded up processing of my new boat application when i was hoping to leave for the Bahamas in a few weeks and I had been waiting for three months already.

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Old 08-18-2017, 03:26 PM   #7
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I renewed ours on line today. When I went to the USCG's official site, I saw a notice about Third Party Awareness. Here's part of the page.

The NVDC is aware that there are commercial entities that offer to manage the certification/renewal process on behalf of vessel owners for a fee. The Coast Guard does not endorse any of these companies, and the companies do not operate on behalf of the Coast Guard in any way. Any fees charged or agreements offered by such companies are in no way associated with the NVDC certification process. In addition, these companies are not authorized to issue any form of documentation, including travel letters and/or permits that authorize operation of ANY vessel. Customer complaints can be made through the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) website at https://www.ftc.gov/

National Vessel Documentation Center

https://content.govdelivery.com/acco...letins/1a25ee8
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by schaefferoil View Post
I have been burned twice by getting online to purchase and then renew our USCG documentation.
Sites look like US Coast Guard and tabs will even say so. They will get your papers in order BUT....
You will pay 500% and more at these decieving sites.
Make sure you are on the official USCG site.

National Vessel Documentation Center
If you look closely you'll see they never claimed to be the USCG, just appeared to be. You will pay typically an extra $50 or so, so 300%, not 500%. Nothing illegal about what they're doing. Now, if pressed, they will sometimes return your money.

As said above there are very legitimate documentation services that provide added value. We've used on several times. But the $76 ones are just taking and submitting your information.

They've been reported many times. If told to change they make a slight change. If threatened for mail fraud or anything like that they just come back under another name. Similar businesses on many things.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:51 PM   #9
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Best to deal directly with the USCG. If one's clueless, well, pay up.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:51 AM   #10
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Beware third party documentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
If you look closely you'll see they never claimed to be the USCG, just appeared to be. You will pay typically an extra $50 or so, so 300%, not 500%. Nothing illegal about what they're doing. Now, if pressed, they will sometimes return your money.

As said above there are very legitimate documentation services that provide added value. We've used on several times. But the $76 ones are just taking and submitting your information.

They've been reported many times. If told to change they make a slight change. If threatened for mail fraud or anything like that they just come back under another name. Similar businesses on many things.
What would have cost$89 with the coast guard was $525 with these jokers. There is nothing legitimate about that. They do not provide any extra services whatsoever, and I call that 500%.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:55 AM   #11
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What would have cost$89 with the coast guard was $525 with these jokers. There is nothing legitimate about that. They do not provide any extra services whatsoever, and I call that 500%.
I did get my money back by disputing with my credit card company.
After many attempts to contact them, was not one response from the jokers.
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:02 PM   #12
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What would have cost$89 with the coast guard was $525 with these jokers. There is nothing legitimate about that. They do not provide any extra services whatsoever, and I call that 500%.
Well, I have no idea who you used for $525. Or why?

The full line services that provide far more than just documentation don't charge that. You're saying this was just a routine renewal?

Most who are getting taken by a service they don't need are just losing $50 or so with those that mail all the time and have priority google placement.

Did this by chance include Michigan registration? I know it is very expensive.
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:36 PM   #13
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Post renewal , and was the same company my broker Skipper Buds used when I bought the. Oat. I might presume they share the take, as they should know better.
You wouldn't happen to be one of these great providers would you?
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Old 08-19-2017, 12:46 PM   #14
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Sorry for typos
Sending from my phone.
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:03 PM   #15
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Post renewal , and was the same company my broker Skipper Buds used when I bought the. Oat. I might presume they share the take, as they should know better.
You wouldn't happen to be one of these great providers would you?
No, but I don't know that you know what you were paying for. I asked the question about Michigan registration as that isn't cheap. I don't know anyone who charges what you said just for a documentation renewal. Who is the company? How did your order or invoice read? Renewal of documentation and of Michigan registration would be quite expensive.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:15 PM   #16
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Most document services charge in the $500 range for initial documentation. Depending on the boat, sometimes it may be prudent to use a service, but for most people, they can do it themselves for approx $100.
The company we are talking about here charges $75 to renew. Make no mistakes about it, their business model depends on people thinking they are dealing with the real CG. This company provides NO additional services for the extra $49 and often, boaters using this service only gets 10 or 11 months of renewal, not the full 12 months they would have received if they had dealt with the real CG
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:22 PM   #17
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Most document services charge in the $500 range for initial documentation. Depending on the boat, sometimes it may be prudent to use a service, but for most people, they can do it themselves for approx $100.
The company we are talking about here charges $75 to renew. Make no mistakes about it, their business model depends on people thinking they are dealing with the real CG. This company provides NO additional services for the extra $49 and often, boaters using this service only gets 10 or 11 months of renewal, not the full 12 months they would have received if they had dealt with the real CG
The Fort Lauderdale services we're familiar with charge a wide range of rates depending on situation. They charge more for most offshore documentation. They also charge if title work and search is required, if they're handling escrow, if there's a mortgage, if there's a rush, and if they're also doing state registration. I'm not aware of any of the major ones here charging $500 for a simple straight forward new boat, although there are sometimes complications there when the builder hasn't provided what's needed correctly. These companies do provide extra services as needed. The $75 company does not, in my opinion.

Documentation is normally straightforward. Yet, I hear regularly of people still dealing with issues and sending documents back and forth for a long time. Also, for newly purchased boats or those brought into the state, the Fort Lauderdale documentation services are experts in the tax impacts there and the most sensible way to handle them.

We've used documentation services and been extremely pleased with what they provided. Had we been dealing with straight forward and simple situations we might not have.

The OP never really answered as to what his service was providing and billing for and specifically if it included state registration.
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:44 PM   #18
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It`s not unusual for those "conned" to have some embarrassment at being ripped off, though the OP was willing to talk about it, to a degree.
Applying for "Visa Waiver" for the USA,and Canada, and others, you have to be careful the site you click is the real thing. You give them your credit card, it pays to take care. Everyday there are stories of people ripped off like this,remember you are dealing with scammers, who are not nice people.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:07 AM   #19
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It`s not unusual for those "conned" to have some embarrassment at being ripped off, though the OP was willing to talk about it, to a degree.
There are threads about this scam on all the boating forums and LOTS of P-O'd boaters have posted to say they fell for it, even a few to say they even signed up for the 5 year auto renewal. They are really P-O'd.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:54 AM   #20
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There are threads about this scam on all the boating forums and LOTS of P-O'd boaters have posted to say they fell for it, even a few to say they even signed up for the 5 year auto renewal. They are really P-O'd.
Let's be clear though that we're talking about two different things in this thread. There are the $75 usdocumentationtype website names that are just processors and there are the more expensive documentation services that do provide added services. As to scams, I tend to consider the $75 ones to be simply because they prey on misunderstanding and persons thinking they are the USCG. Yet, there are those who without them were overlooking renewal, somehow missed it.

Is 5 year auto renewal a scam? I don't consider it worth the cost, but there are people who want to feel they can't overlook it. Basically people need to learn to read and be careful as to what they're doing. If not they may fall victim to far worse abuses and scams. There are those pretending to be many government agencies from social security to medicare. Easy enough to take the wrong route and lose large amounts of money. Need to be suspicious of every piece of mail and every email. I get hundreds if not thousands of scams in email every day from all sources. I've known elderly to lose hundreds, even thousands to Publisher's Clearing House's scam operation by being told they're a winner.
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