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Old 08-01-2020, 07:42 PM   #1
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I overpaid for USCG registration directly to USCG- any recommendations?

I have a documented vessel and I misunderstood the information that talked about being able to register for more than 1 year at a time. So, I sent in a check for a 5 year registration.

The registration came in the mail and it was for only 1 year.

I contacted the USCG and they said my boat was only eligible for 1 year and the other 4 years fee I sent in was not refundable per CFR.

I thought WTF? I made a mistake and instead of them sending the paperwork back they processed it and kept the difference?

I asked for a higher-up to comment and that person said the same thing but I could appeal to an even higher up, which I did and I am waiting for the answer.

So, the rules say I was not eligible for multi-year which I now understand, but the rules also say "the correct fee" must be paid in order to process (which it wasn't, I over paid, it was not the correct fee).

My view is they should have just sent it back to me and let me re-submit. What if I accidentally computer generated a check for $2600 instead of $26-- would they have kept the extra? I doubt it.

Anyone have any ideas? I am less bothered about the money than I am that my government keeps the money from innocent errors.

Thanks in advance for your insights. You all have been very helpful over the years.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:55 PM   #2
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Good luck. I just went through a 5 month process to simy register s vehicle at the CA dmv during a psndrmic. It was painful.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RLKramer View Post

I contacted the USCG and they said my boat was only eligible for 1 year and the other 4 years fee I sent in was not refundable per CFR.

I asked for a higher-up to comment and that person said the same thing but I could appeal to an even higher up, which I did and I am waiting for the answer.


Did the original respoonse include the CFR citation? If not, insist.


Just keep escalating. Eventually some admiral will recognize the untenability of their position.


You do have a Congressman, I assume.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:59 PM   #4
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We kept some boats in California for quite a few years. I had to register a new dinghy, made an appointment at DMV. Showed up after a 3 week wait for the appointment only to find that the appointment was really for the following month. Crap! I whined a bit and they let me do the registration a month before my appointment. Real PITA.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RLKramer View Post
I have a documented vessel and I misunderstood the information that talked about being able to register for more than 1 year at a time. So, I sent in a check for a 5 year registration.

The registration came in the mail and it was for only 1 year.

I contacted the USCG and they said my boat was only eligible for 1 year and the other 4 years fee I sent in was not refundable per CFR.

I thought WTF? I made a mistake and instead of them sending the paperwork back they processed it and kept the difference?

I asked for a higher-up to comment and that person said the same thing but I could appeal to an even higher up, which I did and I am waiting for the answer.

So, the rules say I was not eligible for multi-year which I now understand, but the rules also say "the correct fee" must be paid in order to process (which it wasn't, I over paid, it was not the correct fee).

My view is they should have just sent it back to me and let me re-submit. What if I accidentally computer generated a check for $2600 instead of $26-- would they have kept the extra? I doubt it.

Anyone have any ideas? I am less bothered about the money than I am that my government keeps the money from innocent errors.

Thanks in advance for your insights. You all have been very helpful over the years.
I would write directly to the Commandant of the CG. Bypass all the people that will just say no anyway.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:21 PM   #6
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Dont give up but I wish you good luck.
Early on with bill pay my wife inadvertently paid like $3500 to Verizon instead of $35. It took close to 6 mos to finally get it refunded. They never showed ANY payment or credit on our acct as they said anything over $1,000 goes to a general acct and won't show on our acct. We went back & forth month after month with no Progress.
I finally contacted Publuc Service Commission and Verizon literally called the next day wanting to settle the complaint.
It's all about contacting the right agency to correct any problems.
In your case it might take an elected official to step in to settle it... dont give up u till you find the right contact
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:49 PM   #7
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The novel/movie Catch-22 entertained a generation seeing how gov't and military is bogged down by procedure and about impossible to get anything done that's out of the norm. It's frustrating. So sorry it has happened to you. Best wishes in getting this out of your head however you decide to approach this.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:01 AM   #8
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Wow, crazy!

I would recommend a couple of things. First, going up the chain of command is the correct procedure. Trying to go directly to the top will generally get you sent back to the beginning at best. At worst, it'll really tick off the very people who can help you.

Second, remember that the CG is simply trying to implement the rule that congress passed. That's why they're quoting you the CFR's. It's their way of saying "Look, this is what WE have to deal with. Write to your representatives in congress if you think it's wrong."

I wouldn't give up hope though. The CG is a small enough service that they can sometimes still sneak some common sense into the process. Not often, but sometimes.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:30 AM   #9
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If ya think dealing with the USCG is any worse than big business....you sure have had different experiences than me.

I doubt going up the chain of command is going to do anything as they get further removed from where m ok ney and paperwork is funneled. They have big fish to fry.....

Had the payment been electronic...it is really doubtful anyone in the USCG even knows where the money is....if a check there is hope. But if absolutely clear about no refunds...good luck...and as long as you sent more than the required amount is probably why it was processed...thus the no refund issue.

Why were you not eligible for multi-year?
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RLKramer View Post
I have a documented vessel and I misunderstood the information that talked about being able to register for more than 1 year at a time. So, I sent in a check for a 5 year registration.

The registration came in the mail and it was for only 1 year.

I contacted the USCG and they said my boat was only eligible for 1 year and the other 4 years fee I sent in was not refundable per CFR.

I thought WTF? I made a mistake and instead of them sending the paperwork back they processed it and kept the difference?

I asked for a higher-up to comment and that person said the same thing but I could appeal to an even higher up, which I did and I am waiting for the answer.

So, the rules say I was not eligible for multi-year which I now understand, but the rules also say "the correct fee" must be paid in order to process (which it wasn't, I over paid, it was not the correct fee).

My view is they should have just sent it back to me and let me re-submit. What if I accidentally computer generated a check for $2600 instead of $26-- would they have kept the extra? I doubt it.

Anyone have any ideas? I am less bothered about the money than I am that my government keeps the money from innocent errors.

Thanks in advance for your insights. You all have been very helpful over the years.
Is your boat registered as a commercial vessel? Is that the reason not eligible for more than one year? Or something else?
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:10 AM   #11
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RLKramer you are a lucky man if losing $256 is your main concern in life. They did acknowledge their policy, though a poor policy. Did you reap the benefits of a preferred mortgage or some of the other benefits of documenting a vessel? That mitigates the financial loss. Plus, you shared a valuable lesson with everyone who reads this thread. Thankyou. Perhaps if you concentrate on forgiving yourself for making the mistake, you'll free yourself. Easier said than done. But more likely to get results. Just a different approach to helping you. I feel better already.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:29 AM   #12
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Thank you to all. Let me add some information:

First, my boat did not qualify for multi-year because according to the email from the USCG: "This Documentation has a REGISTRY endorsement which makes it ineligible for a multi-year renewal. Renewal fees are non-refundable."

I am not sure exactly what my registry endorsement is, but that is secondary to my point of them not sending the surplus $$ back. Why a clerical mistake of sending too many $$ to them allows them to keep it I dont understand. I understand if I had a 5 year registration and sold the boat at, say, 2 years, that I would not be able to get the remaining 3 years back. Buf I cannot believe the Code of Federal Regulations intended for this kind of consequence. The CFR also says the correct fees must be paid before processing. Well...I paid the incorrect fees so they should not have processed it and mailed it back.

Secondly, the amount I am out is $104. In the world of owning a boat, that is small potatoes. I am more concerned at how our government handles things that are nothing more than an unintentional overpayment.

I did not reap any benefits by having this kind of registration. Its what was on the boat when I bought it. I just am keeping it up.

I am usually the type of person that goes to the person in charge pretty quickly but I thought I would try their channels first and then if still not successful, go to the top where, hopefully experienced judgement prevails.

I am prepared to let it go as some of you have said once I feel the appeal process is completed. Lots of things in life are not worth carrying around in my head. I learned that at a young age. If I had not learned it, I would probably be a bitter guy at this point, but life has been good to me (with effort on my part) and I recognize that holding grudges only affects me and not the "grudgee".

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:35 AM   #13
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Thank you to all. Let me add some information:

First, my boat did not qualify for multi-year because according to the email from the USCG: "This Documentation has a REGISTRY endorsement which makes it ineligible for a multi-year renewal. Renewal fees are non-refundable."

I am not sure exactly what my registry endorsement is, .
You don't know what endorsement is on your documentation?

I would think it's a commercial endorsement of some sort. I ask out of curiosity because on their web site, they make it clear you can't go multi-year with anything other than recreational, cannot do with commercial. They show it in many places. I have no idea what the paperwork you received showed. But if there's some other reason you can't go multi-year I'd certainly like to know to make sure I don't fit that reason.

As to getting the money back, it really doesn't matter in my opinion why you overpaid, you did, and if one overpays they should get a refund, even with an entity that says no refunds. No refunds should indicate you can't change your mind and get a refund for a legitimate payment but shouldn't impact erroneous payments at all.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:40 AM   #14
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I would write directly to the Commandant of the CG. Bypass all the people that will just say no anyway.
Or write to your Congressman, and bypass the Commandant.

When I worked for the federal government and a Congressional inquiry about something like that came in to our office, the policy was always, "Just do whatever you have to do to make it go away."
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:18 AM   #15
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Band B-- thanks for the question. I looked into the registration and operational endorsement. Keep in mind that I am a pleasure boater without any mortgage on the boat.

The endorsements written in the box are:

Recreation
Registry

Written exactly that way. I did not now if that meant I had one endorsement called a Recreation Registry or two endorsements-- as written.

I googled each term and came up with the following re the single word Registry:

(a)*A registry*endorsement*entitles a*vessel*to employment in the foreign trade; trade with Guam, American Samoa, Wake, Midway, or Kingman Reef; and any other employment for which a*coastwise, or fishery*endorsement*is not required.**

*(b) Any*vessel*of at least five net tons wholly owned by a citizen or citizens of the*United States*is eligible for documentation under this part. This includes, but is not limited to,*vessels*used exclusively for recreational purposes and*vessels*used in foreign trade.

c) A vessel otherwise eligible for a registry endorsement for which the Maritime Administration has not given approval for unrestricted transfer pursuant to 46 CFR part 221 loses that eligibility during any period in which it is*mortgaged to a person not identified in ß67.233(b).**

Well, I am certainly not (a). I am (b) but I qualify under the Recreational so why I am in (b) too I am not sure. I am not (C), I have no mortgage but the former owner might have been subject to a mortgage so I am wondering if that is not the key operating term here and I am looking into that on Monday.

Either way, so I did not qualify for a multi-year, but an overpayment is not permission to keep it in my mind per the CFR prohibiting refunds. The CFR ONLY says refunds are not permitted. There is NO other description or wording.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:50 AM   #16
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Took me about three minutes of looking on-line to find the following Refund Request Process.

Did you try this link? Or is this where they told you the fees were non-refundable?

Jim
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:21 PM   #17
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How about just call it a "donation" and deduct it off your taxes. If the IRS ever calls you on it have them take it up with the USCG !


On second thought... if I got worked up every time I lost $ 100.00 on a boat I would go crazy. Just add it to the list of "do not do this again"



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Old 08-02-2020, 12:50 PM   #18
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Took me about three minutes of looking on-line to find the following Refund Request Process.

Did you try this link? Or is this where they told you the fees were non-refundable?

Jim
Looks straightforward. I suspect this is a case of people saying "refunds aren't permitted" really means they aren't permitted to issue them. Sadly they didn't know the procedure you've pointed to. Often people say things are against policy or can't be done when all it really means is they can't do it personally.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:05 PM   #19
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Band B-- thanks for the question. I looked into the registration and operational endorsement. Keep in mind that I am a pleasure boater without any mortgage on the boat.

The endorsements written in the box are:

Recreation
Registry

Written exactly that way. I did not now if that meant I had one endorsement called a Recreation Registry or two endorsements-- as written.

I googled each term and came up with the following re the single word Registry:

(a)*A registry*endorsement*entitles a*vessel*to employment in the foreign trade; trade with Guam, American Samoa, Wake, Midway, or Kingman Reef; and any other employment for which a*coastwise, or fishery*endorsement*is not required.**

*(b) Any*vessel*of at least five net tons wholly owned by a citizen or citizens of the*United States*is eligible for documentation under this part. This includes, but is not limited to,*vessels*used exclusively for recreational purposes and*vessels*used in foreign trade.

c) A vessel otherwise eligible for a registry endorsement for which the Maritime Administration has not given approval for unrestricted transfer pursuant to 46 CFR part 221 loses that eligibility during any period in which it is*mortgaged to a person not identified in ß67.233(b).**

Well, I am certainly not (a). I am (b) but I qualify under the Recreational so why I am in (b) too I am not sure. I am not (C), I have no mortgage but the former owner might have been subject to a mortgage so I am wondering if that is not the key operating term here and I am looking into that on Monday.

Either way, so I did not qualify for a multi-year, but an overpayment is not permission to keep it in my mind per the CFR prohibiting refunds. The CFR ONLY says refunds are not permitted. There is NO other description or wording.
"Registry" Endorsement is considered a commercial endorsement as it does allow it to be used in foreign trade. If you didn't purchase the boat new, that is likely a carry over from the previous owner. It would make you ineligible for multiyear.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:34 PM   #20
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If the refund request in POST #16 Is from the National Maritime Center, it may be different than the procedures from the National Vessel Documentation Center.
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