If after buying an used marine item you find that you have mislead and the quality of the article is not what it was advertised, there are a plethora of things you can try to get your money back, but none of them is guaranteed to succeed, unless you have taken the necessary precautions beforehand.
It all depends on whether you as a buyer can establish that the seller took substantial steps to conceal the problem for the sole purpose of selling the item to an unsuspecting buyer, and whether the broker (if there was any involved) knew of the concealment.
The law is also different depending on the state in which the transaction has taken place. For example, although law in California requires various disclosures to be made in real estate transactions, that requirement does not extend to boat-related sales. As such, it will be extremely difficult to hold a seller liable if he or she remains silent regarding any known faults with the items being sold.
A broker may be held under a different standard. For example, if the buyer was represented by a broker who was involved in a prior rejected transaction due to some kind of faulty specifications or who otherwise knew of the problem, that broker may be found liable for breaching the fiduciary duty owed by every broker to a client.
That goes to show why it is never reasonable for a buyer’s expert to rely upon the seller’s representations. The job of a buyer’s inspector is to perform an independent inspection, and any representations made by the seller should be disregarded during the inspection process.
For example, saying that a boat is “seaworthy” is like a used car salesman saying that an old car it’s in “great condition.” In some contexts, such as a maritime personal injury claim, “seaworthiness” is a legal term that will be a significant factor in the case. However, in boat sales, it is a subjective term that has no particular legal significance, because of the extent to which that term is used.
This is different than, for example, misrepresenting the length of a boat or the horsepower of the engine, which are objective facts. If those were subjective terms, you could never hold someone liable for their use.
The best approach is to avoid the dispute altogether by doing some homework before entering the market in the first place. Buying a used boat gear may be a complicated endeavor, but the process can be simplified enormously through a little preliminary research into the make and model of the article.