Foreign transactions and brokers: buyer (and seller) beware

With many buyers already owning foreign property, the English yacht buying market is increasingly involved in foreign purchases, albeit of British Registered vessels kept abroad (principally the Mediterranean). 

Often such sales are initiated from research on the internet using a number of the extremely clever web based databases.  Such databases have their advantages and disadvantages in that we have become aware of a number of “virtual yacht brokerages” who have been advertising vessels seemingly “on their books” when in reality they have simply cloned agent’s particulars from other brokers with the intention of trying to get a prospective purchaser “on board” by misrepresenting they hold the selling owner’s instructions. 

They then seek to split commission with the actual broker, or on one occasion recently, demand buyer’s commission from the prospective purchaser once the transaction has advanced to the point where the unwitting purchaser has signed a contract and paid a deposit. 

This is as much a problem for buyers as it is for sellers and legitimate brokers, and we have been involved in cases across much of the Southern Mediterranean where such events have occurred. 

The internet is a powerful tool, but lends itself very easily to such abuse and misuse, and anyone therefore relying upon this medium without actually making attempts to look carefully to find out or substantiate the true state of affairs, is going to be living increasingly dangerously.

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