Better Call Behnken: Complaints mounting against Palm Harbor boat consignment shop

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Complaints are mounting against Palm Harbor’s Gulf Coast Boat Sales, accused of selling boats on consignment and then failing to pay the original boat owners.

One buyer turned to 8 On Your Side after getting stuck without a title and registration on his new boat.

James Owen, of Valrico, saw our Better Call Behnken report and panicked. He’s waited since Feb. 16 for the $9,000 the boat shop owes him.

“I thought, ‘oh, no,'” Owen said. “I realized it’s not just me.”

Owen bought a boat from the shop two years ago and left one there to be consigned. It took years.

It finally sold on February 16, and he was called in to sign over the title. There was no lien on the boat.

Owen said he was told he would receive his $9,000 in about 10 days. Since then, he said he has heard only excuses.

The shop was already under scrutiny for another deal gone wrong. Rick Weaver tells 8 On Your Side he paid $24,000 total for a boat March 6. He still cannot legally use the boat, because he does not have title and registration.

In Weaver’s case, he ended up tracking down the previous owner himself and discovered that man had not received any of the sales price.

The boat shop has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, based in similar complaints, many of which were finally resolved.

Salesman James Laden said Weaver’s title was held up because of a lien that needed to be paid off before title could be released. The original owner, however, said he was not notified when the boat sold and could have paid off the loan himself.

Since the original news report, others have contacted 8 On Your Side to report problems with the shop. 8 On Your Side paid Laden another visit and gave him a list of upset customers. He promised each case would be taken care of.

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