Cape Coral, FL asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Admiralty / Maritime for Florida

Q: I want to sue a yacht charter broker in Fort Lauderdale.

I want to sue a yacht charter broker in Fort Lauderdale. Long story short. For my 70th birthday I rented a very expensive home on the water for 3 nights.

I chose the home because the yacht broker I was working with said docking the yacht I selected for a day charter 'should not be a problem' at the house, so I selected this home (over $11k for 3 days). The taycht broker said he is familiar with the canals and even sent pics of the dock and arial views.

Two days before the charter (as we are preparing to check into the home) the yacht broker emails me and tells me that we have to drive to the home where the boat is docked for our charter. I tell him that was 'not the deal' in very strong language.

To add insult to injury the boat advertised on the yacht website shows 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms and we were told upon arrival that we were only allowed to use one of the bathrooms (the other doors were locked). Classic bait and switch.

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You didn't ask a question in this Q & A forum, but I suppose you're wondering if you have a viable potential claim. That depends on a few factors, including the terms of the written contract. Generally, verbal comments that conflict with the written contract cannot be the basis for a breach of contract claim, but in some situations, might give rise to a fraudulent inducement claim. The verbal phrase "should not be a problem", in itself, may be not be a strong basis for a claim, as that can be interpreted as "should not be a problem, but we're not 100% certain". Perhaps that statement, in combination with other misrepresentations and surrounding facts, would be sufficient to support a fraudulent inducement claim. The boat bathroom situation comes under the same analysis - first, what's in the written contract?, and if the contract mentions nothing about the issue, what representations were made to induce you to do the deal?

In any event, the first logical step in this kind of situation is to make a list of your complaints to the vendor and indicate that you entered into the deal based on specific representations that were false, ruining your plans, and demand reimbursement. Also see if your contract has terms that you must comply with for lodging a dispute.

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