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AG stops boat reseller that left consumers high and dry

Release date: 1/26/2007

Charlotte-area consignment company ordered to shut down until it changes its practices

Raleigh: A Charlotte-area company that sells boats, motorcycles and recreational vehicles on consignment must shut down until it changes its ways, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“Consumers were left adrift when this company promised to resell their boats but then pocketed the money instead, or kept the property and wouldn’t give it back to them when it didn’t sell,” said Cooper. “We’ve put a stop to these bad business practices and now consumers can get their property back.”

Wake County Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand agreed yesterday with Cooper’s request to temporarily stop Lake, Land & Sea of Mooresville and owner Troy Waters from selling property on consignment and give consumers a chance to get their property back. Lake, Land & Sea must immediately notify consumers of the order and allow them to pick up their unsold items. Cooper is also seeking an order to permanently stop the company’s bad practices and to order it to pay refunds to consumers.

Before the company can resume selling items left on consignment, they must provide detailed records to Cooper’s office on all sales going back to 2003, including the names of all customers and descriptions of items sold. Once Lake, Land & Sea provides those records, the order allows them to sell property on consignment only if both the buyer and the seller have read the judge’s order and agreed in writing to the sale. Money from any sales must be placed in a trust account until the Attorney General’s Office verifies that the buyer is satisfied.

The Attorney General’s Office began investigating Lake, Land & Sea in the fall of 2006 based on complaints from consumers. Consumers described their dealings with the company in affidavits filed by Cooper’s office. One Charlotte couple took their 2003 Pro Line boat and trailer to Lake, Land & Sea for consignment sale in December 2005. They found out that the boat had been sold when the buyer from Wilmington contacted them looking for the title and registration seven months after he’d bought the boat. Lake, Land & Sea had not paid off the original owners’ loan on the boat as it had promised to do in a signed agreement, and the new owner couldn’t use the boat because the company failed to provide him with the proper paperwork.

Cooper contends that Lake, Land & Sea agreed to resell boats and other items for consumers but then failed to pay them for their property once it sold. The company also refused to return unsold property to its owners. In addition, Cooper alleges that the company failed to pay off liens on the property once it was sold and didn’t transfer the title and other documents to the new owners.

Consumers with property at Lake, Land & Sea are urged to pick up their unsold property from the company. Consumers whose property was sold by Lake, Land & Sea who did not receive payment are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.