Posted by Steve Ball, Attorney at Law on July 15, 2003 at 11:54:09:
In Reply to: Re: Read this BEFORE buying a Used Boat posted by jd on July 14, 2003 at 12:55:38:
Answers to your questions:
For consumer goods (boats), the filing of a UCC-1 should be in the county where the debtor resides, or if the debtor is not a resident of Alabama, then in the county where the consumer good is kept. "Run" the debtor's name in the office where real estate records are kept. Anyone can access these public records.
A proper search in the correct county should be all that is required for someone considering the purchase of a used boat, i.e. if a debtor lives in Morgan County and his boat is in his garage, then that debtor's name need only be "run" in Morgan County.
All loans against collateral are not necessarily filed. Filing a UCC-1 financing statement is done by a creditor to tell the world that he has loaned money to a debtor, and such debt is secured by some type of thing (good). Depending on the type of good, when and where the UCC-1 is filed, and other factors, a creditor can determine his priority to collateral (priority among other creditors who also loan money on the same boat and also subsequent purchasers of the boat as in our situation)in the event the debtor fails to pay.
Perhaps I should have made it more clear in my first message.... The guy borrowed money to buy a fancy boat...then didn't pay the payment and subsequently sold the boat to an unsuspecting buyer for "cheap!"
I don't know of any national hotline for stolen boats.
The service. Our law firm has a person who works full-time checking people for liens and judgments. (We do it to insure clear title on properties for which we close loans.) Our charge to check for liens on boats in Morgan County is $65. Other Counties, $100. We guarantee the accuracy of our search, provided our client gives us the correct legal name of the debtor.
The last part of your last question.... If an attorney's office fails to find a UCC-1 that is, in fact, filed, you would NOT be able to keep your boat from a priority creditor. At that very unlikely point, of course, you'd have to settle with that attorney.
I hope this has answered your question. In the event that yourself or others have questions of this type, don't hesitate to post them on this site or call or email my office, Steve Ball, Attorney at Law, 256-355-9517, Decatur, Alabama
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