The following is a true and accurate account (based on my experience) of the events that occurred with Great Lakes Boat Brokerage,LLC run by Ryan Evans in Mentor Ohio. I was a “customer” for a season and this is my story… It’s noteworthy to mention that there are likely people who have had good experiences with Mr. Evans and their unique circumstances may have produced a better outcome. When deciding whether or not to hire a company like Great Lakes, it’s important that you do a lot of research and not rely on a single review on the Internet like this one. The purpose of this review is merely to share my story. Around the beginning of the boating season (Northeast Ohio) for 2013 I decided after 10 years of ownership that it was time to sell my boat and was tired of dealing with “prop spinners” (similar to tire kickers, people who can’t afford to buy a boat and are just goofing around on weekends looking at them) and hire a broker to weed them out and find a serious buyer. As a means of background, I purchased my boat from the first owner in 2004 and completely retrofitted the boat in 2011/2012. The renovations included but are not limited to, entirely new upholstery, thousands of dollars of carpet, exterior paint, electronics, plumbing, etc. My boat was meticulously cared for from the moment it was purchased new and it had approximately 600 hours on the motors. If your boater everything I’ve said makes sense. The overall length of the boat is just under 40 feet and its fair market value is considerably less than we were asking. I’m using a realistic number, I see these boats advertised all the time 50% more in much less desirable condition, but I’m sure they never sell in that range. For what I was asking you can expect to get a rundown old boat that needs all the work that I did. Ryan Evans of Great Lakes boats and brokerage was referred to me by another broker who basically didn’t want to be troubled with selling an inexpensive boat. If you ever been to a car dealership and have them size you up regarding how much money they can make off of you… Multiply that times 50 and that’s basically what it’s like working with a boat broker. The entire boating industry in Northeast Ohio is full of dirty scumbags in my opinion, the mechanics charge obscene amounts of money for even the smallest repairs and brokers are just dirtbags… Again, in my opinion. If you’re not in the market for a 100,000+ dollar boat, most have very little interest in talking to you. If you’re looking to sell your boat and not by another one it’s almost impossible to find a legitimate broker to work with you. Ryan was starting off on his own having defected from a fairly reputable marina where he was one of their salespeople. Not an uncommon story, a salesman makes a few bucks and thinks he can do it on his own so they defect and try to take their contacts with them. This was not the case with me however I had talked to Ryan when he was working at the Marina, but that is an unrelated event. I told Ryan about my boat, showed him photographs, (professionally taken) and explained that I was willing to sell the boat for under $30,000 if we can get it done within the season so I wouldn’t have to pay for winter storage. Please remember that I’ve spent a tremendous amount of money retrofitting the boat as well as $52,000 to purchase it 10 years earlier. All said, I would estimate I have around 60+ thousand dollars into this boat. I asked Ryan for his listing contract, he refused stating “look if I sell a boat and someone stiffed me on the commission I just don’t work with them again.” Like this kid is some kind of big shot and frankly if you screw me on the commission I don’t care I’ll just move on to the next deal. I told him that contracts protect both people and that I wanted one. He assured me he would put something together and send it my way which to the best of my knowledge never happened. Here’s what did happen… To the best of my knowledge, Ryan showed my boat exactly one time, he never brought me even a lowball offer which is likely not his fault. If no one wants to buy the boat, then there will be no offers. What is his fault is the unbelievable amount of damage that occurred while the boat was in his possession as well as the outrageous invoices that he invented during the same. I made it very clear to Ryan Evans that I had moved and that the boat was docked nearly an hour away so I was relying on him to keep an I on it and show it when he had an appointment. When the fall came around, I had an occasion to go down to the Marina and I was heartbroken to see the condition that my boat was in. Not only was it absolutely filthy but covered and leaves as well as stains from allowing filth to bake on the surface of the boat all summer long. What’s worse is that I had a custom aft deck carpeting made which he left out all summer and it was totally destroyed. Covered in stains from leaves and water. This was a cream colored Berber Marine grade carpeting that is not designed to be left in the elements. As a matter of fact, one of our selling points was that no one has ever walked with shoes on the new carpeting in the cabin or the aft deck. I immediately contacted Ryan, who began profusely apologizing claiming that he thought I was going to put away the carpet, but that he was going to take it and get professionally cleaned. I found out later that instead of taking it someplace and spending the $40 to have it professionally cleaned he attempted to do it on his own in his garage and effectively made it worse in my opinion. The bottom line is while the boat was in his possession it was neglected and now I have to pay to get it back into seaworthy condition. As aggravating as the exterior damage was it was only the tip of the iceberg… Ryan insisted that he keep the boat at some Marina in Lake County (presumably close to where he lives) so that he could “show the boat during the winter”. I told Ryan that I have already made arrangements to keep it at a marina very close to where was currently docked and that I trust their mechanics, as well as the facility. He practically begged me to allow him to take possession of the boat claiming that it would be very difficult for him to sell the boat over the winter without it being in his possession. In no uncertain terms I made it clear to Ryan that I would not spend one penny more than it would cost me at another place to dock my boat. He agreed and swore up and down that he would take care of everything. Here’s where the story gets interesting, I get an invoice from Mr. Evans sometime in December for nearly 300% the amount of money that it cost me the previous year. I inspected his invoice and it was almost laughable… He performed all these alleged services without my knowledge or consent and charged me for them! Things like “cabin deodorizing” are you kidding? The list was endless and the best part was that he alleged to have filled up my tanks (specifically against my request) later stating “that you have to otherwise you could get rust in your tank over the winter”. This is complete nonsense; I’ve had my boat for 10 years and have never had any problems. I never fill the tanks all the way up in the fall because the gas sits there all winter long. That stunt allegedly cost close to $600. In my opinion, this proprietor gets his hands on a boat and pads the bill in egregious ways, I never gave him consent to do any of the services that he alleges that I owed him for. In the spring, I told him that I want to inspect my boat before I pay anything to which he threatened me by stating “I am not delivering your boat or releasing it until payment is made in full”. I threatened to contact an attorney and amazingly he delivered the boat. I was sick to my stomach when I saw the boat… If it was possible for it to be in worse condition than it was… It was. Except now the water system doesn’t work, the port motor stalled continuously, and the air conditioner stopped working. Now I don’t have to be an attorney (because I consulted with one) to know that Ryan is responsible for my boat while it’s in his possession unless otherwise agreed to in writing. He claims that none of the aforementioned issues are his fault and was demanding full payment. I told him absolutely not, stating that I needed to get repair estimates so that he and I can fairly agree on a settlement amount because clearly I was no longer going to work with him. Immediately he said he didn’t want to lose the listing and he wanted to work things out. I told him that I didn’t believe I could trust him, but I would give him the benefit of the doubt after I had professionals evaluate the boat. The long and short of it is the boat was not properly winterized and it caused damage to several mechanical components including but not limited to what is listed above. I’ve spent well in excess of the amount he’s demanding repairing his negligence. This is just this simple, I handed him the boat in both pristine working and cosmetic condition. What he gave me back was a bill for roughly 300% of what I have ever been charged over 10 years and a lot of damage to my boat to which he denies any culpability. The reason I’m writing this story is because you may be considering listing your boat with this broker, it’s entirely possible that he’ll do a good job selling it for you. That was not my experience. My experience was that a greedy salesperson practically guaranteed that he could sell my boat to get the listing and then after having neglected it as well as being responsible for damaging the boat has tried to sue me in Small Claims Court as well as hire an attorney (for only $3000) and force me to waste even more money because of his negligence. I have every intention of defending any claim he brings against me as well as pursue damages for abuse of process should I prevail as well as restitution for all the damage that he caused to my personal property. If you’re considering Great Lakes boats and brokerage or anyone for that matter, you should insist on the listing agreement which very specifically details who is responsible for what. You do not want to have a situation like mine where some young kid is pointing a finger at you (me) demanding that he is owed some imaginary amount of money while at the same time you are left with damaged property and no contracts. PS I’m disappointed that the boat was not sold but that is not the purpose of this report, I am furious that, at least in my opinion, this broker took advantage of me while simultaneously damaging my personal property and refusing responsibility for their actions. .
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