Four months later, couple’s new boat still stuck in backyard because of paperwork issues

Better Call Behnken

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Stuck in a backyard is no place for a boat in Florida.

But that’s exactly where Bonnie and Eric Ortiz’s boat is. That’s because they don’t have the registration or the plate for their new boat trailer. Even though they paid cash in early December.

“It’s frustrating that we can’t use something that we paid for four months ago,” Bonnie Ortiz said.

Bonnie and Eric Ortiz were thrilled to buy the 17-foot sport boat early. They paid $22,399 cash to Champion Marine in Clearwater and were given a 30-day temporary tag and then another one. That allowed them to use the boat for two months, while they waited to get their registration, title, and plate for the boat trailer.

But now, the temporary tag is expired and they say they ran into roadblocks when they called the dealership to find out why they don’t have the permanent tag and registration.

So, they parked the boat.

“Without a valid registration, I can’t take it out on the street or on the water,” Ortiz said.

So they turned to Better Call Behnken, I found state records showing the boat and trailer are legally in the couple’s names, even though they don’t have the proof they need to use the boat.

8 On Your Side Investigator Shannon Behnken called Champion Marine and spoke with the owner. who say he was unaware of this situation but would take care of it immediately.

The owner tells 8 On Your Side there had been delays with a third-party-title processing company and he would personally make sure the Ortiz family received their plate and registration so they can get back on the water.

Ortiz says she received a call Tuesday afternoon from Champion Marine and they apologized that the plate and registration never arrived in the mail. She says she was told to pay for a duplicate copy at the DMV and that the dealership will reimburse the cost and through in a gift card for dinner out.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

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