Bradenton man’s custom-made boat deal adrift after company owner dies

8 On Your Side

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates is getting involved to help a Bradenton father who says he’s out thousands of dollars. Wesley Whitmire put down cash for a custom-made fishing boat but now, he’s left with no boat and a potentially big bill.

“You go around to any neighborhood in Florida, every other house has a boat,” said Whitmire. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”

For Whitmire, boating and fishing are more than hobbies – they’re a lifestyle.

Last summer, the father put down a deposit for a custom-made vessel from Bossman Boats in Edgewater. Periodically, he received pictures of the boat as it was being assembled. But suddenly, all communication stopped.

Whitmire drove down to the facility in Edgewater to get answers.

“Come to find out, the owner passed away and they closed their doors,” he said.

“Are you going to get your $3,000 back?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi. “I don’t know,” said Whitmire.

But it’s not just the deposit. Whitmire took out a loan and he fears he could be on the hook for the full purchase price.

“We have a 12-year loan for $40,000,” he said. “My main concerns is not being on the hook for this loan.”

The company’s website and phone number are both down.

“I feel like my family and I are being wronged and railroaded in this whole situation,” he said.

8 On Your Side tracked down the deceased owner’s wife. She states that she was just an employee of Bossman Boats with no legal rights.

Attorney Eric T. Preston from the Preston Law Firm is currently handling the complicated case. He states the firm is in the process of determining the appropriate steps regarding the administration of the decedent’s estate.

If you need to file a claim, you can do that through the courts. You can reach the probate attorney by visiting this website or calling 386-424-9200

At this time, it’s unclear how many Bossman Boats customers will be filing claims against the estate.

In the meantime, 8 On Your Side spoke with Eric Olsen, Hillsborough County’s Director of Consumer and Veteran’s Services. Olsen is not familiar with this case as it occurred outside the county. But he offered general tips to consumers making a purchase.

The biggest advice is to get any agreement for work in writing.

Additionally, pay with a credit card if you can. That way, you can easily dispute the charges in an unforeseen situation.

8 On Your Side will continue to follow this story.

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