Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a settlement with a national watercraft manufacturer who sold recreational boats in Oregon with incorrect model year identification numbers. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Marion County Circuit Court is Starcraft Marine, LLC of Topeka, Indiana. The agreement admits no law violation.
"Oregonians spend millions of dollars each year on recreational boat purchases," Myers said. "New owners must be able to rely on the manufacturer to produce a product that is in compliance with state boating laws."
Department of Justice investigators opened an investigation in July 2002 acting on a report from the Malheur County Sheriff's Office concerning a new Starcraft boat that had been seized because its hidden and external hull identification numbers (HIN) did not match.
Investigators from the Oregon State Marine Board and the Lane County Sheriff's Office found the same problem on 12 boats shipped into Oregon for sale through Starcraft dealers. On these boats, the part of the visible identification number that indicates the model year had been switched from 2001 to 2002.
In order to comply with state and federal regulations dealing with boat identification, manufacturers of watercraft will attach a plate imprinted with the HIN number near the stern of the vessels. In the case of fiberglass boats, the HIN numbers are sometimes stamped directly into the boat material. The same number is imprinted on other areas of the hull, hidden from public view.
As part of today's agreement, Starcraft Marine has bought back or replaced the three boats sold to Oregonians and has recalled any boats with mismatched numbers. The company is required until January 1, 2005 to report to Justice any other sales made in Oregon of boats with mismatched numbers. The company also must tighten its manufacturing and production procedures to make sure all identification numbers are correct and match.
Starcraft Marine paid $24,000 to the Department of Justice with $14,000 for the Justice Consumer Protection and Education Fund and $10,000 for the Marine Board's law enforcement and marine theft prevention program.
Consumers wanting more information on this case may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Boaters can find information on Oregon watercraft laws and regulations by calling the Oregon State Marine Board at (503) 378-8587 or online at www.boatoregon.com.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) email@example.com