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Anchors Aweigh: Legal Issues Surfacing in South Florida’s Yacht Industry

Anchors Aweigh JF

Jesse Fulton, Attorney

Broker disputes are now extending from the real estate industry into South Florida’s $12 billion yacht industry. The recent lawsuits contend that the mandatory 10% sales commission in South Florida’s yacht sector are anticompetitive and violate antitrust laws.

According to the two recently filed complaints, yacht sellers are forced to pay substantial brokerage fees. At the core of these legal battles are claims against the yacht brokerage industry’s commission practices, which have been alleged to be anticompetitive and a breach of antitrust laws. The lawsuits allege the current commission structure has led to a significant increase in overall commissions, outpacing inflation rates and resulting in exorbitant costs for boat owners year after year. The lawsuits also assert violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, where brokers, instead of competing, collaborate to the detriment of pre-owned boat sellers.

The lawsuits specifically target the International Yacht Brokers Association and the Yacht Brokers Association of America, among others, including a list of prominent South Florida-based yacht brokers. These legal challenges highlight the nuances of the yacht selling process, where sellers are purportedly required to adhere to commission structures that may not align with competitive market practices. In the lawsuits, it is argued that this system is rigged against both sellers and buyers, where the sellers are coerced into agreeing to the inflated commission rates, and the buyers are pushed towards purchasing vessels yielding higher commissions for brokers.

The subject lawsuits relating to yacht broker commissions are an important reminder that legal interventions can prompt significant changes in industry practices. These lawsuits serve as a wake-up call, prompting a closer look at the practices of the Yacht Brokerage industry as a whole, including South Florida’s yacht industry. With legal repercussions looming, it’s imperative for stakeholders to address these systemic issues and work towards establishing a more equitable and transparent marketplace for yacht buyers and sellers alike.

The uncertainty surrounding the legal consequences and implications that may result from these lawsuits emphasize the importance of seeking legal guidance to navigate the shifting legal landscape. If you have been impacted by the issues raised in these lawsuits or have any legal concerns related to the yacht industry, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced team at Pike and Lustig. Our lawyers are devoted to helping clients obtain the best possible outcome. With offices from Miami-Dade County to Palm Beach County, we represent clients throughout South Florida.

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