B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a Vancouver boat repair shop to pay a man $1,000 for losing his boat.
Wayne Dauncey said Kits Boat Sales Ltd. lost his boat while it was in its care for repairs.
Dauncey said his insurer paid for a new boat, although he had to pay an insurance deductible. He claimed $3,000 in damages.
The company acknowledged it couldn’t find Dauncey’s boat but denied any responsibility.
“It says Mr. Dauncey likely abandoned his boat at Kits intentionally in order to make an insurance claim for a new boat,” tribunal member Sherelle Goodwin said in her Jan. 9 decision. “Kits also says the boat was past its useful lifespan and so was worthless in any event.”
Dauncey took his vinyl inflatable Zodiac boat to Kits for repairs in July 2020. His representative before the tribunal said he contacted Kits for an update on his boat in October 2020 and was told it couldn’t be located.
A month later, they said they’d find it over the winter but was told in April 2021 it hadn’t been found.
Goodwin called that evidence hearsay, adding Dauncey provided no direct evidence.
The company said Dauncey was unable to provide specific information — such as the boat’s full serial number, hull identification number, age or photos — to help it find the boat.
“Kits undisputedly agreed to take possession of Mr. Dauncey’s boat, to inspect it and possibly repair it, in return for payment,” the tribunal's ruling said.
Goodwin said the company's practice was to fill out a work order and tape it to the corresponding boat.
“I find it likely that Kits has many boats in its possession,” Goodwin said. “I find Kits has failed to show that it took reasonable care not to misplace, or lose, Mr. Dauncey’s boat. I find taping a work order with a customer name and number to a boat is insufficient to track each boat’s owner and location amongst several boats, let alone ‘hundreds.’”
She said Kits provided no support for its contention that Dauncey abandoned the boat.
“I find it unlikely that Mr. Dauncey would have continued to contact Kits about his boat, if he had abandoned it,” Goodwin said.