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Richmond resident claims boat mechanic sold him malfunctioning boat

Boat mechanic said he only offered free help and got nothing in return but accusations

A Steveston resident is taking a boat mechanic to Richmond Small Claims Court accusing him of selling a dysfunctional boat that he says lost control out at sea.

But the boat mechanic said he made no money from the deal and has been fixing the boat for free. In return, he’s received no gratitude from the boat buyer, rather, just accusations.

Su Lin, a Steveston resident, claimed he was looking for a boat for his fishing business and ended up buying a second-hand boat from David Pennell, a Richmond-based boat mechanic, in October 2022, and paid $25,000 in full.

Lin claimed the price included “a lifetime warranty for repairs and maintenance.”

“The boat was delivered later in November but the boat has never worked since I [made] the payment. Mr. Pennell promised me many things including providing a new custom-built boat and fixing the boat, but none of those things were materialized,” wrote Lin in his claim.

Lin told the The Richmond News the boat had engine and battery problems and when he tried to test it out at sea with his friends, both engines stopped working and they “nearly floated to the sea.”

“We had to moor the boat on rocks and tie it to the rocks using strings to stop it from floating away. I called the coast guard to come to rescue us and paid thousands of dollars in towing fees,” said Lin.

“Now it has been a year and I haven’t been able to use the boat, not to mention starting my fishing business.”

He is now taking Pennell to court and asking him to refund him the purchase and take the boat back.

Pennell: Lin never purchased a boat from me

Pennell, however, told the News his version of the story which is completely different from what Lin said.

Pennell claimed Lin bought a boat from his customer that he was doing repair work for, and then damaged the boat himself. Pennell then provided repairs to the boat for no charge as a favour before Lin told him he didn’t want the boat anymore and asked for a full refund.

“I want to point out Mr. Lin never purchased a boat from me. The boat he purchased belonged to someone I was doing work for and I was just the person who helped him acquire the boat,” Pennell told the News.

“[When he] returned to get the boat, I started and ran both engines for him, I showed him how all the electronics worked. He was satisfied with everything and took the boat and went home.”

But since then, Pennell has received calls from Lin about problems with the boat that Pennell said was caused by Lin himself.

Pennell claimed that he was called to Lin’s house once to check the boat and saw him running the engines without a water source, which damaged the impellers (rotors). When Pennell tried to locate some spare impellers for Lin, Lin ignored his warning and took the boat out on the water, causing the incident and further damaging the boat by placing it on rocks.

And Pennell said when he returned to Lin’s house to try to do repairs to the boat a few weeks later, he saw it left in the rain with the drain plug still in it and the engines, electrical and fuel tank fully submerged under the rainwater and further damaged, according to Pennell.

Pennell said he never agreed to a lifetime warranty nor a new custom-built boat. Rather, he has showed up every time and provided free repairs and replacements for Lin after the damage took place. He said he was still willing to help Lin but the seller would not accept a return given the damages to the boat that he claimed were made by Lin.

“I have never charged Mr. Lin one dollar for any work I have done for him. All parts and labour were provided for free. I felt sorry for the man because it reminded me of myself when I got my first boat many years before. I made a lot of mistakes with my first boat and had nobody to help me,” said Pennell.

“I also took into account the fact he told me he had no money for this and I told him after each repair I did for free to just tell people I did him a favour. But now instead of him being grateful for everything I have done to help him he has decided to try and harm me.”

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