Fake USCG Documentation Renewal Scam

axolotl

Super Anarchist
1,656
183
San Diego
As usual I got a letter saying it's time to renew, curiously over two months before my Documentation expiration date.  Usually I get the letter about 45 days before the expiration date.  I was about to online renew, when I smelled something bad.  They wanted $75USD for what costs $26USD when dealing directly with the  USCG National Documentation Center website.  They're running a scam, and apparently other companies are doing the same.  DO NOT GET RIPPED OFF; only deal with  the official NVDC website.  From the Better Business Bureau:

On May 9, 2019, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints concerning "maritimedocumentation.us" from consumers regarding advertising, billing and refund issues. Consumers allege that they are misled to believe they are on the U.S Coastguard’s website and are charged excessive fees to submit their vessel documentation. Consumers also allege that if they cancel their order, they do not receive a refund, nor do they receive the certificate.

 

Shu

Super Anarchist
1,717
95
Yep.  I got that one too. I think they are masquerading it as a "service", but renewing with USCG is really simple.

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
59,998
4,634
De Nile
As usual I got a letter saying it's time to renew, curiously over two months before my Documentation expiration date.  Usually I get the letter about 45 days before the expiration date.  I was about to online renew, when I smelled something bad.  They wanted $75USD for what costs $26USD when dealing directly with the  USCG National Documentation Center website.  They're running a scam, and apparently other companies are doing the same.  DO NOT GET RIPPED OFF; only deal with  the official NVDC website.  From the Better Business Bureau:

On May 9, 2019, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints concerning "maritimedocumentation.us" from consumers regarding advertising, billing and refund issues. Consumers allege that they are misled to believe they are on the U.S Coastguard’s website and are charged excessive fees to submit their vessel documentation. Consumers also allege that if they cancel their order, they do not receive a refund, nor do they receive the certificate.
yep, the f'ers got me back in the spring.

 

Elegua

Generalissimo
4,354
1,914
Lower Loslobia
I almost got gotten. I disputed the charge with the CC company. Reversed the charge and strangely some doc showed up in the mail. 

 

Snaggletooth

Morrelle Compasse
32,412
4,797
Thisse wase disscuste hearer a couppelle yeares ago, so we wearer warned.  Juste sayeng.

 
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Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,425
3,051
Surely the USCG would have put a stop to this if it were a total scam. They have a reputation to uphold and this sort of thing puts them in a bad light and certainly have the legal resources to do something about it.

    Otherwise this service is just one of many middlemen sort of operations.

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
59,998
4,634
De Nile
Surely the USCG would have put a stop to this if it were a total scam. They have a reputation to uphold and this sort of thing puts them in a bad light and certainly have the legal resources to do something about it.

    Otherwise this service is just one of many middlemen sort of operations.
The Feds in general are supposed to outsource. I would say the current admin frowns on the CG from even offering the service. Think of the move to Services like vessel assist.

 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,541
539
Lopez Island
Yup, got scammed this year.  I contacted the perpetrator and was sent a lot of legalize that I had agreed to.  Several nasty exchanges by e mail but I was concerned about losing my money if I disputed the charges.  Did just get the renewed documentation but definitely learned an expensive lesson!

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
37,393
5,094
How do they get your full details in the first place? Isn't there US privacy laws that prevent the USCG giving out beyond vessel details and registration status things like your name and address?

 

The Q

Super Anarchist
This is happening with all sorts of documentation online.

Over here we've had scams on , vehicle licencing, TV Licencing,  Visas to the US and many others.

If it's online someone will try to Scam you..

 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,517
2,161
I almost fell for similar when replacing a lost social security card. If you do a web search on how to replace one, there’s about 30 of these “service” companies before you find a link to the real one. 

 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,517
2,161
I almost fell for similar when replacing a lost social security card. If you do a web search on how to replace one, there’s about 30 of these “service” companies before you find a link to the real one. 

 

bridhb

Super Anarchist
3,400
942
Jax, FL
Thisse wase disscuste hearer a couppelle yeares ago, so we wearer warned.  Juste sayeng.
Yeah, but a lot of us are really old and forget.

My initial documentation was done through one of these "services" as their website was first up on a search on how to do it and they designed their website and address to realistically  mimic the official USCG site.  I was stupid, it was my first attempt at documentation and didn't know anyone who had done it. The nice lady at the local DMV suggested documentation in lieu of registration.  It cost a bunch more than going though the USCG.  When I found out during the process, they would not refund the fees but were more than willing to stop the process.  I let it go and eventually got my documentation.   Renewals have  been through the USCG.

I get the "service" notice annually but going through the official USCG online site is very easy and about 1/4 the cost of the "service".  I really hope that the administration does not decide to outsource this.  Heck, let the USCG raise their price a bit and make it (more of?) a money maker.  I think there should be some requirement that the "service" sites should be more upfront about not being officially USCG and not be allowed to mimic the look or web address.

 

JohnMB

Super Anarchist
2,766
555
Evanston
The Feds in general are supposed to outsource. I would say the current admin frowns on the CG from even offering the service. Think of the move to Services like vessel assist.
This is not outsourcing, this just a middleman inserting themselves into a process where they are not necessary. The CG still does the same processing they would if you applied directly.

 
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