Monday, 8 August 2011

Bradwell Marina

A cautionary tale for anyone thinking of using the facilities at Bradwell Marina.

The standard berthing contact contains two boxes into which two dates are written. These by implication are the start date and end date of the mooring contract, I say by implication because there is no text on the boxes to indicate their actual purpose.

One may reasonably assume that these dates represent a period of "cover" as would be the case if this were an annual insurance policy. One may further assume this is the case because shortly before the "expiry" date the accounts office will write to you and offer you a "renewal".

When you no longer wish to moor your boat, part way through the period covered you will however discover, that Bradwell interpret their contract differently. They claim that this contract is a "term contract", although nowhere on the contract itself does it say this.

They then go on to claim that the customer is not permitted to cancel, despite there being a termination clause, and notice period in the terms and conditions. They then rely on the unmarked date boxes to exclude their own conditions.

The subtle distinction of course is that terminating early will not result in any refund of fees paid because they refuse to allow any early termination.

I am advised by my solicitor that their contract is in fact deficient and it can in fact be argued that it is actually a rolling contract. In favour of this arguament is that fact that renewal is offered automatically, nowhere on the contract does it say that it is a term contract, and the purpose of the date boxes is not clearly marked. However it costs money to test this theory through the courts, unfortunately more than the refund I am due.

Arguing with the people at Bradwell directly is not possible because they refuse to enter into any sensible debate, they simply send a standard letter stating their position, and then repeat this position ad infinitum, completely ignoring any points you may bring up.

Fortunately there are cheaper moorings available at Brightlingsea, West Mersea, Burnham on Crouch, Heybridge and Maylandsea, amongst others. Burnham also has better facilities, an on site chandlery and the people there do not treat you with contempt.

But if you really must use Bradwell, I recommend that you pay monthly, so that terminating does not leave you out of pocket. You can simply stop the payments and let them try and chase you, boot on other foot so to speak.

You have been warned...

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