Following clarification of legislation from the Competition and Markets Authority.
Good News for Boat Owners who have lost out through lockdown.
Following clarification of legislation from the Competition and Markets Authority, a major South-Coast marina operator has been told they must reimburse their berth holders for periods where they have not been able to access their vessels.
A group claim against the berthing operator, which has yet to be named publicly, but have been named on other boating social media, is reported to have been upheld and have been instructed to refund their berth holders accordingly.
The berth holders successfully argued that their agreement with the operator had been in force prior to the announcement of the initial Coronavirus lockdown. The operator had written to them in June 2020, informing them that they would receive no refund, arguing that the restrictions were 'beyond their control.'
This was subsequently found unfair under Section 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
To date, several Marina Operators have offered favorable refund and loyalty payments, with by far the best deal East Coast Boating has seen, proposed by MDL Marina's earlier in the year (13th May 2020), Meanwhile the Canal and Rivers Trust extended annual toll licenses to reflect the period of the initial lockdown.
When a person operates a private vessel under a license or toll, they form a contract with the operator which entitles them to operate their craft under the terms of that license. Likewise, when a berthing agreement is made, it assumes free access and uses - yet any restrictions placed upon those private owners as a result of regulation, does not absolve those Authorities and Operators from fulfilling the terms of their contracts, and therefore they are deemed to have become 'frustrated'. Coronavirus legislation does not absolve business owners from fulfilling these contracts therefore offering at least partial refunds to clients for the services they have not received has been deemed reasonable - and this has been demonstrated by some of the UK's larger operators. The CMA view is also likely to apply to Licensing Authorities.
The CMA state; ' if the service that can be provided would be radically different to what was agreed, for example, because lockdown laws or other restrictions would prevent key parts of the contract from being performed, then in most cases consumers should be entitled to a refund.'