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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Hello, my questions relate to the terms and conditions of a

Customer Question

Hello, my questions relate to the terms and conditions of a site (pitch) licence for a static caravan at a holiday park in Argyll. I own a caravan (van) but wish to purchase a newer one from another van owner on the same park.
The park owners have first refusal on the sale and can buy it at the sellers asking prices less a 15% discount, or if a buyer has been found, for the full asking price. If they decline to buy, the sale must be handled by them, acting as self appointed agents for the seller, and deducting a commission of 15% + vat, or £2000 minimum.
However, clause 3.8 states that if a van is bought privately, the annual site licence fee is subject to a surcharge of 7.5% compounded. I take this to mean it will increase by 7.5% of the previous years fee, year on year. But the manager insists it means it will increase by 7.5% in year 1, 15% in year 2, 22.5% in year 3 and so on. If I am correct, this will mean £2000 more than other van owners in 5 years, if the manager is correct it would mean more like £6000 over 5years. Who is correct?
In addition, the manager claims that no signature is required on the annual site licence and Ts & Cs because paying the fee means we have accepted them. Surely, if the Ts & Cs have been revised, then the company must bring the revisions to our attention and require our signature, or refuse to renew the licence, otherwise any revisions are unenforceable? (None of the other van owners bother to sign the form and we are never contacted by head office about this)
My concern is that the company will change the Ts & Cs in their favour to make it even more difficult for van owners to conduct a private sale and may attempt to charge much higher fees as well, or much higher commission. The net result being to force owners to sell to them at a gross undervalue. (as happens now: the manager claims the 7.5% surcharge was introduced because 40 vans were sold privately this year, denying them their massive (100%+) profit on used vans. I do not want to find myself having to do this in a few years.
Finally, as punishment for buying the van for probably £10k less than they would have re sold it, I fear that they will move it from its present pitch to a scruffy corner near the noisy main road and dustbins. Can I do anything to stop this happening?
(I like the site, not the owners and most parks in Scotland are run on the same lines so moving is not an option. Pity the changes in England do not apply in Scotland.)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
7.5% compounded means that the fee each year goes up by 7.5% not that the interest rate is increased by 7.5% each year. You are right and the site manager is talking nonsense.
Subject to anything the terms and conditions might say specifically, it is the law in Scotland that a contract, if not signed but acted upon by the parties by payment in return for services, is binding on the parties. A signature is only required in connection with the sale or lease of heritable property and a site licence for a caravan is neither of these. However the terms and conditions have to be intimated to you in some way otherwise they can't be binding on you.
A signature is the preferable way to achieve this as then there can be no doubt but as a matter of law this is not actually required.
As regards ***** ***** van to another pitch, again if there is nothing in the terms and conditions about this, this is a bit of a grey area and I am aware of the abuses that site owners attempt in this type of situation. My usual argument is that they must have a specific contractual reason to move the van and there is no specific contractual reason where the van has sat happily in its present site under the current owners.
Happy to discuss further.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the reply. Can I ask about two other clauses please?

Section 9.4.3 (the biggest section and relating to sale or transfer) states:

"The company will advise the licensee of the level of commission required. The licensee must, before the sale of the holiday home, advise the buyer of the level of commission required"

In the same section it then states the commission is 15% + vat of the resale value subject to £2000 minimum.

Does this clause allow the company change the 15% commission to a higher amount?

Does the term Resale value refer to the price the seller agreed with me, or the resale value to company would charge if they re sold it?

The seller has paid his site fees upto 31st March 2015 and no refund is possible after July. Can the company charge me a licence fee for the remaining months or should they transfer the balance of the sellers licence to me?

Finally (I think!). When the new licence is issued for next year, can the 7.5% increase be raised or other terms changed to penalise private buyers?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I've not had a reply to my queries relating to my original query, shown below. It is probably my fault for leaving feedback before waiting for your reply.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I didn't get your follow up question until now.

As regards commission I read the clause as meaning its 15% of the actual sale value achieved subject to a minimum of £2000 plus VAT.

They should not be charging you site fees if these have already been paid. You should refund the seller the portion of site fees already paid by him.

As regards your last question, terms and conditions of contract can't be changed without the agreement of both parties.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks, you have clarified my position. If possible I would like to update you on the outcome if the sale to me goes through next week without hindrance from the park owner.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
No problem, I'll look forward to hearing from you.

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