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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Hi I wonder can you tell me where I stand please: last year

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I wonder can you tell me where I stand please: last year I arranged with a boat yard 'Kelpie Boats' in Pembroke Dock, South Wales, to purchase and have fitted two brand new engines.

I am still waiting to get my boat back after months and months of waiting. I am the first to admit that the boat is not quite standard but easily rectified, I'll explain - the transom height is incorrect, 1 1/2" to high for a short shaft engine then some what low for a long shaft engine. I strongly believe Kelpie boats should have given professional advice and explained the pros and cons of what they where intending to do. They had to opportunity to put a short shaft engine on my boat before they fitted the main engine but failed to do so, I had been told that because the transom was to high I'd have to have a long shaft, this being my first ever boat and knowing nothing at all about boats I took Kelpie boats advice etc, they advised me to have a look under the large piece of checker plate wrapped over the transom by previous owner to make sure it was solid and in good condition. When I did so I found the transom had been build up by about 38mm (1 1.2") but the transom in good condition so far as I could tell.

When I took the boat to them to have engines fitted I said that the transom had been build up a little and could easily have been reduced to put the short shaft on, (originally I had hoped to buy a second hand engine they had in their yard, for around £850. It was a short shaft) (when I took the boat for them to see they said a short shaft wont fit only option is a long.) Taking their advice, being told only option was a long shaft, so I paid them for a brand new 20hp engine and a brand new 3.5hp as an auxiliary, the 20hp was £2656 and the 3.5hp taking the bill to £3,200. They made no attempt to fit the engine correctly. At this point Kelpie should have said in that case reduce the transom and we will exchange to 'still in box' 20hp and fit a short shaft but no they offered nothing, simply took the boat into the shed and basically dumped the long shaft on, they made a messy job of it roughly cut holes, the remote is not fixed securely and a few other things. They have promised me to rectify the problems and each time not honoured what was agreed. Our last agreement was for Kelpie to raise the height of the transom so that the long shaft engine sits correctly on my boat, and to check to see if the propeller was best suited because it would not be sitting in its idea height. Kelpie boats actually fitted a 15hp engine not the 20hp I paid for this also was to be corrected (a 15hp engine is basically a de-tuned 20hp, so all they did was to change the carburettor to bring the 15 upto 20) now they have refused to adjust the transom and have a million reasons why they can’t or wont.

The last option I was offered was to sell my brand new engine and buy a short shaft and they would find a suitable short shaft, reduce the transom then fit a short shaft. Kelpie got back to me some time later and said they had a plan to sell my engine for £1,800 and they had a found a 25 hp black band engine for £1,800 (a black band engine meaning one that has been reconditioned by the manufacturer, so no idea how old, how much usage it has had etc etc).

This whole sorry saga has caused such aggravation and also caused upset between myself and my father I can not talk to my farther about the boat in any way now with out him instantly bursting into a red rage, we have fought and argued so much the boat is now seriously loosing all of its appeal due to all of the bother, lies, empty promises, ill-advice and excuse the term ‘bull shit’ from Kelpie. All together it is estimated that I have paid Kelpie around £4,000 in total, £3,200 for the engines then lots of extras we needed. Kelpie and I had agreed originally that he supply and fit the engines for £3,200 all-in, but then I was surprised/horrified when we went to collect the boat they presented us with a bill of nearly £200 for extras, I had expected to pay an extra £40 to £50 for the cables from engine to remote. Every step of this journey has been disappointment after disappointment, the ill feeling between my farther and me now with regard the boat you can’t imagine.

All I want is what was agreed with Kelpie boats originally way back at the beginning of the summer in 2012 ‘To purchase and have professionally fit a main out board engine and an auxiliary’ Please can you advise me as to where I stand and what I can do to attempt to rectify my situation?

Thank you
Mr D White AKA Bob

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer.

Can you let me know the following:
- Do you have a written agreement or receipt that shows every element of the service they were supposed to supply?
- Can you actually quantify how much loss you have suffered?

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello AJ


the origiinal agreement was verbal, no written contract or similar, I am fiarly sure I can still find the recipts but do not think any show what was aggreed


with regard to loss, I don't quite understand but, I have paid for two brand new engines to be fitted correctly and professionally, this has not happened and is all I want.


I have already lost a years warrenty because of not feeling comfortably safe in the boat, and waiting for Kelpie to honour what he said he would do.


What I would be happy to do is for Kelpie to remove the engines and repay me in full for the £3,200 paid so I find another boat yard who are honest and professional


Thank you.

Did they at any point tell you how long it would take to fit the engines? I.e give a time estimate?

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello again AJ


they didn't give an exact time. It took a few weeks from paying for engines upfront to being told the boat was ready to go.


The problem has raised its head since having the boat back, as I said I knew nothing about boats to begin with and took Kelpie at their word to do a professional job and service. The main engine (20hp) has been fitted badly and is far from ideal, I have researched about the fitting of outboard motors to boats and spoken to a number of other boating people seeking advice and what should n shouldn't be done, what height the engine should be fitted for effeciient performance.


The engine is set far too low on the transom which reduces performance and effeciency of the engine which in turn puts more strain, ware and tare on the motor reducing it life expectancy.


If Kelpie had been professional they would have advised me and then the transom reduced and a short shaft engine fitted, this is all I want, the correct engine for my boat. If Kelpie would be honourable and sort me a 20hp short shaft engine I'd take it and fit it myself, this would be the end of the matter then but alas they expect me to take sub quality merchandise for my £3,200, I have already lost a years fun in the boat and a years warrenty do to no fault of my own.


Thank you.

I will summarise the position below.

1. The Law
- The relevant legislation for this is the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
- S.4 - states that there is an implied term in any contract for the supply of the goods and services that they are reasonably fit for their purpose;
- S.13 - states that there is an implied term that in any contract for the supply of services that the service will be carried out with reasonable care and skill.

2. Application to the facts:
There are two issues here:
(i) Potentially they have not supplied you with the correct engine;
(ii) They have fitted the engine with reasonable care an skill.
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that you put them on notice that you did not know anything about boats and you were relying on their opinion.
- I would note they will probably raise the defence that they have supplied with what was on the invoice.

3. Practical Considerations
- Firstly I suggest you take the boat to another builder for a second opinion and find out (a) what the engine and fitting should have cost and (b) what it will cost to repair. Once you have done this you will know what your losses are;
- Secondly write to Kelpie tell them the following:
(i) They are in breach of the sections I have outlined above;
(ii) You have received a second opinion and the boat will cost X amount to be in the condition they were supposed to provide;
(iii) Give them 14 days to pay up or rectify the damage;
(iv) If they do not pay up then you can either pay some else to fix the boat for you and then sue then for that cost or sue them for your money back.

- You can start a money claim here
- I would also consider reporting this matter to the local council and trading standards.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



I think I get the jist of what you are saying but not sure what to to request from Kelpie or how to articulately word a letter to them.


Part of my problem now is I am basically angry because of the time, lies and effrots, bother they have caused me (and my farther) and I still don't have a boat ready to use, summer isn't so far away and the thought of loosing another season will be hard to take.


Do I ask them simply to replace the 20hp for a short shaft which really should have been fitted in the first instance? and what about the fact I have now used up a years warrenty and had more or less no use of the boat/engines because of Kelpie?


Would you be able to word a letter for me that I can then send on to them. Like everyone I guess! I don't relish the thought of taking court action against them, the time scale, costs, time and effort etc. Silly and pathetic as this sounds I want someone to take me by the hand almost and say "come on lets go see the offenders and sort this mess out" I can't do confrontation


(please excuse my terrible spelling etc I'm quite dyslexic, rather than completly studpid)


No problem.

I am not allowed to write you letter because of the rules of the site.

I can help you structure it. If you want to get this resolved quickly I do think you need a second opinion to attest to the fact that the workmanship is faulty.

My honest opinion would be that you just pay for the repairs with some one more reliable and then ask them to reimburse you but I understand why you dont want to go to court.

I suggest this the letter should be structured as follows:
- Paragraph one tell them they have not fulfilled their end of the contract;
- They have provided a faulty service (list the issues with the boat);
- Tell them they are in breach of S.4 and S.13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982;
- Tell them they have 14 days to remedy the faults and also provide you with some compensation for a years lost warranty - if you calculate a specific cash amount for the warranty that would be best;
- Say that if they do not you reserve the right to take further action including reporting them to Trading Standards.

The problems you have here is that if they just ignore you or so no eventually you will have to take court action.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



thank you for that :-)


once I have drafted a letter would you ba able to read it through for me, and if needed offer anytweaks you think should be added? Please!




Thank you.

I can look it. Please post here.

Any feedback is gratefully received.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

thank you AJ


It is nice to feel I have someone a little on my side rather than having to stand alone like the last grape in the bowl, shriveled


Soon as I'm at my own computer I shall set to and draft 'the letter' ;-/




No problem.

I do go on and off line in the afternoon.

Please do not be concerned if you do not hear from me right away.

I will revert to you by tomorrow morning at the latest.

Kind regards

Alex J. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello again AJ


I have composed this letter to send to Kelpie Boats, would you be so kind as to proof read it for me and let me know if I shoudl amend anything. Also should it be sent recorded delivery?


168 Garden Suburb




SA17 4AF

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Dear Kelpie Boats


This letter is with regard to the supply and fitting of two outboard boat engines to my boat


As it has been some considerable time since you last kept me up to date with the progress of what is happening with my boat 16-1-2013, I have now taking legal advise and following their instruction (5-3-2013).


You have not fulfilled our contract;

Our contract was for you to supply and fit two engines to my boat, one 20hp as the main engine and a 3.5hp as an auxiliary engine.


Firstly you fitted a 15hp engine to the boat instead of the 20hp engine that was paid for, secondly you failed to explain the plus points and negative points of fitting a long shaft engine to a boat with a short transom.


I have sort advice from other boating bodies and researched how an outboard engine should be fitted to a boat, in the main the height at which an engine should be mounted on the transom to give optimum performance and not put extra ware on an engine. In this case the engine being set far too low in the water reducing performance and increasing ware to the engine.


You where informed when my farther and I brought the boat back to your yard for the fitting of the engines that the checker plate wrapped over the transom had been lifted about 38mm – 1 1.2”, (this extra height to the transom is why you told us we would have to have a long shaft engine and the pre-owned short shaft Suzuki engine you had at the time which I had intended to purchase from you would not fit)


I told you face to face the day we brought the boat back to your yard to have the engines fitted how disappointed that I was to have found the transom height could have easily been reduced and I could have bought the pre-owned Suzuki engine you had at the time saving me quite a few pounds purchase price. At this point you could have offered to exchange the long shaft for a short shaft so that it could have been fitted in its idea position but you failed to advise or suggest this. With 58 years as an established boat yard I’d have thought you could have seen the transom had been built up, it was very obvious to my farther and I once we looked closely at the transom and before we removed the checker plate, you did advise use to remove and inspect underneath to see what condition the transom was in. In hindsight if I had known my consumer rights I could have asked you to simply exchange engines whilst the transom was rectified ( a simple case of taking the checker plate off, removing the packing pieces, re-bend the checker plate and re-fit to transom, possibly an hour or twos work and a little effort). With a company advertising 58 years experience in their field one would expect a totally professional service and professional advice.


As we stand now you are in breach of S.4 and S.13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982;


To remedy this error on your part, it is suggested you supply me with a new 20hp Tohatsu short shaft engine, still in box and with full warranty, and I will fit the engine myself or seek another boat yard to do it for me at my own expense. I am advised to give you 14 days notice to rectify this matter before I begin and issue court proceedings, I think I am quite a reasonable person and here by give you 21 days notice. I am also advised to seek compensation but I do not wish to so at this stage as I would prefer this matter to be settled amicably rather than a court battle which will be expensive and time consuming. Farther and I have already lost a years worth of fun and enjoyment, we would like to have some fun and enjoyment this year with the boat, in the knowledge that everything is set correctly and we have made every effort to be safe when out at sea.


Please do not forget we approached you with ‘hands up’ saying we knew nothing about boating or boats and put ourselves squarely in your hands thinking you would give professional service and advice, I have spent the better part of £4,000 pounds with you altogether and still do not have a boat ready to use. It is a shame things have come to this but there are consumer rights and laws to protect consumers. Added to this I reserve the right to report you to Trading Standards and other bodies.


I hope that we can settle this matter quickly and amicably and move on.


Yours sincerely





Mr D J White (AKA Bob, as you know me by)




Thank you. It is a good letter. It is important it does not sound too legal if you want an amicable settlement.

I would remove any reference to legal advice. Just say you have taken advice on the topic and believe they are in breach of your original agreement.

"As we stand now you are in breach of S.4 and S.13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982;" - Change this sentence to "I believe that there may be a breach by you of the implied terms of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 requiring you to supply goods that are not only fit for their purpose but also to supply the associated services with reasonable care and skill - you have not done this for the reasons explained in this letter".

"Added to this I reserve the right to report you to Trading Standards and other bodies." - For the time being delete this sentence and any reference to court action. You cannot say you want an amicable settlement but threaten such strong action. You can make this point if the dispute escalates.

If we are going down the amicable settlement route then just invite them to propose a resolution within 14 days.

Finally say at the end if they are not prepared to resolve the issue you reserve the right to seek appropriate actions and remedies available to you.

As a caveat, do remember I do not have access to all the papers and correspondence so I cannot comment on the actual factual elements of the dispute, I have to take your word on these points.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



thank you for that, I shall amend the letter and repost


I'll keep you in the loop as to any further developments and let you see any corrispondance. I understand what you are saying in the last sentence and will be totally open and franc, I see no point in with holding back any information nor adding any fabrications. Shall I repost my amended letter to you?


Thank you.

I would never suggest you are being anything other frank and honest, it is only that sometimes and objective pair of eyes will see things differently. I am only seeing it through your eyes.

No problem re any follow up points. Remember if they are not going play ball eventually you may have to go to court and therefore will need a local solicitor to assist you.

Kind regards