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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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We recently took a boating holiday and have complained

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We recently took a boating holiday and have complained regarding the condition of the boat and the fact that the rudder is not fit for purpose They originally offered £250 of our next trip with them which I rejected. They have now counter offered £400 in final settlement. The hire cost us over £2600. What is my next step please?
Jacky Day

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. How much are you actually hoping to get out of them and how was the holiday affected by this? Have you suffered any other losses in addition to this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would be happy with 50% of the cost. Please see below the first email sent to the Holiday company who forwarded the complain to the boat company
Hi MichelleThank you for your prompt reply and please find below details of our complaints and concerns regarding our recent trip
Our Reference: BH54251
Boat: Classique
Holiday Start Point: Benson
Holiday End Point: Benson
Holiday Start Date: 22/07/2016
Holiday End Date: 29/07/2016Please be assured we do not have a problem with Blue Water Holidays or the service we received from the individuals at the Bensons Boat yard.1) The Steering of the Boat was sluggish and unresponsive. It is our opinion that the rudder is far too small for such a large vessel. We struggled to manoeuvre every lock which created a lot of stress for what should have been a relaxing holiday.
2) Water Leak: We became concerned when the pump ran continuously even when we were not drawing water. We had a prompt response from Benson and when the engineer arrived he identified a split in the hose and repaired it. We ran out of water that night and had to return to our nearest lock the next day to fill our tank.
3) Water Leak 2: we continued to experience the pump running intermittently for no reason and when we checked the hose it was fine, however there was a constant drip from a different area albeit not so fierce. We had been on the boat less than 36 hours. We decided to continue our journey and had to fill our tank everyday just to be sure we did not run out of water again.
4) One socket: We were astounded that there seemed to be only one socket on the boat to service 8 people. We have hired boats on numerous occasions over the last 20 odd years and have always had sufficient sockets. Not only was it the only socket but the transformer/adapter was dangerous. It was loose where it connected to the boat and had been stuck together with masking tape.As well as the above major issues we had a problem with the Fridge. It did not function efficiently and we found it had turned itself off over night on 2 occasions. We had lovely weather however when it rained we had a leak in the main front cabin which created a wet patch on the bed. The kitchen window leaked. We did not have a plank to get on and off the boat and the fan in the kitchen was non-existent.
We were surprised not to have a microwave and saw no reason for its absence.The ropes were really old and should have been replaced a long time ago. They were stiff, which created a further problem with locks on top of the appalling steering.This trip was a thank you to my family for all their help when my husband’s parents died. It also coincided with his Birthday so you can imagine how we felt when we had to spend more time maintaining and worrying about the boat than we did celebrating.In conclusion we do not believe the boat to be fit for purpose and should it be released to a less experienced crew there is potential for a very nasty accident.This trip should have been fun and carefree and it was actually the most stressful boat trips we have ever experienced. We found it to be a total waste of our time and money and would be looking to be compensated accordingly.Please forward my comments to the relevant individuals and I look forward to receiving an appropriate reply in the very near future.Kind regardsJACKY DAYEmail:***@******.*** - Home: +44(0)01753 859301 - Mobile: +44(0)07950 901233
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please see below the reply to their offer of £250Dear Ms NewmanThank you for your attention to this matter and for replying to my complaint.After careful consideration I am rejecting your offer of a £250 credit on another trip booked with you. This figure is not only meagre but constitutes less than 10% of our cost overall. Our whole week was ruined by the substandard condition of the boat and facilities and I would expect a full refund. We had organised this trip as a special thank you to the 6 Guests we had on the boat all of which were appalled.I do intend to take this matter further so please provide me with a copy of your complains procedure and Health and Safety policy by return.I am sure you appreciate that this situation does not reflect well on Blue Water Holidays either.RegardsJACKY DAYEmail:***@******.*** - Home: +44(0)01753 859301 - Mobile: +44(0)07950 901233From: Blue Water Holidays MS [mailto***@******.***]
Sent: 18 August 2016 17:31
To: ***** *****
Subject: RE: Your Boat Booking with Boating HolidaysBLUE WATER HOLIDAYS
Cruise Agency of the Year 2015
Dear Mrs Day
Further to our recent correspondence, I would like to advise that I have now had the following response from Le Boat:
Dear Mrs Day
Thank you for your email which your booking agent, Boating Holidays has forwarded to me.
I was very sorry to read that you were disappointed with the condition of the Classique cruiser you hired from us for your cruise on the Thames. It is one of our more basic boats, being rated as 2* but nevertheless it should be in good working and decorative order throughout and I would apologise that you experienced a problem with a split pipe and a water pump. In view of your feedback, I have copied your email to our Operations department in order that they can be aware of the issues you faced. The Base have also asked me to reiterate their sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. (just for info I have checked the specification and this particular cruiser is not equipped with a microwave).
The steering on this boat is quite slow to respond – you may possibly be right that the rudder is too small – I recall being told that it was more due to the location of the rudder, but having cruised on this particular boat myself, I know that it takes a little while to get used to.
I have forwarded your feedback about the leak in the front cabin and the fridge turning itself off to the Base team and again, I’m very sorry, as I appreciate that this was not at all ideal.
We are sorry if you did not feel that the condition of the boat was what was expected and as a gesture of our goodwill, we can offer a credit of £250 towards the cost of any future cruise with us.
Should you wish to take advantage of this offer, which is valid for 3 years and can be used in addition to any other offers and discounts available at the time of booking, simply keep hold of this email and send us a copy when next booking. We’ll then adjust your invoice accordingly and make sure with the Base that everything goes smoothly for you.
We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you back on board with Le Boat in the future and I am confident that all aspects of your cruise will entirely meet your expectations. Meanwhile, thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns with us; we do appreciate it.
Best regards
Lyn Newman
Customer Relations Manager
Le Boat
Email: ***@******.***
DST House, St Marks Hill, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4BH
If I can be of any further assistance to you then please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be very happy to help.
Kind Regards
Customer Relations Supervisor
My Direct Line: 01756 693624(+44 1756 693624)
Blue Water Holidays – Cruise Agency of the Year 2015
Mail: Bowers Wharf, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 2PD"I come back to Blue Water Holidays year after year for your superb service and excellent choice of cruises. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to all my friends" Customer Comment, 2015
Blue Water Holidays Limited is a company registered in England and Wales, number(###) ###-#### at registered office address: Bowers Wharf, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 2PD.
This message, together with any associated files, is confidential and is intended only for the use of the addressee(s). If you are not the intended recipient, you must not disseminate, copy, distribute or use the information contained in this message, or any files associated with this message. If you have received this message in error, please notify us at once at***@******.*** and delete it from your system
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Most recent correspondence. I have yet to reply to thisDear Mrs Day
Further to your most recent email to Le Boat, I would like to advise that they have been in touch with me and asked if I could forward to you the following response on their behalf:
Dear Mr Day
I’ve had another look at this claim and the other feedback we’ve received so far this year for this boat and in fact there has been remarkably little indeed, which surprises me if the condition of the boat is as reported. However, our Regional Manager agrees that cosmetically it probably needs a refresh – this is something that will be looked at over the winter - but the boat has been out and cruising quite regularly since your cruise and is not attracting adverse feedback such as you have provided, although I would reiterate our sincere apologies for any disappointment caused by the issues you raised. The Classique is a much older boat than the fleet the Kris Cruisers operate on the Thames and so is never going to compare favourably if that has been a previous experience. Having said that, the Classique is graded, fairly I believe, at 2* - a basic boat and is priced to reflect that.
I’m sorry that you don’t feel able to accept my offer to cruise with us again in the future. I don’t agree that a refund of the sum you suggested is applicable on this occasion but to being this matter to a close, I am able to offer a refund of £400 in full and final settlement of this claim. This replaces my previous offer.
Best regards *****
Customer Relations Manager
Le Boat
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you have everything you need?

Yes thank you, ***** ***** just going through it and will reply soon

Thanks for your patience. Whilst I understand the issues you experienced with the boat and the effect it had on your holiday, I will try and explain what the legal position is in such circumstances. As you have not suffered any direct losses as a result and you still continued with the holiday, your only potential claim would be for loss of enjoyment. This would reflect the time spent on the boat for which you paid, but which was ruined by some breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company. There is no precise science as to how such compensation is awarded and each case will depend on its own circumstances. Generally a quarter to a third of the value of the holiday would be considered reasonable. A lot would depend on what was actually wrong, whether you should have known about it (taking into account the advertisements, brochures what you were told at the outset, etc) and how a reasonable person may have seen these issues and their seriousness.

Whilst there is nothing stopping you from rejecting the latest offer and continuing to negotiate, if you do so and take the matter further, you may have to go to court to seek further compensation. The risks increase because you will have to pay for this (no legal assistance is required unless you decide to use it) and there is no guarantee you would get what you were hoping for. You may nevertheless take the matter as far as you wish and continue negotiating with them in the meantime.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.