Consumer Law Dilema - Brokers

RRV8

GCM
Fine Arsers, this is one for you consumer technical wizards please - any help would be fantastic ;-)

My neighbour and good pal wanted to buy a canalboat last year and live the dream so to speak......but things have sadly fallen on their arse for him and the dream has become a bit of a nightmare.

Background: He went to see a boat last year costing £59,950 via a broker and fell for it there and then. He bank-transferred the £4,400 deposit to the broker as a deposit and then went about getting a full survey on the boat which as it turned out cost him a further £1,100 all in; this was on the proviso that he doesn't know much about the techy bits of canalboats so he was relying on the experienced surveyor to inspect the boat and advise him accordingly on its condition. That makes perfect sense to me.

The contract at the brokerage was between him and the boat owner 'on paper' and the broker was only facilitating the sale, however the broker did take the £4,400 and deposit it in his own client account.

The contract that he signed stated that he could quite happily reject the boat if the sum total of repairs from the survey came to 10% of the purchase price so just under £6,000 in this case.

Anyway, a highly reputable surveyor carried out the survey and ultimately said it was a dangerous boat (faulty engine stuff and gas issues besides many other issues). He also said that the repairs would cost a sizeable chunk over the 10% cost threshold.

My pal then approached two different marinas for repair quotes and both came back with estimates of c.£9,000. Since the broker won't refund his deposit he then went for mediation via the Boat Federation and even they've mentionsed that the estimate of works would be close to £9,000 but sadly they have no sway on the broker who is also a federation member.

The problem now is that the broker won't return his deposit money after he officially rejected the boat. It's also important to say that the broker re-advertised the boat within 60-minutes of receiving the formal rejection letter and then resold the boat at the full price the next day (it seems that boat sales in the UK have gone mad by all accounts). I suspect that the broker has banked a further £4,400 for the second sale too.

My neighbour and I talk about this subject every day 'over the fence' so I'm a bit of an expert on the story but not the actions that need to be taken to resolve the issue.

He has spent a few quid speaking with a legal guy who advised that the broker accepted the rejection when he immediately readvertised the boat so in theory the contract fell in to a state of rescission so the money should be returned in full, without deduction.

The problem is that some boat brokers have the morals of the worst part of a car salesman and the worst part of an estate agent, combined, so the term slippery and underhanded is an understatement which is too good for some of them.

Sorry for such a long thread but if you clever folk out there have got any ideas on what to do next then I would be very appreciative. This is almost a case where the little bloke can be stuffed over by the system without a care!

All the best, stay safe,

R
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
It is all in the details. The nature of the contract will determine whose agent the broker is - was he acting on behalf of the buyer or the seller. If neither, or the terms of the brokerage are not mentioned in the contract at all, then your mate might as well have given the money to a bloke down the pub.

Contracts to a decent lawyer and start paying for legal fees is about the only answer!
 

RRV8

GCM
It is all in the details. The nature of the contract will determine whose agent the broker is - was he acting on behalf of the buyer or the seller. If neither, or the terms of the brokerage are not mentioned in the contract at all, then your mate might as well have given the money to a bloke down the pub.

Contracts to a decent lawyer and start paying for legal fees is about the only answer!

Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to read and respond - it's really kind of you.

The Broker would be acting on behalf of the seller in this instance but our neighbour spoke with a legal adviser (this has has already cost him a few quid) who mentioned that the broker, by nature of re-advertising the boat on receipt of the rejection notice, would have a hard time arguing that he did not accept the rejection.

My take on things is that it cost £4,400 for the deposit but then how much would it cost to get legal representation, perhaps a whole load more.

One thought (and I know nowt about the process) was the implementation of a small claims court procedure but I'm not entirely sure how it works or on what basis he would have to claim.

For what it's worth my pal doesn't have a great deal of money to play with. He's a single guy, one generation over me who rents his small house and wants to move to a boat as a permanent residence.

Many thanks for your help ;-)
 
Hopefully a letter before action from a reputable l lawyer who is knowledgable on this subject may change the brokers mind.
I've been down this route the advice I was given was select a lawyer who has previous success in this type of matter, no doubt the broker will google the firm when the get the first letter. The company I had to take action against did just that .
The letter worked and it was the cost effective
 
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Firstly, many thanks for taking the time to read and respond - it's really kind of you.

The Broker would be acting on behalf of the seller in this instance but our neighbour spoke with a legal adviser (this has has already cost him a few quid) who mentioned that the broker, by nature of re-advertising the boat on receipt of the rejection notice, would have a hard time arguing that he did not accept the rejection.

My take on things is that it cost £4,400 for the deposit but then how much would it cost to get legal representation, perhaps a whole load more.

One thought (and I know nowt about the process) was the implementation of a small claims court procedure but I'm not entirely sure how it works or on what basis he would have to claim.

For what it's worth my pal doesn't have a great deal of money to play with. He's a single guy, one generation over me who rents his small house and wants to move to a boat as a permanent residence.

Many thanks for your help ;-)
The best advice you can give your mate is to take his lumps, all in all he learned a (relatively) cheap lesson.

He knows nothing about canalboats but he wants to live the dream in one. He fell in love with one that turns out to be a deathtrap and handed over four grand to a a clearly unscrupulous actor for the privilege of owning it.

Honestly, he needs to keep his hand on his wallet and just settle where he is, it sounds like he got off light this time and he should just chalk it up to experience.
 


If he’s trying to save money he could speak to citizens advice first to understand the gist of things, then get a solicitor.
 

RRV8

GCM
Hopefully a letter before action from a reputable l lawyer who is knowledgable on this subject may change the brokers mind.
I've been down this route the advice I was given was select a lawyer who has previous success in this type of matter, no doubt the broker will google the firm when the get the first letter. The company I had to take action against did just that .
The letter worked and it was the cost.

That sounds like a great plan but from I gather his legal beaver has already taken him for over £700 and that was her just reading a few page contract and writing a couple of emails. There was a telephone call too but from I gather that was not the most inspiring of conversations.

Thanks for the post-up ;-)
 

RRV8

GCM
The best advice you can give your mate is to take his lumps, all in all he learned a (relatively) cheap lesson.

He knows nothing about canalboats but he wants to live the dream in one. He fell in love with one that turns out to be a deathtrap and handed over four grand to a a clearly unscrupulous actor for the privilege of owning it.

Honestly, he needs to keep his hand on his wallet and just settle where he is, it sounds like he got off light this time and he should just chalk it up to experience.

Cheers Mike and if it was me (i.e. a motorbike nut who is relatively young and happily married with his own house) then I would be thinking the same but in all honesty this is just his way of getting away from things and being able to afford a gaff, albeit a floating one.

One of the big reasons why I've started this thread is to see what the missus and I can do to help him out a bit. We've even considered a bit of financial support as he's one of the nicest guys you'll meet but as the army taught me "don't reinforce defeat" so I don't want to throw good cash after bad.

Again, thanks for the post-up ;-)
 

RRV8

GCM


If he’s trying to save money he could speak to citizens advice first to understand the gist of things, then get a solicitor.

Thanks @dingerr you're a star.

I've just read the first link and my general question to anyone is who would he be taking to court under the terms of the contract,

i.e. would he be taking the broker to court for the non release of his deposit monies (since the broker is acting on behalf of the seller) or the seller himself since the broker is only brokering?

My initial thought is that the broker is the one controlling the funds and making the decisions to withhold the monies so the case would lie at his feet only.

Wow, this is a tough one for a Friday afternoon - sorry guys!!

Thanks for the post-up ;-)
 
That sounds like a great plan but from I gather his legal beaver has already taken him for over £700 and that was her just reading a few page contract and writing a couple of emails. There was a telephone call too but from I gather that was not the most inspiring of conversations.

Thanks for the post-up ;-)
£700 ! the solicitor we used for the business put his hands up and said not me guv no experience in IPR try this mob giving me details and a referral note.
Messrs Nasty,B'stard and Killers sent one letter cost was around £675 , that was about 12 years ago though.

Good luck, Dingerrs advice is good
 
Thanks @dingerr you're a star.

I've just read the first link and my general question to anyone is who would he be taking to court under the terms of the contract,

i.e. would he be taking the broker to court for the non release of his deposit monies (since the broker is acting on behalf of the seller) or the seller himself since the broker is only brokering?

My initial thought is that the broker is the one controlling the funds and making the decisions to withhold the monies so the case would lie at his feet only.

Wow, this is a tough one for a Friday afternoon - sorry guys!!

Thanks for the post-up ;-)

From what you’ve written contract law seems the most appropriate.

Alternatively he may have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

There is also the possibility of a claim under equity for unjust enrichment (although don’t worry about this, the court will deal with that).

He might even want to call the Police and claim a fraud has been committed.
 

RRV8

GCM
£700 ! the solicitor we used for the business put his hands up and said not me guv no experience in IPR try this mob giving me details and a referral note.
Messrs Nasty,B'stard and Killers sent one letter cost was around £675 , that was about 12 years ago though.

Good luck, Dingerrs advice is good

.....and by all accounts she was claiming to be top-notch. As you say though it has to be the guy with the best credentials that gets the job done.
 

RRV8

GCM
From what you’ve written contract law seems the most appropriate.

Alternatively he may have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

There is also the possibility of a claim under equity for unjust enrichment (although don’t worry about this, the court will deal with that).

He might even want to call the Police and claim a fraud has been committed.

Thanks mate and sorry to take so much of your time.

The contract says something like "the seller is represented in this transaction by Dodgy Boats Ltd' so I think this will be sufficient enough to place the Small Claims Court at the brokers heels.

@dingerr You'll have to start charging an hourly fee :)
 
It is all in the details. The nature of the contract will determine whose agent the broker is - was he acting on behalf of the buyer or the seller. If neither, or the terms of the brokerage are not mentioned in the contract at all, then your mate might as well have given the money to a bloke down the pub.

Contracts to a decent lawyer and start paying for legal fees is about the only answer!
For the last bit I'd add OP should ask himself how much he's prepared to spend on his brief as fees can add up quickly. Tie them down for an initial quote and don't be scared to ask if they can give a better figure. Know when to bug out.

ETA...thread had moved on lots since I answered it and forgot to post...
 
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Diogenes' limp

Old-Salt
Worth asking if he took legal expenses cover with his home insurance.

It sounds as though this contract may be based on the 'standard' contract drawn up some years ago used by many brokers. Have a look for a clause that specifies how long after rejection on the grounds of hidden defect the deposit will be repaid. It isn't immediate.
If it is in there, then it can specify a delay, brokers may forget to tell a purchaser who withdraws that the clause is in there in the hope they will give up and go away.

Brokers can be akin to Estate Agents in damp socks
 
Thanks mate and sorry to take so much of your time.

The contract says something like "the seller is represented in this transaction by Dodgy Boats Ltd' so I think this will be sufficient enough to place the Small Claims Court at the brokers heels.

@dingerr You'll have to start charging an hourly fee :)

As with many on here always happy to help, but never take any advice as gospel unless it’s from a professional person who’s credentials you can be sure of.
 
The above advice about home insurance is good, also check car insurance.

Tell your mate not to put anything onto social media, until after any settlement...
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
Thanks mate and sorry to take so much of your time.

The contract says something like "the seller is represented in this transaction by Dodgy Boats Ltd' so I think this will be sufficient enough to place the Small Claims Court at the brokers heels.

@dingerr You'll have to start charging an hourly fee :)
If he has not already done so a letter to the seller might be worth a shot, for the price of a stamp.

"Broker X, acting as your agent, is withholding my deposit contrary to sections (a, b, c) of the contract. In your position as Principal, could you please instruct your agent to honour these clauses between us and arrange for the refund of my deposit within 14 days. If I do not receive my deposit back in full within that time, I will be left with no option but to..." You could chuck in a bit of Googled Latin on the principles of agency..."In commercial law, a principal is a person, legal or natural, who authorizes an agent to act to create one or more legal relationships with a third party. This branch of law is called agency and relies on the common law proposition qui facit per alium, facit per se (Latin "he who acts through another, acts personally")."

The broker is the agent of the seller (the principal). It will do no harm to remind the principal that the person acting on his behalf is breaching the terms of the contract that was in place between them. It is possible that the seller does not know that the broker is double dipping. If nothing else, if it goes to legal at least he can demonstrate that he has tried all reasonable means to resolve it.
 

anglo

LE
Fine Arsers, this is one for you consumer technical wizards please - any help would be fantastic ;-)

My neighbour and good pal wanted to buy a canalboat last year and live the dream so to speak......but things have sadly fallen on their arse for him and the dream has become a bit of a nightmare.

Background: He went to see a boat last year costing £59,950 via a broker and fell for it there and then. He bank-transferred the £4,400 deposit to the broker as a deposit and then went about getting a full survey on the boat which as it turned out cost him a further £1,100 all in; this was on the proviso that he doesn't know much about the techy bits of canalboats so he was relying on the experienced surveyor to inspect the boat and advise him accordingly on its condition. That makes perfect sense to me.

The contract at the brokerage was between him and the boat owner 'on paper' and the broker was only facilitating the sale, however the broker did take the £4,400 and deposit it in his own client account.

The contract that he signed stated that he could quite happily reject the boat if the sum total of repairs from the survey came to 10% of the purchase price so just under £6,000 in this case.

Anyway, a highly reputable surveyor carried out the survey and ultimately said it was a dangerous boat (faulty engine stuff and gas issues besides many other issues). He also said that the repairs would cost a sizeable chunk over the 10% cost threshold.

My pal then approached two different marinas for repair quotes and both came back with estimates of c.£9,000. Since the broker won't refund his deposit he then went for mediation via the Boat Federation and even they've mentionsed that the estimate of works would be close to £9,000 but sadly they have no sway on the broker who is also a federation member.

The problem now is that the broker won't return his deposit money after he officially rejected the boat. It's also important to say that the broker re-advertised the boat within 60-minutes of receiving the formal rejection letter and then resold the boat at the full price the next day (it seems that boat sales in the UK have gone mad by all accounts). I suspect that the broker has banked a further £4,400 for the second sale too.

My neighbour and I talk about this subject every day 'over the fence' so I'm a bit of an expert on the story but not the actions that need to be taken to resolve the issue.

He has spent a few quid speaking with a legal guy who advised that the broker accepted the rejection when he immediately readvertised the boat so in theory the contract fell in to a state of rescission so the money should be returned in full, without deduction.

The problem is that some boat brokers have the morals of the worst part of a car salesman and the worst part of an estate agent, combined, so the term slippery and underhanded is an understatement which is too good for some of them.

Sorry for such a long thread but if you clever folk out there have got any ideas on what to do next then I would be very appreciative. This is almost a case where the little bloke can be stuffed over by the system without a care!

All the best, stay safe,

R
Your friend has £60,000 to buy a boat, spent £4400 deposit,
on top of that another £1800 that he won't get back,
If he gets the full deposit back he will be £2600
in pocket,
The question is, How much does he want to spend
to get back the £2600, bearing in mind that what
ever he spends will end up being taken away from the
£2600
At this point it just might be better to take the loss
and walk away
Edit, Using the small claims court you get your court deposit back
if you win,
If you get someone to represent you, that may involve cost
 
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