Precedent on width?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by GeorgeTelford, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. GeorgeTelford

    GeorgeTelford Deleted User

    A chap tried to get a refund or exchange on an ilegal width camper and took it to the courts as unfit for purpose sold (being ilegal width you would assume he had a good case) Failed in court as blind eye been turned for years (a so called "Nelsons touch" defence)

    In the case of Barry Bramhill and Maureen Bramhill v Mark Edwards and Jane Edwards , the claimants, a couple of motor-home enthusiasts, spent £61,000 on a second-hand "Dolphin" motor-home. The vehicle was roughly the size of a normal single decker bus, 34 feet in length and 102 inches wide. However that width was in excess of the maximum permitted by the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 by two inches. It had been imported from North America by UK based dealers, Mr and Mrs Edwards, the defendants, who conducted much of their trade at shows around the country. It was claimed that the dealers had told Mr Bramhill that the vehicle was 100 inches wide and "perfectly legal for use within the UK".

    The Bramhills began legal proceedings against Mr Edwards' motor-home sales firm, Destination RV, when he refused to swap their vehicle for a slimmer version. The couple lost an initial court hearing in Leeds so took their case to the Court of Appeal in London. They argued that the Edwards had misrepresented before the purchase of the vehicle that it complied with UK law and that, at the time of sale, it was not of satisfactory quality in accordance with a term implied under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, section 14(2).

    Giving judgment, Lord Justice Auld noted that there was "ample evidence, albeit of a secondary and circumstantial nature … that the authorities had turned a blind eye to wide-spread breaches of the regulations and that that was well-known to enthusiasts". The Bramhills told the press that they were "utterly shattered" and facing bankruptcy and a crippling £180,000 legal bill.

    Bramhill v Edwards and Edwards (Destination RV)

    The ruling in full is here

    It was a pretty sad day when the bailiffs called, Mr Bramhill was online in another forum til they removed the computer.

    The full transcript makes pretty interesting reading (if you like that kind of thing)
  2. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

    Jul 29, 2007
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    The beauty of an over sized Rv is it will take more Gas to knock you out, a point over looked by the Bramhills

  3. wildcamper

    wildcamper Read Only Funster

    Jul 26, 2007
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    and i think the lesson to be learnt here is never beleave what any one tells you always take a tape measure with you:Rofl1:
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Aug 26, 2007
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    YO11 2BD

    when my wife and i first started with a caravan we bought a HOBBY 650 for the quality and layout, we paid a £500 deposit and went away to get insurance ect while the van was serviced and prepared by the local dealer.
    finding insurance became a nightmare as we found out it was 8ft wide. we could insure but it was expensive.
    we returned to the dealer and explained the problem.
    his response was 'I can assure you it's 7'6"'
    'right then we'll measure it.' said i.
    he sent a salesman to get a steel tape and salesman came with us and measured it in front of us........8ft.
    back to the office and the salesman told him the measurement. 'you must have measured it wrong' said the dealer then he measured it.......8ft.
    this must be a faulty tape!!!!!!! he said.
    Refund... ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    by this point i couldnt be arsed to argue.
    anyway i'd seen plenty of hobbys being pulled so i figured the law couldnt give a stuff.
    we've been back a couple of times since to wind them up by going all the way short of signing then told them not to bother as we'de been ripped off by them before and its not very nice to be thought of as an idiot who cant read a tape measure.
    it passes a quite afternoon and free coffee to boot.
    we sold the caravan a year later for more than we paid BUT we told the new buyer it was 8ft and they were happy with that as they were going to site it.
    dont know if a should mention names but what the hell, YORKSHIRE COAST CARAVANS, BEMPTON LANE, BRIDLINGTON.

  5. Brambles

    Brambles Read Only Funster

    Sep 9, 2007
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    George T,
    Very interesting read. Long winded and do need to read all of the judgements file to get the whole picture.
    Whilst I sympathise with the Bramhills I do fail to see why it suddenly became a major issue to them. As far as I can tell it was because they felt they could be prosecuted and were driving illegally and this was backed up by DOT? saying it was illegal.
    However, surely the Bramhills legal advisors should have been asking what about all the other RVs 102 inches wide and is it really a problem. A bit of work on their part could have saved the Bramhills a lot of lenghty and drawm out anquish. Was there any dicussion with the Amercan RV club members for example?
    So I come down on the side of the legal advice given that was way short of good advice..maybe easy to say in hindsight.
    Another case of the legal profession ripping of people for every penny and running up potentially (and in this case very) high legal bills, and that is what I feel sorry for the Bramhills over. Not whether I agree with the judges findings or not, but the Bramhills have not been advised sensibly and really made to ask themelves if they really have a problem. Also the situation if found in their favour it would set a precedent for all other 102 inch motorhome owners in that their vehicles would not have a blind eye turned to them and would be illegal and not allowed on the roads. There would be a rush of claims against sellers.
    There also does seem to be a bit of they were quite happy with te vehicle until I suspect they could not get an agreeable trade in value so decided to take the legal action as a way of getting their value back. I also wonder if they knew the possible legal costs if it went against them and what they could lose, and again where they advised properly by their legal adviser begs being asked again. Or, did they take the case to court themselves without getting legal representation except for the appeal? In which case they must carry some of the responsiblity of the situation they are now in.
  6. GeorgeTelford

    GeorgeTelford Deleted User

    Hi Brambles

    I have not read through the decision in ages, but I think the crux was that the Bramhills were trying it on in the Judges view, at one point trying to trade it in against another 102" RV

    The judge seemed to be indicating that a case would have been had by them, if they had not used it after (i.e. as soon as) they realised it was ilegal.

    Also that as no prosecutions had yet been made, but I find this bit perverse, if prosecutions do start what happens to RV's (<102") then.....
  7. olley

    olley Funster

    Jul 29, 2007
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    Hi the story I was told by a dealer was that the bramhills didn't like driving it, and after one or two scrapes and 9 months use tried to use the overwidth as a reason for their money back.

    I seem to remember that Destination RV didn't get an award for cost's, so the only winners where the legal bods. I think the Bramhills cost's were well over £100,000

  8. fordy

    fordy Deleted User

    will this mean that Aframes can use the same "Nelsons touch" defence?????


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