Dean Dunham – Pitch Fee Dispute

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Dean Dunham – Pitch Fee Dispute

You may well have watched Dean Dunham last night on his you-tube live stream as he gave his rhetorical view of park agreements and his wish to pursue amendments via the use of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which as you will be aware, is pro-consumer.

He dealt with the industry standard agreement and pre-contractual terms under Section 50, and his opening shot referred to the possibility of unfair contract terms which was followed by his take about the pitch fee/services dispute and the right to price reductions under Section 56.  You will recall that NHHPA previously dealt with this last year when the same subject was raised by Messrs Calder and Lewis.

Pitch fee increases and the ‘random’ manner they are determined was questioned as was the subject of contract termination and the use of clause 5 relating to behavioural standards and the opportunity to take legal action covered in clause 17.5.

Dean questioned breaches of consumer protection laws, citing Section 68 and 69 referencing contract transparency terms relating to the disclosure of operational costs together with the rules on conflict and confusion, and in the fullness of time he proposes to make formal representations to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The concept of ‘force majeure’ (breach due to unforeseeable circumstances) was not on his list of considerations and he ended by referencing the action of Frustration, and advised against legal action by consumers.  A successful “frustration” claim would result in the Licence Agreement between the caravan owner and park owner to terminate immediately resulting in the park owner not being obliged to keep the caravan owner’s caravan on their park.  The caravan owner would have no right to keep their caravan on the site and the park owner could arrange for the caravan to be disconnection from the park.

Dean’s protestations have emerged as a result of the government lockdown measures and NHHPA advises that the right to travel to the Park is been removed but the right to station the static caravan has not and that customers site fees remain payable. 

Each individual caravan owner has a contractual agreement with their caravan park (whether oral, written, or implied), usually in the form of a licence agreement. 

This licence agreement dictates the relationship between the caravan owner and the caravan park and defines what will be provided to the caravan owner in return for site fees.

The industry standard is that the caravan owner pays their site fees to the caravan park to keep their caravan on their agreed pitch. 

Customers caravans remain situated on their agreed plot on the site despite the current pandemic. 

Customers have not been denied or cancelled goods or services, meaning in effect, the site fees remain payable.

If the caravan owner decides they do not wish to continue their agreement, then they would usually be responsible for paying for disconnection and would not be able to continue to keep their caravan on-site.