Sunday, 21 November 2010

BW is still trying to deceive it's residential moorings customers

Having lost a complaint about clarifying boaters' eligibility for Houseboat Certificates, BW is attempting to move the goal posts.

Earlier this year I 'won' a complaint against BW. Their current terms and conditions* claim that: 1.4 "Houseboat" means a boat which is not used for navigation and is kept on a British Waterways long term mooring with planning consent for residential use."

Unfortunately BW's evidence to Parliament prior to the 1995 British Waterways Act and their own subsequent interpretation, negotiated with national user groups at the time, makes it quite clear that this is not the case and that anyone who moors at a properly established BW long term mooring should be entitled to claim the better legal protections that apply through having a Houseboat Certificate (instead of a Standard Cruising Licence). In evidence of this, numbers of Houseboat Certificates increased to over 300 in during the years following the '95 Act.

During my Stage Two complaint, when I produced evidence of what they had said to Parliament and boaters at the time, BW conceded that they had got it wrong. During the course of the complaint they most amusingly admitted that they could not find their papers from the Committee hearings on the Bill that became the 1995 Act and could I direct them to the appropriate records!

However following a short interval during which the results of the complaint were discussed with the main national user groups representing boaters, they then refused to commit to publicising this finding. Rather than concede gracefully they only agreed a timetable to publicise the decision after I complained to the Ombudsman.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Be careful what you wish for

The new message from British Waterways is that the new Waterways Charity will not be the old BW. Depending on your point of view this is either an important message or a statement of the blxxding obvious!

This message appears to have been delivered with a three line whip at two public meetings recently. It is interesting that on both occasions, this mantra was offered in the context of and in direct response to people raising concerns about the competence and track record of the current BW management.

If I really believed that the coming of the new waterways charity meant we would be sweeping away most of the current Board and Management Team and replacing with something better and closer to the public, I would offer my support. Problem is I see no sign of this. It seems to me that emperor is  is just getting a new set of clothes, and like the old ones, best not subject to too close an examination.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Doing it the hard way

Further to my last posting, British Waterways have of course promptly repaired the diffuser on my electric point, within days of receiving the formal complaint. just annoying that it wasn't done when I just asked in the normal way.