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Skiing Europe/Chris Reynard - Children's ski holiday left in ruins.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Stephen101 wrote:
rayscoops, The regulations are not shambolic - I suspect that a court and most sensible people are able to determine what is meant by "as soon as possible". Laws and regulations in the UK do not offer definitions of every single phrase in common usage in the English language - and the courts are quite happy to rule out pervers interpretations even though it allows barrack room lawyers to pretend that such terms can be given idiotic meanings.


I would refer you to any constuction industry standard form of contract - JCT, IFC etc, that sets time scales for most procedural actions be it providing a bond, making a payment etc., but especially the determination of a contract. Any thing removes an interpretation of a term and replaces it with a defined period also removes ambiguity and this is the basis of a good contract

This is a typical commentary on it here that sets out two 14 day notice periods (in writing by recorded delivery) and a futher 10 day 'continued default' for an action for such a determination. In comparison Package Tours Regulations is like a copy of the Beano and shambolic, imv of course Little Angel

I agree the Tavistock school has a stronger case because even on the last day nothing had been confirmed by SE, but of course nothing had been 'unconfirmed' (for want of a better word) in writing either before Tavistock formally cancelled. It is my opinion that they should have allowed SE to default without the school cancelling themselves, but of course informed the parents that the trip was not going ahead because Tavistock knew full well that nothing was in place. If there were some specific time scales for SE to abide by then all of this might have come to head much earlier and the default be a lot clearer.

D G Orf, how can any one know they are not getting some thing unless the person that is supplying the service formally puts it in writing ? one cheque from SE could have put all the Interlaken hotels back on side, likewise the bus companies, and that is all SE need to argue - that they were resolving things and had not formally changed any terms. If they had written to the schools in question that would be a different matter altogether !
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rayscoops,

I doubt there are enough trees in the world to allow statute to be written in the same detail as commercial contracts - you know as well as I do that such contracts can run into several volumes - I don't think any definition of as soon as possible would allow anyone to wait until several months after the hotel cancelled its bookings before they told the schools.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
rayscoops,

In my particular case all the kids were ready, waiting and packed at the school on the day to go on the skiing trip - If Reynard had got the coach there and confirmed the hotel booking (and the school had been able to check with the hotel that the booking was in place) then I suspect they would have gone. If you really believe that the school gone have reasonbly gone any closer to the line you really are not living in the realms of reality - parents have to be around to collect children and their baggage to take them home - remember teachers are loco parentis.
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Quote:

one cheque from SE could have put all the Interlaken hotels back on side, likewise the bus companies, and that is all SE need to argue



Even if this were true SE would have to demonstrate that they had the funds to pay the cheque - everything I have seen suggests that this is not the case.
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Look, in the original post it clearly states "say no more!".
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Stephen101, I respectfully suggest that you are confusing the practical situation (and I agree with you on that) and the contractual situation, which need not be the same. It seems that to this day Mount Grace have not formally cancelled anything but have likewise not travelled with SE either and it is clear that SE are firmly in default by the lack of their due performance of their obligations, and that puts Mount Grace in a stronger position to chase what is owed them than a school that felt the need to write to SE and tell them they were / have cancelled without having first received a written notice from SE that the terms were being changed, even if at the 11th hour nothing had been confirmed by SE.

I sympathise with your situation but it is not imv as clear cut as you may think, which is why I worry for the parents (like you) waiting for the outcome of their school's respective and individual legal deliberations. Things may work out well but it is not an certainty at all.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/chris-reynard-to-sue-owners-of-snowheads-for-defamation-706746.html
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Just kidding.
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Stephen101 wrote:
rayscoops,

I doubt there are enough trees in the world to allow statute to be written in the same detail as commercial contracts - you know as well as I do that such contracts can run into several volumes - I don't think any definition of as soon as possible would allow anyone to wait until several months after the hotel cancelled its bookings before they told the schools.


I am amazed the the travel industry in this case relies upon statute rather than perhaps having a standard form of contract to clarify/agree procedures bearing in mind the vast sums of money that is changing hands Puzzled
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Stephen101, we are both in agreement that SE should stump up, which ever way it works out, so maybe we should leave it at that ?
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rayscoops,

Respectfully I think you are dancing on the head of a pin - the statutory requirements take precedence over the contractual ones. And even if the contractual terms were in areas beyond statute - i suspect any lawyer would be able to attack them using the Unfair Contract Terms Act (which doesn't in general apply to commercial contracts) . I very much dount Reynard would get very far in arguing that it was in substance the school that breached the contract first. I don't think the lawyers have experienced many problems in making their claims against SE - have any parents anywhere been told that there is legal problem with making the claims.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

Stephen101, we are both in agreement that SE should stump up, which ever way it works out, so maybe we should leave it at that ?



Agreed - my last post was before i saw your previous one.
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Stephen101, edited for the love vibe Very Happy


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Tue 19-04-11 14:28; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Stephen101, oops, agreed too !
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
hooray.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I can feel the love.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
daveyladboy wrote:
I can feel the love.


I can feel the relief Laughing
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http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/p/470614/6549323.aspx#6549323
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Chattonmill wrote:
I can feel the relief Laughing
I need a pi$$ as well
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daveyladboy,
Quote:

I can feel the love.


Well perhaps not for SE and Mr Reynard, but definitely for everyone else snowHead
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
paulio wrote:
Just kidding.


Very good, you should be on the stage. There's one leaving in 10 minutes...be on it!! Laughing
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By the way, on the 'about' page of skiing europe's website it's claimed that Chris Reynard is 'the author of a book about skiing'. Not quite. He's the co-author of a short (64 pages) book, called 'Piste'. You can get it on Amazon for £0.49.
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daveyladboy, well we all can tell I think that Mr Reynard is an expert in self publicity wink
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I work in exactly the same field (I suspect) as Ray. I am commercial manager for a construction company. Our industry is famous for projects being changed and famous for the claims that ensue from the consequential delays and costs. Standard forms of contract have been around for a long time and have adapted as the industry has changed. They do make matters much simpler, when things go wrong.

I have also had a nagging doubt about the schools ability to win contractual court cases with SE. SE only has to stand up in court and say that both the original transport and accommodation were in place when the school cancelled, for a court to find for him. To counter this, it is imperative that the schools contact the hotels, airlines and coach companies and get written statements that Reynard had not secured firm bookings for the school party. If the schools present such evidence, I would see them being awarded summary judgement (the judge decides there is no defence and the costs of a trial are avoided). The schools can then begin recovering their money (this will not be a case of being posted a bankable cheque).

If the schools turn up without these statements/affidavits, relying on the judge to 'do the moral thing' could well see them with nothing more than Reynard's bill for costs. Without the proof, Reynard has the contractual high ground as the schools cancelled before he defaulted. I don't doubt that protecting the children gave them any option but the contractual consequences are grave if they cannot prove Reynard's default.

Although people like Stephen (whom I suspect to be a school governor) may not like it, none of this will affect the parents' contractual right to be reimbursed by the school. Their case is 'parents paid school for children's ski trip - school cancelled ski trip'.
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bar shaker wrote:
......If the schools turn up without these statements/affidavits, relying on the judge to 'do the moral thing' could well see them with nothing more than Reynard's bill for costs. Without the proof, Reynard has the contractual high ground as the schools cancelled before he defaulted. I don't doubt that protecting the children gave them any option but the contractual consequences are grave if they cannot prove Reynard's default........


As a barrister friend of mine pointed out to me - "the side that's best prepared tends to win". It's what a court decides (or what is agreed between the affected parties out of court) that matters of course - not the views offered in a forum following some apparently compelling posts, and some media reports.
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bar shaker, Agree I think Mr Reynard has already demonstrated his defence in that he claims to have had rooms and transport waiting for them when they cancelled, all that is actually necessary is for them to prove that the hotels, they thought they had paid for had not been booked for them by SE, at that point they are within their rights to cancel the holiday with no losses on their part. If they can demonstrate that SE had confirmed a booking at those hotels and then not actually booked it then you are I suspect looking at Fraud
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i can see this being a very long and messy affair! Im glad this thread has moved away from a slanging match now! Any more update on how many schools were affected over easter?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Apparently The Manor Prep in Abingdon cancelled a trip to Switzerland at the beginning of Easter citing concerns over lack of bookings in place and a duty of care to the children.
Also the Mount Grace School exchange of emails with Chris Reynard and their letters back to him were publically available here!!: http://www.mountgrace.org.uk/PDF/letters/
But it looks like they removed them now, so a copy is below!

[mod comment: No longer. If the school has taken down the information from its site, it would appear that they consider that web publication of the letter is inappropriate]

I think SE's defence will rest on the fact that it is common for hotels, instructors and transport(?) to be paid 'after' their services have been rendered. So unless SE breached arrangement for paying deposits to secure the bookings, then SE could claim that those reservations were in place (based on prior season trading practice?). If the reservation is 25% of the price, then SE walk away with a tidy sum without being bound to return the Schoools money, or pay for beds not taken up?
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snowjoe,

I have my doubts whether SE will get very far with such a defence in this case - guven that he has changed the arrangements in a material way - different hotel, mode of transport, country and costs - SE has to offer a full cash refund under the law. Others should remember that this is not a commercial contract - but a contract with consumers for which there is also a statutory protection. I too have spent my life dealing with commercial contracts and are well used to contracts that can fill a whole bookshelf - but thankfully ordinary consumer contracts are not as complex.


cD G Orf,

Correct

bar shaker,

Although people like Stephen (whom I suspect to be a school governor) may not like it
[/quote]

Well the only people who would like it would be Reynard - but as I've explained many times the regulations don't necessarily work like contract law and they take precedence. As for being a school governor - nope - but I would hope school governors understand that schools work best by parents and teachers working together.
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snowjoe - The Manor Prep was booked to go to Meiringen - not one of skiing-europe's resorts...
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daveyladboy wrote:
snowjoe - The Manor Prep was booked to go to Meiringen - not one of skiing-europe's resorts...


In best pantomime fashion ...... "Oh yes it is!"

I instructed for SE in Meiringen last season. Mind you, according to my contract it was Wengen but SE has a Ryanair-type elasticity about place names: it's in same canton isn't it, so it's Wengen. Laughing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Stephen101 wrote:

bar shaker,

Although people like Stephen (whom I suspect to be a school governor) may not like it

Stephen101 wrote:

Well the only people who would like it would be Reynard - but as I've explained many times the regulations don't necessarily work like contract law and they take precedence. As for being a school governor - nope - but I would hope school governors understand that schools work best by parents and teachers working together.


No, Stephen and this has been your whole, inexplicable stance through all of this... I can fully assure you that the parents who have paid out this money (had you quoted my full sentence) will be very pleased to get their money back.

Why do all of your posts treat the parents as cannon fodder, who stand in the way of the smooth running of the schools?
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bar shaker,
Quote:

Although people like Stephen (whom I suspect to be a school governor) may not like it, none of this will affect the parents' contractual right to be reimbursed by the school.


I took "it" and "this" in the sentence as referring to what you had said in the previous paragraph - which was about Reynard winning the legal argument. Tell me if I'm wrong but that is the normal way of reading the English language. Also on the law you are just wrong - if you book a holiday with a travel agent and the tour operator fails then travel agent does not have a legal requirement to reimburse you for events beyond their control. You can assert the opposite until you are blue in the face. I would hope LEAs/schools would step in to pay parents if they are able to do so while the lawyers pursue recovery from the insurers - but you are probably wrong in saying that they have a contractual obligation to do so.

As for treating parents as cannon fodder - that is just offensive garbage, especially since I am a parent whose child has lost their holiday. I very much doubt that any of my kids' schools see me as cannon fodder either - but I find that you can often achieve a lot more without resorting to hostile warfare. I want the parents to be repaid and I don't want the schools to suffer financial loss (and I would hope you would want the same) and i thought we were arguing about the best way of achieving that. I don't think we have reached the stage where it needs to be a zero sum game between the parents and schools.

ccl, Last year you were only moved within the canton - now you are lucky to get a different country.
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bar shaker,

If you wish to attack me or distory my views I will fight back - may I suggest that others reading what we have said are quite capable of understanding our positions and forming their own views, and are probably far less interested in our views of each other.
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Stephen101 wrote:


ccl, Last year you were only moved within the canton - now you are lucky to get a different country.


Neat one! Mind you, somewhere buried in all of this thread is a post in which I said I refused to work for them again having taken months and the threat of court action to get my wages out of them. I can't claim any special prescience in the matter - I was just pissed off - but it makes me wonder if things were starting to unravel even then. Particularly when I remember that I did eventually get a cheque (for the wrong amount) followed swiftly by a phone call from Reynard asking me not to present it as he was "changing his banking arrangements". That did ring an alarm bell, but I thought no more of it when I later got a cheque from a different bank which was honoured. A totally insignificant anecdote in the context of what has happened this year? Or maybe the cracks had started to open?
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I went back and read the bickering and drivel and think people should back off for a bit and let the thread settle back to a discussion of unfolding events around SE.
I for one cannot understand how it takes so long to take action against companies like this. Its a classic case of 'possession being 9 tenths' where it concerns the trip monies.
If SE were trading as a sole trader business, then doesn't that mean it can't go bankrupt unless the assets of the sole trader are exhausted? All this shifting the business from a sole trader status to a Limited status seems just too cynical to be true and yet SE carry on. Quite simply, if SE had secured the arrangements paid for, all they neeeded to do was show confirmation of this and the schools would have carried on, albeit with some additional safeguards and contingency planning. But SE failed to be able to do this AFAICS. In the claims against SE, it should be their responsibility to prove they had such confirmation AND made it available.
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Haven't read all of this thoroughly but I think Reynard has got away with it. If it is fraud, it isn't a big enough fraud and, in any case, there's a question over whether all this is a civil matter - mad I know but the CPS let a lot of seemingly "nailed-on" cases go untried. SFO aren't interested below seven zeros. Basically he didn't take any one person for a lot of money and he didn't bash any old ladies over the head. So I reckon he'll avoid the attentions of the criminal court. His business is finished (presumably) so Trading Standards are a blunt instrument. He sounds like a determined, unashamed, wiley old fox and he'll be very difficult to pin down and even harder to extract money from should anyone sue him and win. The media have already forgotton all about it, this thread will begin to disappear and that'll leave a lot of parents and schools (depending on who takes the fall) out of pocket and a ton of disappointed kids (who'll get over it). There will be a lot of blame shifting between schools and LAs but, in the end, people will write off their loss and move on because that's probably the only way ahead. Just a personal view, I hope it's a different outcome but I think he's got away with it.
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Bode Swiller wrote:
Reynard has got away with it

The wily old fox! Shocked

(Sorry, not funny at all for those involved Embarassed .)
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Bode Swiller, he's been doing exactly that for years now. He will spring up again under another guise and more people will be taken for a ride again. To be honest from his point of view, it is a winning formula. As he believes that he is completely innocent of everything AND his product is an excellent deal for all concerned, why shouldn't he?

Self belief is just one aspect of delusion. All we can hope is that for a while his name and business model remain recognisable enough for even the most dim-witted to have that "Ah-Ha" moment and avoid him like the plague. Unfortunately, even though he has made the national news on at least two occasions prior to this, he is still in business, which does not bode well for the future.

Sad

maggi nice one! Laughing
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