The full horror
Buckle in for the ride as I describe a list of screw-ups normally only see on an episode of Rogue Traders. If you’re considering buying a boat from Thames Solar Electric I’d suggest you read this first, and then make your decision.
To illustrate the faults and the repeated failure to fix them I’ve set out the timeline from launch day to present day. It’s a barrel of laughs from beginning to end, believe me.
Day 1 (29th September 2021)
The boat is finally in the water, six months late. Apparently there’s some work still to be done to finish the boat off (there’s no bow thruster battery charger or thermostatic switch for the hot water pump). That evening we turn on the hot water and find out there isn’t any hot water at all. We called Thames Solar Electric who say they’ll come out tomorrow. Fortunately we had a bottle of Prosecco onboard (ironically to celebrate the launch).
Day 2 (30th September)
The bow thruster battery charger is fitted and the hot water is theoretically fixed. A wago connector is fitted behind the fire so we can control the hot water pump manually by connecting or disconnecting the cable from the connector. On a boat which cost £192,000, just saying.
Day 5 (3rd October)
Thames Solar Electric visited and fixed the shower and toilet (neither of which were draining), installed the thermostatic switch for the hot water pump and fixed some snags in Lolly’s bedroom. The thermostatic switch didn’t work.
Day 7 (5th October)
The toilet still wasn’t draining so Thames Solar Electric visit again to fix it and fail to do so. Nat raises the toilet up on blocks, so now it drains. The owner of Thames Solar Electric is now on holiday for two weeks.
Day 22 (20th October)
We’ve spent the next two weeks finding new snags every day.
- If you plugin to shore power the ring main trips out.
- The draught seals on the bow and stern doors are peeling off and not sealing.
- We only get 20 seconds of hot water, then warm and finally tepid water.
- There are various leaks (the kitchen taps, sink plug, shower hose and hot water tank).
- The kitchen worktop is 1000mm too short
- The kitchen cupboard doors are not the ones we specified
- The boat lists to port.
- The draught seals on both bow and stern doors is coming away and not sealing.
- The ceiling lights in our bedroom glow and flicker even when switched off.
- When we filled the rainwater tank under our bed the floor dropped 20mm.
Day 36 (3rd November)
Thames Solar Electric attend to fix the priority snags, they spend all day trying to find our why the ring main trips when shore power is connected and fail to do so.
Day 40 (7th November)
Thames Solar Electric attend to fix priority snags, we’re not sure what they did whilst we were out as they left without giving any update or feedback.
Day 41 (8th November)
Thames Solar Electric attends site with a consultant for an inspection to write the Recreational Craft Directive manual (this is supposed to be handed over with the boat when it’s delivered).
Day 43 (10th November)
Thames Solar Electric attend site to replace the Heat Exchange and Ventilation System as the one which was fitted appeared to be second hand (dirty filters, damaged case).
Day 47 (14th November)
After 47 days of no shore power and the batteries completely draining twice as a result a local electrician responds to our desperate cry for help, visits the boat, locates a short circuit where the bow thrust battery charger is, isolates the fault by disconnecting that part of the circuit and we can finally plug in!
Day 49 (16th November)
Thames Solar Electric attend site again for general snagging.
Day 67 (7th December)
Thames Solar Electric attend site again to fix the hot water, shower drain, electrics and stove thermal switch. For some reason they reconnect the bow thruster battery charger previously disconnected by our electrician. When we get back to the boat we find they’ve left us a Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) Manual, unsigned.
Day 81 (21st December)
After the shore power trips out again Thames Solar Electric attend site. We’re told they have changed some inverter settings which stops shore power tripping out (but they don’t know why). Later we find the bow thruster battery charger was disconnected, which we subsequently confirmed was the cause of all the issues.
Day 109 (18th January 2022)
After much discussion we speak to Thames Solar Electric over video call and later confirm our rejection of the boat under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on the basis of durability, safety, freedom from defects and fitness for purpose.
Day 123 (1st February)
We receive a solicitors letter dismissing our request to reject the boat. Having already received legal advice we commission a professional Marine Surveyor to assess the boat and document his findings, including any safety defects, with reference to the contract, specification and the relevant regulation and legislation.
Day 242 (7th June)
We send the completed Marine Surveyor’s report to Thames Solar Electric. The report documents a catalogue of errors, safety defects and deviations from the legislation and regulation.
Day 250 (15th June)
The response from Thames Solar Electric is that the £8,000 outstanding (which we withheld due to the defects with the boat) would be sufficient to address all the issues. As the boat needs completely re-wiring, the hot water and rainwater tanks removing and replacing, which means the interior walls need removing, this seems somewhat detached from reality.
Day 292 (26th August)
Prior to engaging a solicitor to take legal action against Thames Solar Electric we made one final appeal for him to take the boat back and refund our money.
Day 317 (20th September)
We begin legal proceedings against Thames Solar Electric.
Day 403 (15th December)
After months with no progress made and no helpful response from Thames Solar Electric or their legal representatives, we decide to invest all future funds in refitting the boat ourselves.
We couldn’t do a worse job.