Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ben Harp - To Hell and Back Again - Chapter 2

We have been overwhelmed by the supportive comments being posted to this blog.  Thank you for your sympathy and support.  Unfortunately we simply don’t have the time to respond to you all individually.  Instead, we will use the time to post our story in daily episodes for our readers.  The story is going to get more interesting! 

The Shell

From the Ben Harp Website “Ben has gained a reputation for unique designs and outstanding craftsmanship” <choke.. splutter! Find a recent customer who will agree with that statement!>

We were advised our shell builder had been changed to Tyler-Wilson. We were delighted to receive this news as they have a reputation for being one of the best shell builders in the UK.  Despite what has happened to us we know we have an outstanding shell.  Moreover Tim and Jonathan have been very supportive throughout our ordeal.

Ben Harp told us he had paid £34,000 for the shell and made no profit from it.  Well subsequently Tim Tyler told us the cost of the shell was less than that.  Another Ben Harp lie!

To ensure we could monitor progress on the boat we employed a reputable local boat safety surveyor to act as our representative. He was able to visit the Tyler-Wilson premises part the way through the construction of the shell and gave an anticipated favourable report on the quality of the work.

Kelly Harp was also reporting Ben was working hard on our boat. We were then asked to pay the 2nd Stage Payment which included the shell and the money to continue with the fit out. Purchase of the engine and the canbus system (advance DC 12v distribution system) was specifically mentioned. We were also asking for an original signed copy of the contract and wouldn’t make the 2nd stage payment until it was received. Eventually we received an original signed copy of the contract and then made the progress payment. Then Kelly Harp suggested we pay for the canbus system directly and avoid the scheduled increase in the VAT. This seemed like a good idea and we did purchase the system. We had also purchased six Rolls 595A/H heavy duty traction batteries for the domestic battery bank, a Camos automatic satellite dome and a bow camera system. All of this we had delivered to Ben Harp Narrowboats at their request. We’ve never been given it back – Theft! [definition of theft - "to dishonestly appropriate property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving them of it"]

By now it was early January and we were querying whether the February delivery date would be achieved. Around this time we were given access to some photo’s of the work Ben had been doing for our boat. It wasn’t much but did indicate work was occurring. Eventually the shell was delivered to Ben Harp’s poly-tunnel at Hixon, near Great Haywood. Kelly had blamed the delay in the delivery date on the shell builder Tyler-Wilson. We subsequently found out Tim Tyler had been delayed for some time attempting to obtain information from Ben & Kelly.

We have absolutely no complaints about the quality of our Tyler-Wilson shell and highly recommend Tim Tyler as a reputable shell fabricator. We are grateful for his personal support and assistance throughout our ordeal.

This is the photo of our Wilson-Tyler foredeck back in May.  Ignore the mess.  Note the port locker is a fuel tank for the diesel stove and the starboard locker is for storage.  The foredeck is lowered and has a storage hatch in it (partially obscured by the cloth and paint pots).

Ben Harp subsequently modified the foredeck to disguise the unique features in the photo above.  I strongly suspect he was creating a “Ringer”.

Both the locker and fuel tank have been removed along with the floor hatch and the floor height has been raised.

From inside the cabin you can see how the spray insulation has been roughly removed (arrows).  The lower bulkhead has also been removed and the foredeck floor raised.  Also note how originally there wouldn’t have been any spray insulation under the foredeck so it has been replaced with pieces of Kingspan insulation panels that are left over from our underfloor insulation.

None of this work fooled Tim Tyler the shell builder.

next – The Surveyor


Tim said...

This guy should be in prison.

Nicholas said...

I just can't believe those pictures! It must be heart breaking for you to see Waiouru in that state ... you have my every sympathy .. I am totally lost for words!

Anonymous said...

We are very sorry to hear that everything has gone wrong and realise that it could have so easily have been us! We contacted Ben Harp to build our boat in June 2010 and gave the a "refundable" one thousand pound deposit but did not sign any contacts. This was to hold a build slot for completion by March, 2011. As we live in Phuket Thailand we needed to have someone we could communicate with. On numerous occasions we tried to speak to Ben but to no avail and by October,4 months after sending the deposit and never being able to speak to Ben even once, we came to the UK to see what we could do but as we could not get to see Ben, we started looking at boats and bought and new boat built by Dream Narrow Boats that was built for the 2010 Crick show called "Dream Chaser". We called Kelly and were told that we were not entitled to a refund and she was very rude!

Just hope it all works out well for you in the future and will keep reading your web!

Joan & Richard
NB Dream Chaser

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Joan & Richard,
So you are the couple from Thailand and how lucky you were that the Harp's level of customer service was so poor. You're not the first to comment about Kelly being rude. How were they to complete your boat in March when ours was to be completed by February. In reality the boat ahead of us wasn't delivered until the end of May!

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

I'd like to lend my support to you at this time and I really hope that you get your dream in the end. This is criminal behaviour surely and I hope this very unpleasant, dishonest and offensive couple get what's coming to them. If this was fiction, no-one would believe it.

All the best for the future


Anonymous said...

WE were suposed to sign up the exact day that you signed up - that would have been fun for all of us -we keep watching for the next installment in this saga and really feel for you both!


Joan & Richard

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Joan & Richard. Can you email me as I may have an option for you to consider.

Mark said...

I'm genuinely stunned by the events in this blog. How can a craftsman act in such a way. Shameful. You have my heartfelt sympathy and please don't let this discourage you from fulfilling your ambition. Life on the cut is fantastic, and the huge majority of people you will meet are wonderful, supportive and genuine. Good luck and best wishes.