INVESTIGATE: Avoid Pratt's caravan con; SELL-OFF STRIFE ON SITES.Byline: Penman & Sommerlad
AS a very wealthy 79-year-old, Peter Pratt should be enjoying a happy retirement. Instead, he's hard at work ruining other people's.
Pratt owns and runs an empire of caravan parks.
Stan Peacock and his wife retired to the Kingfisher kingfisher, common name for members of the family Alcedinidae, essentially tropical and subtropical land birds, with affinities to trogons and swifts and related to the hornbill. Holiday Park, Norfolk, five years ago and paid pounds 33,000 for their static caravan plus pounds 5,000 on a veranda.
After Pratt Developments took over the park in 2005, Stan says site fees rocketed by 39 per cent in two years.
So Stan decided to sell up this August and, following park rules, gave Pratt first refusal.
He turned Stan down - and refused to let him sell the caravan onsite.
But sold offsite caravan values tumble and Stan got just pounds 10,000.
Pratt even charged a pounds 300 "de-siting fee" to move it.
It left Pratt free to move his own caravan on to the site and sell it for a vast profit.
"It pushed me to the brink of a nervous breakdown nervous breakdown
A severe or incapacitating emotional disorder, especially when occurring suddenly and marked by depression.
nervous breakdown ," said Stan, 68. "My wife helped me through but I'm still on medication."
They've now bought a flat in Bury St Edmunds Coordinates:
Bury St Edmunds is a town in the county of Suffolk, England, and was formerly the county town of West Suffolk. It is also the seat of the East of England Regional Assembly. and find it hard to make ends meets.
Brian Dawson decided to leave the same park in July last year, after buying his caravan for pounds 30,000 in 2003.
"We bought on the understanding we could sell our caravan onsite," he said.
"We offered it to him first but Mr Pratt completely refused."
Brian sold it offsite and lost more than pounds 20,000.
The law lets Pratt object to onsite sales in some circumstances but he must not be "unreasonable".
Trouble is, he's been unreasonable for years.
In 2002, the Office of Fair Trading The Office of Fair Trading or OFT is a non-ministerial government department of the United Kingdom, established by the Fair Trading Act 1973, which enforces both consumer protection and competition law, acting as the UK's economic regulator. found a "large proportion" of his terms and conditions were unfair, including "an unfair restriction on the consumer's right to sell the caravan on the park".
Pratt gave formal undertakings to revise his contracts but within two years was at it again. He avoided legal action by agreeing to mend his ways.
He was told using unfair conditions again could land him in court. We caught up with Pratt getting out of his Porsche 911 Turbo at his head office near Chichester, West Sussex West Sussex, nonmetropolitan county (1991 pop. 692,800), 768 sq mi (1,990 sq km), S England. A chalk ridge runs from the county's east to west edge. In the south the land flattens into a gentle plain. After early Roman invasions, the Saxons moved across Sussex. .
We don't know how much Pratt earns, as he doesn't have to file company accounts, but the car and personalised plates are worth about pounds 250,000.
He refused to speak to us and suggested we "made an appointment". We emailed him questions. He hasn't replied.
Before joining a site, Shelter recommends checking to see if the owner is a member of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association or the National Park Homes Council.
Pratt is in neither.
For free housing advice call Shelter's 0808 800 4444 helpline helpline
a telephone line set aside for callers to contact an organization for help with a problem
helpline n → teléfono de asistencia al público
PORSCHE OFF: Pratt refuses to talk to us