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‘No deal’ Brexit ferry contractors copy conditions from ‘takeaway’ website

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The ferry company at the centre of a row over no deal Brexit planning is facing claims it used terms and conditions replicated from a takeaway delivery website.

Seaborne Freight was last week handed a £13m contract to lay on extra ferry crossings if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

Ministers were criticised for picking the firm after it emerged it did not have any ships.

On Thursday, it emerged it is facing potential new embarrassment over a portion of its website’s terms and conditions.

Seaborne orders
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The terms and conditions referred to a ‘meal/order’

One sentence under the “placing an order” says it is the customer’s responsibility to “thoroughly check the supplied goods before agreeing to pay for any meal/order”.

Another paragraph under the same heading reads: “Delivery charges are calculated per order and based on [delivery details here].

“Any delivery charges will be displayed clearly in your order summary.”

The same template text appears on multiple other websites, including for a college alumni association and wool company.

Retro alarm EU clock representing the countdown until Brexit. - Stock image
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There are fewer than 90 days until the UK automatically leaves the EU

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted a screengrab and wrote: “No ships, no trading history and website T&Cs copied and pasted from a takeaway delivery site.”

A transport department spokesperson said before any contract was signed, due diligence was carried out to check Seaborne’s “financial, technical and legal underpinning”.

They added: “This section of the terms and conditions on the company’s website was put up in error. This is being immediately rectified.”

Sky News contacted Seaborne Freight for comment but none was received at time of publication.

It comes as the company began its dredging operations to get the port of Ramsgate ready to operate in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The operation involves clearing the bed of water, scooping out mud, weeds and rubbish.

Seaborne says it is on track to start twice-daily sailings by the end of March – when the UK is due to leave the EU.

It initially planned to launch Ramsgate-Ostend crossings during February.

The UK is due to leave the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019 – fewer than 90 days’ time.

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