Commissioner's blog: Have your say on faulty caravans
Caravan holidays are experiencing a resurgence in Western Australia, as ongoing travel restrictions have convinced us to spend more time exploring our own backyard.
If you’ve recently purchased a new recreational vehicle, hopefully you were able to hit the open-road with minimal fuss. But if not, you’re being urged to provide feedback on possible consumer law issues in the industry.
Consumer Protection has received at least 296 complaints about the purchase of new caravans and camper trailers over the last five years, with most issues related to unsatisfactory products, defective goods and warranties.
National figures are significantly higher, with upwards of 1,300 complaints received by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over the same period, with common complaints involving retailers selling new caravans that do not meet consumer guarantees, as well as faults leading to disputes between manufacturers and retailers about which party is responsible for the cost of repairs.
The ACCC is inviting consumers and industry members to participate in a 15-minute survey about the issues they have had with their caravans and their experience in trying to get their concerns fixed. The feedback will help inform the ACCC’s future work, including possible enforcement action.
The purchaser survey focuses on the sales process and whether consumers had any subsequent faults with their caravans, and, if so, whether they were able to have these resolved under the manufacturer’s warranty or the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) consumer guarantees.
The importance of customers receiving accurate information about their consumer rights was highlighted in the Federal Court earlier this year, when caravan manufacturer Jayco was fined $75,000 for misleading one customer about their entitlement to a remedy. As a result of the ACCC-instigated proceedings, the court found a consumer had been misled when they were told they could only have their caravan repaired, when in fact they were entitled to a refund or replacement under the ACL.
The 15-minute purchaser and retailer surveys are available at the ACCC consultation hub and will remain open until 10 December 2021.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection
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