Caravan and towing
When buying a recreational vehicle (RV) such as a caravan, camper trailer or camper van, you have different consumer rights depending whether you bought it from a private seller or a dealer.
Either way, it’s important to understand there is no ‘cooling-off’ period in WA for RV purchases. This means once you’ve signed a contract at a dealer or paid a private seller, you are committed to the sale.
Buying from a dealer
Australian Consumer Law (ACL) guarantees do apply when buying from a licensed dealer just as if you were buying a car. This means if the RV features you were told were included in the purchase either don’t work or don’t do what they are supposed to, you can ask for a remedy. See Car Warranties for more information.
Dealers must also make sure there is no money owing on the RV; this is called ‘clear title’.
Dealers are required to use a standard sales contract which must show the total cost of what you are buying as well as any special conditions such as ‘sale subject to finance’. If you agree to any changes to accessories or upgrades, include these in writing on the contract of sale:
- Colour changes to the interior, exterior or trims.
- Details of additions such as a solar system or battery upgrade.
If you need to cancel the contract, you may be asked to pay ‘pre-estimated liquidated damages’ (PELD). The maximum amount of PELD a dealer can charge is five per cent of the total purchase price.
Learn more about cancelling a contract with a dealer.
Buying from a private seller
You have no ACL guarantees when buying from a private seller. Follow our tips on the car buyer’s checklist page to help protect yourself before you agree to buy.
You should also complete:
- A $2 Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check via www.ppsr.gov.au.
- A vehicle inspections / mechanical check by a licensed mechanic.
- A Transport WA registration check at www.transport.wa.gov.au.
RVs have extra features so make sure they work and are not missing before driving away e.g. stove, lights, plumbing, fridge, cushions, table, awnings, beds and any other features the RV has.
Remember, once you pay or drive away you have few options to resolve problems with the seller.
You must consider the weight of a caravan or trailer and the ability of your vehicle to tow. If you don’t follow your vehicle’s towing limits, you could lose any guarantees under the ACL and void your insurance. These limits are called aggregate trailer mass (ATM), gross vehicle mass (GVM) and gross combined mass (GCM). To find out more about ATM, GVM or GCM, search for the Safe Towing Guide at www.transport.wa.gov.au.
Selling a caravan
When selling your caravan, the same rules apply as if you were selling a car. Keep in mind the value and condition of extra features and items you include in your sale such as air conditioning, mini fridge, utensils, awnings etc. See selling your car privately or through a dealer for more information.
Fake website scams
There have been a number of fake websites selling cheap recreational vehicles. Some websites use an ABN of a legitimate business in order to get your confidence.
If you are shopping online for a recreational vehicle, make sure you visit WA ScamNet for tips on how to avoid losing your money to a scammer.
If the price is too good to be true – it probably is a scam.