ACCC lashes caravan trade over poor shopper remedy

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“Experiences of deceptive representations a few caravan’s tow-weight and different necessary efficiency capabilities are notably worrying given the grave security implications for shoppers,” Ms Rickard stated.

“The ACCC will examine and take enforcement motion towards suppliers and producers we imagine might have misled shoppers.”

Market dominated by three manufacturers

Ms Rickard stated shopping for a caravan was a “important monetary and emotional funding”, with two-thirds of survey respondents paying greater than $60,000 for his or her new caravan.

“Some folks save for years in anticipation of buying and travelling in a caravan. If one thing goes fallacious the hurt may be important,” she stated.

“We count on that suppliers will probably be upfront with shoppers about the time-frame for supply of their caravan and any potential delays through the gross sales course of, and proceed to proactively talk till supply.

“The ACCC will examine and take enforcement motion towards suppliers and producers we imagine might have misled shoppers.”

There are greater than 770,000 leisure autos registered in Australia. Roughly 90 per cent of them had been constructed regionally, the Caravan Trade Affiliation of Australia estimated final yr, with the market dominated by three manufacturers: Jayco, Avan and Apollo.

“I instructed the producer that underneath the patron regulation I had sure rights that they had been ignoring,” one respondent instructed the watchdog. “They stated, ‘So what?’ ”

Whereas delays attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic had been largely outdoors the management of producers or suppliers, the ACCC stated some shoppers reported that COVID-19 was cited by producers to justify giving precedence to new builds over remedying the faults of older caravans.

“[They] mainly took our cash and didn’t care after that,” one other shopper stated. “Quite a few issues weren’t repaired, and COVID-19 was used as an excuse to not be capable to restore issues, after which guarantee ran out on elements and parts.”

Ms Rickard stated the reported failures to adjust to shopper regulation obligations had been very regarding given it was cheap to count on a brand new caravan wouldn’t develop main faults inside the first few years of use.

“Customers have to be assured that after they make a major monetary buy like a caravan, they may be capable to get a refund, alternative or a restore if there’s a failure,” she stated.

“Whereas a provider can take authorized motion towards a producer to recuperate prices, the ACCC’s survey of suppliers discovered some had been reluctant to take this step resulting from worry of retribution.”

The caravan trade is price $23.8 billion a yr to the Australian economic system, in accordance with the Caravan Trade Affiliation of Australia’s 2022 State of the Trade report, with 2021 displaying report figures for each imported and regionally manufactured autos.

About one in three Australians took a caravan or tenting journey within the first three months of 2021 , it stated in a earlier report.

“Whereas the overwhelming majority of trade companies perceive and cling to their shopper obligations and provider indemnification obligations … there all the time stay alternatives for particular person enchancment,” CIAA chief government Stuart Lamont stated in response to the ACCC report.


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