27 September 2023

ACCC finds caravans a hard push

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A new report on caravans by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed consumers across Australia have complained of widespread guarantee failures, misrepresentations by suppliers and unexpected delays in delivery and the repair of their caravans.

In its report New caravan retailing: Ensuring industry compliance with the Australian Consumer Law, the ACCC highlights the key issues of concern in the market for new caravans and provides guidance to businesses about their obligations to comply with Australian Consumer law.

In an ACCC survey of 2,270 caravan owners, 80 per cent had experienced problems with their new caravan.

In addition, the ACCCC said, the number of consumer complaints made to it about the caravan industry continues to rise, reaching more than 1,300 reports in the past five years.

According to Deputy Chair of ACCC, Delia Rickard a caravan can represent a significant financial and emotional investment for many people.

“Some people save for years in anticipation of purchasing and travelling in a caravan,” Ms Rickard said.

“If something goes wrong the harm can be significant.”

She said that under Australian Consumer Law, if a caravan fails to meet one or more consumer guarantees, the owner is entitled to a remedy from the supplier.

“A remedy can be a repair, replacement or refund,” she said.

“Many consumers reported to the ACCC that when they experienced a failure with their caravan, they were unable to obtain a remedy or that the remedy provided did not fully address the failure,” Ms Rickard said.

“We are very concerned by these reported failures to comply with obligations under the Australian Consumer Law, and the impact that these failures have on consumers who have purchased a caravan which develops a fault.”

She said consumers need to be confident that when they make a significant financial purchase like a caravan they will be able to get a refund, replacement or a repair if there is a failure.

“It is the ACCC’s view that it is reasonable to expect a new caravan won’t develop a major fault within the first several years of use,” Ms Rickard said.

She said the ACCC had released a guidance to help consumers and businesses understand their rights and obligations when buying and selling caravans.

The guide Buying a new caravan can be accessed at this PS News link.

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