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ACCC survey on the caravan industry

 

Australians who have recently bought new caravans are being urged to participate in an ACCC survey about possible consumer law issues in the industry. 

The Caravan Council and Outback Travel Australia urge owners to complete the on-line survey by the deadline of December 10, 2021. That means there’s not much time!

Even people who have contacted their state government consumer affairs departments are urged to complete the ACCC survey, because the ACCC’s province is Federal Consumer Law.

The ACCC has received more than 1300 reports about the caravan industry during the past five years.

Common complaints include retailers selling new caravans that do not meet consumer guarantees and faults leading to disputes between manufacturers and retailers about which party is responsible for the cost of repairs.

“The caravan industry has experienced strong sales growth in recent years and this is expected to increase as more Australians choose to travel domestically rather than overseas, due to the ongoing pandemic,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“We are looking for further information from consumers and industry about the issues they have had with their caravans and their experience trying to get their concerns fixed. 

“This information will help to inform our future work, including possible enforcement action.”

The ACCC has published separate surveys for purchasers and retailers of new caravans.

The purchaser survey focuses on the sales process and whether consumers had any subsequent faults with their new caravans, and, if so, whether they were able to have these resolved under the warranty or the consumer guarantees under Australian Consumer Law.

The retailer survey focuses on any disputes with consumers about warranties and consumer guarantees, and whether retailers have had any indemnification disputes with manufacturers.

Both surveys are available at the ACCC consultation hub and will remain open until 10 December 2021.

“If you are a retailer of new caravans or a consumer who has purchased a new caravan, please take the time to complete the survey,” Ms Rickard said.

“Empowering consumers and improving industry compliance with consumer guarantees, with a focus on high value goods including motor vehicles and caravans, is a current compliance and enforcement priority for the ACCC.”

In 2017, the ACCC instituted court proceedings against Jayco, alleging that the business acted unconscionably and made false or misleading representations to four consumers about their right to obtain a refund or replacement for their defective caravan.

In late 2020, the Federal Court dismissed the majority of the ACCC’s claims, although the Court has since imposed penalties of $75,000 against Jayco for misleading one consumer about consumer guarantee rights.

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