THE caravanning industry's
peak body has acknowledged that all RV buyers should be entitled to
"safe and compliant" vehicles.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia was
commenting after a joint
communique was issued by the Consumer Affairs Forum, which
was attended by government ministers responsible for consumer
protection in their relevant jurisdictions.
Association chief executive Stuart Lamont said the Federal Government
should make sure that the Road Vehicle Standards Act received its third
and final reading without further delay at the
next Senate sitting this month.
He said his organisation continued to take its stewardship of the industry
"Our industry has been waiting five years for this piece of legislation,"
he pointed out
"Over 21,000 caravans and motorhomes were built in Australia last year
... up more than fourfold over the past two
"More than 70 per cent of all caravans bought in Australia are made here,
with research indicating that even after 12 months
90 percent of consumers remain happy with their purchase.
"However, the inability to modernise the existing 1989 Motor Vehicle
Standards Act has fuelled calls and an ill-informed social media campaign
demanding lemon laws due to a small number of unhappy caravan owners
who've experienced major faults and problems."
paramount and consumer
should rightfully expect remedial action'
Mr Lamont said many complaints were vexatious or may not have occurred had
the Road Vehicle Standards Bill come into force.
"Safety is paramount, and where there is a genuine problem the consumer
should rightfully expect remedial action.
"Businesses, however, should also have the right of reply and the
opportunity to fix any issue. We are seeing too many occasions where
consumers are placing unreasonable and unlawful demands on industry
"This is where it is important that the two pieces of legislation need to
work better together for positive outcomes for all concerned."
Mr Lamont also criticised calls by the Queensland Government for ‘Lemon
Laws’, when consumers of RV products faced a $25,000 cap when pursuing
consumer disputes through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal
and forcing them and businesses alike into costly and unnecessary legal
With such a low cap, he understood the
frustrations of RV consumers whose purchases exceeded it.
He believed the so-called 'Lemon Laws' would place "an unjustifiable and
an unreasonable compliance burden on RV manufacturers and
retailers, the vast majority of whom were busy running and growing their
enterprises, including employing many thousands of Australians and
contributing to the nation’s economy".
"These are small businesses who can ill afford to expend the resources
both financially and in terms of time of challenging the many untruths
that continue to be perpetrated in social media or having to deal with
vexatious claims," he said.
Mr Lamont said the industry stood ready to work with consumer ministers
from all jurisdictions to ensure the communique's provisions around 60-day
refund or replacement rights, evidentiary burden on consumers and the
introduction of a general safety provisions were reasonable and fair for
both consumers and businesses.