MANUFACTURING defects left a caravan owner with a massive repair bill
after his RV developed a water leak, a court heard.
The NSW Civil Administration Tribunal has now ordered Victoria-based Royal
Flair Caravans to pay Glen Borm, of the ACT, $40,000 and costs of $700.
It was the maximum sum allowed because his Royal Flair Sky-Deck was used
as a demonstration model at various shows and was thus deemed as second
Mr Borm had sought damages of $65,549, claiming major failure of the
product. This included the initial sale price of $52,905 and $12,644 for
He bought the 2012 caravan from a New South Wales Royal Flair dealer
in 2013 and used it for about nine months without major incident, until a
"storm event" in or about September 2014.
The tribunal heard how he saw water leaking into the caravan from the
roof, virtually filling the cupboards, ceiling light fittings and
rendering the caravan unusable.
Royal Flair denied liability for any manufacturing defects but blamed Mr
Borm's alleged negligence and failure to maintain the caravan as the real
reasons for its condition five years after it was built.
'Manufacturing issue and not
which the consumer was responsible'
The tribunal said a "roof joint" may have caused the water entry, which
left a damages bill of between $10,000 and $19,000 ...
"more than the caravan was worth".
"The roof joint and the installation of air conditioning units was a
manufacturing issue and not one for which the consumer was responsible,"
An insurance assessor had "no doubt" the root cause of such widespread
damage was poor manufacturing standards and there was "no other possible
The tribunal said it found that the cause of the water damage appeared to
be the result of manufacturing defects, not negligence or misuse by Mr
"The admission by the consumer that the roof wiring for the solar panels
he had installed may have left a small hole was not an admission that the
hole was responsible for the extensive damage which then occurred through
water leakage from the roof," the tribunal said.
"That hole was repaired in early 2014 and soon after purchase, whereas the
evidence points to the installation of the air conditioner by the
respondent and the failure of the seals around it as the more likely
"The tribunal accepts that the manufacturer acknowledged that there was
some major failure which allowed the entry of water, but which the
manufacturer was unable to precisely or correctly identify and which was
going to cost a substantial sum to repair or replace.
"The tribunal is satisfied on the evidence that there was a major failure
in the manufacture of this van in breach of section 54 of the ACL
(Australian Consumer Law), which led to the extensive damage caused by
water entry, starting in or around late 2014 when the van was
approximately two years old. "
The tribunal added: "One of the fundamental benefits of owning a van and
being able to use it as a mobile home is the fact that it does not
deteriorate or corrode due to water penetration in a short time, keeps the
consumer dry and the inside of the van free from water entry and resulting
damage, is safe to use and durable.
"In this instance, the tribunal finds the consumer has been deprived of
the benefits of section 54 through defective manufacturing."