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MAY 2021
 

 


'Serious misconduct,' says ACCC

Jayco ordered to pay $75,000 to RV owner who was misled on rights

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CARAVAN manufacturer Jayco has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay a penalty of $75,000 for making a false or misleading representation to a consumer about their consumer guarantee rights.

This follows court proceedings by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In November last year, the court dismissed the majority of the ACCC's case, including allegation that Jayco acted unconscionably towards four consumers by denying them the right to refunds or replacements for their defective caravans.

But the court found it had misled one consumer by claiming they were only entitled to have their caravan repaired, when in fact a consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law when there is a major failure also include a refund or replacement.

The court found that the caravans purchased by four consumers, who formed the basis of the ACCC's case, were not of acceptable quality, and that defects in three of the caravans were major.

When finding there was a major failure, the court had regard to the cumulative effect of the defects, which included water leaks when it rained and multiple roof collapses.

"Misleading consumers about their rights under the consumer guarantees, particularly by a large well-known manufacturer, is serious misconduct, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

"This penalty is a reminder to businesses that representations to consumers about their consumer guarantees rights need to be accurate.

"Consumers have a right to a repair, replacement or refund for goods with major faults.

"The ACCC will continue to take action against businesses who deny consumers the remedies available under the Australian Consumer Law for products that have clear defects."

Jayco agreed with the ACCC to make joint submissions to the court in relation to penalty, and consented to a declaration and costs order.

In a statement, Jayco said it greatly regretted being found to have contravened Australian consumer law in its dealings with one customer and it intended to ensure its contravening conduct would not reoccur.

"The proposed penalty of $75,000 was noted to be considerably lower than the maximum penalty available for the contravention," it said.

"The Judge ruled that Jayco's conduct was not found to be a case of systemic or repeated contravening conduct."

Jayco's conduct did not amount to a "deliberate contravention" and was not undertaken with an intention to mislead or deceive, but was inadvertent, the statement said.

"For over 45 years, its vision has been to produce the best caravans tailored for Australian conditions, selling over 225,000 caravans over this time.

"In 2019, it was awarded Canstar Blue's first ever customer satisfaction award in the caravan/RV sector."

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