problems in the industry, claim
Caravan council fires broadside
at manufacturers' ethics
Have your say
SHIFTY caravan manufacturers have come
under fire from the founder of the independent Caravan Council of
General manager Colin Young claims the multi-billion dollar industry still
has more than its fair share of dishonest operators willing to leave
unhappy customers in the lurch.
"No one can honestly deny there have been - and still are - serious
problems in the industry, as confirmed by the large number of complaints
and litigation cases," he said.
Mr Young has already met state transport ministers for transport, lobbied
Vehicle Safety Standards and made numerous submissions to other bodies
during his struggle to improve the "professionalism and image" of the
"The core of the harmful situation is the intolerable number of major
non-compliances of both the vehicle regulations and consumer protection
provisions," he said.
'Cause of undesirable
inconsistencies in production of caravans'
Mr Young blamed self-certification which
allowed manufacturers to sell caravans and camper-trailers without
professional regulatory auditing or detailed inspections.
"The failure to require manufacturers to have an acceptable
quality-assurance program has been the cause of undesirable
inconsistencies in the production of caravans," he said.
"There is an unacceptable culture in the industry to strongly repudiate
any wrongdoings by caravan manufacturers and suppliers when they are
notified by their customers of defects - even major failures - with their
"Sadly, this extends to their using intimidating and highly-defensive
delaying tactics in an attempt to whitewash the issues, knowing or hoping
that the customer will succumb to the pressure and not proceed with
expensive and stressful litigation against them.
"Even worse, some people resort to initiating vindictive legal action for
defamation against their own customers."
Mr Young said that fortunately some determined highly-aggrieved owners had
called their bluff, and have launched legal proceedings against suppliers
who have bluntly refused to rectify defects.
This began with a lawyer's letter of demand which in some cases had been
sufficient to make suppliers see the "errors of their ways and condescend"
to do as the law dictated.
In many other instances, litigation has proceeded to an administrative
tribunal or a court.
"While the owner has won the case - often with the matter being 'settled
on the steps outside' - they are still left with substantial costs … and a
very sad experience behind them."
Mr Young said the Caravan Council of Australia would continue its
endeavours to improve the situation for caravan manufacturers, potential
buyers and owners.
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