ACCC wants to hear from new caravan buyers

Survey seeks input from new owners, citing an increase in the reporting of issues with caravans in the last few years.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an online survey seeking input from new caravan owners about their experiences with the products. 

A statement on the ACCC’s website said: “One of the ACCC’s priorities is to empower consumers and improve industry compliance with consumer guarantees, with a focus on high value goods including caravans.

“We have seen an increase in consumer reports to the ACCC about issues with caravan purchases in the last few years.

“We are seeking information from consumers to better understand these issues and inform future activities we undertake.” 

The survey asks respondents about their purchase, if they were made aware of any warranties, right to repair or refund policies in relation to the new caravan and if the caravan had any faults, whether minor or major. 

It also asks if the issues were resolved satisfactorily or if they had to take further action to have the faults rectified and if they are aware of their rights under Australian Consumer Law.

RACQ’s Head of Public Policy Susan Furze said the ACCC survey was timely.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed travel behaviour and seen a resurgence of domestic road travel and tourism that has boosted both caravan sales and trips,” Ms Furze said.

“This trend is likely to remain in the near future. Even once COVID restrictions are lifted, members are telling us that they will still feel most comfortable travelling within Queensland. 

“RACQ supports initiatives that help deliver a better experience for new caravan owners, while also helping the caravan industry better understand and respond to customers concerns.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia Stuart Lamont said the industry was proactively working with the ACCC to better understand any issues so that service levels can be improved. 

“We also support the investigation around retailers and their interactions with both consumers – for which we have seen a growing number of unreasonable claims under the umbrella of the Australian Consumer Law being made – and manufacturers, in the settlement of warranty claims,” Mr Lamont said. 

“Caravans are a high-priced consumer good which carries with it much financial and emotional investment.

“We also find that where problems are identified they can often occur in the most inconvenient and remote places and at times many hundreds of miles from home. 

“They are also largely hand-made and manufactured to meet the demands and flexibility of bespoke customer orders. 

“Given how our consumers like to use their caravanning product, we find that Australian made products are some of the best constructed in the world, designed specifically to the harsh terrain which our consumers like to take their RV product to. 

“Therefore, no product under those circumstances can be foolproof and if through surveys such as the one by ACCC we can be better informed as to happenings in the market, as industry associations we can better respond to these market trends.”  

The ACCC is an independent Commonwealth statutory authority whose role is to enforce the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and a range of additional legislation, promoting competition, fair trading and regulating national infrastructure for the benefit of all Australians.

The ACCC survey focuses specifically on purchases of new caravans, as defined by the Road Vehicle Standards Act as having a low aggregate trailer mass of 4.5 tonnes or below. 

The survey closes at 11:59 pm on 10 December 2021, and details can be found here.

Get covered with RACQ Caravan and Trailer Insurance