Caravan Buyers Beware

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 17:48
ThreadID: 100553 Views:7139 Replies:13 FollowUps:28
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Hi Everyone This is our first time posting so hope we have it right. We have just been to court with a SA caravan dealer and just wanted to let everyone know to please be careful when dealing with in our case, caravan dealers. We orderd a special build caravan and because the dealer could'nt deliver what we wanted we asked for our deposit back. We were flatly refused. We tried to discuss the matter with the dealer who wasn't interested in talking. We went to Consumer Affairs but they couldn't get anywhere either. We went to legal aid who helped us with what we needed to do and what forms to fill out. We ended up going to Flinders University who put us in touch with the students who with the help of a mediator also helped us with lodging our claim with the court. We tried to mediate with the dealer again but still he wasn't interested. To cut a long story short the judge ordered a mediation which is what happened and he suggested half and half which is what the outcome was. All I can say is when you sign any contract make sure the dealers put in writing that you will get your deposit back if things don't work out. Also get them to date and sign it. Also keep a record of all phone conversations and every bit of paper work which we did. The only reason we agreed to half and half was because the judge said that it wasn't an easy case and could go on for a long time and cost a fortune. We thought it was better to cut our losses. Also we felt we let them know that we arn't just country hicks and that they just can't walk all over everyone. This has been a huge learning curve which we hope will help others. We have now sold our house and bought a fifth wheel and living on the road and love it.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 18:08

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 18:08
Thank you for posting the warning in an appropriate manner (ie. just the facts about what to consider in a contract) without resorting to defamation of the company.
Michelle Martin
Marketing & Customer Support
I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd / ExplorOz

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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:17

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:17
Thanks Michelle I can't see the point in ruining someones reputation or business as it is hard enough these days plus there are other people working there to consider. If we have helped someone else that was the aim.
Regards
Jan
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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:52

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:52
"without resorting to defamation the company" the dealer did not do the right thing by the purchaser and the builder was telling the dealer it would not work....shame the dealer I say. There is to many companies out there today who are not very honest and especially in the caravan industry.
Cheers Bruce
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Reply By: Member - mark i2 - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 18:25

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 18:25
Thats some really great advice, its a shame this happens. Interesting to hear that the University helped out, it must have save you some expenses.
I am curious what the deposit is worth, whether it would have been worth going further and try to get the lot back.

Cheers
Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:21

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:21
Hi Mark, The deposit was $4,500 which is nothing to sneeze at. We couldn't have handled any more stress as it went on for over 12 months. It was small claims court which goes up to $6,000. We did the best we could plus it has been a huge learning curve.
Regards
Jan
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Follow Up By: JimDi - Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 21:22

Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 21:22
Hi Jan,
You did the right thing. We were involved in the same situation about 6 years ago. Qld dealership, caravan builder was way over to the left.
We went thru the court system which took 12 months chasing a $5k deposit. The reason for this was because the dealership was being run by two different registered companies and at one stage we were headed to the supreme court to deregister them. So it can get very frightening. By this time we were out of pocket by $12K.

We were right, dealership was wrong said the judge. Mainly because the dealership and their legal help failed to turn up in court on the day. We were awarded some costs and all our deposit back...but...because all costs are not claimable we found ourselves out of pocket by $2K. We had not signed a contract but a deposit in Qld is deemed as entering into an agreement and is binding.

So I guess its business as usual,that is, buyer beware and walk into the dealership with caution.

Regards
Jim
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 11:25

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 11:25
Hi Jim, Thankyou for your support. I can Imagine what you must have gone through it is very stressful and unless youv'e been there as you have it is hard to realise exactly what it is like.
Regards
J & P
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Reply By: fisho64 - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:09

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:09
there must have been a large hole in the "contract" if you signed on the dotted line for a purchase thru the dealer and then when he couldnt deliver, even a judge says it "wasnt an easy case"?
AnswerID: 504757

Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:25

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:25
Hi There was nothing covering the buyer in the contract it was all for the dealer. This was our error in not reading all the small print. I guess we were excited about everything and should have really read everything over a few times. We honestly thought that we had but obviously not. I guess it is all experience.
Regards
Jan
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Follow Up By: Jefvon - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:27

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:27
That may have been correct, but it is so much easier to be wise after the event. I sometimes wonder if the judges do it just to get the issue resolved and not tie up courts for years. I had an issue with a car many years ago and ended up it a similar situation but I was lucky to get it sorted by pure chance only.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:32

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:32
That is quite possible but we don't have the finances to push it. I guess That's Life.
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Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:24

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:24
Well done & welcome.
You say it was a dealer. Was the problem with the maker or the dealer or are they one of the same.?
Enjoy your 5th wheeler.
Take care, safe travels Ma.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:29

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:29
Hi Ma & Gus. It was actually the dealer not returning phone call etc. The maker was the one telling them that it would'nt work.
We will enjoy our 5th wheel. We bwleive everything happens for a reason. You get knocked down, you get back up.
Thanks again.
Jan
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Reply By: Jefvon - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:37

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:37
Thanks for the advice and a lesson we can all learn over again. Yes, simple to think you have all the bases covered and believe there will be no issues. Very happy to hear it did not put you off the vanning experience, including the ones you are yet to have. Have been trying to convince my lovely other half to go for a 5er but guess it is not destined to happen for us, but I am still trying. Was the original order a 5er? Are you happy with the Denali?
Safe travels always.
Jeff.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:46

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:46
Hi Jeff, No our other order was an off road caravan. Peter has always wanted a 5th wheel, sell our house and go on the road full time but I couldn't part with our house. We went away for 6 weeks and while we were away I became aware I loved it and so I said I could do it full time. It was by accident that we came across our 5thwheel in a caravan park inSydney with a for sale sign on it. The owner had only just that day put it on consignment. We had a look at it and loved it. It is a Domani with an Iveco truck with a smart car that fits behind the cabin of the truck. We feel it was meant to be.
Safe travels lso to you.
Jan
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Follow Up By: Jefvon - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:57

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:57
As you mentioned in a reply above, some things happen for a reason and some things are meant to be, yours obviously was, but I need Peter to help me get my 5er..... :-) What does he charge as a consultant? :-)
Jeff.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:09

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:09
Hi Jeff, Consultants fee 0. Just keep talking but Peter says go away on a holiday in a caravan and say just imagine if we had extra space.
I will take photos and post them when I get time. That might help.
Jan
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Follow Up By: Jefvon - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:57

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:57
We have been away holidaying most years over the past 11 years and had the current van nearly 10. Heading to WA this year. If you are ever in Vic let us know, we have plenty of room (acres) to fit you in for a couple of nights. :-) I'll look forward to the photos.
Cheers.
Jeff
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:12

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:12
Thankyou that is most appreciated.
Jan & Pete
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Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:50

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:50
G'day Jan C Peter,
I know there are troubles with naming businesses.
If the Judge has awarded 50/50 for whatever reason it is clear the dealer is shonky and non compliant.
Of course we can't know all situations of the case, but now people who have read your post, despite having all due contractual arrangements covered, still don't know who the dealer is or who to be wary of when buying or getting a van build to specs.

Some dealers/builders will be honest and some won't, but the fact remains, who are they.
As a purchasing public, I believe we have a right to know and if knowing impinges on the dealers actions in order for them to shape up or ship out, so be it.
We shouldn't have to live in a society where, less than proper actions are hidden, and the masses still continually get ripped off. We shouldn't have to be "smarter" or "more aware" than a legal beak in order to buy something from a manufacturer.
If we all studied law, we probably wouldn't be buying caravans anyway.

There are many ways to not name someone but indicate to interested or affected persons, who they are likely to be. No names, but a road and suburb is a, nudge nudge wink wink, for concerned prospective buyers. Otherwise we are none the wiser and still paddling the barbed wire canoe.
Why must the perpetrators be protected?

Ross M
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:58

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 19:58
I know your right. The address is Grand Junction Road Kilburn.
Jan & Pete
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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:11

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:11
Thanks Pete.
Cheers Bruce
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:00

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:00
Hmmm, that gives we South Australians exactly a narrow field of just who it was.

Di
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:36

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:36
If we follow that logic, does that mean that Jan C is also shonky and non compliant...after all the judge said 50/50.

The problem with naming anyone is that the full facts aren’t known and the business doesn’t get to put its case before facing a “kangaroo court” in an online forum.

I think it is a little disappointing that after having taken the right approach in the first instance that Jan C has now all but named the dealer involved...

My two bob’s worth anyway...
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 12:59

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 12:59
Thankyou for your input as I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion. I agree that the full facts arn't known. We felt very strongly about it and I haven't named the dealer all we wanted to do was perhaps save someone else the heartache and stress that we went through.
Kind regards
Jan & Peter
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 13:08

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 13:08
I think your initial post was good and highlighted the pitfalls and things that all should be aware, but posting the address (above) of the dealer concerned is as good as naming him, surely?

Rightly or wrongly so people will now form an opinion on this business based on your experience, but without the benefit of hearing its side of the story.

Anyway, your choice, so be it...
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Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:25

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 20:25
Jan C.
Yes, you get knocked down & you get back up some more than others. We have been there & done that too many times for our liking.
However Jan, it shouldn't happen, when buying a reputable product. I too, believe in fate but this is just plain wrong.
I think we inspected these vans & were nearly sucked in.
He needs to lift his game because word of mouth spreads quickly.
E.O isn't the place to name them but he must be named to the correct people. He was given a very good rewiew in the caravan Magazine ,if it is the one I think it is. He also is a member of a group which perhaps he shouldn't be. You may get a message from another member of this Forum but caution must be adhered to.
Once again ,Take care, safe travels.
AnswerID: 504768

Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:18

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 21:18
Hi, I agree I still try to trust people but am becoming more cautious which is not a bad thing.We came from a farm in a small farming community where we looked after one another.
I don't want to go back to court for defermation once in court was enough.
Jan
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Reply By: Hunter Gatherer - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 22:03

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 22:03
Peter and Jan, if ever you are in Sydney and need some where to keep your 5th wheeler and stay for a while we have acreage in the Penrith area and you would be welcome to stay, you seem like very nice people.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 22:47

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 22:47
Thankyou that sounds great. We have always tried to treat people how we like to be treated.
Thanks again.
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Reply By: Nutta - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 23:26

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 23:26
I cant see the problem with name and shame, we do it with fridges, cars and just about everything else, i think its the notgoodenough site that is one for naming.
AnswerID: 504779

Follow Up By: P and JM - Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 23:49

Thursday, Feb 14, 2013 at 23:49
Could it have been Benson's son Dave ??
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:17

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:17
Hi Benson's don't own "Dave Benson Caravans" anymore.
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Reply By: GEMAC Solar and Power - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 08:41

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 08:41
Hi Peter.

was this my "mate" out at Salisbury???

regards

Geoff

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Follow Up By: GEMAC Solar and Power - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:31

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:31
ahhh. ok

not my 'mate' mick the adventurer but bens son dave.

ok
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Reply By: rossy - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:41

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 09:41
I've heard so many of these kind of stories. A friend purchased a caravan about $120,000 from Victoria and it leaked. All sorts of problems and threats flying around and until eventually got it fixed.
Another work colleague bought a new van over $100K as well and it towed crooked! They had to change the frame on the front end of the van.
Unbelievable that these things aren't seemingly road tested as a standard pre delivery.
I heard there are no over seeing governing bodies with caravans as there are with quality control with cars.
Thank goodness we purchased our second handKimberley Karavan from a fantastic dealer who has given us superb after sales service even years after we bought it.
James and Dean at South Eastern Queensland Campers in Caboolture ph 07 5428 2672.
I've even rung them whilst lying under the van in the sand on Fraser Island trying to get the diesel cooker going and they talked me through it and we got it going!
We had a problem with the hand brake on the van before going to Tasmania so they prioritized our job spent a good day trouble shooting fixed it and charged us very little.
At least this is a good caravan story amongst many horror stories. At least some companies are smart enough and reputable enough to realise that after sales service and word of mouth are their best attributes especially in these days of the internet.

AnswerID: 504797

Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00
I would imagine there are a lot of good stories out there and I don't believe we can tar every business with the same brush. I am so glad you have had a good experience and these businesses need to be recognised also.
Jan
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Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:16

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:16
It seems we can praise the good things that people do but can't do the same when they don't measure up.

I am for putting the facts out there and let others make up their mind. Problem is that the Legal Beagles are all looking for a 'cause'. Funny how no -one wants to take a description of a good result to court when there may be disputed facts and versions - as I am sure there are.

I have heard a lot of stories of caravan builders who are not qualified to build a Lego Tower. Anyone can apparently set themselves up without any sort of government oversight. Not good enough considering the large amounts of money involved.

Good to hear, Jan C, that you were not put off trying again.

bill
Bill B

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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:37

Friday, Feb 15, 2013 at 21:37
Thanks Bill B I was starting to wonder whether we had done the right thing. We just feel that people arn't stupid and that they will make up their own minds and not let one review put the off. If people are considering dealing with different companies I'm sure they will look into the reviews on these companies. We just felt that sometimes we need to be reminded to tread carefully.
Jan & Pete
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 22:07

Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 22:07
Post your complaints on Not Good Enough. No one has been able to sue them
PeterD
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Follow Up By: Member - Jan C - Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 11:29

Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 11:29
Thanks for the info I must admit I haven't heard of this website.
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