Improving the RV Industry

Submitted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 18:32
ThreadID: 78763 Views:2512 Replies:4 FollowUps:8
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I am in the process of putting together a report/submission regarding the perceived problems in the caravan/motorhome industry when it comes to build quality and warranty issues. You may not be aware that RVMAA have a new Board and the new Chairman has indicated that he is interested in making the industry more proactive to the concerns of the RV purchasing public. As I see it there are some manufacturers/dealers who are in denial and do not accept that there are problems at all.

Now I am aware that the various forums have rules concerning what we can put online and while the info by brand could be interesting that is not the purpose of the report.

What I am seeking is along the following lines:

Year of purchase.

List problems associated with build in the early stages eg fittings missing. Gas not working.

List problems associated with various appliances in the early stages. Fridge not working on electricity. Pump not working. Toilet won’t flush. A/c not cooling. Here it could be helpful to know the brand and or model of the appliance. It may transpire that there was a ‘bad’ batch.

List problems which have developed since purchase. Windows leaking. Frame has dry rot. Wheels have fallen off.

Age when these faults were noticed.

Did you have normal warranty or the extended warranty?

What response have you had from dealership from whom you purchased? Good and bad.

The aim is not to take up particular individual problems but to put together a statistical summary of what is actually happening on the ground and I would prefer that the info was first hand rather than Aunt Florrie’s neighbour’s son’s boss. .

Rather than have the forum space taken up with your replies I am quite happy to have your response by PM to my private email address.

Kevin J
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Reply By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 18:51

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 18:51
I have been asked on another forum if I am doing this on behalf of RVMAA. The short and long answer is no.

This is just an attempt to bring about change in an industry which anecdotally has lots of problems.

Kevin J
AnswerID: 418101

Follow Up By: Kim and Damn Dog - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:59

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:59

Who called for the submissions? I think you need to give us a bit more of the back ground information behind this, and your motivation for doing so.

Most of us have had small problems with camper trailers, caravans but I won't be a party to knocking the industry. There's reprobates out there no doubt, but no worse than any other segment of the market.


FollowupID: 688168

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 07:04

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 07:04

Thank you for taking your head out of the sand and making an effort to respond. There are major problems in the industry and they need to be addressed. Just because there are other industries with problems does not make it right. 'Everyone is doing it' does not cut it with me.

I have re-read my post and I'm almost certain that I did not indicate that I was intending to 'knock the industry'. Asking for change is acceptable but asking for change without facts is pointless.

I have been spending a deal of time in and around caravans and caravanners and on forums such as this and there is absolutely no doubt that there are areas where improvements can be made on Quality Control and Customer Service issues. There are issues with Warranties.

What was the catelyst for starting this. Well an acquaintence bought a new van in Nov 09. and it has leaked to the point where the entire front frame timber has to be replaced. The dealers comment on Warranty. "They all leak. There is nothing you can do" Now I can't name the manufacturer. I can't name the dealer. Where does this person go to get help?.

If you can assist please do but if you think that this is out of order then I just thank you for your contribution.

Kevin J

FollowupID: 688205

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 09:50

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 09:50
It is the buyers that have their 'heads in the sand'.
I had unbelievable quality of build problems with a very well known brand of camper trailer made here in Victoria & made very effort to warn some acquaintances to steer clear of them .... Guess what, they went & bought 3 of them & got what they really deserved!
FollowupID: 688219

Reply By: Eric Experience - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:45

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 20:45
Thanks for taking the trouble to do this.
I have built several motor homes but am not a manufacturer in the normal sense.
I also have been involved in repairing other units. To me the most serious problem is weight. Some units built on a 3 ton chassis way 2.9 tons out of the factory and when the owner fills it up with fuel, water, and other items they are way over GVM. They then get driven over rough roads and naturally get suspension problems. Manufacturers say it its the customers fault, there are people on this forum who can make a patrol weigh 4 tones, imagine what they could do to a motor home. Advertising "lots of storage space" sells but it is not good if allowance is not made for that in the GVM. Eric.
AnswerID: 418122

Reply By: ChipPunk - Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 21:09

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 21:09
I think back to a some marketing exercise looking at a well known prominent Aussie caravan etc manufacturer.
The owner (designer) actually bragged that he/she had NEVER spent a night in one of his/her products. Never. In 18 years.

Many year later at an expo I suspect snafu - the kitchen stove/hot plate immediately to the left upon entering the caravan..... (What is are the kitchen cupboards doing up one end of the van anyhow???!!!)

That was just the design.
As to build - cardboard shells that implode on roads....! Ridiculous wasted space.....
Geez I was keen on importing a foreign camper!

I only mention that as an IMO pathetic sample. I hope the situation has changed. But I have no intention of revisiting - it's been done to death. (Hey - maybe even by ACA or TT? Wow!)
AnswerID: 418129

Reply By: Nargun51 - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 10:34

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 10:34
Why does the industry need more regulation?

As far as I’m aware, all State Governments have consumer affairs/ fair trade departments where claims regarding sales of faulty goods can be addressed.

These are a low cost approach to save the expense of going to Court. Their existence does not prevent any aggrieved person taking legal action to recoup their investment and the costs associated with having the matter heard before a Court.

What regulations would you suggest that are not covered by existing consumer legislation, motor registration laws or electrical or gas standards/laws?

The salesperson stated that all vans leak. I assume that you have approached the person with a written complaint detailing all aspects and this is his written response.

Even the time spent in responding to a claim is something many constructors/sellers may not need. If a company loses a few consumer claims they have to pay for they may consider changing their processes. Imagine how this would go if these are published in the annual reports or a Court case is held (both of which can be reported).

Why do we need more laws or more Government departments to deal with these issues when avenues already exist to enforce a seller’s responsibility under existing legislation?
AnswerID: 418194

Follow Up By: Rob! - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 11:10

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 11:10
I don't think kev9in is looking for more laws. Rather, why are the current laws not being adhered to and why is it so difficult to prosecute those that break them.

Criminals generally pick the laws that can be broken with little risk of prosecution. As always, it's the victims who have to start their research from scratch when they get ripped off. The time and money needed to do that makes it often prohibitive.
FollowupID: 688224

Follow Up By: ChipPunk - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 11:55

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 11:55
I agree.
On ye olde days we had common law rights etc and there were the regulation authorities.

These days it is left to individuals (or class actions LOL) to instigate action, and fund it.

And if people are too lazy to make a single phone call to the ACCC - or write a letter - will they bother chasing their warranty rights etc?
FollowupID: 688234

Follow Up By: Nargun51 - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:03

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:03
Sorry, it must be my cynicism showing.

There is a new head of the industry body. He gets a letter enumerating issues in the industry identified by consumers. Once they fish it out of the bin, they write a new Mission Statement for the organisation to incorporate something like ‘the organisation will respond to the needs of the consumers’ or ‘ensure a high standard of goods are available to the consumer’.

Let’s say Dodgy Brother Caravans make substandard vans. A consumer writes a letter to the industry organisation advising of this. The association writes to Dodgy Brothers and tells them to lift their standards or sends a nasty letter saying fix it. What legal power does the Industry Association have to force them to fix it? Will the Industry Association fix it from their own funds? Will the Industry Association kick them out of their association? What effect will that have on Dodgy Brothers? They just remove the reference to the Industry Association from their advertising.

Industry Associations are there to ensure that manufacturers speak with one voice to legislators and a way of spreading advertising costs. A union for caravan manufacturers

It is left to the legal system and established Government departments to address the problems. The only other way is for the Government to legislate that only Caravans manufactured by members of the Industry Association can be sold or ensuring that all manufacturers contribute to a fund to pay for insurance claims.

We get another thread about the Government interfering with our lives!

FollowupID: 688237

Follow Up By: Rob! - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:33

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12:33
Nargun51 is correct. Industry bodies are not there to protect the consumer. They are set up to protect the industry. Therefore complaining to them will have little effect if the problem is widespread.

Many industries and professions have a two tier system with an industry body as well as a gevernment board for registration. Where the industry body represent its members and the government board simply handles the registered members abilty to perform the required tasks.

Some of those I think are doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, teachers(?) and pharmacists; it will happen to other proffesions if they don't lift their game.
FollowupID: 688249

Follow Up By: ChipPunk - Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 13:42

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 13:42
Rob, surely you are not suggesting the AMA protects its members? Their patients are as relevant as ever. (I couldn't resist...)

I sometimes prefer to old days of regulation.
It was cheaper in many ways.
Arguably better "quality control" too.

But I have may friends that are making a killing doing the periodic electrical tests etc - it's a whole new industry! (And look at how many fatalities we have saved. Well they would have been saved if they were properly educated & accredited.)

And we all know how good the marketplace and competition is.
Oh - and privatisation. (Except for losers that invested i the wrong companies or superannuation funds. But to quote a future(?) PM, that was their choice.)

Incidentally, you opinions are worth money.
You should not be giving them freely. (Or is this thread for a volunteer organisation or charity?)
FollowupID: 688257

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