For those of you that thought I was stupid........... PART 2 2000kg Tow Ball .

Submitted: Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 19:58
ThreadID: 96852 Views:3101 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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This is a difficult post as no doubt I'll phrase it incorrectly and someone will get the arse with me and say I went the wrong way about it. So in advance I just ask you give me a bit of slack.

My original question was regarding the issues and consequences of using a 2000kg rated tow ball on a van that comes in at 3 tonnes.

Explanation:
As my profile states, we are new to caravanning and this is our first van. We were heavily reliant on the expertise and advice of our caravan manufacturer and supplier. Also as you know, we use this forum and site, to pick your brains as our other source of advice. We are totally inexperienced.

We have never been happy with the service we have received from the agent in Mandurah. They are very unprofessional and slap dash. They lack communication skills and basically don't appear to give a damn. On a customer service level I'd have to give them a score of 1 out of 10, purely on the basis that they will answer a phone, or send a read receipt to an email.

True, we haven't spent the largest sum of money in the world but that should be inconsequential. I run my own business and follow the principle that business is business. I try to give as much attention as I can to everyone that requests my services, no matter what the size of the job. I expect a level of service from these people, and they just aren’t cutting it. On more than one occasion I explained to them that we are a rolling advert for their business. But they just aren’t getting it. At the end of the day, we’ve put up with it, and not bothered about it, as we are very pleased with our van. The product……………..great!!!

So we let their apathy go and always looked upon it as their loss and if that’s the way they want to conduct their business then fine…….

That is where the line of acceptance with us is drawn. What we don’t accept is what we consider to be professional negligence. When they cross the line from unprofessionalism to `reckless endangerment’, I get angry.

As I expected, many of you guys saw the whole situation of having an under rated ball connecting me to the van as totally stupid and dangerous. I needed second and thirty second opinions!!! LOL Part of our deal when we ordered the van was that they would provide us with a WDH. It was all included in the price, along with fitting. We went to Mandurah got the van, and they set everything up.

On our last trip I was chatting with a guy in Coral Bay about vans. I asked him about the hitch and the movement in it. Was there a problem? He came over to my Cruiser had a look and said it was fine. What he’d actually be worried about was my tow ball. It had the 2000kg rating. He said it should be a 3500kg.

I immediately rang Mandurah and the guy told me that it wasn’t right but he’d have to check with management and that he’d ring me back. He rang back within five minutes and told me that they would pay for a new ball and for us to get another one correctly rated as soon as possible. The cost of upgrading is not the issue here, it was only $33.50 and we were able to get one in Coral Bay immediately. So now it is all changed and that’s fine. Hopefully you can all rest easy now and not want to head bush if you see us coming the other way!!! LOL

Our issue is that we feel that the caravan guys in Mandurah are just totally slack and that they have failed in their duty of care. I know that you hard, uncompromising types in this forum are going to bounce the onus back to me, as the driver, but again, I feel that would be slightly unfair. They knew we were novices from the outset and were happy to provide info and suggest packages from the get go. We were dependant on them as professionals to get everything right. They have put our lives in danger and failed miserably. It would occur to me to second guess what they have fitted to my vehicle.

I have sought legal advice. As you can imagine I am livid. However it seems that we have no recourse as there was no accident, therefore no claim. I just don’t see how that can be right. Does someone have to be killed before someone is held to account?? I think that is ridiculous. The thing that makes my blood boil most, is that I wrote to the owner in Brisbane about this whole travesty. I know he’s read my mail as I got a read receipt. To date, I’ve had no reply. No reasons, no excuses, no apologies, nothing!!! I think that is piss poor. It aggravates me.

So to summarise, I think that people should be aware of the dangers that lurk in dealing with this particular dealership/agent. We have no confidence in their level of expertise and would never recommend them to anyone. Buying a new van is an expensive business, but to us, who knows what the final cost may have been if we hadn’t been lucky enough to come across Mark in Coral Bay…..

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:16

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:16
Hi Phill,
Thanks for the update mate.

The main thing is that you are happy with your purchase and,
you are right,
it does not matter how much or how little you spend.

Most rated components have a safety factor built in of at least half again and in many cases double or tripple the required load they are to carry or support. So you had some backup.

Insurance is another matter and that was evidenced by your manufacturer telling you to change it immediately and they would reimburse you. They would have been liable, big time, and they knew it.

All is well that ends well, as they say.

If any fool jumps on you here mate just ignore them for the fools they are.

A kind word goes further than a severe critisism.
At the end of the day we are all concerned with safety as it concerns us all, even as inocent bystanders and it is good that the issue is resolved.

Hope to see you out there on the road Phill.
Cheers, Bruce.


At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 490860

Reply By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:20

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:20
aaaah, the full story (or nearly) - so you're not such a clown after all (just kidding) ;-)) Appalling but regrettably not surprising the lack of care you were given. I've had similar, more to do with kitting the tug out but same principle applies. A lot of these cowboys take advantage in your faith in their expertise and it's often not until you are several months and thousands of klms down the track that their shoddiness surfaces. One idiot put a canopy on my previous vehicle but lowered the fuel filler to such a degree that the diesel flowed back out at me as quickly as it went in. His response? "you'll just have to put up with it". Truly. I gave him half the cost of the job and said you'll just have to put up with that. Then took it elsewhere to get it put right. I was going to give him the difference after all had been fixed but he was obviously too shame-faced to ask for the remainder - so I wasn't bothered if he wasn't. Being in business myslf I could forsee his next move and was a step ahead of the clown. They get what they deserve sometimes and frankly, shouldn't be in business.

Hope all is well for you now after no doubt being left a bit lighter in the pocket. We sure need to be on our toes.

AnswerID: 490861

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:39

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 20:39
Hi Phil. You do have to admit at the end of the day, for what ever reason,
1) they did return your call
2)they did advise you to replace the ball with the correct one immediately
3)they did cover the cost of the new ball
I would now just put it down to your learning experience and get on with enjoying your holiday. You don't have to deal with them unless you really want to.
Maybe send them a copy of your post and replies and show them the power of negative words. Cheers,Bob.
AnswerID: 490868

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 21:12

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 21:12
Not relevant if something bad had happened. Lucky for Phil he found out but how many of their other clients are travelling around with underrated equipment?I hope they are a genuine operation, are looking hard at what went wrong & contacting any others who may have had the same problem..
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Reply By: Crackles - Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 22:53

Friday, Jul 13, 2012 at 22:53
"it seems that we have no recourse as there was no accident, therefore no claim" .......Out of intrest Phil what recourse/claim were you hoping for by seeking legal advice? A partial refund? The business fined for incompetence?
Unfortunately rarely does one ever get good service, a qaulity product & a cheap price in the same store. To expect so often leads to dissapointment.

Cheers Craig............
AnswerID: 490882

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 08:45

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 08:45
Yeah Craig I want them fined. I consider myself a fair person and am happy with the van itself, and therefore happy to pay what I consider was a fair price. I don't need the money.
I am not happy though that the outcome could have been far worse......REALLY NOT HAPPY!!! People like these shouldn't be allowed to breeze through getting away with things like this without consquence. I don't believe it is good enough for them to be able to kick back, have a chuckle and think `we got away with that one'.
I also have an eye that this attitude will possibly one day happen again, and not have such a lucky outcome. What would you say to those people??

I could give you an instance here that is unrelated but the message is the same.

My neighbours dog has attacked other dogs twice now. The first time it attacked an Alsatiian size dog, walking down the street on its lead with its owner. It was quite nasty but superficial damage. In order to keep neighbourly nothing was said. Then a year later the same dog did it again. This time it was reported. However the Rangers policy was that a warning was all that could be given as it was first offence. When told of the first attack, the Ranger said it was irrelevant as it wasn't reported, therefore their hands were tied.

My point here is that there is now still a dangerous dog about, that has had two stirkes, yet because someone chose to say nothing, it is still about. Is that right?
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Reply By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 09:04

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 09:04
Excellent outcome. And good to see that you had specified the whole package up front.

I know how you feel. Just like to go back there and smash someones brains in. Luckily no damage done.

The only slight criticism that I have is the use of the phrase; "the get go", instead of "the start" or "the beginning". We aren't all americans here. Lets not go too far with the maccas syndrome hey! lol

Picky aren't I. Enjoy the drive and watch out for the "straightaways".
AnswerID: 490901

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 11:02

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 11:02
I knew someone would pull me up on language. I used phrase cause I hear Aussies use it a lot and thought I was being a lot clearer in my dialogue. I can't win!!! Lol
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 13:04

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 13:04
No worries

The ones that use it are just pretend americans.

Have a good one mate.
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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 14:44

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 14:44
Cheers PJR
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:54

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:54
"Picky aren't I"

Yes.
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:57

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:57
Made my day.
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Reply By: member - mazcan - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:27

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 12:27
hi
very serious error and enough to cause an accident and you are lucky it was sussed out at coral bay instead of at an accident scene some where by the relevant authorities
are you going to name and shame them by telling everyone which st and number they reside at in mandurah so other buyers can avoid them
that way you are not actually publishing their business name if you get the drift
try to enjoy your travells from here on and learning about something new can quiet often be a hard rd
cheers
AnswerID: 490921

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 15:00

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 15:00
Hi Mazcan

Yes we were lucky and we consider it very serious. Obviously a lot more serious than the dealership have.

I feel that they have rolled the dice with our lives and well being and we would love the opportunity to roll the dice with their business. However the way things work this day and age, if I were to exercise my right to `freedom of speech', I'd be hammered harder for telling a truth, than they would be for possibly causing an accident or a loss of life. It's insane. I ask you, is it right?

So I can't tell you who they are, or their place of business. All I would say is that I believe (and I could be wrong) that they are the sole agents in WA for our van.

Thanks for the input on this topic.

Cheers
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Reply By: blown4by - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:12

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 16:12
Phill, I know how you feel mate and I agree with you. The more that responsible ppl like you continue to post on here instances like that the more aware Joe Public becomes and the more likely they are to check and double check this sort of thing. We see time and time again caravans and camper trailers made in AUS and imports that do not comply with ADR's in respect to hitch capacity, brake capacity, tyre load capacity, safety chain capacity, rear/side front reflectors not fitted, lamps that are not ADR approved and so on. I also have personal knowledge of caravan salespersons wanting to reduce the van ATM so that a prospective buyer can tow the van with a vehicle that has insufficient towing capacity or selling buyers a van which is clearly too heavy for the GCM of the vehicle.
AnswerID: 490940

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 19:17

Saturday, Jul 14, 2012 at 19:17
G'day Phil,

Just a word of caution on your legal persuit. I had a not too dissimilar experience involving a camper trailer and the weight carrying capacity of the sum of its suspension components. A long story short is that the compliance plate (for QLD - a few years ago) required the weight carrying to reflect the ONLY THE AXLE load which in my case was 1900Kg. I overloaded my rig at 1500Kg and broke the springs so on my return from my trip of a lifetime I took up the issue with the manufacturer.

What I found out was that the springs were rated at 1200Kg so I asked why?, and he said that no loads them any more than this. Like you I felt agrieved and took up the matter with the small claims tribunal. I wanted to fix the world not just for me but also for those that followed as the manufacturer felt no wrong doing on his part.

Now I was was well prepared with all the website and marketing stuff etc put out by this company and I felt that there should have been a simple duty of care for him to inform me of the seperate weight carrying capacities.

The tribunal ordered 50% costs (I had to have the springs repaired at Weipa) but they discounted my claim by 50% because I didn't check about the weights. So they said that whilst he needed to tell me I also needed to ask. It didn't matter that I didn't know what I didn't know.

The manufacturer continues to trade using the same advertising so maybe save yourself the grief and let it ride. Every now and then I get even - people actually ask me about the trailer and I give them the story so deep down I feel I'm getting at him.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 490951

Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 00:09

Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 00:09
I hear what you are saying Beatit.
Think this situation is slightly different, although I could be wrong LOL. They provided everything, van and the kit to attach it to the cruiser. Even unlodaded the set up they provided was inadequate. I understand your point that as the driver, you are saying its down to me, but they let us drive out of their yard. My argument would be everything is new, and I accept what I was given. I wouldn't buy a brand new car for example and be held accountable for everything in the vehicle being up to standard. I drive out of the showroom under the conception that the Car maker provides me with a vehicle that is safe.
Also we are not after any personal monitory gain or recompense. This sets our two instances apart.
Thanks for the heads up though.
All the best
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