Caravan Industry Hits Back

Caravanning industry slams media suggestions that it has little or no regulation.

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Stuart Lamont speaks at this year's caravan industry national conference.

Recent media commentary claiming the Australian caravanning industry has little or no regulation demonstrates ignorance and a lack of understanding surrounding how the industry is governed, claims Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont.

The Australian caravanning industry is subject to more than 100 Australian Design Rules, Australian Standards and regulations, he said. According to Mr Lamont, Australia is internationally regarded around the world as having the toughest construction standards in the caravan industry “to cater for consumer expectations around use and government expectations around safety”.

“The Australian industry is overseen by a number of different state and federal government departments and authorities with regulatory enforcement based around risk profiles, reported incidences and risk to consumer safety,” Mr Lamont told GoRV.

“In addition to compliance, consumers have added rights and protections surrounding unfair contract terms and around warranty and consumer guarantees through the Australian Consumer Law.

“To suggest the industry has little or no regulation or is self-regulated is rubbish. The industry is under constant review by authorities, and while we can argue that some of the regulation is unnecessary and adds additional burden to industry and cost to consumers for no benefit to the travelling public, the law is the law and there is an expectation that businesses abide within the framework provided by the government.”

NOT PERFECT

Mr Lamont conceded that the industry and the system by which it is governed is “by no means perfect”.

“However, with over 615,000 (recreational) vehicles registered in Australia, it would be impossible to suggest that some problems don’t occur, and in these situations we urge industry businesses to make sure they understand and comply with their legal obligations,” he said.

To complement the regulatory framework and to assist industry businesses understand their compliance and legal obligations, Mr Lamont said that the industry administered a number of educational forums (both for consumers and industry), had imposed much tougher scrutiny on products being displayed at industry-run shows, and had introduced a voluntary accreditation program (RVMAP) which, among other things, inspects industry products at manufacturing premises, retail dealerships and consumer shows. In 2017, more than 1000 inspections would take place, he said, with a full review looking at up to 250 individual items of federal compliance.

TOUGH MEASURES TO COME

In recent weeks, the federal government announced that it was seeking to pass through parliament even tougher enforcement measures concerning trailers (including caravans and other RV products), which was welcomed by Caravan Industry Association of Australia. According to Mr Lamont, this announcement “represents over four years of hard lobbying on behalf of consumers and industry to generate even better outcomes within the industry”.

“The industry is made up of many genuine businesses who employ many Australians and have a strong commitment to manufacturing or importing product which is not only compliant but which seeks to offer the greatest level of satisfaction to their caravanning customers,” he said. “These changes being contemplated will provide tougher and swifter penalties for businesses doing the wrong thing, providing greater consumer protection, and better confidence within those industry businesses committed to doing the right thing by the consumer.

“Caravanning and camping evokes many positive memories and the opportunity to not only explore this great country but to reconnect with family and loved ones.

“It is no wonder that overwhelmingly we hear many great stories of people using and enjoying their RV product, leading to new registrations consistently outperforming other vehicle types.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. I believe the caravan industry in general do a great gob in Australia. I had a faulty air conditioning unit 12 months after the warranty was ended however Coromal Caravans fixed the problem without delay and at no cost to me.

  2. Interesting;

    I hear more and more complaints about shoddy workmanship on modern vans these days than ever before – even including some brands that previously had good reputations. I would be very careful these days about ordering a new van, as I can think of only one builder I could trust. I would however consider upgrading to a newer van which has had all the misery sorted out by the first owners….hopefully!

  3. Has Mr Lamont ever actually bought a new van? We don’t know a person who has actually received decent service and timely repairs once the van is taken from the yard. Contract law is ignored as most manufacturers insist that any equipment failure is managed between the new owner and the company that supplied the fridge, stove, windows, etc. Trying to get a simple low cost repair requires atleast 2 visits to the dealership to have it inspected, then hopefully replaced (except Jayco). If the dealer can avoid a repair, then they seem to delay or inhibit the process – blaming the manufacturer or requiring the equipment supplier to then also inspect a problem. Truly a $13,000 Hyundai has a MUCH better level of warranty service. Yes Mr Lamont, the majority of complaints from many buyers has prompted government intervention in an industry that really does need to get its act together.

  4. And yet with all “regulations” there are still manufacturers registering vans that are not Adr compliant and costing their customers money with fines.

  5. yes allowable tow specs for tow balls & g.v.m.weights need to be lifted by manufactures & as most vans now are so well built with strong suspensions& heavy wheels & tyres etc the unrealistic tow ball allowances are placing on road weighting & compliance checks a gold mine of revenue for state govments coffers…in this modern day with free camping the go u need to take more than we did in the old days sat dish/extra water/gray water tank/safety gear/extra food/ solar panels on the roof/maybe 3 gell batterys etc etc /2 spares it goes on & on .etc & with modern t 3.500 rated tow vehicles & above for the imported chev/ford/dodge p/u utes up front legal..manufactures a frame & tow ball ratings let us down .cheers..

  6. From my personal experience buying a new caravan was nothing but a complete disaster,the dealer was dishonest and not interested in fixing problems he had his money then didn’t want to know me.
    Fair trading NCAT are useless, lives are at risk and even when engineer reports are presented which clearly define facts nothing is done to put these shonky dealers into a position where they have to take responsibility.
    When a few people are killed on the roads ,and it is found the caravan is not compliant to the compliance plate it will be the driver who gets the manslaughter charge or loses his insurance.
    Who cares ???? I was lucky I found out my caravan was not compliant and took it off the road.
    I do believe there are honest dealers out there some where and I am sorry that some of you will cop the wrong label.

  7. I have been caravanning for over 30 years and have purchased 4 brand new vans ( Jayco) I have had some small issues which have been dealt with at Jayco dealers all over the country. The problems I see are as two members of our caravan club who purchased identical vans at the same dealer at the same time . They discovered after some problems that both vans were wired totally different and were told that it depended on who was wiring that day how it was done. Customers must remember that the price is not always the number one reason for purchasing a van. Allen

  8. How so right many of these comments are perhaps the so called leaders of the industry should stop thinking of the quick dollar like the banks did and start addressing the root of the problem build quality and after sale service. Get it right first time

  9. Perhaps the industry that mr. Lamont speaks so highly of might consider funding an insurance scheme that would look after those new van purchasers who have been let down by shonky manufacturers and retailers.

  10. I concur with some of the comments above, our purchase has been an ongoing mess. The biggest problem being that the compliance plate was completely wrong. The weight was 200 kg heavier which left me with only 100kg to totally load my caravan and keep it legal. I checked the weight on truck scales and immediately returned to the caravan supplier who had a new compliance plate made up. This is all fine but if I had not checked the weight I could have faced a fine and had any insurance claims denied. This is from a very large caravan builder and I now wonder how many customers have been sent out with their vans illegal.

  11. Very interesting…
    The issue I have with Mr Lamont’s speech is he seems to forget about “Quality of Build” All he quotes is legislation and regulations. Yes we know that the manufacturers are improving but they have a long way to go. We are on our third van. The first had major quality issues that had to be fixed at may i add our expense of time and running the van multiple times to and from the dealer. The second did not even make it in to our drive way due to a major manufacturing fault that would have meant it had to be fully torn apart and rebuilt. We chose to have a another van built and would not accept the dodgy one. They can not put screws in right the first time let alone pull it apart and put it back together, at-least not without a risk of it falling apart. The third one has its issues as well which we are still waiting on approval to have fixed.

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