The ACCC Moves on From Tech Giants to… Caravans?

The ACCC Moves on From Tech Giants to… Caravans?
Image: Happy Camper

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been coming down hard on the tech industry of late, giving warnings to some over their alleged monopolistic practices and helping the government ram through Parliament legislation attempting to protect journalism. But now, the ACCC is looking at caravans.

Apparently, the ACCC has received more than 1,300 reports about the caravan industry over the past five years.

Common complaints include retailers selling new caravans that do not meet consumer guarantees, and faults leading to disputes between manufacturers and retailers about which party is responsible for the cost of repairs.

As you all pick up this ‘grey nomad’ life in your younger years, opting for some cool campers, sales are booming for the caravan and RV industry down under.

If you’re one of the lucky few with a caravan to your name, the ACCC wants you to fill out a survey. The purchaser survey focuses on the sales process and whether consumers had any subsequent faults with their new caravans, and, if so, whether they were able to have these resolved under the warranty or the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law. There’s another survey, but that’s for retailers.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said info gathered from the survey will help to inform future work the watchdog will undertake, including possible enforcement action.

“Empowering consumers and improving industry compliance with consumer guarantees, with a focus on high value goods including motor vehicles and caravans, is a current compliance and enforcement priority for the ACCC,” she added.

Why is the ACCC targeting caravans?

Well, in 2017, the ACCC instituted court proceedings against Jayco, alleging that the business acted unconscionably and made false or misleading representations to four consumers about their right to obtain a refund or replacement for their defective caravan.

In late 2020, the Federal Court dismissed the majority of the ACCC’s claims, although the Court has since imposed penalties of $75,000 against Jayco for misleading one consumer about their consumer guarantee rights.