When the pandemic lockdowns came to an end, thousands of Australians hit the road, eager to escape.
But according to a new report, many of those journeys ended in disappointment when things started to go wrong with their newly-purchased caravans.
According the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as many as four out of every five recent caravan buyers experienced faults, nearly half of which were deemed to be major.
The New Caravan Retailing: Ensuring Industry Compliance with Australian Consumer Law surveyed 2,270 people on their experiences buying caravans.
The report found that 65 per cent of respondents were buying their first caravan.
Dreams of wide open spaces and endless journeys were quickly dashed, with 80 per cent of new purchases being reported to have faults, half of those deemed 'major' faults, often within the first 1,000 kilometres.
During the purchase of their vans, over a quarter of respondents said that the caravan was misrepresented, with 47 per cent of those being misled over their warranty.
Consumers sold faulty caravans are entitled to a remedy according to the report, however this often did not happen. Many respondents reported they were not given a refund or replacement and had to pay for their van to be fixed.
The report also found Australian Consumer Law needed to be strengthened to protect consumers.
Currently, businesses that don't provide a remedy to the customer are not classed as a civil remedy provision which could lead to an offence. The ACCC is strongly advocating for this to change.
The report recommends that there be "an introduction of prohibitions, supported by penalties and other enforcement mechanisms".
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