Jayco accused of preventing refunds for defective caravans

Wednesday, 29 November 2017, 11:27:32 AM. The consumer watchdog launches Federal Court action against Australia's largest caravan manufacturer, Jayco Corporation, over faulty caravans.

The Expanda model of Jayco caravans Photo: Jayco is a family-owned Victorian business and has been operating since 1975. (Jayco)

The consumer watchdog has launched Federal Court action against Australia's largest caravan manufacturer, Jayco Corporation, over faulty caravans.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges the company tried to prevent customers from getting refunds after they were sold defective caravans, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

It is alleged that between 2013 and 2015, Jayco breached consumer laws when it knew the caravans were faulty, even after repeated and failed attempts to repair them.

The ACCC said it had received numerous complaints about the company's behaviour but had taken action on behalf of four customers.

"The numerous defects in the Jayco caravans sold to these four consumers became apparent at the time of purchase or very soon after, and included issues such as misalignment in the roof, which did not close properly and leaked," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Mr Sims said despite repeated requests for refunds or replacements, the company failed to comply with the law by telling buyers they could only get repairs.

"This understandably caused a lot of distress for the customers," he said.

Jayco is a family-owned Victorian business and has been operating since 1975.

Its website states the company has built over 180,000 RVs to date.

While action is only being taken against Jayco, the ACCC said it had received more than 1,000 complaints about others in the industry.

"Caravans are an expensive item, typically costing tens of thousands of dollars," Mr Sims said.

"People are entitled to expect that the caravan they purchase will be of acceptable quality."

The ACCC is seeking financial penalties, consumer redress orders, and costs.

A spokesperson for Jayco said it had no comment at this stage.

The Jayco models in the ACCC's sights are the Swan Outback camper trailer, the Expanda pop-top caravan, the Expanda Outback pop-top caravan, and the Journey Outback pop-top caravan.

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