NSW man warns others about dodgy $65k caravan rip-off

Caravans are often one of the biggest investments we’ll make in our later years, so you can only imagine the disappointment Greg Ingold felt when he purchased a $65,000 caravan, only to find it had a myriad of issues from the get-go.

According to the Courier-Mail, in February last year, Mr Ingold went to the Newcastle Caravan and Camping Show and agreed to buy a Billabong caravan from Coastal Caravans for $64,708.

But what they didn’t know is that Mr Ingold wasn’t the sort of person you should mess with. He remained calm, and instead of going through new-age means, such as Facebook or Twitter, to get his dissatisfaction across, he went straight to Fair Trading and pursued the issue from there.

As soon as Mr Ingold received his brand new caravan, he found problems. When he told Coastal Caravans about the issues, he was told to document the problems ­photographically and email them. And he did — of all 35 defects!

The next day he got a reply email in which Coastal apologised and promised to fix everything but a month on, nothing had be actioned.

Ad. Article continues below.

He rang Coastal and didn’t get an answer that satisfied him. So a week later, he took the caravan back and lodged a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.

Fair Trading advised him Coastal’s service manager would arrange a meeting to address his concerns, however that also didn’t happen, so he went straight to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

He also enlisted the assistance of a caravan repairs company that could prepare a report on the condition of the caravan.

“The chassis has been cut and re-welded from new, this is not acceptable on a brand-new caravan,” the report said. “With all the faults/defects this caravan has … we believe the customer should be entitled to a full refund of their purchase price, or an equivalent replacement caravan.”

Tribunal member Deborah Moss ordered a refund, saying the caravan “was not of acceptable quality in accordance with the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law”.

Ad. Article continues below.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of issues for Mr Ingold and he didn’t receive a refund by the due date, so he had to take it to the Local Court, which registered it as a judgment, a ruling which should have allowed the NSW Sheriff to step in and get the money. There was one issue: Coastal was incorporated in Queensland so the NSW Sheriff won’t cross the border.

Luckily Mr Ingold contacted the Queensland bailiff service and got his money back.

“Unfortunately for them, they met the wrong guy,” Mr Ingold said. He wants his experience to empower others to get what they deserve.

Tell us, have you ever had a big issue like this?