The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has ordered Hinterland Motorhomes to give back AU$94,989.99 to a couple from Brisbane who bought a Sydney-built caravan that had serious endangering leaks.
William and Deborah Hoskin bought an Avida Topaz Multi-Terrain Caravan last February 2017 from the Queensland Avida Dealership, then eventually sought repairs on numerous occasions after finding various faults while traveling in the van, according to a report by Camping Caravan Sales.
QCAT posted its decision online, stating the reason behind it was due to the couple discovering it “was leaking with water pooling on the kitchen benches, inside the cupboards and coming through the electrical channeling in the ceiling.”
After returning the couple’s caravan to the dealer’s service department to fix the issues, they found out that the caravan began leaking again back in July 2017 and had to return it again for repairs.
Then last August 2017, the couple experienced rain and constant water entry into the caravan, returning it once again for repair as well as investigation.
On January 26, 2021, while preparing to travel in the van, they discovered extensive corrosion and rust in the caravan’s underfloor metal sheeting, bringing a complaint to Avida and sending photos of the underfloor area.
Two days later on January 28, the manufacturer replied to them, confirming that the rust and corrosion was caused by water damage. They referred the couple to an independent repair shop, RnR Refinish.
On February 2, 2021, the couple received the quote from RnR Refinish that totaled AU$5,480.75 to remove everything from the caravan’s solar panels on the roof resealing it. The service told them the repair would not guarantee that it would fix the water entry issue.
They eventually decided that caravan must be returned to the dealer to fix the water entry issue and have the damage to the floor and undercarriage fixed.
The couple experienced even more issues with the van while going on another holiday, such as cupboards pulling away from the walls, electric steps not functioning, and the shower base having a crack.
While staying in South Australia, they found the caravan was once again leaking during a rainy day, with water running into the electrical wiring channels on both sides of the ceiling.
At a later date, the couple requested a full refund of the purchase price, which was denied. They brought commenced proceedings in the Tribunal with the goal of recovering the caravan’s full purchase price of AU$94,989.99.
The couple had a discussion with a consulting mechanical engineer to create a report for the hearing, which the Tribunal’s statement, said: “was scathing concerning the defects with the caravan.”
The mechanical engineer’s report stated that the only way to rectify the water leakage problem was to completely take the caravan apart again from the chassis going up. It further said replacing the damaged cabinets and shower will solve the particular issue. However, the cause of the leakage and inherent floor damage will not be corrected.
According to the Tribunal’s judgment, the engineer suggested that continued use of the caravan would only accelerate its degradation since despite finding and fixing the cause of the water leakage, water would still remain inside the roof, floor, and walls.
The structural integrity of the caravan would decline rapidly and would become unsafe either to live in or use on public roads.
The couple did not challenge the report’s conclusions and findings. To receive a copy of the Tribunal’s judgment, visit https://www.queenslandjudgments.com.au/caselaw/qcat/2022/373.