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DebutCaravanner

2yr old Caravan serious defects

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Hi.

 

I'm seeking the community's opinion on a problem that has suddenly come to light in my fairly new caravan.  I'm relatively new to the world of caravanning and still learning.  What has helped me a lot is the way fellow caravanners are always eager and ready to give help and advice.  I keep an eye on these forums as well as the many caravanning YouTube channels.  These have been great in helping me choose a caravan and then how to operate it, etc.

 

After a lot of research my wife and I travelled to the NEC Caravan Show in Oct 16 where we selected a caravan -  a salesman from a local dealer offered us a van at a very good discount, a price that our home dealer was significantly adrift of.  The dealer is based in England - our home is in Northern Ireland.  So we then travelled to England to collect a brand new caravan in May 17.  Over the next 12 months it had a few quite minor problems which were fixed by the dealer under warranty at its first annual service in May 18.    We went to England for a holiday last year and took the opportunity to have the van serviced there then.

 

When it's not on the road the caravan is stored under a canopy in a caravan storage facility near our home.  We take care of our caravan.  Because we're retired we're never in a hurry anywhere, we have masses of time,  so it gets mollycoddled.

 

This year we took the van to Scotland for a month's holiday.  On our first evening near Loch Lomond we noticed that the floor in the rear of the van was squeaking quite badly.  On returning home I arranged for the van to have its annual service, this time at a caravan service facility near home - one recommended to me by the manufacturer.  Again there were a few minor problems but I also made sure to mention the squeaky floor.  Later in the day the service manager rang me to advise that the floor had delaminated, quite badly and would need a quite complicated repair, under warranty.  This surprised me in such a young caravan. 

 

Then he rang back again to ask if I stored anything heavy in the van's front locker.  I had advised him earlier that my Alko hitch was prone to squealing and my attempts to clean the friction pads with emery paper gave only short term results.  So I reckoned this is why he was asking about anything heavy in the front locker.  The main items stored in the front locker are 2 metal 6kg propane cylinders, a small toolkit, and odds and sods such as squares of wood to put under the steadies, the hitch lock, brace to wind the cornersteadies etc - the main weight is the cylinders.  Also stored there is a Milenco noseweight gauge to check that my noseweight does not exceed the recommended load of 80kg by too much.  What the service manager then said shocked me.  The front locker has broken away from the van, nearly fully on one side, and partially on the other.  A metal angle section  holds the locker to the van at either wall, many of the screws are missing and the screw holes in the metal section are badly elongated. The locker floor supports have come away and the floor section has dropped. 

 

I can think of nothing that would cause this to happen.  The caravan has been in the Lake District, France twice, the Cotswolds, a few sites in Ireland and most recently in Scotland. The roughest roads we travelled were in Scotland but I cannot recall any road that was so rough that it would cause this problem.  All our travels have been on roads popular with caravans. The service manager is of the opinion that the sort of travels I've undertaken should not cause problems like this.

 

Interestingly the service manager told me that he serviced a year old caravan with a similar but more severe locker problem from the same manufacturer last year.  The manufacturer advised that it be repaired under warranty but the caravan owner disagreed and held his ground until he was offered a new replacement caravan.

 

I'm now at the point where these problems have been reported to the manufacturer who has replied today that they should be fixed under warranty.  As you can imagine I'm not very happy with this.  There's no guarantee that the delamination fix will work in the long term, nor that the locker problem won't return. This van is only 2 years old.  Delamination tends to happen in vans over 10 years old, I'm told.  Additionally the service manager advises me that he will be allocated a certain number of hours by the manufacturer to fix these problems but that if the job takes longer, I will be liable. He cannot tell how long it will take him as he doesn't have the facilities of the factory.

 

I'd be grateful for your thoughts and advice.

 

 

 

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What make of caravan?

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25 minutes ago, DebutCaravanner said:

Additionally the service manager advises me that he will be allocated a certain number of hours by the manufacturer to fix these problems but that if the job takes longer, I will be liable.  

You will not be liable. If he undertakes warranty work it is for the manufacturer not you ....... you are not the client in this regard.  It does not speak well with regard to the dealer's honesty.

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Guessing this is a Swift.

 

Sad to say that I'm seeing a lot of these reports - we had it on our own van at 2.5 years old.

 

All I can say is that the fix at the factory seems comprehensive.

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Just to get this straight, you live in Northern Ireland, bought from a dealer in England and are now expecting a dealer in NI to do the repairs.

 

You have hit on the big problem with buying from a dealer far from home, and you should seek professional legal advice sooner rather than later.

 

Only the supplying dealer is obliged to carry out warranty repairs under the CRA or give you a refund if appropriate.

 

As I understand it, and I could be wrong, you only have a right to reject the caravan at this stage for a refund if the supplying dealer has attempted, or arranged for, a repair to a fault which was "inherent" at the time of sale and this attempted repair has failed.

 

Any other dealer can choose whether or not to do your warranty work, and he is entitled to be paid for any work he does.

Quite where you stand if the dealer wants more money than the maker is willing to pay is an issue that needs to be properly clarified before the work starts, or you could be caught in the middle.

 

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You mention communication with the maker of the caravan is that yours or the dealers?

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Delammination can hit at any time,,have seen it in a 12 month and one of mine was less than 2 years old.

Geoff

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Stevan. I'm not expecting a NI dealer to do warranty repairs.  It was the manufacturer who recommended the NI service centre that I've used.  I'm pleased with the thoroughness with which this NI service centre has done the service on my van - in fact I feel it is good to have the service carried out by someone other than the original dealer - for all I know these defects may have started to become evident when the original dealer carried out the service on my van last year.  My NI service centre is willing to carry out the repairs.
David38. The communication with the caravan manufacturer was from the service centre.
Griff. I'd rather not disclose the make of van until this is settled, in case it somehow compromises my negotiations with the dealer or manufacturer.

Svimes.  The manufacturer has instructed the NI service centre on how to fix the delamination so it won't be a factory fix.  The service centre does not have the same range of equipment as the manufacturer hence my unease at the long term consequences.

 

My van is fitted with shock absorbers which would soak up any rough roads, as in Scotland. This is why I'm surprised by the front locker defect.

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2 hours ago, DebutCaravanner said:


Griff. I'd rather not disclose the make of van until this is settled, in case it somehow compromises my negotiations with the dealer or manufacturer.

Svimes.  The manufacturer has instructed the NI service centre on how to fix the delamination so it won't be a factory fix.  The service centre does not have the same range of equipment as the manufacturer hence my unease at the long term consequences.

 

My van is fitted with shock absorbers which would soak up any rough roads, as in Scotland. This is why I'm surprised by the front locker defect.

 

Hi Debut, 

 

We can sumise that you don't have a Bailey (no front locker!).

 

The issue with our van and others I've seen is that the van walls part company with the sides towards the front of the van. This allows the front of the van to move up and down relative to the floor and causes the brackets in the gas locker to come away. You notice it first in the locker but it's actually a bigger issue. We also have shock absorbers. Hope that doesn't describe your problem but I suspect it does.

 

If it is a Swift, I have heard of dealers repairing this. It's a case of refixing the walls to the floor with bigger screws and new glue. Repair the brackets and check and repair any other damage. On older vans many dealers do the fix themselves, the same goes for delaminated floors.

 

We found that with the van going back to Swift they fixed any other niggles in the van at the same time (new support for front chest, adjust the bathroom door, new jockey wheel...etc). Their attitude was as good as you could hope, much better than our dealer.

 

If you have faith in the service centre there's no reason that I can see why the repair won't result in a van that's as good as it should have been in the first place.

 

Our van was six months older then yours when the problem was identified. Tbh, it never occurred to me to try and get the van swapped, I was just glad that they didn't try and say it was our fault in some way. We also didn't have the delamination issue.

 

Keep us informed and good luck.

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Thanks svimes.  It looks like you've described my front locker problem exactly. 

 

I'm a member of the Caravan & Motorhome Club so I availed of their legal services advice line.  Essentially they advise that I have no right to a new van, the dealer's/manufacturer's only obligation is to repair the defects under warranty.

I've tried negotiating with the dealer for changing to a new caravan - I'd hoped that they would give me a decent discount. They quoted £6k to change to a new model of my van.  I then disclosed the warranty issue.  They said they would take the van and carry out the warranty work having given me a new van - but the price didn't change.  I'd been prepared to go as far as £3k.  When I matched what they were valuing my van at compared to online ads I can see that the difference is VAT.  If I sell my van privately for £15k, a dealer must sell it for £18k (i.e. £15k + VAT).  I also notice that the dealer's price for a new van is significantly cheaper than other dealers.  It seems that they knock down the price once the summer equinox passes, so the price has been reduced by £3k since Friday last.

Anyway I've discussed this with my wife.  We're going to have the warranty repairs carried out by the service agent.  Then next year sell the van privately with the intention of buying one of the new 8ft wide vans that have taken our fancy.

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43 minutes ago, DebutCaravanner said:

Thanks svimes.  It looks like you've described my front locker problem exactly. 

 

I'm a member of the Caravan & Motorhome Club so I availed of their legal services advice line.  Essentially they advise that I have no right to a new van, the dealer's/manufacturer's only obligation is to repair the defects under warranty.

I've tried negotiating with the dealer for changing to a new caravan - I'd hoped that they would give me a decent discount. They quoted £6k to change to a new model of my van.  I then disclosed the warranty issue.  They said they would take the van and carry out the warranty work having given me a new van - but the price didn't change.  I'd been prepared to go as far as £3k.  When I matched what they were valuing my van at compared to online ads I can see that the difference is VAT.  If I sell my van privately for £15k, a dealer must sell it for £18k (i.e. £15k + VAT).  I also notice that the dealer's price for a new van is significantly cheaper than other dealers.  It seems that they knock down the price once the summer equinox passes, so the price has been reduced by £3k since Friday last.

Anyway I've discussed this with my wife.  We're going to have the warranty repairs carried out by the service agent.  Then next year sell the van privately with the intention of buying one of the new 8ft wide vans that have taken our fancy.

The Consumer Rights Act gives the supplying dealer the right to attempt a repair, only if the repair fails does rejection and refund come into play unless the dealer chooses that option sooner. 

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2 hours ago, DebutCaravanner said:

Thanks svimes.  It looks like you've described my front locker problem exactly. 

 

I'm a member of the Caravan & Motorhome Club so I availed of their legal services advice line.  Essentially they advise that I have no right to a new van, the dealer's/manufacturer's only obligation is to repair the defects under warranty.

 

I am sorry to say this but the CMC legal services are totally useless and do NOT seem to understand CRA 2015.  If we had taken their advice we would have been several thousand pound out of pocket. 

We contacted Which Legal Services on 01174566020 for advice and were given the correct advice and we were able to reject our caravan even though it was 11 months old. 

Do not forget that if you report an issue within the first six months, that time frame is suspended until the issue is resolved.  Which will give you better advice that you will get off the forum.

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38 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

I am sorry to say this but the CMC legal services are totally useless and do NOT seem to understand CRA 2015.  If we had taken their advice we would have been several thousand pound out of pocket. 

We contacted Which Legal Services on 01174566020 for advice and were given the correct advice and we were able to reject our caravan even though it was 11 months old. 

Do not forget that if you report an issue within the first six months, that time frame is suspended until the issue is resolved.  Which will give you better advice that you will get off the forum.

 

I will back up Durbanite here. CMC legal services are totally and utterly useless.

 

If you have house insurance legal cover you can use that rather than using someone like Which.

 

As for being shocked at your van falling apart after 2 years, within the first month of use of mine, along with a host of minor problems the wall cupboards started to part company, and the roof started to collapse. Sadly caravans are very badly made these days.

 

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Reject it!  If the fault was present within six months and you can prove you brought it to their attention, reject the van under the CRA.  

 

We did exactly this and got rid of our Elddis where it was literally falling apart on a brand new van, and floors delaminating etc.  Black Horse Finance were great in this respect in helping us achieve a satisfactory outcome.

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