Caravan Service Rant

Dec 30, 2009
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I picked my van up today after it having its anual service. There were a few things under the warrentee which needed doing including the Decals on the side of the van. Much to my suprise when I get there after phoning 2 days ago the decals had not arrived so "could you please bring your van back when they arrive"

As the crow flys it 15 miles with a car its 23 miles with the van its 43 miles each way.

The service at this dealer seams to be getting worse each year, Lastr year I dicovered that the service was not carried out fully no greasing had been done to the steadys, was anything done?

The problem I see is that when you buy a van from a dealer you find it very difficult to get the service done somewhere else which seams crazy to me. I have phoned 2 dealers around here to ask if they would service my van and the first question I got off of both was "did you get your van from us" when the reply was no 1 said that he couldnt do it as he was too busy and the other one said ther would be a 3 month waiting list.

Why have we got to put up with this shoddy service from these dealers, they dont deserve to have a business treating people this way.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Agreed Kevin, shoddy service and unrealistic prices are two real bones of contention. There doesn't seem to be anything a consumer can do that will affect these dealerships. While the warranty is needed, they have us by the short and cu***s and they know it. It's time a few more independent "service only" operations were set up, to give more choice and keep the main dealers on their toes.
 
Dec 30, 2009
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But would the service from an independant operation invalidate the warranty. Thus being even more got by the short and cu***s
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As long as these independants are trained to work on the specific cravans and their equipment then the warranty will be honoured by the manufacturer. It seems to be the dealers that are inflexible when it comes to a claim.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Lol,

I hope you are right, the problem is that the caravan industry is 25 years behind the car industry in terms of transfer of warranty authority, and what may happen for one company may not be the case for all.

Technically the warranty (as per sale of goods and statutory rights) lies exlusively with the seller. The Manufactures guarantee, is a very differnt kettle of fish, It is offerd by the manufacture but they are not obliged to offer it. They can tie it up with as many caveats as they wish, including invalidaition if not serviced to schedule at an authorised dealer.

There have been some hints at a legal challenge to such restrictive limits, but I am not sure if the jury is back on them yet.

If in doubt check with the manufacture/owner of the guarantee regarding flexibility.
 
May 25, 2005
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When we have our van worked on under warranty it turns into a 80 miles round trip due to the dealer being so far away.

We have an excellent caravan service engineer within a 15 minutes drive of home but, although he is able to undertake the service we have to return it to the dealership for any warranty work to be carried out. Up to a year ago our local chap was covered to undertake warranty work, but the caravan company withdrew his services (for no reason anyone could think of - he always did an excellent job (perhaps to excellent)). When our warranty is up I will return to our local chap.
 
G

Guest

I must be unlucky. My dealer is in Stoke and I live in Edinburgh so a round trip of 500 miles. However, I usually arrange the service to fit in with a holiday down south so can deposit the van in the morning and pick it up at lunchtime.

A 40 mile round trip would seem to me to be a non-event. Most people happily drive that to visit IKEA, don't they?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello all,

I have some sympathy with your gripes about how far your dealer is from where you live, but surely you made that decision to travel to a distant dealer to purchase your caravan - its not the dealers fault.

If you don't like the distance then purchase from a more local dealer.

How much did you save on the purchase price by going 80 miles? Well when you add up the travelling costs and time of work for fetching the van, and if needed returning for warranty work, then the price advantage is rapidly reduced.

Whilst my shopping bill at my local supermarket may be a couple of pounds more than the cheapest, It costs me more than that to go to the cheapest so I stay local when I can.

Take a look at the bigger picture; sometimes low cost offers have hidden costs that are all too easily overlooked.
 
G

Guest

Agreed. Unfortunately, when I purchased my van there was only 1 dealer for the UK. I wanted that particular van, so no choice. Now sales have zoomed so much there are 10 dealers all over the UK, and I now have one 10 miles away who will happily perform all the necessary warranty work/servicing etc, even althoufgh the van was bought in Stoke. I also must admit the guys at the dealer 'down south' were so nice and helpful that I will probably make an excuse and travel down to say 'hello' again. Stoke is next to the peak district and it is a nice area, so what the heck.
 
May 25, 2005
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Hello John L!

Following my 'thread' above. I bought a caravan from a dealership but, at that time, my local service was available, then it was withdrawn by the manufacturers. Very shoddy in my view, but there you are. You pay your money and take your chance. I wonder just how thorough dealerships are at finding serious faults, prior to the warranty running out, due to the fact that they have so much work on!
 
Jan 19, 2008
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How many people who are new to caravanning are aware of the fact that you have to have the servicing done at the dealer you bought the van off? No matter how carefully you look into all matters relating to caravanning that fact isn't actually plastered all over the place, and certainly not by the dealers. It's not always the case that someone buys a van from a dealers 50 miles away to save
 
May 25, 2005
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Hello LB

Me and my other half don't mind travelling to have our c'van serviced, but the fact that our local 'chappie' had his service/warranty work taken out of his hands and we found that rather annoying. He wasn't too upset because of the problems the manufacturer put him through but, as for his customers, that is another thing. And (bad grammar I know starting a sentence with 'And') I have no wish to caravan anywhere near the 'local' dealership.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Kevin, (and others)

Website jones-vening.co.uk gives a list of fully authorised caravan service workshops - just pop in your post code to find the nearest. Your manufacurer will almost always say these workshops can do maintenance and warranty work. I bought last van 320 miles away, the next one, different make aain, 130 miles away, my local firm at 15 miles do all the work. Try jones-vening site and its list.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Kevin, (and others)

Website jones-vening.co.uk gives a list of fully authorised caravan service workshops - just pop in your post code to find the nearest. Your manufacurer will almost always say these workshops can do maintenance and warranty work. I bought last van 320 miles away, the next one, different make aain, 130 miles away, my local firm at 15 miles do all the work. Try jones-vening site and its list.
Hello Peter.

Part of the problem is that not all caravan manufactures follow the same practice in allowing warranty work to be caried out by other non franchised workshops, and technically the warranty rests with the supplying seller(UK sale of goods law).
 
Dec 30, 2009
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John I didnt save anything on the price for travelling further as this is the closest dealer that do Abbey caravans, for the caravan I bought I have no choice. The gripe I have is that if warranty work is to be done the dealer does it all at the time specified not give exuses like the part has not arrived
 
Mar 14, 2005
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All right, so lets get a little technical,

There are three issues that are related but their relationship is frequently misunderstood. Caravan Service, Warranty Repairs and Manufactures Guarantee.

As with any mechanical device, its continued good service will depend on timely maintenance. As it is not within the scope of most end users to plan a maintenance schedule based on changes in direct or indirect performance indicators, the Caravan Manufactures simplify the process by suggesting that a schedule based on a combination of time and distance is adopted. There is no legal obligation to follow this prescription, however for a road going vehicle it should be maintained in a road-worthy condition.

It should also be noted that a caravan manufacture couldn't force an end user to follow the prescribed service schedule, or to dictate who should carry out the service. That is entirely at the discretion of the owner, HOWEVER, if you wish to take advantage of the Manufactures Guarantee, you must abide by the terms laid down by the manufacture.

There is no legal requirement for a manufacture to offer a guarantee to the end user. By doing so, the manufacture is offering a 'gift', but they make it a conditional contract. They may withdraw the gift if the conditions are not maintained. Consequently if the conditions call for the caravan to be serviced at particular stages in it life or travels, and that it must be carried out by a specified business, if you fail to comply, you have broken the contract and the manufacture is perfectly within their rights to withdraw their guarantee.

There is always an often-overlooked phrase in every manufactures guarantee wording. Something to the effect of 'This guarantee does not affect your statutory rights' This is a vital and important phrase because it shows that the mighty manufactures are not all powerful and they have to acknowledge it, but it doesn't directly affect them:

Your statutory rights are detailed in the Sale Of Goods Acts, (see http://www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics1/facts/salegoodsact.htm). In summary the act defines that the seller is responsible for the goods being 'as described' and 'fit for purpose' If your purchase is not compliant with either of these issues, your redress is to the seller. You will also note that that your rights under this act are not limited to a specific time period following sale, so it is not a one-year warranty, but each case would be assessed on its own merits. It is also important to understand that as the user you have to treat the product reasonably, as abuse would reduce your rights under the legislation. If there is dispute, then the case can be settled in court.

You will also note that your redress in the event of an unreasonable product failure is to the seller not direct to the manufacturer. It may surprise some people to learn that if you use an HP arrangement to finance your caravan, then technically the finance house is the 'seller' and not the supplying dealer. If in doubt, always check with a solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau or Trading Standards.

Even armed with all this information, if you want to maintain the Manufactures Guarantee, you must comply with their conditions, even if it means travelling to a particular service agent.

If travelling to maintain the Manufactures Guarantee is an issue, then you should assess its impact before making the purchase. If your lordship is determined to have a particular type of van only available from a remote dealer, then that is choice you must make and be prepared to pay the price of that distance.

When dealing with service agents, it always good practice to confirm they have the parts available (especially special order items) before you set out.

In an earlier reply I hinted that there are challenges being made with regard to the manufactures insistence on returning to a particular dealer for service work. There have been similar issues with regard to car servicing, but the outcome of the challenges is complex, and sadly it does not set clear guidance. Further cases will hopefully add clarity and strengthen the consumer's arm.

Despite this it may be worth writing to the manufacture to se if the terms of the Guarantee can be amended, if enough people show interest, the manufacture may decide to amend their conditions for good customer relations.
 

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