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Jun 20, 2005
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Such excellent pearls eloquently explaining the current state of the caravan industry👏

So come on PCv high time you guys started challenging manufacturers on their poor products! Their advertising contribution to your income is minimal compared to others and of course the reason for PCv , your magazine purchasing public.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Such excellent pearls eloquently explaining the current state of the caravan industry👏

So come on PCv high time you guys started challenging manufacturers on their poor products! Their advertising contribution to your income is minimal compared to others and of course the reason for PCv , your magazine purchasing public.
Is that the real reason Practical caravan's existence? It might have started out as a hobbyists publication, but after several sellouts I think you will actually find its principle reason is to make money for the publisher. The acid test would be If it made losses with no real prospect of recouping them I pretty certain the publication would close.

However, there are several other publications ( not caravan related) which do openly review products and do take manufacturers to task, and take front and centre positions on challenging lack lustre industry performance, and they have survived. Perhaps PC should look at taking a more robust approach to consumer matters.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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The Motoring press have never been slow in coming forward often tearing a particular car to pieces. Yes it’s all about money . No readers no money.
If I had my way I’d make sure the Prof’s last post is published in the next PCv magazine👍👍
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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Magazine product tests need to be sold differently - the value of a good product test to the manufacturer is immense if, AND ONLY IF, the test is done properly, "warts and all". Magazines need to find a way of tapping into that value.
 
Aug 28, 2021
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So the message here is new caravans are a lottery (and they shouldn't be) three to 5 year olds are usually ok, but beyond 5 years or so it again becomes a lottery, and an expensive one to repair those that fail.

You don't have to get cars or commercial van panel seams resealed at 5 years so why are caravan manufacturers' so far behind the reliability curve?

The new(ish) caravan construction techniques may have improved the survivability of leaks, but it seems it hasn't stopped the leaks occurring, so in reality the manufacturers have not made any real progress in about 100 years of experience of making better sealed products!

And despite decades of experience with front and rear mouldings failing they still continue to use them obviously incorrectly designed or manufactured.

In my opinion it should be perfectly possible to design and design the manufacturing of a caravan that survives fault free for at least 6 years, but the manufacturers have seen the gullible end-users coming and do as little as possible to get product out of the factory regardless of its fit or finish.

The problem is the buying public are too eager to get their hands on new caravans and they accept them in substandard condition, which simply encourages the manufacturers to skimp on design and product testing.

Perfectly said Prof.

The caravan industry is a lottery - it is time it was regulated better,

Some people are luckier than us - our losses are huge - I can't say exactly how much as this case may go to court.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Magazine product tests need to be sold differently - the value of a good product test to the manufacturer is immense if, AND ONLY IF, the test is done properly, "warts and all". Magazines need to find a way of tapping into that value.
I'm afraid all that would do is bowl out any problems with fit and finish, unlike car long term tests where some magazines have the car for up to 12 months; but they buy it outright. What you are proposing would be unlikely to find cracks that develop in bodywork, water ingress, etc. These which are not owner DIY repairs seem to develop after some usage, and are invariably down to the dealer/manufacturer to resolve. But regrettably we seem to hear of a reluctance to carry out the work.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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The Motoring press have never been slow in coming forward often tearing a particular car to pieces. Yes it’s all about money . No readers no money.
If I had my way I’d make sure the Prof’s last post is published in the next PCv magazine👍👍
There's nothing to stop any individual from writing letters to the editor of Practical Caravan magazine or to any other consumer based publication.
Practical Caravan magazine reviews new caravans that are lent to them by caravan dealers.
The reviewers are unlikely to encounter the issues that we read about all too often on this forum in a caravan that they use for a few days.
Even if the magazine writers are fully aware of this 'luck of the draw' situation that seems to exist for buyers of new caravans, I'm guessing that it would be hard to change the overall mindset of editorial staff who apparently enjoy such a cosy relationship with caravan dealers and manufacturers.
Practical Caravan even holds an annual awards bash whereby they congratulate each other for producing such brilliant products.
To us on this forum it would seem to be a case of 'Emperor's New Clothes' where the caravan industry is concerned.
Unless the buying public gets tough and uses the legislation in place to it's full extent, I fear that buying a caravan will continue to be a lottery with losers being fobbed off and ignored.
I wish that national newspapers would become interested now that caravan ownership is seen by them as "cool".
 
Sep 16, 2018
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Forty years ago when I got new (company) cars I kept a pad in the car to list all the faults which needed fixing usually there were 20 to 30 faults. My last new car had none, as the car market caught on to the idea that fixing faults under warranty was more expensive that good quality control in manufacturing.

Sadly the caravan industry has not had this epiphany and continues to churn out faulty products with poor qc in production. However maybe its not fair to compare these two very different industries, one with relatively low volume and limited market, the other with multi million production and worldwide market investing millions in research and development.

Meanwhile consumers buy these products and put up with the faults, I carry a small toolkit in the car to fix loose screws and other other minor caravan issue day by day. However an apparent wall becoming detached is in a different league.

Meanwhile we await the inspection of our caravan, on a positive note I can say that the local dealer has been superb, even though we bought it privately.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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I added a reply to a Practical Caravan Twitter post about caravan buying to enquire why P.C. magazine don't take caravan manufacturers to task about build quality.
I added a link to this forum thread to my tweet.
I very much doubt if my point will be addressed by editorial staff on Twitter, but the link might make a prospective buyer think before they buy if they read this topic.
Perhaps if more of us were to publicly challenge the magazine assumption that the caravan industry is fit for purpose the generally complacent mindset that seems to exist at present might begin to change.
There again 🐖🐖🐖 might ✈
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Forty years ago when I got new (company) cars I kept a pad in the car to list all the faults which needed fixing usually there were 20 to 30 faults. My last new car had none, as the car market caught on to the idea that fixing faults under warranty was more expensive that good quality control in manufacturing.

Sadly the caravan industry has not had this epiphany and continues to churn out faulty products with poor qc in production. However maybe its not fair to compare these two very different industries, one with relatively low volume and limited market, the other with multi million production and worldwide market investing millions in research and development.

Meanwhile consumers buy these products and put up with the faults, I carry a small toolkit in the car to fix loose screws and other other minor caravan issue day by day. However an apparent wall becoming detached is in a different league.

Meanwhile we await the inspection of our caravan, on a positive note I can say that the local dealer has been superb, even though we bought it privately.
I can not share your forgiving attitude towards the caravan industries failure to adopt effective quality systems. In my experience the scale of the organisation does not dictate or control the way quality systems can or should be implemented.

My final employment was as a Quality Systems Consultant, and I assisted a number of organisations with developing and maintaining their accreditation to the ISO 9000 series and other related standards.

The companies who were most adept were those where there was imbedded culture of adopting the principles with clear board level commitment to improving. For reasons of client confidentiality I am not at liberty to identify any of the businesses where I provided consultation and practical support, but I had some small 5 people organisations who were involved with one off products, through to a major household name with mass production and several thousand employees.

Its mostly a question of having a board which takes quality seriously. Customer and End User feedback is one of the most powerful sources of information about product reliability, and the most responsive (and usually successful) organisations actively review all customer feedback to look for arspects of their products and service that can be improved.

Such systems are not beyond the likes of small batch producers like caravan manufacturers r even one off bespoke producers. and of course the true mass producers.

It's a question of corporate will and commitment.
 
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May 3, 2021
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I think the primary issue is design quality…

As a young automotive engineer in the 1970s I read many technical papers regarding improvements in vehicle body design and how to avoid corrosion problems. Simple things like making sure that the underside of overlap joints on floor panels don’t face forwards – obvious when you think about it but lots of cars did that. So much good practice was developed back then and by the late 80s the issue of corrosion had all but disappeared.

I wonder how much tear-down analysis or automotive design expertise has been performed/applied by UK caravan manufacturers?

I bought a caravan here in Spain this year. The choice is German, French or Slovenia. I liked the look of the Adria construction – double overlap on the roof and side panel joints with plenty of sealant – it’s what I would expect to see from a design standpoint. I bought a Knaus in the end – better layout for our needs.

I’m a member of a Spanish caravan forum and the question of leaks on new caravans just doesn’t seem to be an issue with most European caravans – it’s my belief that this is down to better design. With good design you create joints that discourage water ingress and you use sealant as your secondary defence – not the primary defence. That way, the issue of inconsistencies in the manufacturing/build process can be mitigated or eliminated.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I think the primary issue is design quality…

As a young automotive engineer in the 1970s I read many technical papers regarding improvements in vehicle body design and how to avoid corrosion problems. Simple things like making sure that the underside of overlap joints on floor panels don’t face forwards – obvious when you think about it but lots of cars did that. So much good practice was developed back then and by the late 80s the issue of corrosion had all but disappeared.

I wonder how much tear-down analysis or automotive design expertise has been performed/applied by UK caravan manufacturers?

I bought a caravan here in Spain this year. The choice is German, French or Slovenia. I liked the look of the Adria construction – double overlap on the roof and side panel joints with plenty of sealant – it’s what I would expect to see from a design standpoint. I bought a Knaus in the end – better layout for our needs.

I’m a member of a Spanish caravan forum and the question of leaks on new caravans just doesn’t seem to be an issue with most European caravans – it’s my belief that this is down to better design. With good design you create joints that discourage water ingress and you use sealant as your secondary defence – not the primary defence. That way, the issue of inconsistencies in the manufacturing/build process can be mitigated or eliminated.
One of the early car companies to tackle corrosion was FIAT with the Tipo. Compared to competitors like the first generation Golf the Tipo was streets ahead of the opposition, but never got the recognition it deserved. I agree your comments re many Continental caravans, few manufacturers use the large rear ABS panels that are susceptible to cracking. I had a Trigano 420DD and it’s build quality was superb with no damp ingress even at 10 years old.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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One of the early car companies to tackle corrosion was FIAT with the Tipo. Compared to competitors like the first generation Golf the Tipo was streets ahead of the opposition, but never got the recognition it deserved. I agree your comments re many Continental caravans, few manufacturers use the large rear ABS panels that are susceptible to cracking. I had a Trigano 420DD and it’s build quality was superb with no damp ingress even at 10 years old.
With their models prior to the Tipo, Fiat had a big reputation for rusting - caused by two things, the specification of thinner steel than most European cars and an agreement to buy steel from Russia which was low quality. Sadly the Tipo didn't perform well in crash testing.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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With their models prior to the Tipo, Fiat had a big reputation for rusting - caused by two things, the specification of thinner steel than most European cars and an agreement to buy steel from Russia which was low quality. Sadly the Tipo didn't perform well in crash testing.
In those days crash testing wasn't really a key driver. How did the Tipo compare to escort, golf etc after a few years on the road? Probably much better given its superior build and anti corrosion measures.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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We have a 2020 Eldiss and the front side is coming away from the floor. It's all in process with our dealer and Eldiss but one thing the dealer mentioned is that Eldiss will want to investigate why the separation has happened, and if owner mistreatment has contributed.

I can understand the need for investigation but what on earth could an owner do to contribute to this in normal usage? Eldiss talk about their extensive testing which seems more rigorous that anything a normal owner would throw at it.
Our experience was that our front panel cracked and the manufacturer insisted it was due to the way we towed our caravan and the roads on which it was towed. We were quoted nearly £9000 for replacement of front panel.

I then made a claim through the caravan insurance for accidental damage. An assessor viewed the caravan and categorically stated the crack was not due to the roads on which the caravan had traveled and there were no signs of any impact damage. This was backed up by a report from an AWS technician. Also when the assessor was checking the caravan he checked a few other similar Elddis caravans which also had cracks.

Elddis sent one of their technicians to view the caravan and eventually it was agreed that they would replace the front panel if we contributed £600 towards the cost as the caravan was almost 5 years old. We agreed to this.

Hopefully you can get yours sorted like we did and we are happy with the repair. Anyway as we paid £600 towards the repair, hopefully we should be covered for another 6 years under CRA 2015.
 
May 7, 2012
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The point about the limit for claims being six years (five in Scotland) is wrong. Time runs from when the owner could reasonably have discovered the problem and the CRU does not suggest six years for the retailers liability to end. I do have to say that defects discovered after six years would be very difficult to pursue though, but it is possible in theory.
 
Aug 28, 2021
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Hi. Regarding Limitation, I think you will find that time actually runs (in England) from the date of the breach – this is not to be confused with the date of the damage. (Section 5 Limitation Act 1980).

This is what our qualified caravan lawyer said:

"However such is moot as, pursuant to the Limitation Act 1980, the period during which you can bring a claim is 6 years from the date of loss. As the Caravan would need to have been defective upon delivery for you to be able to bring a claim, the date of loss would be the date of delivery.”

So for a caravan with inherent faults, the breach (and loss) occur as soon as you receive the defective caravan even though the actual damage from that loss may only been seen later (e.g. cracked panels due to faulty internal frame).

So the 6 years starts to run as soon as you receive the defective caravan.

I know this is unfair on consumers, but it is how the law works in England.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In Scotland the 5 years starts to run from when the damage becomes visible. This is much more sensible and much fairer on the consumer.

Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973.

Note: the five-year period begins when loss arises and when the breach of contract or negligent act or omission has occurred. The period does not run from the date of the contract itself. It can be extended in a breach of contract or negligence claim to account for any period when the claimant was not aware and could not with reasonable diligence have been aware of the claimed loss.

https://shepwedd.com/knowledge/prescription-and-limitation-differences-north-and-south-border


I hope this helps
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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The point about the limit for claims being six years (five in Scotland) is wrong. Time runs from when the owner could reasonably have discovered the problem and the CRU does not suggest six years for the retailers liability to end. I do have to say that defects discovered after six years would be very difficult to pursue though, but it is possible in theory.
CRU ?? What is this.

It really helps that the first time you use an acronym in a post please define what its is then the reader is left in no doubt about exactly what you mean
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The point about the limit for claims being six years (five in Scotland) is wrong. Time runs from when the owner could reasonably have discovered the problem and the CRU does not suggest six years for the retailers liability to end. I do have to say that defects discovered after six years would be very difficult to pursue though, but it is possible in theory.
That is also my understanding of the CRA 2015.
 
May 7, 2012
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CRU ?? What is this.

It really helps that the first time you use an acronym in a post please define what its is then the reader is left in no doubt about exactly what you mean
Sorry it should be CRA, mistyped it but not sure how.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Section 5 Limitations Act states;

Time limit for actions founded on simple contract.

An action founded on simple contract shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.

It does not mention from date of sale and I do not think that CRA 2015 is a simple contract? I would take the above to mean from the date the issue became apparent?

For example you purchase a unit and 4 years later it becomes apparent that there was an issue from day one due to a design or manufacturing flaw, but it took 4 years for the fault to manifest itself. You would then have up to 6 years to make a claim?

I am sure that there have been claims on vehicles older than 6 years where the manufacturer has had to do a recall.

However I am not a solicitor so I am unsure however I did bring a claim for rejection under the 30 day window when a caravan was 11 months old and I was successful, but I had valuable advice from Which Legal Services and if ever I was in a situation where the limitations act applied I would definitely consult WLS again.
 
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Aug 28, 2021
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The date of cause of action = is the date of loss (breach) .

In other words, and owner's loss is immediate as he/she receives a (faulty) caravan worth "diddly squat" instead of say £20K - even if they don't know it yet.

Sadly in England, the date of cause of action is not the date that the damage becomes apparent.

It's a tough piece of legislation I know - but this point has has been tested in court in multiple scenarios (i have read a few of them) - and besides our specialist caravan solicitor has confirmed it.

I just had a funny thought - maybe we should all be buying caravans in Scotland to get the 5 year rolling protection - haha!
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The date of cause of action = is the date of loss (breach) .

In other words, and owner's loss is immediate as he/she receives a (faulty) caravan worth "diddly squat" instead of say £20K - even if they don't know it yet.

Sadly in England, the date of cause of action is not the date that the damage becomes apparent.

It's a tough piece of legislation I know - but this point has has been tested in court in multiple scenarios (i have read a few of them) - and besides our specialist caravan solicitor has confirmed it.

I just had a funny thought - maybe we should all be buying caravans in Scotland to get the 5 year rolling protection - haha!
Either way it is up to the consumer to prove it was an inherent fault whether a design or manufacturing issue. Never heard of any solicitor specialising in caravan complaints as there is no specific legislation for caravans as it all falls under other legislation. They must be very unique? :D
 

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