Quality of modern Caravans...

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Jul 18, 2017
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I'm well aware of the CRA and and it's application thanks.
Legal assistance is also available to members of the two main clubs.
My point is that there is no organisation in place which is set up solely to hold caravan manufacturers as a whole to account for their failings.
No organisation tests caravans in real world conditions to report truthfully on quality issues over time.
My post was a bit tongue in cheek as I knew what you were trying to get across. Legal assistance from the CMC is a total joke and they will give you the easiest option to get rid of you and I am talking from past experience.
Isn't the NCC supposed to hold caravan manufactureres to account? Hang on isn't that Noddy's Caravan Club? Does the car industry have such a body or is it similar to the NCC? I thought magazines like PC tested caravans in real world conditions or do they only review caravans?
I don't think that car manufacturers test cars in real world conditions and report on quality issues over time as that is left to individuals like Honest John who has no clout?
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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The NCC is a trade organisation which isn't meant to represent the interests of caravan buyers.
Practical Caravan magazine do have caravans both on short and long term loan but they're hardly going to.pick up on every fault or poor design if they hope to be loaned other caravans in the future.
The AA and RAC look after the interests of motorists to some extent but this thread isn't about cars or how they are tested.
I'm one of the fortunate buyers who has had no issues with the caravan that we bought new in 2008, which is why we still have it.
 
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May 7, 2012
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The survey results do seem to be fairly consistent over the years so should be accurate in so far as the order is concerned.
 
May 7, 2012
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Prof, I think this is a bit picky. The Government changed the law by passing the Act.
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The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) does not have the authority to change the law! Only the Government can change the wording or effect of an Act of Parliament like the CRA.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have never suggested that ALL caravans are faulty! But........

For 20 years in the latter part of the 1900's, I worked at an engineering company's leisure division where I was predominantly involved with electronics, gas appliances and electrics for use in caravans, I have seen many (but obviously not all) caravans where the design and workmanship has left a lot to be desired. I do conclude where design issues are concerned, the same issue will usually apply to all caravans utilising that common component. Whether others might consider such designs to be flawed might depend on their expectations or level of tolerance to ineptitude.

The division offered to all caravan manufacturers our expertise during their new product design phase to help to design the optimum installation of our products. I am not aware of any manufacturers taking advantage of the offer for our standard products.

We offered to review their proposed installation plans for our products before modelling started, Non of the manufacturers took advantage of the offer.

We offered to review pre-production models of their caravans for our products legal compliance, safety and for any factors that might limit performance. We could offer advice on how to change the installation to maximise its performance or value. The offer was only taken up by some manufacturers and not for all models of caravans, and not all of our suggestions found their way into teh production caravans

We could also offer a full performance of the installation check using NAMAS Accredited laboratory facilities including a vehicle sized environmental chamber the company had.

We were usually called to look at customers caravans where the dealer was too busy or unable to resolve a problem involving our appliances.

It was always frustrating to see caravans where our products had been poorly installed (things like fixing screws missing, extra holes bodged to secure them, miss aligned assemblies so control rods or panels don't secure properly, Oversized or wrong shaped panel cutouts affecting the stability of our products or even suspect room sealing.

We often found ancillary components fitted the wrong way round, electrical connections and wiring looms extended using poorly made connections or components, Gas connections bodged becasue they had cut their copper supply pipes too short.

Generally unless we found a safety issue, We could only advise the manufacturers about the issues, we couldn't tell them to change it.

On plenty of occasions we were asked to look at a caravans where the customer was having real difficulties with one of our products. We came across more than a few instances where the appliance had been incorrectly fitted or had been damaged by the caravan manufacturer. How some of them could have got through production checks and a dealer PDI is a mystery.

Based on this insight all- be-it 20 years ago, and bearing in mind it only relates to our products, it paints a very poor picture of the assembly of caravans. I know from contacts I still have within the industry and having seen several video's on line, many of the manufacturing practices have barely evolved from those of 20 years ago, which is why I have very strong reasons to believe many of the assembly issues are likely to still be rife.

In one particular case, Late one afternoon, A manufacturer contacted us to tell us a whole batch of our products were not working. we went through the symptoms with their technical director on the phone, and everything pointed to a crossed wire fault. We suggested they check their wiring, for a crossed pair. We got an unprintable response assuring us they don't make mistakes like that. We agreed to go to the factory for the start of production next day. A six hour journey there, Guess what it was a crossed wire, taking less than a minuet to confirm it, we also spotted a problem with another manufacturer product in the same run of caravans, No apology from the director and becasue of traffic a seven hour return journey. Just an aside this company has closed.

I actually believe if it were possible to collate all the numbers of failings where the manufacturers warranty or the dealer has had to make some adjustment or repair to a new caravan I suspect the reality would show more than 20% of caravans have had faults, and that still ignores the caravanners who decide to put up with an issue or repair it themselves.

I do appreciate that some may find my perspective on this issue seems very negative, It's a relief when a caravan does what it should do, but that should be the normal expectation, and it's what the law says you're paying for. Of course getting a new caravan is a major exciting event, Celebrate it yes, but sadly the only reason to be exited when its fault free, is because our expectations have been lowered by the industries abysmal reputation of the past and your new van exceeds it.

Do you get exited when the shop produces a till receipt? Or a direct debit goes out on time. Or the bottle of milk doesn't leak? these are unexceptional expectations. When it goes wrong is when we should speak up.

I suppose we should celebrate improvement, as long as it sets the direction for quality in the future. I'll be looking out for all the happy shoppers at the supermarket celebrating milk tight bottles:devilish::devilish::devilish:
 
Jun 23, 2020
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Caravan manufactures have always had shockingly bad quality control and production levels, the only thing worse than their quality of build is there treatment of customers.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Caravan manufactures have always had shockingly bad quality control and production levels, the only thing worse than their quality of build is there treatment of customers.
I can’t help but wonder why people keep referring to manufacturers not treating people well. Surely if anyone has a complaint they take it up with the dealer. It’s the dealer that links to the manufacturer. If it’s a valid complaint and the dealer fails to sort it out then there is recourse to CRA2015, Section 75 credit card support or even HP finance support. With CRA2015 and the Small Claim Court on line claims up to £10000 the majority of dealers would soon see sense and settle, and perhaps eventually force the makers to improve quality.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I can’t help but wonder why people keep referring to manufacturers not treating people well. Surely if anyone has a complaint they take it up with the dealer. It’s the dealer that links to the manufacturer. If it’s a valid complaint and the dealer fails to sort it out then there is recourse to CRA2015, Section 75 credit card support or even HP finance support. With CRA2015 and the Small Claim Court on line claims up to £10000 the majority of dealers would soon see sense and settle, and perhaps eventually force the makers to improve quality.
If more pressure were put on dealers and caravans rejected more often, then just maybe manufacturers will sit up and takre notice when dealers refuse to sell their stock. Also remember that a finance company is also a dealer in a sense which is why it is always best to have some of the payment on finance.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I can’t help but wonder why people keep referring to manufacturers not treating people well. Surely if anyone has a complaint they take it up with the dealer. It’s the dealer that links to the manufacturer. If it’s a valid complaint and the dealer fails to sort it out then there is recourse to CRA2015, Section 75 credit card support or even HP finance support. With CRA2015 and the Small Claim Court on line claims up to £10000 the majority of dealers would soon see sense and settle, and perhaps eventually force the makers to improve quality.
Hello Clive,
You are correct, the UK's consumer laws place the legal responsibility with dealer, and in theory customer problems should feed back through the supply chain ultimately to the manufacturer. However the picture is not that simple, Consumers have the Consumer Rights Act that sets out the essential principles for retail contracts, but unfortunately dealers are not consumers, so they cannot apply pressure on their suppliers in the same way their interactions with teh manufacturers are subject to individual dealership contracts that in my view actively seek ti limit customer feedback.

In the bigger picture, dealers are also victims, but in their case they don't have anywhere near the same rights as a consumer.

As Parksy wrote, caravanners (End users) have no unitary body that has the critical mass to make manufacturers or Government to sit up and listen, yet alone to take action to force change.
 
May 7, 2012
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I agree that the dealers have a problem as the consumers rights against the dealer do mean the dealer can be stuck with a liability if the manufacturer fails to back them. In practice I can only assume that the manufacturers do pay the dealer if someone does claim successfully against them or the dealers would stop selling that brand. Even they have a choice.
I do wonder if the decision by Lunar Automotive to support the old Lunar guarantee is to support the dealers who have stayed with them rather than lose the dealers they will need when they have caravans for the dealers to sell.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Both a Bailey and Swift main dealer have replaced a total of three end panels without fuss. The Swift one wasn’t the dealer that supplied the caravan so presumably Swift paid them to do it under the terms of the warranty.
But dealers selling a make for which they have no contract with the manufacturer may find it more difficult. But I’m afraid I do not have a great deal of sympathy. They are on business to make a profit selling caravans. If a buyer has a valid complaint it’s the dealers responsibility to resolve it. If they find themselves loosing money on Make A. The answer is simple stop selling Make A or trade them on when taken in part exchange. Even providing the buyer an insurance backed warranty may not cover some defects. In particular some rule out cracks in plastic panels. Which can be a source of damp. So where does the consumer stand then?
 
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May 7, 2012
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If the caravan has a cracked panel the dealer will be liable for the cost of repair under the CRA. If it develops one after more than six months, the buyer will have to show that the fault was there at the date of sale which is more difficult, but on models with a bad history of cracks it may be possible.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Surveys of any kind do not represent the whole picture. My Wyoming is 11 years old , had from new. There were a few minor issues Year one. Some fixed by the dealer, other by me, so much easier! Since then a new awning rail was needed, damaged we think by the air awning, now in the loft. Then a front window seal failed. All fixed my by my local mobile engineer. One year later water ingress through the new window seal. Turned out he had been sold a batch of faulty window seals where the built in sealant never sealed. All replaced foc. Seems to me that once initial faults are remedied and regular Professional servicing carried out most problems reduce dramatically. In my case third party equipment like fires water heaters have failed but the caravan structure remains sound. Not all doom and gloom in the long term.
 
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Apr 6, 2017
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Caravan quality....just my thought on the subject:

Caravans are a compromise like any engineered products.

Everyone in the chain of manufacture and supply have their own compromises that have a bearing on the overall quality and function of the final product.
When a £25k caravan has an ex-factory cost of around 50% of the selling price. By The time the manufacturer has taken out his profit margin, warranty allowance, development cost, factory overheads and labour costs there is very little for extra production time or better components.
I think the only way we could expect Car like quality would be to be happy with a lot higher price.
There isn't a worldwide caravan manufacturer that has Car like production volumes that massive R&D cost & huge manufacturing plants could be spread over.

This doesn't stop us complaining or feeling cheated when a 3 year old van resembles a collider.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Caravan quality....just my thought on the subject:

Caravans are a compromise like any engineered products.

Everyone in the chain of manufacture and supply have their own compromises that have a bearing on the overall quality and function of the final product.
When a £25k caravan has an ex-factory cost of around 50% of the selling price. By The time the manufacturer has taken out his profit margin, warranty allowance, development cost, factory overheads and labour costs there is very little for extra production time or better components.
I think the only way we could expect Car like quality would be to be happy with a lot higher price.
There isn't a worldwide caravan manufacturer that has Car like production volumes that massive R&D cost & huge manufacturing plants could be spread over.

This doesn't stop us complaining or feeling cheated when a 3 year old van resembles a collider.
Interesting thought GD485.
I think it is worse. Check Companies House for the 2019 audited accounts for the big boys. It makes sad reading.
Gross profit is 15.73% of turnover. That’s before tax and warranty issues. The good news is the six year Warranty reserve has been reduced significantly. That tells me quality and claims have reduced. So where does the other 50 % go? Check the dealers accounts and it is as you suggest. You can then look at the third party suppliers accounts. Similar story. Essentially quality and high turnover will see survival for most. Just a shame they don’t improve their construction methods and avoid more warranty claims.As I said the one I checked out has clearly improved!
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Not sure what manufacturers do not understand about profit. Every warranty claim is less profit so they should be aiming to make it right first time to reduce warranty claims. However many dealers are to blame also by not doing a proper PDI check and when doing a warranty claim, not doing it correctly first time. How many of us have had to make repeat trips to a dealer for the same fault?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Not sure what manufacturers do not understand about profit. Every warranty claim is less profit so they should be aiming to make it right first time to reduce warranty claims. However many dealers are to blame also by not doing a proper PDI check and when doing a warranty claim, not doing it correctly first time. How many of us have had to make repeat trips to a dealer for the same fault?
Years ago when Datsun entered the U.K. car market their warranty claims were an order of one tenth those of Volkswagen. I had a chap work for me who got so fed up with his Mk1 Golfs unreliability that he went and bought a Datsun Cherry. Mind you the rust bug didn’t discriminate between Datsun or VW!.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Our caravan is just under 3 years old and recently we found what could potentially be an issue leading to cracked panels. Ten days ago I sent the dealer pictures of the issue and still no response. Phoning is a waste of time as no one answers the phone and it just rings and rings!
The issue is that in the front gas locker on the offside there is a metal strip that attaches the outer wall to the inner I assume to prevent movement and additional stresses which could cause the outer panels to crack. All the rivets are missing on the one side. On the nearside they are all in place.
Obviously this is of concern to us as we want to use the caravan and all we want is some feedback!Missing rivets offiside front.jpg
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Our caravan is just under 3 years old and recently we found what could potentially be an issue leading to cracked panels. Ten days ago I sent the dealer pictures of the issue and still no response. Phoning is a waste of time as no one answers the phone and it just rings and rings!
The issue is that in the front gas locker on the offside there is a metal strip that attaches the outer wall to the inner I assume to prevent movement and additional stresses which could cause the outer panels to crack. All the rivets are missing on the one side. On the nearside they are all in place.
Obviously this is of concern to us as we want to use the caravan and all we want is some feedback!View attachment 601

Strange as from the markings around the holes it looks as if the rivet fasteners were there at one time. Possibly not inserted correctly.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Gordon Bennett! I hope the wheel nuts faired better🤪🤪
I’d like to know why manufacturers are still fitting inferior parts ? The BCA units are still very basic, we all know about Swifts adventures with Nordelectronica. I changed my charger earlier in the year with an Apuljack unit. Completely technically superior and not much more expensive than the BCA. I wish we had access to the types of warranty claims ie structure wafter ingress, poor cabinet fitting, failure of third party equipment. 🤔🤔
 
Apr 6, 2017
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Hi Dustydog,

HMG takes a good bit, then the dealer and his overheads.

I see you check out companies house too!

I think the advent of bonded construction instead of hundreds of nails piercing the skin has been a step in the right direction.
Gordon Bennett! I hope the wheel nuts faired better🤪🤪
I’d like to know why manufacturers are still fitting inferior parts ? The BCA units are still very basic, we all know about Swifts adventures with Nordelectronica. I changed my charger earlier in the year with an Apuljack unit. Completely technically superior and not much more expensive than the BCA. I wish we had access to the types of warranty claims ie structure wafter ingress, poor cabinet fitting, failure of third party equipment. 🤔🤔
You've just answered your own point, cost! The cheaper part failed but a more expensive replacement solved the problem.
It's a bit like the cheap bottle of wine against a £2 more expensive item. The cost of the overheads are the same for a cheap or more expensive bottle.The cheap bottle may contain 50p worth of wine while the more expensive bottle has £1.50 worth of wine.
The same applies to caravans but it does mean a higher retail price.
 
Apr 6, 2017
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but.... A fiver for this .... a fiver for that and soon you end up with a few hundred pounds.
The cost of a product is a deciding factor. There would be manufacturers building cheap caravans and the 'built right' caravan would price itself out of the market.
Vanmaster, Vanroyce and some of the europeans makes have proved this.
 

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