Radio 4 - Quality of a new motorhome

Sep 19, 2007
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On radio 4 today (03/05/2018) a couple were complaining about the quality of their brand new motor home. They listed all the usual faults, including water ingress. The NCC were invited to come on the programme to answer some of the complaints but declined, instead they sent a statement which was read out on the programme.
I don`t suppose for one minute that anything will change anytime soon.
You can listen to the programme on the BBC iplayer. You and Yours starts at 12.15pm and the particular item starts at 28:2. into the programme.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The NCC is unlikely to want to get involved in any dispute between an end user and manufacturer, though it might make a general non committal statement, which is what I'd bet it did on this occasion.
 
Apr 19, 2017
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It did strike me that the faults the owners complained of in the program were so 'normal' in the industry that it was a little bit unfair to single out the one specific manufacturer featured.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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VicMallows said:
It did strike me that the faults the owners complained of in the program were so 'normal' in the industry that it was a little bit unfair to single out the one specific manufacturer featured.

I listened to the programme (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b0lzkf) and it appears that some of the complaints were perhaps typical - Interior build quality niggles being the main - but having the washroom door replaced 3 times, scalding water from the boiler and water ingress like you've left a window open may be legitimate complaints. I would certainly be naming and shaming the manufacturer (who hid behind the dealers) if I had spent nearly £60k on a motorhome which was not even water tight.

The expert who did appear stated that caravans and motorhomes are hand built and rely on the person with the silicone gun to get it right. Therefore you should expect niggles and to some extent should fix it yourself.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Quote " I would certainly be naming and shaming the manufacturer (who hid behind the dealers)"

The company was named, it was an Autotrail motorhome and they quite rightly stated that warranty work was the responsibility of the supplying dealer, as per the conditions of sale which the purchaser agrees to when buying.

As for the faults, water ingress is I agree down to the builder, the gas not working and the tap which failed are parts bought in and simply fitted, not made by Autotrail but by Truma, Thetford and Reich (and other tap makers), so that is where dissatisfaction should be directed.

As far as the NCC is concerned, they are a Trade body, not a consumers watchdog.

Quote " Therefore you should expect niggles and to some extent should fix it yourself. "

NO, you should NOT expect any niggles on a brand new van. It is this attitude that allows makers to continue to produce second rate products .
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Damian-Moderator said:
Quote " Therefore you should expect niggles and to some extent should fix it yourself. "

NO, you should NOT expect any niggles on a brand new van. It is this attitude that allows makers to continue to produce second rate products .

Just to be clear, that was a paraphrased quote from the industry 'expert' that appeared on the Radio 4 show. Not my opinion. I think having issues with a brand new product such as a car, caravan or motorhome are not unexpected, I've had my share, but having to expect them to be there and be ok with it? That is not acceptable.
 
Jul 22, 2017
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To me it doesn't matter who made the parts used in a caravan or motorhome.
As with a new car/Tv/Washer etc etc ... , parts are sourced from a multitude of places, but the warrantee is down to the seller. How the manufacturer supports the seller in this is irrelevant to the consumer.
Making reasonable allowances (as hinted at above) only allows the whole trade to get away with bad, careless and shoddy workmanship.
Consumer law isn't, in my opinion, strong enough yet to protect us consumers.

By the way, it's not just motorhomes, car, etc where quality standards are not met. Try buying a £250,000 new home!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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VicMallows said:
It did strike me that the faults the owners complained of in the program were so 'normal' in the industry that it was a little bit unfair to single out the one specific manufacturer featured.

Hello Vic,

Whilst I do agree the whole industry still needs to wake up to the reality of poor quality, and to react more positively towards customers who suffer as a result of their negligence, Your comment is an appropriate approach from someone who is not directly involved with this particular case.

But from this particular customers point of view his problems are with the product he has, and rightly so his anger should be directed against the manufacturer, and of course legally against the seller. Morally the manufacture should be ashamed of these issues.

I know from my own experience that whilst OEM products installed in caravans/motorhomes, do sometimes appear to be faulty when the customer receives their new caravan, in many cases the faults have been induced by caravan/motorhome manufacturers poor handling and installation of the OEM products.

I can well understand why caravanners with faulty caravans blame the manufacturers, and I agree they are the prime source of most of the issues, but the dealers are not innocent and are of course legally responsible. Dealers should be refusing to accept faulty goods from the manufacturers, and they should also be doing the proper PDI well before the customer is due to collect so the faults can be discovered and put right. That is what they are paid to do, and if they are not doing it satisfactorily they are in breach of contract.
 
Jul 22, 2017
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My continuing thought is:-
You give the retailer £60,000
They give you a motor home.
They receive your part of the bargain 100% - they cannot complain.
You should expect to receive 100% of their side of the bargain. If you don't, then really they have reneged on their part of your contract. Any faults and subsequent rectification time and trouble cost you inconvenience and, usually, money.

This is the case when we buy ANYTHING. In my opinion consumer protection regulations lean strongly towards the trade - away from the consumer.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Kiveton said:
In my opinion consumer protection regulations lean strongly towards the trade - away from the consumer.

Hello Kiveton,
The Consumer Rights Act and to a slightly less extend the previous Sale of Goods Act, were designed to establish a set of unassailable consumer rights, without giving undue preference to either the consumer or the seller. The underlying concept is that if sold goods are faulty, the consumer can expect the remedy to put them back in the position as if the fault had not occurred. It does not, and should not, allow either party to gain any advantage over the other.

Before definable consumer rights were drawn up, customers were at the mercy of traders. Because too many consumers were being duped into unfair contracts, the Gov't introduced SoGA and the later the CRA to set out minimum consumer contract standards as a matter of rite. As things stand at the moment sellers are not obliged to inform customers in detail of their statutory rights, it is up to the customer to specifically claim them.

What has happened is the general public are not universally aware of their rights, and all too often they don't pursue them through ignorance, or in some case becasue the seller omits to tell them or misinforms them of their rights.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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ProfJohnL said:
VicMallows said:
It did strike me that the faults the owners complained of in the program were so 'normal' in the industry that it was a little bit unfair to single out the one specific manufacturer featured.

Hello Vic,

Whilst I do agree the whole industry still needs to wake up to the reality of poor quality, and to react more positively towards customers who suffer as a result of their negligence, Your comment is an appropriate approach from someone who is not directly involved with this particular case.

But from this particular customers point of view his problems are with the product he has, and rightly so his anger should be directed against the manufacturer, and of course legally against the seller. Morally the manufacture should be ashamed of these issues.

I know from my own experience that whilst OEM products installed in caravans/motorhomes, do sometimes appear to be faulty when the customer receives their new caravan, in many cases the faults have been induced by caravan/motorhome manufacturers poor handling and installation of the OEM products.

I can well understand why caravanners with faulty caravans blame the manufacturers, and I agree they are the prime source of most of the issues, but the dealers are not innocent and are of course legally responsible. Dealers should be refusing to accept faulty goods from the manufacturers, and they should also be doing the proper PDI well before the customer is due to collect so the faults can be discovered and put right. That is what they are paid to do, and if they are not doing it satisfactorily they are in breach of contract.

An excellent post but it seems that no matter how much the consumer shouts there will be no improvement. I doubt if there are any quality checks done during the manufacture of any caravan in the UK or the EU and the onus is on the dealer and the consumer to do the quality checks.
IMHO a wake up call will be when a consumer takes a dealer to court regarding damp which is probably an inherent fault and then calls the manufacturer as a a witness as that is the only way you will get a manufacturer into a court room.
The problem here is that although it may progress as far as court, at the very last moment the dealer /manufacturer may cave in as the last thing they will need is bad publicity and the generla public will never hear anything about it excepot on a forum. This has happened in the past!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have to disagree with Buckman's suggestion that nothing will change. I suggest you look at the car industry, where there was a two pronged attack.

Consumer confidence was so low with most home grown products, the Japanese saw a market ready to conquered. Principally driven by the USA experience of poor quality control in the munitions industry, the Americans started to apply strict controls to the way munitions were manufactured, The Japanese saw this and devised their own proceses and called it "kaizen" which means "improvement" The Japanese being a fastidious society applied to to a whole range of industries and Quality Control was formally launched. The enabled the Japanese cars first imported into the to prove to be highly reliable. The were only let down by rust prone body work, and questionable styling.

That was the first wake up call the UK industry had, the second was the fact the public voted with their wallets and bought Japanese despite the styling becasue of the unrivalled reliability.

UK and European manufacturers had to respond if they wanted to survive, and now the differences between makes in terms of reliability is less marked than it used to be.

It was customers that made the difference to teh car industry, and it should be customers that make caravan manufactures review how they make more reliable product and look after their end users.
 
May 7, 2012
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Basically the consumers have to use their rights to make the industry change although if foreign manufacturers start to make serious inroads into the market with superior quality then our builders might wake up. For the moment though none of the foreign firms have made a really serious attempt so you have to hope the takeover of Eldiss will improve things there and it would be interesting to find out if things have changed.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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ProfJohnL said:
I have to disagree with Buckman's suggestion that nothing will change. I suggest you look at the car industry, where there was a two pronged attack.

Consumer confidence was so low with most home grown products, the Japanese saw a market ready to conquered. Principally driven by the USA experience of poor quality control in the munitions industry, the Americans started to apply strict controls to the way munitions were manufactured, The Japanese saw this and devised their own proceses and called it "kaizen" which means "improvement" The Japanese being a fastidious society applied to to a whole range of industries and Quality Control was formally launched. The enabled the Japanese cars first imported into the to prove to be highly reliable. The were only let down by rust prone body work, and questionable styling.

That was the first wake up call the UK industry had, the second was the fact the public voted with their wallets and bought Japanese despite the styling becasue of the unrivalled reliability.

UK and European manufacturers had to respond if they wanted to survive, and now the differences between makes in terms of reliability is less marked than it used to be.

It was customers that made the difference to teh car industry, and it should be customers that make caravan manufactures review how they make more reliable product and look after their end users.

Not sure why you would want to disagree as the issue has been around for the last 30-40 years and nothing has changed so why should it change in the next 20 years a long as people continue to put up with high priced shoddy goods?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Raywood said:
Basically the consumers have to use their rights to make the industry change although if foreign manufacturers start to make serious inroads into the market with superior quality then our builders might wake up. For the moment though none of the foreign firms have made a really serious attempt so you have to hope the takeover of Eldiss will improve things there and it would be interesting to find out if things have changed.

I agree with Ray,

But I do wonder how attractive the UK market would be to most foreign manufacturers. Firstly there is enough manufacturing capacity in the UK market to meet present and foreseeable future demands, and in global terms its still quite small segment of the world market .

The market is very price sensitive, and the cost of importing into the UK would push the price of imported units up above the cost of equivalent UK products.

The detail specification of UK products is very different to those sold elsewhere around the world, so setting up to meet UK specs would also put a price penalty of the imports.

Imports from outside the EU would have to meet EU standards before they could be sold.

And last but not least, our habit of driving on the left means whole body and internal layouts would be different, again affecting costs. Perhaps end doors is the solution.

I think it would be reasonable to expect an EU manufactured product imported into the UK is likely to cost 12 to 15% more than the same product sold in the rest of the EU. And product from outside the EU is likely to cost 18 to 25% more that the same product sold else where. This is largely why only the luxury niche market EU brands are presently imported.

Given the current world trading situation, the most likely intervention will be foreign investment into UK manufactures, as Eriba has done with Eldiss, It is open to debate whether that will drive UK quality up quickly, as there is no competitive imperative to do so. But if a brand new player were to emerge with cost and specification competitive products from abroad, that could upset the apple cart and force the indigenous manufactures hands

I suspect the most likely possible source of foreign imports with their low labour and material costs bases would be China, Korea or India all of whom you can't ignore as capable of producing good product. Whether they would see the UK market as enough of an opportunity is open to debate, but if they were to mass produce a generic product that met the lowest common denominator for the bulk of the world wide caravanning market to keep costs down, exported to each market area, where they would be finished to suit the local demands, it might be a game changer.

Whilst I no longer Caravan, I live in hopes for future generations.
 

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