Water leak in 6 week old van what are my options rights for repairing or replacing?

Aug 2, 2020
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Hi this is my first post ever and I need advice. We are new to caravanning and this is our first van.
We have a 6 week old Elddis Xplore 304 and on our 2nd outing, yesterday we suffered a water leak ( from the hot water tank) across the front third of the van, 2cm deep and has blown the electrics. It has sprayed the underside of the sofa cushions and also (on one side) run back up the van to the door under the kitchen cupboards!
The dealer has requested we bring it in asap and said they will dry it out and replace all the damage in approx. 3 weeks? Is this acceptable, as with water damage it could remain invisible for months or even years: with the floor or cupboards warping or delaminating? Should I accept a repair as best they can or can I demand a replacement as it is only 6 weeks old, all damage may not be visibly repairable as surely the water could be under the lino and run further back than we think? I have read loads of horror stories on buying 2nd hand vans and having damp issues, this scared us into buying a new van as we wanted confidence in what we had bought. I feel a repair would not give me the peace of mind I set out for.
Many thanks in advance.
Chris
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Hi this is my first post ever and need advice we are new to caravanning this is our first van.
We have a 6 week old elddis xplore 304 and on our 2nd outing this week we have suffered a water leak across the front third of the van 2cm deep blown the electrics and it has sprayed the underside of the sofa cussions and also on one side run back up the van to the door under the kitchen cupboards! The dealer has requested we bring it in asap and they will dry it out and replace all the damage in aprox 3 weeks? Is this acceptable as with water damage it could remain invisable for months or even years with the floor or cuboards warping or delaminating? Shoud i accept a repair as best they can or can i demand a replacement as it is only 6 weeks old and all damage may not be visable repairable as surely the water could be under the lino and run further back than we think? I have read loads of horror stories on buying 2nd hand vans and having damp issues this scared us into buying a new van as we wanted confidence in what we had bought i feel a repair would not give me peace of mind i set out for.
Many thanks in advance.
Chris
As it is only six weeks old and the fact you were only able to use it for the last 4 weeks may allow you to reject the caravan outright however you would need professional advice and I strongly recommend that your contact Which Legal Services as they specialise in consumer issues and can offer the best advice.
The initial consultation is free and then it is under £100 for as much legal advice as you need. We used them to reject our caravan and we were successful. If the caravan is on HP, you will need to notify the HP company as soon as possible of the situation as they own the caravan. The letter of rejection would need to be sent to the HP company and not the dealer.
If we were in your shoes we would not want a brand new caravan that leaked so badly on its 2nd outing and would also be looking at rejecting.
 
Aug 2, 2020
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Hi Thanks for your prompt response. It is what we were hoping would be an option but just wasnt sure if we were expecting too much asking for refund or replacement as we are still so gutted this has happened we didnt want to be un reasonable. I am taking the van back to them tomorrow I will be advising them to not repair as we will be seeking a refund or replacement. Thanks again.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Hi Thanks for your prompt response. It is what we were hoping would be an option but just wasnt sure if we were expecting too much asking for refund or replacement as we are still so gutted this has happened we didnt want to be un reasonable. I am taking the van back to them tomorrow I will be advising them to not repair as we will be seeking a refund or replacement. Thanks again.
Be ready for the dealer trying to fob you off with excuses. Have a good read today of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 especially sections 9, 10 & 11 and also 19 - 24. Speak nicely with the dealer at first and don't mention CRA 2015 until they start trying to fob you off. Make sure you have a hand written letter (keeping a copy for yourself) to give them rejecting the caravan due to leaks. They may be a very reasonable and good dealer and agree with you and accept the rejection without any hassles. As said it may be an idea to see if you can speak to someone from Which first as the initial consultation will be free.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Chris

I'm sorry to read of your experience. It is obviously most distressing and obviously it's not what you expect from a new caravan.

I detect from your posting you are now unhappy with the caravan and are looking to get a full refund.

Your only route to follow is to use your statutory rights under the Consumer rights Act 2015.

The Act has a number of important time marks, and unfortunately as you have had the caravan for more than 30days, you have lost your automatic right to reject the caravan for a full refund.

But all is not lost, becasue the next important date is 6 months from date or purchase. Any fault that arises within the first 6 months the Act assumes it must be the result of a fault or cause that was present at the point of purchase. Any seller would have to prove it wasn't and that is difficult for them. Unfortunately there is no automatic right to a full refund at this point, the fault would have to be so serious that the product is impossible to repair to a condition as if the fault had not occurred. There should be no signs of the fault or its repair following the repair.

Cruishally the seller is only allowed one chance to repair the fault, and if that is unsatisfactory then you have the right to a full refund.

I strongly suggest you read this
:-https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act
 
May 7, 2012
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You have an automatic right to reject for the first 30 days of ownership and I am afraid this has expired. You have an absolute right though for a repair and can reject the caravan if this is not satisfactory. I am by no means clear how you could reject it outright now even if the Covid problem is the problem as that would need the courts to rewrite or at least reinterpret the law and that is unlikely.
I am not clear what the cause of the leak is and it might help if you could detail that.
Three weeks to get the repair done in the current climate is not unreasonable, and is far quicker than most dealers can manage and the dealer does seem to be doing their best from what you say.
If you know where the leak is, I would try and prevent further ingress with waterproof tape or whatever though. Any further damage from the delay would still have to be repaired by the dealer though, as the delay is not your fault.
If you took HP or used a credit card for any part of the purchase then you have righst against the companies concerned and should notify them.
Both clubs have legal helplines for members which you could consult if this applies to you but if not I would look at the Citizens Advice website.
I agree with the Prof whose post arrived while I was writing this.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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You have an automatic right to reject for the first 30 days of ownership and I am afraid this has expired. You have an absolute right though for a repair and can reject the caravan if this is not satisfactory. I am by no means clear how you could reject it outright now even if the Covid problem is the problem as that would need the courts to rewrite or at least reinterpret the law and that is unlikely.
I am not clear what the cause of the leak is and it might help if you could detail that.
Three weeks to get the repair done in the current climate is not unreasonable, and is far quicker than most dealers can manage and the dealer does seem to be doing their best from what you say.
If you know where the leak is, I would try and prevent further ingress with waterproof tape or whatever though. Any further damage from the delay would still have to be repaired by the dealer though, as the delay is not your fault.
If you took HP or used a credit card for any part of the purchase then you have righst against the companies concerned and should notify them.
Both clubs have legal helplines for members which you could consult if this applies to you but if not I would look at the Citizens Advice website.
I agree with the Prof whose post arrived while I was writing this.
IMHO the 30 day could be debated even though the caravan was bought 6 weeks ago as they could not use the caravan due to all sites being shut by the government until 4th July which is why I suggested they contact Which Legal Services. I think they stand a good chance of being able to use the 30 day deadline, if not then the caravan has to be repaired within a reasonable time. Taking into account that workshops are overloaded at present, it may be months before the caravan is even looked at however notice of rejection may prompt the dealer to act sooner. Either way they need to get the letter of rejection to the dealer as soon as possible and if on HP, the finance company. A paper trail needs to be created.
 
Aug 2, 2020
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Hi Raywood
Sorry I may not have ben clear the leak is a faulty with the water pipes or heating tank as both are in the same place and didn't find it until the full 40l aqua roll was dumped into the front floor of the van.

I am in the process of speaking to a legal team for my next steps as i may have a slight leeway with 4th of July being first opportunity to use but probably a long shot.
 
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Damian

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the fault would have to be so serious that the product is impossible to repair to a condition as if the fault had not occurred. There should be no signs of the fault or its repair following the repair.
Just taking the above quote from earlier, and the OP saying a full 40 ltrs of water was dumped inside the van, with the method and materials used inside the van it is highly likely that water has penetrated the wood of internal walls, and other structures within the van as well as getting under any lino as lino is not fitted throughout the van, only bits where needed for cosmetics.

This kind of soaking may appear to be dried out by the dealer but it is almost impossible to be absolutely certain it has all been dried and only time will tell , when the structures start falling to bits.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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I had massive issues with the Dometic toilet fitted to my van. Eventually a new one was installed after a lot of stressful arguments. But the fitter managed to put a screw through the cold feed to the bathroom. So the floor got a good soaking and we had to cancel a holiday. Dealer was poor when it came to apologies. But they fixed it under duress. But I was also unhappy that they had damaged the wall covering behind the toilet. Surprisingly after making such cockups they did a great job of the wall finish.

To get to my point. Despite having a good soak, After being properly dried out, I have had no damp readings since then, About 3 rears. So if you do have to settle for a repair, all is not lost. But get them to give you written assurances.

John
 
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IMHO the 30 day could be debated even though the caravan was bought 6 weeks ago as they could not use the caravan due to all sites being shut by the government until 4th July
I think it is highly unlikely the CRA's 30 day period can be extended for the following reasons:-

Firstly the CRA does not suggest the 30 period can be delayed or extended. It starts from the point in time the contract to supply is completed.
Secondly the fact that caravan sites were not open does not prevent a caravan to be used at home. It is therefore the owners choice not to have used it, and the dealer cannot be held responsible or liable for that choice.

Another important consideration is the fact it was a new caravan and apparently the new cost is in the region of £15K This means the the value is above the limit for the small claims court (£10K) If the OP decides to pursues this through the courts he will definitely need to seek professional legal advice.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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it very good advice from Buckman reject the caravan ..... But keep us updated of your outcome with the dealer today ...
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I think it is highly unlikely the CRA's 30 day period can be extended for the following reasons:-

Firstly the CRA does not suggest the 30 period can be delayed or extended. It starts from the point in time the contract to supply is completed.
Secondly the fact that caravan sites were not open does not prevent a caravan to be used at home. It is therefore the owners choice not to have used it, and the dealer cannot be held responsible or liable for that choice.

Another important consideration is the fact it was a new caravan and apparently the new cost is in the region of £15K This means the the value is above the limit for the small claims court (£10K) If the OP decides to pursues this through the courts he will definitely need to seek professional legal advice.
In this case it is debatable and the OP needs to take legal advice. Hopefully they will be contacting Which and not any solicitor. However regarding the 30 day period which does not apply here, if you report a fault within the first 30 days, the 30 day waiting period is suspended until both parties are satisfied and then starts again so in essencve the 30 day period could extend over months. The same applies to the 6 month period. If in the second month you report a fault, the period is suspended until the fault is resolved even if it takes another several months.
We used the 30 day periodt o reject our caravan 11 months later due to the same fault however there were also numerous other faults occurring in the 6 month period so it was a double whammy. Obviously we had a useless dealer who was good at fobbing us off and was also very poor at doing repairs.
 
May 7, 2012
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I am afraid I am with the Prof on the 30 day period not being extended. There is absolutely nothing in the legislation to suggest that it can be extended, any challenge would be likely to have to go to a higher court, so could get very expensive.
I think that in this case the only answer is to let the dealer attempt the repair and then get if there are any doubts get an independent inspection. The dealer has offered to repair within three weeks which by most dealers standards is pretty good, and is clearly not trying to fob off his customer. Given the description of the fault, this is should be be an easy repair and not something major.
I appreciate a lot of water has leaked here but hopefully with a combination of warm weather and a good mopping up session it has not done any long term damage. This can be looked at though once the repair has been completed.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I am afraid I am with the Prof on the 30 day period not being extended. There is absolutely nothing in the legislation to suggest that it can be extended, any challenge would be likely to have to go to a higher court, so could get very expensive.
I think that in this case the only answer is to let the dealer attempt the repair and then get if there are any doubts get an independent inspection. The dealer has offered to repair within three weeks which by most dealers standards is pretty good, and is clearly not trying to fob off his customer. Given the description of the fault, this is should be be an easy repair and not something major.
I appreciate a lot of water has leaked here but hopefully with a combination of warm weather and a good mopping up session it has not done any long term damage. This can be looked at though once the repair has been completed.
I also agree with yourself and John which is why I suggested them contacting Which Legal as after all not their fault that they couldnot use the caravan within the first two weeks. A leak that describe can be serious due to the material used in the caravan and may only come to light a year or two later.
 
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Hello Bucman,
I agree concerning the 30 day period, the period is for rejecting the goods requesting a full refund, and under certain circumstances the time clock can be stopped or reset. However in this instance the OP has not told us the problem was not reported within the 30 days from point of sale, and so that facility is not available to him.

But just for clarity if a customer does set in action a claim for a full refund within the 30 days period, that notionally stops the 30 day clock, and it is also expected the goods will be returned to the seller within that same 30 day period. If for some legitimate reason it isn't possible to reunite the goods and seller within the initial 30 day period, there has to be a good legitimate reason for extending the facility. Each case would be judged on its own merit. It is not an excuse for the customer or the seller frustrate the matter for any frivolous whim.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Hello Bucman,
I agree concerning the 30 day period, the period is for rejecting the goods requesting a full refund, and under certain circumstances the time clock can be stopped or reset. However in this instance the OP has not told us the problem was not reported within the 30 days from point of sale, and so that facility is not available to him.

But just for clarity if a customer does set in action a claim for a full refund within the 30 days period, that notionally stops the 30 day clock, and it is also expected the goods will be returned to the seller within that same 30 day period. If for some legitimate reason it isn't possible to reunite the goods and seller within the initial 30 day period, there has to be a good legitimate reason for extending the facility. Each case would be judged on its own merit. It is not an excuse for the customer or the seller frustrate the matter for any frivolous whim.
We reported a major fault )front panel cracked) within a week of taking delivery. We then had to wait 2 months for the parts to arrive so that set back the clock. However on using the caravan again another fault cropped up within the 30 day period so clock stopped again and after 11 months we were technically still within the 30 day period by a couple of days! We should have rejected the caravan in week one, but in 2016 not many of us were really clued up on CRA 2015.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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We reported a major fault )front panel cracked) within a week of taking delivery. We then had to wait 2 months for the parts to arrive so that set back the clock. However on using the caravan again another fault cropped up within the 30 day period so clock stopped again and after 11 months we were technically still within the 30 day period by a couple of days! We should have rejected the caravan in week one, but in 2016 not many of us were really clued up on CRA 2015.
Your circumstances were quite different to the OP's. The key to retaining the 30 day automatic right to reject, is to lodge the complaint within the 30 days. If you miss that deadline the right expires. Once lodged and there is agreement on the course of action that is a contract that remains live until its completed which in your case was extended to fit into works and parts schedules.

You continue to suggest the OP could not use the caravan for the first two weeks of ownership because of the C19 lockdown. But that is not true. The restrictions closed public and commercial caravan sites. Other locations such as storage at home were available, so it was the OP's choice not to use the caravan His choices may have been restricted by the lockdown but he was not "prevented" from using it.

There is nothing wrong in seeking professional legal advice about this, in fact I encourage it, but I cant see any reason to expect the CRA's 30 day limit to be extended in this case. I hope I'm wrong.

The OP's case will otherwise fall under the CRA's 6 month provisions. where the fault will be deemed to have been present at the point of sale and if the dealer wishes to challenge the case he will have to show the fault or its underlying cause was not present at the point of purchase. this could include evidence or an admission the OP had connected an unregulated mains water supply to the caravan or other damage that might have precipitated the failure.

What is in question and where proper legal advice will help is deciding what the just remedy is. Ultimately the consumer has the right to a product in a condition that would have existed if the fault had not occurred. For 30 days to 6 months that usually prioritises a repair, which must be to a satisfactory standard. If the repair is not satisfactory, the customer is then entitled to a refund, or they may negotiate a compensatory refund for loss of value.

It should also be pointed out that whilst the remedy might be a full refund, the dealer does have the right to charge the customer for the use of the caravan, though I suspect in this case because of the short period of time I hope that would not be attempted.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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It should also be pointed out that whilst the remedy might be a full refund, the dealer does have the right to charge the customer for the use of the caravan, though I suspect in this case because of the short period of time I hope that would not be attempted.
That clause only applies to motor vehicle and a caravan is not claossed as a motor vehicle so dealer cannot charge for usage anyway, but as we all know some will try it on. :)
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Prof
Have I missed something? The OP said the full 40 litres from the Aquaroll had been dumped into the Caravan. I can’t see anywhere where the OP says that he had connected mains or unregulated water supply. If it’s a pressure controlled system and a joint or tank failed then the pump would just run. Same as my Monsoon shower at home. See what one of those can do if there’s a leak and it’s not switched off when you are away for a week. You spend 6 months + in rented whilst the house is rebuilt 👎
 
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Prof
Have I missed something? The OP said the full 40 litres from the Aquaroll had been dumped into the Caravan. I can’t see anywhere where the OP says that he had connected mains or unregulated water supply. If it’s a pressure controlled system and a joint or tank failed then the pump would just run. Same as my Monsoon shower at home. See what one of those can do if there’s a leak and it’s not switched off when you are away for a week. You spend 6 months + in rented whilst the house is rebuilt 👎
I was using the hose ans an example, not as a statement of what had happened.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Why do we have to go off at so many tangents boys?

1. CRA is only one legal option open to Chris. We seem fixated on CRA 2015😢
2. As Clive pointed out 40 litres of water dumped on a caravan floor is pretty serious.
3. Houses flooded with water take at least six months or more to fully dry out.
4. serious water damage from 40 litres is just as bad as a serious fire.
5 . The furniture is not designed to be flooded with 40: litres nor is the floor!
6. Chris has a genuine Legal Right to pursue total rejection of this caravan on the basis that the water has caused long term latent damage , like a fire.
7. I have no issue with all the CRA advice but the County Court goes way beyond this.
8. I assume Chris has insured his new toy and will have access to legal expenses cover. Chris talk to your insurers ASAP and get the advice for nothing.
9. There is no way I would want this caravan back. Use every tool , legally available to ditch the thing.
10 . There are members on here who have had their caravans flooded and know they were all written off by the Insurers.
11. Chris. Make a claim for the damage with your own Insurers. Whatever they do short term or even long term you will have the benefit of their support. Good luck mate.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Spot on Dustydog.
We bought a new caravan in 2007 which was flooded when the River Avon burst it's banks and flooded the campsite.
The water covered the caravan floor to a depth of a couple of inches, the furniture and fittings were untouched.
Nevertheless the insurance loss adjuster declared the three month old caravan a total loss.
An effective repair wouldn't have been possible.
As Dustydog wrote, reject this caravan asap.
The hair splitting over the CRA on this thread is irrelevant, take legal advice, preferably from your insurer, and follow it.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Why do we have to go off at so many tangents boys?


3. Houses flooded with water take at least six months or more to fully dry out.
4. serious water damage from 40 litres is just as bad as a serious fire.
I think that is tangential.


Flooding is what Parksy had. Yes 40 litres is a lot but the majority would have gone through vents etc in the floor. As I said in post 11. I had a similar situation. The dealer quickly stripped it back and had it in a workshop for 2 days with a dehumidifier. The van was 2 years old. That was 3 years ago. no raised damp readings since. Floor still fine.

If the OP does not have legal recourse I would suggest that the dealer should have had it in the workshop immediately for drying. But if it as been left, then that is were the damage might occur.

Also. As the dealer DID advise that the van was returned for drying immediately. If the OP has not done so they are only aggravating the issue. Having it dried out properly would not make any difference to any claim the OP might make.

John
 

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