Caravan World - - Postbag - Pete Neu­mann, via email

There is a new warranty is­sue rais­ing its head in Aus­tralia's RV mar­ket­place.

I would de­scribe it as a split warranty, where the car­a­van man­u­fac­turer's warranty pol­icy is limited to the car­a­van it­self and does not in­clude the ma­jor ap­pli­ances.

That re­spon­si­bil­ity falls to the item builder or sup­plier. What pre­cisely is cov­ered is all a bit grey un­til you lodge a claim.

The warranty de­part­ment will ei­ther ar­range for the re­me­dial work or ar­range for the warranty de­part­ment for the failed prod­uct to call you.

If things are clear cut and ob­vi­ous, there's usu­ally no is­sue. When things are a bit murky and the prob­lem is less ob­vi­ous, the fin­ger point­ing and 'duck shov­ing' starts and the cus­tomer gets lost in the mid­dle and, in my case, stuck with an un­der­per­form­ing re­frig­er­a­tor, that no­body wants to fix.

I have a full email trail to show these events, as well as doc­u­mented ev­i­dence that shows two faults ex­isted, one by the car­a­van man­u­fac­turer and an­other one by the re­frig­er­a­tor man­u­fac­turer and an eight-day re­al­is­tic test which demon­strates the fridge can only main­tain a 25C tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­en­tial be­tween the fridge com­part­ment in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture and out­side am­bi­ent tem­per­a­tures.

So, on days over 30C, the unit can­not main­tain a food-safe tem­per­a­ture of 4C.

Un­for­tu­nately, I re­side in the western suburbs of Bris­bane and I can count on one fin­ger on one hand the num­ber of days be­low 30C in the last six months. This is an early 2018 build car­a­van de­liv­ered April 10, first is­sue with fridge June 6 af­ter about three weeks' use.

This type of event is not iso­lated and be­com­ing more fre­quent as more man­u­fac­tur­ers hide in murky warranty con­di­tions. This warranty pol­icy was not in force when I or­dered the van in Oc­to­ber 2018 and I was not no­ti­fied of the new pol­icy un­til af­ter de­liv­ery.

All other warranty is­sues have been dealt with promptly and ef­fi­ciently. Just this one is­sue. A re­place­ment unit is $3500 on the re­tail mar­ket last time I looked, plus labour costs.

Re­place­ment is the way I will have to go as I can­not af­ford a court chal­lenge, or worse, af­ford to lose.

Jus­tice in court comes at too high a price: a new fridge (com­pres­sor this time) is the cheaper al­ter­na­tive.

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