Beyond Caravans custom-made camper nightmare

Beyond Caravans in Sydney took $7,000 deposit to build a custom made camper van to fit my vehicle in December 2015. I returned to Melbourne to find I didn’t have copy of contract. They emailed a ‘summary of order’ which was different to what I recall being in the contract.

The list price was $29,000, I wanted several options, and agreed on $34,000. Beyond Caravans summary was for $35,000 and only included two options. I argued why would I pay $6,000 more than the list price for two small items. Beyond Caravans said ‘there is no list price’! Despite their website clearly showing options for sizes / layouts, prices and listing the ‘inclusions’.

Thought we had renegotiated a deal via email, camper was to be completed by August 2016, I asked for photos and evidence to show camper had now been built to specifications. Beyond Caravans sent a few poor photos then “we will not send any more photos”. I do not want to drive the vehicle to Sydney to find not correct. 15 months later been to VCAT for initial discussion, now Beyond Caravans want to move dispute to NCAT! Still waiting VCAT or NCAT to contact me.

Despite having vehicle fitted with extra suspension to suit Beyond Caravan camper, buying a lot of items for it, losing a LOT of rent as I was to travel in camper and rent out property… should I just cut my losses and just get VCAT to get my deposit refunded?

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If you follow VCAT horror stories you might or might not get an _CAT to order a refund. Further, ordering a refund and enforcing its payment are often different problems for the aggrieved. Consider that since you have no documentary evidence of what you bought, it will be a he said, they said argument.

As I have read (and thus is only anecdotal) you might win but Beyond Caravans might be deemed to have earned their costs, so the outcome could be they keep the deposit and the camper but you are absolved from paying the balance. Cross border issues can also be complex.

I could be wrong, but… make no assumptions and good luck.

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Hi @wend, sorry to hear about the problems with your caravan purchase. In addition to the above help from @PhilT, it sounds like you could benefit from some personalised advice. CHOICE Members can access our CHOICE Help service or you could also contact legal aid Victoria. Hopefully they can help you reason through your options and provide a strategy to move forward. Best of luck and please keep us posted with your results.

Last week VCAT hear number two. Beyond Caravans did not send a representative And had changed their address And their phone number!
However magistrate was able to make contact. Owner made it clear not interested in resolving issue - offered to return deposit but did not want to consider my costs and other expenses.

I still want the camper I paid deposit on as it was to be made to measure with my inclusions.
Beyond Caravans state they have made this but will not confirm with photos. I don’t have a friend in Sydney who can visit Beyond Caravans, measure my camper and take photos for me. Without confirming quality and completion I will not take my vehicle to collect the camper.

Beyond Caravans misses out on balance of payment and is left with a camper made to measure for me!
I have withheld giving negative feedback on many consumer sites as I still hope for a positive outcome.

Final VCAT session 30th of June.
will let you know of outcome.

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@Wend

I’ll assume you have posted all relevant information and my comment is based solely on your statements.

One might wonder why you would want to complete this transaction if you could get your deposit back and walk away. What would happen if you complete the transaction and have any sort of problem? Is this the kind of company you feel comfortable would take care of you?

Assume you win your entire claim at VCAT. What will you receive and how will it be enforced inter-state? Some companies faced with legal liabilities wind up and resurrect as phoenix companies having no liability.

Regarding an offer to refund your deposit, you cannot deposit a promise into your account so if you consider accepting that don’t stop any action until you have the refund in your account and wait until the cheque/EFT cannot be cancelled.

Unless you are a punter what are your total irrecoverable costs and expenses for things you can never recover or never use, compared to the costs of what could be a fine caravan, a lemon or anything in between? About 20% direct plus your indirect costs, a tidy sum, but a manufacturer not sending quality photos in this day of photography on smartphones should be a strong message. If I had an interstate customer I would be happy to prove my work to his satisfaction; a few good photos only take a few minutes.

YMMV.

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Thanks YMMV

I’m wondering why you are so pessimistic? : ) You make good points highlighting Beyond Caravans apathy. However they know from last conversation with magistrate at VCAT I am likely to be awarded $12,000 plus costs if they do not deliver - and apparently this can be enforced across VCAT to NCAT and phoenix is not an option as VCAT/NCAT can take goods/home if payment not made.
You are right about the problem if the camper develops defects : ( Back to VCAT Again!

cheers
wendy

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Hi Wendy, YMMV means “Your Mileage May Vary” -> Your experience may be different. My name is Phil :slight_smile:

Once VCAT makes an order they are done. It is up to you to go to court for an order if the business does not voluntarily and timely settle.

Without going into the details of how to collect interstate when a business stonewalls, a business can play the phoenix game and depending on what kind of legal entity it is, sometimes they get away with it and sometimes they don’t. If you get goods instead of dollars what are you going to do with them? ebay? yard sale? have storage? costs to bring them to your place? A synopsis of the debtors rights may be interesting.

You seem like a real punter intent on getting your caravan, so good luck and happy travels when it is delivered.

Cheers,
Phil

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Thanks Phil,

Another ‘naive’ question : ) What does “You seem like a real punter intent on getting your caravan” mean?

NB Hell hath no fury like a woman deprived of her freedom machine. :wink:

wendy

-> You appear to be intent to move ahead with the seemingly hostile company you are having a problem with, in spite of the red flags.

Yeah - thanks Phil ‘tell me I’m dreamin’
Until all is lost I prefer to hope : )

How did this end up for you.
We have just taken ownership of a Beyond slide-on that fails to meet gas or electrical safety standards and are at odds with what to do. We have held $10,000 on them but it probably won’t be enough to get it compliant.

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Welcome to the Community @JL2

While awaiting members to update outcomes from 7 years back, and depending on your purchase date this 2020 page might be informative on the state of the industry ‘months ago’.

Since 1 July 2022

The impression is that if the manufacturer doesn’t step up you need to immediately progress to the formal and legal route.

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Thank you Phil.
Sadly we seem to fall through most of the loopholes. The slide-on was $80,000 and he sells only a couple of slide-ons each year. He also does caravans, motorhomes and horse floats so each item will fall under the 5 per year.
Our slide-on is completely not fit for purpose. Both Electrical Safety Qld and Gas Safety have deemed it not safe. The non-compliance reports are quite significant.
Given the previous post I expect that when we file with QCat he will move interstate again.
I will ask for some advice on the Lemon caravans site as well.

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Hi JL2, sorry to read about your problems with Beyond. I never received my slide on camper and had to go through VCAT And NSW equivalent, who then issued an order to reposes property to have my deposit returned.
I can only suggest you seek advice from the consumer tribunal in your state for possible reimbursement of costs to make your camper compliant or to return it for full refund.
Hopefully by raising your problems here more consumers will avoid dealing with ‘Beyond Caravans / Campers’
Good Luck

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PS I was awarded more than my deposit because I had made modifications to my vehicle, and administrative costs. I received $8,600 from memory.

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Can we give a shout out to Wend for being around to answer a question 5 years onwards? What a valuable member to have around!

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:relaxed:Thanks for shout out. I was sure I had shared the outcome. Perhaps I’d submitted it to a different thread :roll_eyes:
Very grateful for Choice chat to be updated on many issues and as a place to vent frustrations. Hoping companies are also taking note. :hugs:

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Hmm. The watchpuppy has waggled its little tail and issued some guidelines.

When will some actual laws ever eventuate to bring this industry to account?

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Camping, fishing and boating, preferable in style and comfort of a towed holiday home is big business.

Like other big business sectors it is well represented by retailers and manufacturers. The outcome is these groups get prime seats at any government or departmental led consultative group meetings. Consumers are often assumed to be represented through our elected officials, their nominated staff, public servants etc.

It’s only through a consumer representative organisation such as Choice lobbying or putting it’s hand up to participate that consumer voices can be more directly heard. Choice represents a considerable number of consumers. It’s budget and funding is but small change compared to the resources any of the large industry groups are able to call on.

Small step incremental change may be all consumers can expect for now. Better than none?

Establishing a “Super Complaint” function at the ACCC
The proposed new function would allow certain consumer groups (eg. CHOICE) and business sector advocates to enlist the ACCC to investigate serious complaints. Labor notes this proposal is meant to make the ACCC more responsive to the needs of consumers and businesses. Many questions remain on how a Super Complaint function will work, but a similar process currently exists in the UK.
Labor Government’s plans for “better” competition and consumer law - Knowledge - Clayton Utz

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