The Consumer Rights Act which comes into effect from October this year has a number of implications around the sale of caravans and park homes.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) was given royal assent on 26 March 2015 and will, in effect, create a new body of consumer law from 1 October this year.

This means that you have from now until October to get to grips with the changes and to think about how the new laws might affect your business and your relationship with customers as well as your own suppliers – especially the manufacturers of caravans/park homes/lodges or suppliers or distributors of them.

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that the Trading Standards Institute has published a number of helpful guides about the changes including “The Sale and Supply of Goods – from 1 October 2015” and “The Supply of Services – from 1 October 2015” which can be obtained from the Trading Standards Institute website http://www.tradingstandards.uk/.

These guides are written in plain English and are relatively short.  It’s certainly worth downloading and printing off these guides as a reference because the CRA will apply to all contracts for the sale of goods or supply of services you enter into with your customers whether you operate a holiday or residential park.

So, how do the changes to the law affect the sale of caravans/lodges/park homes?

At the moment, if your business includes selling caravans to consumers, the Sales of Goods Act 1979 will apply to those contracts.  Terms are “implied” into all contracts for the sale of goods – in particular that the goods sold must be of satisfactory quality.

The CRA replaces the phrase “implied terms” with “statutory rights”, which include:-

  • Satisfactory quality
  • Fitness for purpose
  • Goods to be as described
  • Right to have goods installed correctly
  • Right for the goods to be delivered without undue delay or within 30 days of the contract being made unless otherwise agreed.

Of course, all good businesses will do their best to resolve any dispute with customers, and the aftersales care provided by manufacturers certainly helps here.  However, there will be occasions when a customer will say that the caravan they have bought is not of satisfactory quality.

In such cases, the remedies available will be:-

  • Short term right to reject (limited to 30 days)
  • Right to repair or replacement
  • Right to a price reduction or final right to reject.

It’s probably fair to say that most will ask for repairs to be carried out.  If this happens, you, as the park business will have one opportunity to carry out the repairs.  If the repairs do not solve the problem, the short term right to reject may still apply and the right may be extended for a short period depending on the time which has passed whilst the repairs have been carried out.

If the caravan is rejected because it is not of satisfactory quality, you will have to refund the price paid without ‘undue delay’ and within 14 days of agreeing to refund.  If the final right to reject is exercised – because say the repairs have been unsuccessful and the short term right has passed –depending on the length of time since the customer took delivery of their caravan, you may make a deduction from the price paid to take into account the use of the caravan.

In short, it’s important for your business to be aware as to how these rights may affect your relationship with the manufacturer or distributor from whom the caravan was bought.  You will only have one opportunity to get it right if the consumer asks for repair!

For further information or advice on these issues, contact us on 01392 210700 or email parks@stephens-scown.co.uk.