Buying a new caravan, camper trailer or other style of RV is a major purchase decision for many buyers. A decision which can involve extensive research and investigation of the RV market and what is available in regard to caravan loans. Caravans are available in a wide range of styles, luxury and prices to suit a wide range of buyers.
For those that have enjoyed the caravan lifestyle over many years and possibly owned several models, they can draw on their experience and knowledge when deciding which particular caravan manufacturer or model to buy. But for newcomers to the caravan life, working through the options can be a more challenging process.
Quality will be high on the priority checklist for most buyers. This is a major purchase and most will want their vehicle to be reliable and provide many years of travel and holiday enjoyment. Buyers may look to accreditations, awards and other affiliations as a guide to making caravan buying decisions. You’re at a caravan show and see vehicles adorned with stickers proclaiming the superior features of the brand or that model.
But how credible, trustworthy, and reliable are the symbols and emblems that are displayed on caravans? What should buyers be looking for and how can they differentiate between different certificates and other accolades? For buyers purchasing a caravan, queries may arise as to the significance of accreditations, awards, and affiliations to the purchase and to caravan finance.
For buyers to consider, we have drawn information from a range of sources around the regulation, standards and other accreditations around caravans and how that may or may not impact caravan finance.
For the most part, the Australian caravan manufacturing industry is considered ‘self-regulated’. But all products sold in Australia must meet certain standards under government laws. The peak industry body for the industry is the Caravan Industry Association of Australia. The association has the vision to lead a compliant, safe and sustainable industry.
The Caravan Association operates its own accreditation program known as RVMAP. Manufacturers which meet the criteria for accreditation can display the RVMAP badge on their vehicles. Fees are charged to be part of the program. Inspections are made of vehicles to ensure they meet the Australian Standards and other criteria.
Buyers should be aware that the program is voluntary and not all manufacturers, including some big names, are not a part of the program. A list of RVMAP accredited manufacturers can be reviewed at the association website. While a manufacturer maybe hold RVMAP accreditation, not every model in their range may have been inspected.
Camper trailer manufacturers also have an association – the Australian Manufactured Camper Guild. As the name implies it is for vehicles made in Australia. This group states it was established in response to what was seen as poor workmanship and poor quality components in many of the cheaper imports.
While the RVMAP accreditation scheme is operated by the caravan association and may be helpful for buyers, there are laws around caravan quality. Specifically and of note in respect to caravans is the Road Vehicles Standards Act 2018 which replaced the 1989 Motor Vehicle Standards Act.
The deadline for caravan manufacturers to comply is 1 July 2023. This is seen as a big plus for caravan buyers as it will provide assurance that the RV being purchased does meet the manufacturing and design standards. Meaning, it is built for the purpose stated.
We recently posted an article about winners of the annual caravan industry awards. So should buyers be drawn to an ‘award-winning’ caravan? Awards can be highly-valued but also contentious. If considering an award-winner, here’s a few tips:-
- Are they judged across a vast field or is it by voluntary entry?
- What is the criteria for the awards?
- Who can enter and which other vehicles was the winner up against?
- Who is the awards scheme run by and who does the judging?
When it comes to accolades, genuine buyer reviews and comments in owner chat forums can be extremely helpful as buying guides. Some are extremely honest and provide first-hand examples and experiences.
There are a lot of caravan and outdoor programs on TV, streaming services and online platforms. They often showcase different vehicle makes and models and feature ‘experts’ as hosts and commentators. When watching shows or referring to specific websites, take note if a specific manufacturer is a sponsor. This may skew the coverage of the RVs featured.
So after all that, what should buyers do? Referring to the ACCC website for any updates in regard to caravans can be helpful. As we reported in our blog, with the upsurge in popularity of caravans during the pandemic, the ACCC did note a rise in complaints in the sector.
Ensure warranties and guarantees meet your requirements and your expectations. Check fine-print to ensure any defects or issues will be rectified as expected. Consumer laws are in place to protect buyers but issues may take time to resolve. Time where you may have your vehicle off the road and not off-road where you would like to be.
Caravan Finance Impacts
We’ll look at two aspects of caravan finance in respect of the issues discussed above: - the specifics of the caravan being purchased and in the choice of lender when sourcing caravan finance.
When assessing applications for a Secured Caravan Loan, lenders will assess the goods themselves, being the RV, as suitable to be accepted as security against the loan. Lenders will want to be assured that the goods are in acceptable condition and of quality and value in line with the loan amount being requested.
In regard to caravan lenders, consumer finance is overseen by ASIC and lenders must be Licensed Credit Providers. Jade Caravan Finance is fully licensed, abides by ASIC’s Responsible Lender Guidelines and is a member of the FBAA. An assurance for our customers that you are dealing with a reliable and trust-worthy lender. That is also reflected in the multiple accreditations we have with over 40 banks and non-bank lenders.
So when selecting that ideal caravan, buyers have plenty to consider and as with all major purchases, should do their homework.
Contact Jade Caravan Finance on 1300 000 003 – a fully Licensed Credit Provider for a caravan loan quote for your new caravan
DISCLAIMER: THE DETAILS AND INFORMATION IN THIS CONTENT ARE PREPARED AND PRESENTED PURELY FOR INFORMATION AND NOT INTENDED IN ANY WAY AS THE SOLE SOURCE OF FINANCIAL ADVICE FOR CARAVAN PURCHASING. IF ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, READERS SHOULD REFER TO A FINANCIAL ADVISOR. NO LIABILITY IS ACCEPTED FOR ANY ERRORS, PRODUCT DESCRIPTION VARIATIONS, OR OTHER MISREPRESENTATIONS OF INFORMATION AS PRESENTED.