For nearly a decade, there’s been a noticeable gap for consumers with regard to the ‘closure’ of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Whilst they weren’t exactly pro active with the holiday caravan industry, NACO had a good working relationship with them and we consulted and helped to distribute their guidance documents (google ‘OFT734’).
This expansive guidance, which looked at many aspects of unfairness in contracts and offered opinion and insight about terms that related to real situations encountered during holiday caravan ownership was very useful to us and to consumers across the UK.
However, since the OFT closed its doors in 2014 there’s been nothing that we’ve been able to point towards. The guidance was still useful, but it’s often been pointed out to us that the OFT doesn’t exist which isn’t helpful.
Some time ago, following meetings with the CMA and various other Government departments we were consulted on the draft guidance that has now been finalised by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).
The new guidance document - "Holiday parks: Guidance for holiday park owners and operators selling holiday caravans/holiday lodges for private ownership" is now in the public domain and we’re already utilising its contents when representing NACO members in dispute with park owners.
Consumers purchasing a caravan or lodge on a holiday park are entering into a large financial transaction, possibly second only to buying a house. They are committing into a long-term contract regarding the location of their purchase, its maintenance and facilities, and sundry other considerations. In many cases they will be making the purchase in a marketplace with which they are unfamiliar, and will to a certain extent be vulnerable as a result.
For all these reasons, it is particularly vital that park owners can be presented with good examples of their obligations under consumer law and understand the consequences of getting things wrong.
Sue Steward, Head of Education and Training at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute said:
“We have consulted with stakeholders and key people from industry to develop this guide that sets out how consumer law could apply to businesses owning and/or operating holiday parks selling holiday caravans / lodges for private ownership.
The guide covers contract law and unfair terms, fair-trading law, how to support caravan owners, understanding the legislation in place and much more. We have included some practical situations that we think are more likely or less likely to breach the law to help those owning or operating holiday caravan parks understand their legal obligations.
We have valued the support from the NCC and we look forward to assisting in promoting the guide with their membership and networks.”
There are plenty of really useful snippets and we've extracted a few for you to consider. Please see the following links: