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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Caravan park to pay $2.3mil plus to consumers

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Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Gift of Experience

This Christmas I have decided to buy my friends and family experiences.  Experiences also don’t require the purchasing of ‘stuff’. And you don’t have to wrap the stuff in more useless stuff. I’m really trying to reduce the Christmas stuffing. I’m on what I call a ‘de-stuff’ diet. It’s hard, because I am one of those people who has been addicted to stuff. Experiences, if well chosen, can have a low carbon footprint. They can be stuffless.

In 2019, the Supreme Court found in favour of NSW Fair Trading and ordered Jonval Builders Pty Ltd, Hacienda Caravan Park Pty Ltd and John Allan Willmott to pay compensation, interest and costs after the Court found that the defendant companies had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and that all three defendants had engaged in unconscionable conduct.

It has been announced this morning that the NSW Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court’s decision, including an order that the three parties pay $2,353,926 in compensation plus interest, arising from the sale of the movable dwellings, called villas, located on waterfront sites along the Tweed River.

Marketed as permanent residences

The villas were marketed to consumers under the pretence that they were suitable for permanent residents, even though the sites on which they were located did not have planning consent for permanent accommodation.

NSW Fair Trading brought proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW after a series of complaints from consumers who purchased villas believing they would be able to live there permanently.

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said that this is a great example of NSW Fair Trading acting to protect the interests of consumers that have been misled. ‘This is consumer regulation working exactly as it’s meant to – government going into bat for consumers that were victims of unscrupulous players in the market.

Operators acted unconscionably

‘These operators acted unconscionably, leading to consumers, including retirees, paying a premium for what they believed were permanent waterfront residences.’

If you think you have been misled by in the purchase of a caravan park dwelling or any other property, please contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or visit nswfairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

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