After carefully reviewing and analysing the brochures given to him by the caravan dealer, Peter bought a new “off-road” model 1800 kilogram weight caravan to tow behind the V8 Toyota Sports Utility vehicle (SUV), which he had just purchased (also after reviewing the manufacturer’s sales brochure). The Toyota was fitted with the “Heavy Duty Towing Deluxe package” recommended to match the caravan which he bought
The relevant Toyota SUV brochure stated that it could
“easily pull a 2000kg caravan all day through the blazing sun”,
and the caravan brochure stated that it was
“built to the most exacting specification and could handle the roughest terrain you could throw at it”.
Both the Toyota and the caravan had 12 month unconditional warranties which excluded unreasonably harsh use.
Peter set off on a trip around Australia, and after two months of driving over unmade dirt roads, he pulled into a caravan park at Uluru in the middle of Australia and noticed a ‘clunking’ noise under the caravan. On inspection he found that the suspension has suffered a major failure and had broken almost into two parts.
He rang the nearest dealer who said that they would not do anything unless he brought to caravan to the nearest dealership which was in Alice Springs, which is a distance of 445 kilometres. He read the warranty terms which appeared to say that no repairs could be conducted by other than Toyota dealership trained staff and there were of course none of these at Uluru.
He reluctantly towed the caravan at the instructed speed of no more than 40 kilometres per hour (which meant that the trip would take over 10 hours of continuous driving), but after two hours the Toyota overheated due to the slow speed and lack of cooling air going through the radiator and the engine exploded in a cloud of steam and smoke.
He received help from a passing truck driver heading south, who loaded the SUV and the caravan onto his large truck and took them to the major city of Adelaide:
• The caravan manufacturer subsequently denied responsibility saying that the caravan was supposed to be taken to Alice Springs and it was not, and also that it was not supposed to be taken off the sealed road; and
• The Toyota dealer said the SUV was not covered as it had been driven “abnormally” by driving too slowly.
1. Advise Peter on his legal options
2. Advise the Toyota dealer
In your answer you must consider both relevant legislation and case law as appropriate.