Motorhome customers told to lodge claim for compensation
CONSUMERS caught up in the $4 million collapse of Brisbane's Motorhome Conversion Company could recover money through a little known State Government compensation fund.
The fund established under the Agents Financial Administration Act allow consumers to recover funds from motor vehicle dealers if money owed to them from the consignment of vehicles is not returned.
Vincents liquidator Nick Combis has asked the Office of Fair Trading to look at potential breaches of the law by Slacks Creek-based The Motorhome Conversion Company after people allegedly consigning motorhomes to be sold by the company did not receive full payment.
Peter Wilson, a former fair trading investigator, said few people knew about the fund and consumers were not encouraged to lodge a claim against it. Mr Wilson, who in the 1990s uncovered the Moreton Bay land scam, said the Office of Fair Trading should be doing more to publicise consumers' rights under the fund.
"The people who lost money following the collapse of Motorhome Conversion can get their money back from the government," said Mr Wilson, who is also a barrister.
"It works on the same principle as claims against solicitors. The money comes from the interest on trust account monies.
"It is well known that solicitors and estate estate agents have trust accounts but motor dealers should also if they are selling cars on consignment. Very few people know that- and many don't believe it when told." The Office of Fair Trading has been asked to comment.
The Motorhome Conversion Company collapsed in July in the latest sign of growing trouble for the road-touring sector.
Founded in 2005 by managing director John Jeffreys, the company originally sold completed motorhomes that were directly imported from Japan.
Mr Jeffreys, who later decided to import empty buses and design and build the interiors, told The Courier-Mail in July that the business took a turn for the worse when it was subjected to an industry-wide recall of vehicles to check gas systems.
Vincents' Mr Combis said last month his investigation had confirmed that a number of converted motor vehicles given to the company on consignment and subject to a security agreement were allegedly sold to third parties without proper payment being made.
"I have referred potential breaches of the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers (MDCA) Act by the company and/or director to the Office of Fair Trading," said Mr Vincent in a report to creditors. "I am yet to receive a response."
Mr Jeffreys, who has since declared bankruptcy, said most of the people who were owed money were being paid off.
The Office of Fair Trading has said it assessed all complaints received and if a possible breach was indicated the issue would be referred for investigation. It declined to confirm that it was investigating the company.