Welcome to RV Daily

Are you hungry for the latest in RV news, reviews and travel?

At RV Daily, we’ll give you up-to-date news, reviews and videos on the latest caravans, campers and motorhomes.

THREE LITTLE WORDS

OPINION Bruder vs Lemon Caravans and RVs - Part 2

WORDS MARTY LEDWICH

As a result of the outcome of her trial, Ms Tracy Leigh of the Lemon Caravans and RVs in Australia facebook group, claims (to use her words) that a person's right publish an honest negative review based on actual personal experience is now severely under threat.

Is this true?

Before we answer that question, let us be very clear. There are two separate cases before the courts at present. Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd vs Mr Charles J Coles and Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd vs Ms Tracy Leigh. The former is definitely a case that concerns a person's right to publish an open and honest review of a product. Ms Leigh's case is quite different, and any attempt to say otherwise is possibly naive and avoids the core issue.

For a start, Ms Leigh has never owned any product manufactured by Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd. She has never tested or used or had any personal experience whatsoever with any caravan or camper manufactured by Bruder. Therefore, Ms Leigh cannot possibly publish an honest negative review based on her own experience of any Bruder product.

And nor has she.

Accessing your vehicle is as easy as one step up

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Ms Leigh has, in fact, published details about the fallout from another person's dealings with Bruder, against that person's wishes, and used those details to formulate some very serious allegations.

According to the injunction granted to Bruder, those allegations were that Bruder produces off-road caravans which are defective, of poor quality, are unsafe, are overpriced, and that Bruder refuses to assist its customers. She also alleges Bruder is a bully, commences legal proceedings without proper reasons, threatens its customers, is a rogue trader, is unscrupulous, and is dishonest and misleading in the conduct of its business.

These accusations go well beyond any simple product review. They are apparently an attempt to discredit a manufacturer to the point of causing serious financial harm and damage to their reputation.

Now, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of Daniel and Toby Bosschieter, the owners of Bruder. Imagine the business that you have built up over many years, sacrificed many hours you could have spent with your family, spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a unique product in the market place and established a niche market that has the potential to grow internationally. As a result of this growth, your business growth and creates jobs, not just in your business, but to the suppliers you use for your raw materials, fittings and fixtures. And now someone with no relationship to your company and who has never used one of your products makes these serious accusations on social media to 50,000 members of a group who may or may not be potential customers. What would you do?

“Now the court has ruled in favour of Bruder. A jury has determined the allegations made by Ms Leigh were false, malicious and financially damaging to Bruder's business”

The question put before the court in the case of Bruder v Leigh is not about a person's right to publish an honest review. It’s not even a test of a person's right to freedom of expression. It is a test of the validity of the accusations specifically made by Ms Leigh and whether or not those allegations have any substance, are supported by any facts or have any element of truth to them.

Now the court has ruled in favour of Bruder. A jury has determined the allegations made by Ms Leigh were false, malicious and financially damaging to Bruder's business.

Ms Leigh and her supporters will view this outcome as a sad day for consumer rights, and we actually agree with them, but not for the reasons they may put forward. Ms Leigh will have to pay $357,000 damages and may have to shut down her Facebook group or severely limit her activities in the future. Though it may have its faults, the Lemon Caravans and RVs in Australia Facebook group is unquestionably a haven for owners of lemon RVs in which to share their experience without fear of ridicule and where they can obtain advice and assistance with their cases. To lose that would be a blow to those people and any others in the future who may have benefited from the group.

Ms Leigh has stated that she has nothing to lose in all this. We disagree.

Ms Leigh stands to lose the many thousands of dollars already donated to her that could have been used to assist members of her group with their individual legal battles with manufacturers. She stands to lose the very group that she has built up over the last few years and that her members have become reliant on for support and assistance. Worst of all, as a result of her inability to accept the court’s decision, Ms Leigh is now facing accusations of contempt of court after she allegedly breached a court-imposed gag order. If proven, this will seriously damage her standing in the Australian RV community where she is seen as a vocal activist for reform of Australian consumer law.

In short, Ms Leigh stands to lose the vested interests of the active members of her group.

Whatever the outcome, Ms Leigh apparently saw the Bruder case as an opportunity to damage a big name in the industry. She was given ample opportunity to rectify the situation by Bruder, and her response to them was to 'bring it on'.

Those three little words may prove very telling.

OPINION Bruder vs Lemon Caravans and RVs - Part 2

THREE LITTLE WORDS

WORDS MARTY LEDWICH

As a result of the outcome of her trial, Ms Tracy Leigh of the Lemon Caravans and RVs in Australia facebook group, claims (to use her words) that a person's right publish an honest negative review based on actual personal experience is now severely under threat.

Is this true?

Before we answer that question, let us be very clear. There are two separate cases before the courts at present. Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd vs Mr Charles J Coles and Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd vs Ms Tracy Leigh. The former is definitely a case that concerns a person's right to publish an open and honest review of a product. Ms Leigh's case is quite different, and any attempt to say otherwise is possibly naive and avoids the core issue.

For a start, Ms Leigh has never owned any product manufactured by Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd. She has never tested or used or had any personal experience whatsoever with any caravan or camper manufactured by Bruder. Therefore, Ms Leigh cannot possibly publish an honest negative review based on her own experience of any Bruder product.

And nor has she.

Accessing your vehicle is as easy as one step up

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Ms Leigh has, in fact, published details about the fallout from another person's dealings with Bruder, against that person's wishes, and used those details to formulate some very serious allegations.

According to the injunction granted to Bruder, those allegations were that Bruder produces off-road caravans which are defective, of poor quality, are unsafe, are overpriced, and that Bruder refuses to assist its customers. She also alleges Bruder is a bully, commences legal proceedings without proper reasons, threatens its customers, is a rogue trader, is unscrupulous, and is dishonest and misleading in the conduct of its business.

These accusations go well beyond any simple product review. They are apparently an attempt to discredit a manufacturer to the point of causing serious financial harm and damage to their reputation.

Now, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of Daniel and Toby Bosschieter, the owners of Bruder. Imagine the business that you have built up over many years, sacrificed many hours you could have spent with your family, spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a unique product in the market place and established a niche market that has the potential to grow internationally. As a result of this growth, your business growth and creates jobs, not just in your business, but to the suppliers you use for your raw materials, fittings and fixtures. And now someone with no relationship to your company and who has never used one of your products makes these serious accusations on social media to 50,000 members of a group who may or may not be potential customers. What would you do?

“Now the court has ruled in favour of Bruder. A jury has determined the allegations made by Ms Leigh were false, malicious and financially damaging to Bruder's business”

The question put before the court in the case of Bruder v Leigh is not about a person's right to publish an honest review. It’s not even a test of a person's right to freedom of expression. It is a test of the validity of the accusations specifically made by Ms Leigh and whether or not those allegations have any substance, are supported by any facts or have any element of truth to them.

Now the court has ruled in favour of Bruder. A jury has determined the allegations made by Ms Leigh were false, malicious and financially damaging to Bruder's business.

Ms Leigh and her supporters will view this outcome as a sad day for consumer rights, and we actually agree with them, but not for the reasons they may put forward. Ms Leigh will have to pay $357,000 damages and may have to shut down her Facebook group or severely limit her activities in the future. Though it may have its faults, the Lemon Caravans and RVs in Australia Facebook group is unquestionably a haven for owners of lemon RVs in which to share their experience without fear of ridicule and where they can obtain advice and assistance with their cases. To lose that would be a blow to those people and any others in the future who may have benefited from the group.

Ms Leigh has stated that she has nothing to lose in all this. We disagree.

Ms Leigh stands to lose the many thousands of dollars already donated to her that could have been used to assist members of her group with their individual legal battles with manufacturers. She stands to lose the very group that she has built up over the last few years and that her members have become reliant on for support and assistance. Worst of all, as a result of her inability to accept the court’s decision, Ms Leigh is now facing accusations of contempt of court after she allegedly breached a court-imposed gag order. If proven, this will seriously damage her standing in the Australian RV community where she is seen as a vocal activist for reform of Australian consumer law.

In short, Ms Leigh stands to lose the vested interests of the active members of her group.

Whatever the outcome, Ms Leigh apparently saw the Bruder case as an opportunity to damage a big name in the industry. She was given ample opportunity to rectify the situation by Bruder, and her response to them was to 'bring it on'.

Those three little words may prove very telling.