Kokoda and the Lemon Group: Why advocacy groups can sometimes be a consumers worst enemy

Anyone who follows or is involved in the caravan and camping scene will have heard the sad news this week about Kokoda’s parent company, Aussie Adventure Caravans P/L. For those who haven’t, an external administrator had been appointed and is seeking expressions of interest for the sale of AAC which has businesses and assets in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

While the news is grim, there is still hope of finding a white knight for the ailing company with a view to trading out of its current financial woes and continuing the Kokoda/Grand Salute tradition of caravan building, sales and servicing.

The lemon group had been on the attack against Aussie Adventure Caravans, and Kokoda Caravans in particular, for almost a year now with spurious claims being made about the use of the Kokoda name, the logo which resembles a rising sun, and even the individual names of certain models of the brand. These vitriolic attacks emanating from the lemon group had no basis in fact, nor are they even relevant to the ethos of an advocacy group, which is to provide pertinent information about the quality or behaviour of a particular brand/manufacturer/retailer, and to advocate for consumer rights.

While there have been a number of Kokoda customers come forward with some pretty horrendous tales about faults with their caravans, poor after sales service, and a difficulty in obtaining warranty work, these issues haven’t been the focus of certain members of the lemon group’s attack. Instead they have concentrated on peripheral issues concerning the brand with, in my opinion, a view to tarnishing the Kokoda brands image to the point where it impacts the brands reputation and subsequently, its viability.

Of course we can’t only blame the agitators in the lemon group for the trouble AAC now find themselves in. As previously stated, there have been issues around build quality, customer service and warranty repairs for some time. And of course we’re not privy to any of the financial details of AAC or its directors. I guess we’ll find out these details if a buyers isn’t found and the company has to be liquidated. It’s only then the creditors list and liabilities will be disclosed.

But at the same time, we can’t discount the impact the campaign from certain agitators within the lemon group has had. If, for example, the faux campaign waged by some members of the lemon group influenced as few as a dozen prospective Kokoda buyers, then that in and of itself could have contributed to the situation the company now finds itself in. In my opinion, this makes certain members of the group partially responsible for prospective losses some customers and creditors now face, including loss of deposits, wages, and even jobs. For what, a name? a logo?

This is why I don’t rate the lemon group. While most advocacy groups are run in a professional manner, ensuring the information they provide consumers is relevant, accurate and not biased, unfortunately, in my experience, some within the lemon group don’t adhere to this simple but important ethos. This makes them dangerous and a liability to consumer advocacy, not a net benefit.

So if the small cohort of agitators within the lemon group are sitting back gloating about the potential demise of another player in the RV industry, I hope they reflect for a moment on their role in this saga and whether they conducted themselves in an impartial and professional manner throughout and had the consumers interests in mind and not their own egos.

I’m of the opinion that if certain agitators within the lemon group want to find those partially responsible for a potential loss for consumers, a potential loss for the workers and a potential loss for the company’s creditors, they need look no further than the nearest mirror.

Happy camping, Wayne

4 thoughts on “Kokoda and the Lemon Group: Why advocacy groups can sometimes be a consumers worst enemy

  1. Well said Wayne.
    However…… if the industry was regulated properly, there wouldn’t be any need for the lemon group.
    I’ve seen caravans described as being capable of going off road.
    In most cases, that’s utter crap. I wouldn’t take them over a speed bump at McDonalds.
    I was once told by a senior advertising representative that the litmus test for anything you say in advertising is simple.
    Before you make a claim You need to ask yourself one question.
    Is it true!
    In most cases in the caravan industry…. it’s not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose if people had some viable recourse with individual players in the caravan manufacturing field it may be different. The ACCC took 5 odd years to act on 4 simple complaints and even then it was limited to Jayco. Over that period the industry had produced somewhere near 100k units. We live in a time where your pretty much on your own. Consumer advocates and the ACCC are largely white elephants. Whilst its arguably wrong, often vindictive attacks are all people have left

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  3. As you said Wayne ” there have been a number of Kokoda customers come forward with some pretty horrendous tales about faults with their caravans, poor after sales service, and a difficulty in obtaining warranty work” look after your customers and they will look after you. I agree we Macca as well. I feel for people buying or paying progress payments for a van now with so many companies going under. Perhaps we need deposits going to somewhere independent and no other payment till delivery or perhaps compulsory insurance encase they go under.

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