Industry Product News Queensland

Van buyer sued over negative review

Photo: Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd

Specialist camper manufacturer, Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd, has won its court case against a former customer, Mr Charles J. Coles.

Mr Coles published a website that detailed alleged multiple issues with his Bruder camper-trailer, which reportedly cost him in excess of $200,000. According to the outcome notice published by Queensland Courts, the judgement was awarded by default, presumably since Mr Coles offered no defence. Damages to be awarded to Bruder are yet to be assessed by the court (see document below).

The ruling could also have serious implications for consumers of any product who publish negative reviews on the internet.  A manufacturer may feel a review is unfair and is financially damaging to them.  If they take legal action against the customer, and the customer is not prepared to defend their claims in court, the customer will lose the case by default, which could result in a hefty damages payout.

The outcome possibly represents a major blow to the fortunes of Ms Tracey Leigh and her Lemon Caravans and RVs in Aus Facebook group who is facing court action of her own. Bruder’s case for injurious falsehood against Ms Leigh is set for trial on October 21, 2019.  A link to Mr Coles’ website was published on Ms Leigh’s group along with the comment, “I am hoping by showing this to 45,000 members that Bruder might pick up their act. Losing a sale would cost them a fortune”. A judge placed a gag order upon Ms Leigh and her site’s moderators named in the pending Bruder litigation which means that no further comment can be made until the matter is settled later in the year.

Amendment: Since our publication of this news item, claims have been made via social media doubting the validity of the court judgement from sources close to the defendant. RV Daily sought comment from Bruder Expedition Pty Ltd, and their legal team, however, none was forthcoming. The court judgement of August 7 2019, is shown in the Queensland court document pictured. Pending any appeal by Mr Coles, the original decision stands despite social media commentary, that the hearing dates were not supplied to him preventing his appearance in court to defend the case.


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