Motorhome company leaves $4 million debt trail
A LIQUIDATOR has called on the consumer watchdog to investigate the collapse of a Brisbane motorhome company that has left a $4 million trail of debt.
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.
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 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."
The Office of Fair Trading 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.
Mr Combis said Mr Jeffreys had informed him that the main reason for the company's failure was due to trading losses.
"It is my view that the failure of the company can be attributed to factors resulting in poor operational management, including an inability or unwillingness to effectively manage or make good on its trade and taxation liabilities," Mr Combis said.
"The director may have also breached his duties to the company by failing to recognise potential breaches by the company of the MDCA Act."
Mr Jeffreys, who has since declared bankruptcy, said most of the people who were owed money were being paid off. He declined to comment further on Thursday.
Mr Jeffreys told the Courier Mail in July that the recreational vehicle industry also had slowed with retirees generally having less money to spend. "I was here for the good times and I want to look after my customers in the bad times," said Mr Jeffreys.
Starting with two staff members, Motorhome Conversion Company grew to include two factory locations and an undercover showroom.
The liquidation is the latest bad news for the Queensland recreation vehicle industry. Recreational vehicle dealer Brisbane RV called in voluntary administrators in March this year. Burpengary-based Brisbane RVs, one of Queensland's biggest recreational vehicle dealers, owed an estimated $4 million.