Caravan Buyers Guide – Step 1 – The Phone Call

Its amazing just how much you can learn from something as simple as a phone call. If you ask the right questions, a lot of time can be saved, as there is nothing more disheartening than travelling any kind of distance just to find the caravan is not what you expected.

One of the most common things that people can mislead you about is the age of the van. Some people may be vague and say that the caravan is mid 90,s or early 90′s when in reality, it could be manufactured in the late eighties.This is to try and get extra money and to make it seem like you are buying a newer caravan than you might think. Well, its only a year or two out, so cant be too bad can it ???….

Also, the parts are that much more common so they will be easier to buy new from a reputable dealer. There are a few ways to tell the age which is explained in more detail later on in this guide.

So, read on, follow our guide and good luck !

Beware seller insisted this caravan was a 1995 was in fact a 1989 and wanted £2000 when in reality was worth less then £800 and that is without the faults and damage

The price can differ by up to £1500 and that is only a 2 – 3 year age gap! Apart from that, there is also the features like blow heating, better insulation, newer insides, more efficient equipment, cooker, fridge, etc.

1st Question.– Hello I’m enquiring about your caravan, that is for sale?
Never give the make or model, as this will cause confusion to any back street traders. You can tell this from their response. What caravan? or, sorry which caravan are you on about? A second indication of back street dealers is to look out for adverts showing ”Call Dave, lee, Jimmy, etc, as this is usually a sign of a trader and a name will relate each caravan for sale. If you do call, answering an advert and the advertisement says selling on behalf of a parent (or some other relation / friend, beware of this also. – This could be a trader.)

2nd Question. How long have you owned the caravan and is it C.R.I.S registered?
Most caravans are C.R.I.S registered ( Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme ) after 1992, but this was not compulsory till 1996/97, so if the van is not C.R.I.S registered, then don’t worry. Still ask the age, but be aware that a lot of people may try sell older caravans as newer models to get a higher price. If they say its not C.R.I.S registered, ask how do they know the age for sure? Most won’t.
If the caravan is not C.R.I.S registered go to 4th question.

3rd Question : Ask the seller do they have the logbook for the caravan?
Don’t let them fool you by saying you don’t need it or that it is stamped on the windows and you don’t need a log book. You do, as without this you will never be the registered keeper and most insurance companies will now refuse to insurance the caravan if its not in your name.

4th Question: Ask the seller are there any damp problems and what is the general condition?
If there is damp in none of the major unfixable places, this is ideal, or if there are things wrong, then you have something to bargain the price down with.If you don’t know how to find things like damp or what it looks like, don’t worry, we will show you how to check for damp and /or rot and damage with our free download on how to fully inspect the caravan.

5th Question. Are there any extras included like water and waste carriers or awning ?
A lot of people show you these when viewing but are not included in the sale so be careful.Make sure all bottles, awnings and accessories are included in the asking price.

6th Question. Would it be possible to view and would it be possible to have a demonstration to see all the appliances work?
Again, it is important to view everything working. The cost for fridges, cookers, showers, etc. not working could cost you hundreds to get them working. If you cant see it working, then assume it isn’t working.If you are happy with the results then proceed to arrange a time for viewing.

Remember even though you have asked the right questions, that does not give you a 100% guarantee that the seller is telling the truth. Never give your home address out when calling anyone or let them bring the caravan to you. If you do this, then more then likely they could be hiding the fact they are dealers. By not visting their home, it could be stolen , and if something was wrong with the caravan, then you dont know where they live, even if they gave you an address, then that may be fake.

Written By

Mike Cruckley runs and maintains Cruckley.co.uk and is passionate about Caravanning and all things camping related. You can find him on Google+