Caravan Dealers – Tricks of the Trade

Caravan Dealers

So you think you are getting a bargain caravan?….

Then read on……. For every honest trader out there, there is a con man just waiting to get at your hard earned cash !!! We have seen nearly every trick played over the past 30 years and the one certain thing I can tell you is.…. Don’t trust anyone but yourself! All of these cons have been tried on us over the years and I can tell you most more than once.

And why are we telling you this information? Even now, people are still trying the same tricks and cons and we think that it is about time to make people wise to these facts so that you don’t lose out. If you know anyone who is buying a caravan in the future, then make sure to pass on our website details to ensure that no-one gets caught out.

You have done everything right in our guide, then you go to collect on the day. BEWARE!!!!! I have seen people remove awnings, leisure batteries, gas bottles, spare tyres, hook up and even a toilet!!! Make sure you download our sellers receipt and tick what is included, always checking that the items you have paid for are included before leaving.It is always best to take the caravan away as soon as you have paid for it, rather than coming back later. Once you leave you have entered into an agreement to take the caravan as is, not as it is when you viewed it earlier. If you are going back then make sure you double check everything that was included

When you go to view, they say they have just checked out everything out and it works. They seem genuine, right???…The oven is hot, there is hot water in the sink, the fridge is cool …..wrong! They may make a excuse such as ‘the gas ran out’ and will offer a refill if you are interested in buying the caravan . Watch out for hot ovens, they are sometimes heated up with a blow torch !! Also look out for the same trick with the boiler and fire. They can also put cold cans of drink in the fridge or ice cubes in the freezer to trick you into thinking everything is working! A fridge is hard to check with the amount of time it takes to get cold, so be cautious! Ask to see everything on and working. Remember, If you cant see it working, assume it isn’t!!!

The advert says something along the lines of ‘Caravan (no name or make) £2500 and that’s about it. You think ‘hmmmm….. might be a bargain, I’ll ring up. This usually is a sign of a trader that has a few caravans for sale and when he sells one, will give you the details of the next available one that he has. Always use our guide and follow the phone call questions. If you were advertising a caravan, wouldn’t you put the name, model and some of the features in the ad as you want it to sell?

They will place cardboard on the floor saying that they have had the carpets cleaned and don’t want the floor to get dirty, when in reality the floor is spongy and this hides the fact by walking on cardboard. They also use rubber mats right at the door to hide damp or a spongy floor. This con is very common. ALWAYS lift to check. Another way, is new laminate flooring that gives the caravan floor more strength… Remember to check underneath the van, but there is a second part to this con. Sometimes, they will be washing the yard or watering the plants right besides the caravan and when you do find a wet floor they will say ” i must have splashed it with the water”. Beware !

Yep, there are quite a few cons here. Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of genuine sellers on these sites and there are great bargains to be had, But there are just as many conmen! The first thing to check is the sellers feedback!

Look at what they have been selling previously, then look at what they are currently selling… Caravan spare parts? Manuals for caravans? Look for private auctions (where they hide the bidders i.d. altogether). Auction sites do this already when they hide the bidders identity. Do you know why they do this? It is so you cant click on what they have sold previously !!! (as this is usually about 20 caravans and they don’t want you to know) Beware of zero rated sellers also.

However, if the feedback looks fine and it seems genuine and everything looks ok, then view first and use our guide! Look for other caravans in the sellers driveway or their street close to their house. This is another fair indication that they could be dealers. Another sign to be aware of is that they are selling it for mum, dad, granddad, sister or friend of the family who don’t have access to the Internet. Yet again, beware as they may be using this as an excuse and they may have probably sold a few that week and if you do buy and complain they say its not their caravan, so that there are no comebacks on them.So, why don’t you want to buy from a dealer? Well, there are a few reasons. Mainly, he has bought that caravan to make a profit, so he is not going to come down in price. Also there are no guarantees or come backs with them being a alleged private seller, even though the van could be unsafe.

Another con is the shotgun feedback… These sellers will have a few accounts and then start to sell ’1p buy it now items and charge £2 or so postage. A lot of these items are from the pound shops you see around the High Street. They sell as many of these items as they can, building up a good feedback report in as little time as possible. Why?…. Well, it looks great seeing a member with 300+ feed back, it gives you peace of mind that 300 people have trusted this seller. So when you think about it, in reality he has sold just £3 worth of items!!!!!

How many times have you seen one owner from new? If it is not C.R.I.S registered, then there is no definite way to prove the caravan is. It could be just a sales pitch to make you think its been looked after by the one owner. A lot of dealers will say this on older caravans. Once, I viewed a caravan and the person selling the van claimed he had owned the caravan from new.Even though the caravan was a 1989 model he insisted he owned it from new. He said that the reason he was selling it was that he needed money for his 21st birthday. I did a quick calculation and estimated that he had owned since he was about 2 years old..……

When viewing a caravan, the seller will say that it is their granddad / mums / brothers etc. etc.
When showing you the caravan, they may try to get a quick sale and they offer you a fantastic price to buy now and take it away. They never ask you in the house, saying they don’t have the keys etc. or their family member is away on holiday. They will want to do the deal in the caravan or street.
So ask yourself, why don’t they want you in the house? Simple, they have just met you at the real owners house and are offering you the caravan while the genuine owners are at work, or on holiday!
And guess who gets in trouble for it? That’s correct, you do. Always insist on them going in the house to check that they live there.

This con is when you make an appointment to view the caravan, only to have someone else turn up to view (or a well placed phone call)This is to put pressure on you to buy on impulse, when in reality, it can be a relation or friend of the seller that is pretending to be a interested buyer. They may offer more money to the seller and he may say “No, I am an honest first come, first served” This is just to make him look like he is genuine…. beware! This trick is very common and any genuine seller would only have one person to view at a time. The best way to handle this is just say something like ‘I will think about it and get back to you. More often than not, the caravan will still be there when you ring up

I have seen this trick loads of times! The seller places items in the cupboards such as children’s toys, food, or even an awning. This is commonly where damp is and they are trying to hide it (if you were selling a caravan, would you not try to make it look its best and tidy??)

They may have clothes in the wardrobe, stuff in the bathroom, etc. so that you feel embarrassed to look. Be polite and ask the seller to move the items and have a proper look. You may be surprised at what they could be hiding!

Another similar trick is that they leave a damp towel in bathroom and say something like, ‘I am sorry, I forgot to take it out’, and act embarrassed. Again, this is just a con to make you think it was the towel that smells, not the caravan.

You go to view the caravan and you love it, but the seller insists you cannot have it until next week as they are having one last holiday in it. So, they ask you to leave a deposit to secure it then it is yours when they return from holiday. Beware!!!!! The con is that they get as many deposits from as many unwary buyers as possible, then leave without a trace! A way to avoid this is to ask for a look at their driving license or passport to prove they are the people they say they are. Don’t accept letterheads, bills, etc. as these can be easily forged. Another way this con is carried out is on auction sites…. When the auction ends, they ask for £100 deposit and you will find out that it is non refundable as they will use the “sold as seen trick. Never hand any money over until you get the caravan.

When buying a used caravan, keep your wits about you and make sure you check out the cheap caravan insurance quotes has on offer.

Written By

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