Where to buy a caravan
We are often asked by our Shield caravan insurance customers - where is the best place to buy a second hand touring caravan? Buy privately or go via a caravan dealership?
In the following article we compare the relative benefits and pitfalls of private pricing and dealers’ steals when looking to buy a used tourer caravan.
Buying a caravan privately
• Better info and history of the caravan
• Bargain to be had
• Plenty of well looked after examples
• More research needed
• Possible servicing costs
• Less buying security
• Little comeback
Private caravan purchases are the source of some of the best deals you can find. Not only that, but it can be much easier to haggle with one owner than with a professional caravan dealership. However, it’s not without its dangers. Every private seller wants prospective buyers to think their caravan is the best on the market, so that perfect advert for a “genuine-one-owner-never-used-in-the-rain-and-polished-inside-and-out-every-second-of-every-day” caravan may not be all it seems. In direct conflict to all the good deals out there, a very small percentage of private sellers are desperately hoping you won’t notice the major fault that they’ve tried hard to hide. Keep a keen eye out and you’ll feel when something isn’t right.
Some caravan tips to help avoid being one of the victims
A private seller must not knowingly wrongly describe their caravan’s condition. If they say something along the lines of “the caravan is as dry as a bone,” they must be able to prove this. Also, the private seller may not lie to a question from the prospective buyer. They can’t legally answer “yes” to a question unless they know it to be true, rather than just believing it to be the case. We even know a buyer who recorded the entire deal on a smart phone hidden away in his top pocket.
Try to view the caravan at the owners’ home and be sure to check that everything works. Once you have paid for and accepted the caravan, you have little to no comeback.
A dealer can’t masquerade as a private seller, and if he regularly sells caravans off his driveway then he would probably be considered a dealer. See the following page for the legal obligations a caravan dealer has.
A private seller may not sell stolen goods and the only way they can guarantee that a caravan hasn’t been stolen is by having a Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) check done (hpicheck.com/caravans). The CRiS check can identify almost any caravan that’s been reported as stolen, written off by a caravan insurance company or is subject to an ongoing finance deal. Regardless of what the seller says, it’s always worth getting a check for any purchase.
Ask to see all the caravan’s paperwork such as service history and receipts. Has it been serviced recently? Has it had a damp check? How did it fare? If it hasn’t been serviced then see if the seller will pay for one.
On the plus side, do your research, keep an eye out and use your own common sense. There are plenty of great private caravan deals out there to be taken advantage of.