Buying from a caravan dealer
When buying a caravan from a caravan dealer, you need to consider the pros and cons of such a caravan purchase via this sales channel.
• Better buyer’s rights
• Can haggle for a deal
• Vastly increased choice
• Often more expensive
• Some dodgy “dealers” out there
• Less of a rapport than private sale
This is arguably as close to a risk-free way of buying as you can get, providing the seller really is a caravan dealer not a car dealer who sells the occasional caravan. The legit dealer must point out any issues and in some instances may not be allowed to sell a caravan with certain types of fault.
Things start to get fuzzy in terms of legal issues and how the dealer is responsible for any faults that develop after purchase. The law states that as long as the caravan is trouble free for a “reasonable” period, the dealer is covered. This means that a light bulb failing minutes after you collect your caravan is probably not a dealer responsibility, but water pouring down the inside of an internal wall three months after purchase probably is. It’s worth discussing this with your caravan dealer before purchase, just so you’re both reasonably clear. Most will be willing to help out and offer advice at the very least.
In recent years, some dealers have been getting rid of caravans with functional faults by claiming that the sale is a trade one, and the buyer some sort of trader. Until the courts finally sort this out, our view is that buyers should avoid “trade” sales unless they are absolutely certain they can spot all defects. If you’re stuck with issues such as damp after a sale, especially after a “reasonable” period, you can face costs of thousands of pounds to fix them. Make sure the deal involves a full caravan service before despatch, including a damp test. This is important. It will minimise later complications, as the dealer should pay for any parts needed before the sale is completed.
There is still debate about a dealer’s responsibility to advise you against buying a caravan that’s too heavy for your car to tow. Current opinion is that the dealer only has to caution the buyer if the weight of the caravan exceeds the car’s maximum towing limit. Unfortunately that may also be a dangerous weight to tow, especially for first-time caravan buyers.
The guiding principal, especially when buying privately is the legal, and Latin, phrase “caveat emptor”. It means “buyer beware”. Dealer prices are usually slightly higher than with private sales, but you’re paying for the increased safety in the sale.
Once you have finally taken the plunge and made that caravan purchase - don't forget to arrange your caravan insurance. Shield offer quality comprehensive cover from only £51. Why not get an online caravan insurance quote today?