CaravanSource is a reasonably small business, so why choose us over the larger dealers or why not just buy privately? As the owner of Caravan Source I'm obviously going to say come to us, however my reasons for this are quite comprehensive. The fact is that buying a used vehicle is still a risky business. We know what it feels like to buy a vehicle which is of lesser quality than was described and we try our best to ensure this doesn't happen to our customers. We've been operating since 2011 and are happy to report we've only had a handful or less of caravans come back with faults in 7 years of operation.
At Caravan Source we stick to a few basic selling principals:
1. The most important value we believe in is honesty. If there are faults with our vans we will point them out.
2. We let our vehicles sell themselves and we do NOT employ pushy salesman or pushy sales techniques. It's our desire you find the van you want at the price you want to pay.
2. The vehicle will be for sale at the retail price found in the glass's guide, not an over-inflated price. We find on average that most caravan dealers over inflate the retail price by £500-1500.
3. Our vans will come with an independent service carried out by a fully qualified caravan servicing technician unless otherwise stated. This shows if anything at all is defective with the van meaning if something isn't working or damp is found we can negotiate on price or we'll have it repaired.
4. If the tyres are over 5 years old and showing signs of age we'll replace them. If the tyres are over 7 years old we will replace them regardless.
5. At present we don't sell warranties with our vans but you have a 3 month legal warranty. If you find something wrong with the van in this time which wasn't explained to you when you bought it and written on the sales invoice we will have that problem fixed if the van is returned to us.
Buying from other dealers:
If you buy from any dealer they must give you a 3 month legal warranty this means that if something doesn't work on the vehicle which is clearly not due to wear-and-tear or age/condition they have a legal duty to put that right. The vehicle must be roadworthy and in a merchantable condition, the price must reflect the age and condition of the vehicle and it must be described accurately. Unfortunately there are many small dealers selling on ebay and gumtree and facebook from they houses (pretending to be private sellers) or small yards up and down the UK vehicles which do not meet these criteria and are selling damp vans as dry vans and not having them checked properly before they're sold.
If you pay less than £2000 for your caravan you would expect a damp inspection showing honest readings and a gas and appliance check applied to ensure correct LPG safety. Road lights should all be working correctly and the caravan must be in a road-worthy condition.
Larger dealers will generally ensure vans are in proper condition but you may pay a lot more than necessary for the vehicle and will probably not enjoy the buying experience.
If you're paying more than £2000 for a caravan you'd expect a full service to be carried out checking for damp, all the appliances work, the wheels should be taken off, brakes checked, chassis checked, hitch checked, gas and carbon monoxide test and you should be provided with this report. The tyres should be changed too if they are over 5 years old and showing signs of age or regardless over 7 years.
If you buy a caravan privately you're opening yourself up to a whole realm of risks. In our experience private sellers always claim to have a damp free, dry van (which has usually only been diagnosed by their nose). We find that over 75% of used vans we've found privately have some damp somewhere unknown or not to the seller. There are a lot of things you can look for such as damp (if you have a damp meter *see "lets talk about damp!" page for more info) and spongy floors, you may get a chance to plug in the power and turn on the gas and test the appliances physically work but you cannot ensure safe operation. You can look at the date on the tyres (bearing in mind the tyres may not be safe if they're over 5 years old due to cracking from standing most of its life).
The main risk of buying privately is the seller has no legal responsibility to sell you a caravan or motor-home of satisfactory condition and you've got no come-back if you later find you've been sold a lemon. You may pay slightly less than at a dealer (but not guaranteed as most sellers look at retailer prices and match that) but you may also be buying something that needs thousands of pounds or damp repairs.
The information given in this article is provided with the best of intentions and to help you enjoy your Caravanning Experience. Information given is for guide purposes only, individuals must at all times use their own initiative while considering these matters and should seek proper legal advice if neccessary. There is no official legal advice in this article.
We accept no responsibility for damage to your vehicle or to any other form of material property and accept no responsibility for personal or third party injury that may occur in relationship to information provided in this article.