Purchasing a caravan apart from your home and car is going to be one of the biggest purchases you’ve ever made. So it is understandable that when you are faced with paying such a large amount of cash that you try to save as much as possible. You will have to search long and often hard in order to find the best deal in town.
One of the best ways to steer clear from having to haggle with a dealer who wants a bigger piece of the sales pie is to search online, here you’ll find many caravans for sale with the potential to save a few thousands when buying second hand.
Buying stolen caravans
There are 600 – 1000 caravans stolen every year with only 3% of these being recovered, with 97% of them being sold online to buyers who don’t know what to look out for. Thieves will use online auctions and classifieds to sell their stolen caravans at really low prices but which can land a buyer into trouble.
Check out the photos
When looking at the photos does it look like your dream caravan, it may be the exact same model and make. It will have the same accessories, beautiful trim and overall everything that you need. However, before you decide to buy compare the photographs to the original manufacturer’s images. You need to double check if the beautiful trim that you are looking at may not really be available on that model.
This can indicate that the caravan does not really exist and the seller may just be using interior images to sell. Look at the location of the photos, genuine sellers will take a number of photographs in one location, whereas thieves will use generic images from the internet or photos in different locations.
Does all that information add up?
You need to be critical when in the process of reading item descriptions on classifieds. Think if all the elements match up to the pictures provided and do these specifications fall directly in line with the manufacturer’s standard. You should also check the seller’s profile and be cautious if they just recently registered which is why they have no buying or selling history. It may be a good idea to start with an email conversation with the seller in order to see how well they respond to the questions you pose.
You may want to email the seller asking them about built in security features. If it is stolen it is likely that the features have been tampered with making it difficult for the thief to answer these questions.
Watch out for twin axled, large caravans with other bargains
Thieves love making off with large twin axled caravans. They will sell these at a bargain but like everything else in life if it’s too good to be true then it most probably is. Thieves want to sell off their stuff fast so they will create a demand for an item. They will post advertisements on numerous sites and responding immediately often saying that its going cheap because they want to leave the country, got a divorce so need to pay alimony etc.
Prior to buying
Before you buy the caravan you need to check the delivery and the collection options offered by the seller. Thieves will not make it easy for you to collect the caravan, while genuine sellers will be more than happy for you to take the caravan off their hands. They will often suggest meeting half way on a motorway or near a service station or in a car park and will want to make you believe that they are in fact doing you a favor by offering this option. You need to be wary if they want to remain anonymous.
The risk is not worth it
If you were the unsuspecting buyer of a caravan which was previously stolen then there is very little that you can do to protect your investment. If your caravan is labelled as being stolen goods, then the insurance company will give you an opportunity to either purchase it back from them at a trade price or they will remove it. Buyers of stolen caravans will lose their money so it’s worth taking every precaution to make sure it’s not stolen.
Mark is a caravan enthusiast. He currently runs his own online store buying and selling caravans of all types. However, his years of experience allow him to spot fake sellers, stolen caravans and damaged goods. This makes him a reliable reseller or dealer