buying a second hand caravan on ebay
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13 September 2006
We searched ebay for a caravan around the early 90's age. I visited a van locally that was advertised as being 1998, the cost £4000, for a 5 berth van this would almost be too good to be tru but the lady owner said she was selling due to a seperation so I figured she was desperate for the money. Upon arrival my first impression was that it look a lot older than 1998, the interior twim was almost 1989 and very basic, then i couldnt find any i.d tags on it. I later went back and took a caravan expert who dated it as 1990 no 1998 (big difference) afetr telling the lady this she admitted buying it from some gypos on wales. In my opinion probably stolen. At least this was local so not much time wasted- not so with my next experience. Now I cant get my head around people who list caravans as being immaculate when they look like Jeremy Clarkson has bangor raced them, such as this experience. An ABI Herald listed on ebay, 1990 Imacculate conditone, well looked after family caravan. The pictures were vague but looked good. I spent a week emailing back and forth questions which were answered positivly, this seemed like a little gem! The night before travelling 200 miles to pick it up after winning the auction at 3,800 we spoke on the phone for over an hour about its history and work that had been done. At this point he admitted a padlock had been put on the front locker after it was broken into and the lock damaged, a bit of a downer as this wasnt mentioned in the auction, not a major problem though, I also knew about a small patch of damp under the front window which had been fixed and the windows resealed as a result. This was the only minor faults on this beauty. So being amateur caravanners i called my dad, got him to travel 90 miles to us, then we all set out together on the journey which was plagued by bad traffic. Upon arriving my initial response was, this cant be the right van? It had a wheel arch missing, a smashed brake light, was a mouldy yellow colour and a lot shorter than advertised, not the long front benches we told about. Okay so we have travelled this far lets see inside. It stank of damp, the carpet was filthy and frayed, the table at the back was rusted and the curtains damaged. Our attention then went to the big hole in the front of the van, my dad was astonished by it, to which the seller replied, 'oh well i did tell you about that', i said 'you said it had been fixed', to which he replied, 'i said the cause had been fixed', at which point he showed us his handy work on the window seals. Bathroom sealer very messily squeezed around the existing seals of the windows, so not new seals as advertised, but rather like a kid let loose with a glue gun. The oven was rusty, and insde the wardrobe i traced the bad smell, the back panel was squidgy with damp, 'oh i hadnt noticed that' said the lying little toad. So my dad sat down with him and said 'honestly mate, i wont let my daughter touch this with a barge pole, its fit for the scrappy' to which he replied 'well what would you offer me' to which my dad said 'we wouldnt, you may get a grand off someone generous but it shouldnt even be on the road'. 'fair enough' said the seller. 'Fair enough' i dont think so, after a week of communication and a very long journey it deserves a bit mroe than that!!! And the cheeky little git even tried to sell us spare parts for our car as we left. Moral of the story... Not everybody regards 'perfect' and 'immaculate' as the same thing. Really really go into detail about repairs and work done. explain that if its not as advertised you will seek compensation for travel costs, say youve been messed around before and will not be happy if it happens again. MAKE them be honsest. And always keep in the back of your mind that some people are ruthless and couldnt care less, caravans attract three type of people, retired well off people, family every day people and rogues, work out who youre dealing with first. In my defence i did everything i thught i could at the time, i even emailed the people he bought his new van off to ask about him as a person, they said he was nice, trust worthy etc, but then he would be if hes handing tem a wadge of cash. Bear this in mind too!
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