In the past few years a number of people have reported having unknowingly purchased stolen caravans. Often times they made the purchase from a private seller who advertised his or her caravans for sale on an online classified website. The majority of negotiation was done over the phone and the caravan was found to be stolen many weeks or days later, by that time the seller had disappeared. Also, in most cases if you’re caught driving around in what is found to be a stolen caravan you can get into serious trouble with the law. This is why before purchasing make sure to keep these tips in mind.
Tip no. 1: Check the Pictures Properly
If you are looking through classified advertisements trying to find a good caravan when you see something cheap make sure that you look closely. You should be looking at signs of it being repainted and the parts replaced. However, while some bold caravan thieves will put up pictures of their caravans others may not. So examining the caravan will often be scheduled at a secluded location. So, as a rule of thumb regardless of how cheap the caravan may appear to be don’t consider it until there are enough pictures of it from every angle.
Tip no. 2: Check the profile of the Seller
If it’s a classified site then click on the user’s profile and see what they’ve sold in the past. Auction sites will also maintain a seller’s profile. Usually, it is strongly advised not to buy from sellers who are not established. If you see really cheap caravans for sale advertisements on a website by a seller whose profile is just days old its best to pass off what may seem to be a great opportunity to save. The same goes for advertisements on social networks like Facebook. If the seller’s profile looks fake then there is a good chance that what is being sold is stolen.
Tip no. 3: Check the “Collection” option
The vast majority of thieves that sell caravans via online advertisements obviously do not want to get caught. However, genuine sellers will usually ask the buyer to visit their home or office, make the payment and take off with the caravan. But this is something that thieves will avoid. Thieves will often opt for secluded locations or public locations like a bar at night. They will do everything in their power to avoid calling you to their place of business or residence. In order to protect yourself always ask the seller to call you to their home or office. If they try to avoid doing this using a series of excuses then it’s safe to assume that the seller is a thief. You may also want to call the police just to make sure that the stolen caravan is returned to its owner.
Tip no. 4: Beware of caravans which are Rebuilt
Many times thieves will disguised their caravans as rebuilt models. You may ask them for instance, why the trim is different from the original trim of the caravan and they will say that they built it after an accident. When you see that many parts are different from how the original looks its cause for concern. An accident does not merit parts from every side to be replaced. It may also not merit the internal parts of the caravan be changed. If you are not knowledgeable about caravans take a fried or acquaintance along and ask them to inspect it. Even if you’re paying half of the market value of a caravan you are still paying good money and if it turns out to be stolen that’s money down the drain so it pays to be careful from the very beginning.
Tip no. 5: Buy new
The easiest way to avoid being conned into buying a stolen caravan which later turns out to be trouble for you is to buy new. Yes new caravans can be expensive but considering how much you’ll pay to get an old one repaired and the fact that you’ll have no warranty makes spending that much money risky. Businesses like JB Caravans in Australia provide not just great caravans which you know to be new but also back them up with a significant warranty so your investment is always safe. You can also be sure that its not stolen!
- Guide to buying a Caravan
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/676996
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yvonnert/8325006312/
Mark is an expert with buying and selling caravans. He runs his own used car showroom which has now been expanded to sell new caravans. He strongly advises that people keep their guard up when dealing with people via caravans for sale advertising. The best way to avoid getting trouble according to Mark is to just buy new from a local manufacturer.