Nigel Donnelly

See other articles written by Nigel Donnelly
   
I’m thinking of going to a show.CB: Is it panto season already?


Tsk. A caravan show. I’m thinking of buying a new caravan. But I’m wondering if it’s a good idea?CB: Buying a caravan is a great idea. As for buying it at a show, it might be...

Caravan bore Tony Husband showsI’m thinking of going to a show.

CB: Is it panto season already?


Tsk. A caravan show. I’m thinking of buying a new caravan. But I’m wondering if it’s a good idea?

CB: Buying a caravan is a great idea. As for buying it at a show, it might be...


Might be? 

CB: Yeah. I mean, shows are great. You get to look at all the vans in one place and there are usually some cracking deals. But you should be cautious. Are you part-exchanging your old van?

 

Certainly am. It’s a sweetie but we really want something bigger. 

CB: Well, getting a proper valuation for your part-ex will be difficult.

 

Why’s that?

CB: Because the dealer you end up, er, dealing with won’t be able to see your caravan, so this part-ex price will be a bit of a guess.

 

But that’s not a problem. It’s mint. They’ll love it when they see it!

CB: As it happens, it’s not your caravan I’m worried about…


Eh? I’m lost. What are you on about? 

CB: Well, if the dealer is one of the less scrupulous ones, he could give you a generous part-exchange offer to secure the deal…

 

I hope so! 

CB: Yes, but hang on. The ‘Arthur Daley’ dealer makes a generous part-exchange offer, but when you turn up with your caravan to collect your new one, Dodgy Dealer will say your caravan isn’t as good as you said and reduce the part-exchange offer on the spot. You’ll be forced to find more money to take your new caravan away. 

 

I’d tell them where to stick it.

CB: Nice. But they’ve got your deposit.


Right. So I shouldn’t buy at a show? 

CB: I didn't say that. You can buy at a show – just take a few sensible precautions. Pay attention to who you are buying from. If the part-exchange price is just plucked out of the air without your being asked much about condition or specification, that’s not a good sign. An accurate part-exchange estimate needs detailed information about your caravan. If it seems extraordinarily generous, be very suspicious. 

 

OK. Anything else?

Check where the dealer is based. If you live in Newquay and the dealer is in Newcastle, you’ve got to go there to pick up the van. And often, you’ll be required to return there for servicing and warranty work, too. If you’re getting a cheap deal but the van is 300 miles away, you’ll easily do £100 in diesel there and back. A couple of visits will mean your ‘cheap’ caravan starts looking  a lot more expensive. 

 

Anything else I should know?

Pantos are rubbish.

 

 

Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent caravan reviews

The Practical Caravan 2017 Coachman VIP 565 review – 1 - The VIP’s looks have stayed fairly constant since 2012, yet it remains a desirable luxury tourer – plus, the front gas locker door boasts double locks (© Phil Russell/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Caravelair Antarès 476 review – 1 - The Caravelair Antarès 476's quirky, one 'eye' looks hint at the unusual layout inside – it has an MTPLM of 1200kg (© Phil Russell/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Buccaneer Galera review – 1 - The silver sides are new and give the 2017-season Buccaneer caravans a distinctive, upmarket look (© Andy Jenkinson/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Hymer Nova GL 470 review – 1 - Its external styling is a little boxy and retro, but there's no getting away from the Hymer Nova GL 470's £27,690 price and 1700kg MTPLM (© Practical Caravan)

Xplore 554

£15,599

The Practical Caravan Xplore 554 review – 1 - The new-for-2017 Xplore 554 is aimed at couples and has a 1335kg MTPLM (© Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Knaus StarClass 480 review – 1 - A Continental van with its door on the UK nearside, shows that Knaus is committed to wooing British caravanners – does it work with the StarClass 480? (© Peter Baber/Practical Caravan)