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...
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.
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.