Niall Hampton
Editor

See other Advice articles filed in ‘On the road’ written by Niall Hampton
   
AS FAR AS caravanners are concerned, eBay is a great place to sell, but a bad place to buy.Prices often reach dealer forecourt levels for popular models as people get caught up in the bidding process. It is possible to get a good deal, though. These are Practical Caravan's top six ways to enjoy eBay shopping.

AS FAR AS caravanners are concerned, eBay is a great place to sell, but a bad place to buy.

 

 

Prices often reach dealer forecourt levels for popular models as people get caught up in the bidding process. It is possible to get a good deal, though. These are Practical Caravan's top six ways to enjoy eBay shopping.

 

1. Be prepared to travel

A caravan located in the centre of the country will always be worth more than one that's strung out of the way. If you are prepared to travel to extremities of the UK, you can often find caravans that others just can't be bothered to search for. Check the picture below. Why was one ad tracking thousands of pounds below the other seemingly identical ad? One was in Lancashire, the other was just outside Glasgow. The Lancashire van is a lot closer to a lot more caravanners. If you are prepared to go further, you could save more than you'll spend in diesel. 

 

Refine your search

 

2. Look for the bad ads

Ads with terrible pictures, poor descriptions and awful spelling simply don't get the bids. Go and see the caravan in the metal – it may be much better than the ad looks and you could save a packet. For example, the one below has a tiny exterior picture, no interior pics and the chap wants £8500 for it. He's got his work cut out…

Refine your search

3. Refine your search

eBay has loads of ways of refining the basic search. Price is one, but if you select 'Buy it Now' listings only and then sort the list by newly listed, you can sometimes find real bargains.

Refine your search

 

4. Avoid peak season

This is general buying advice rather than eBay-specific, but autumn and winter can mean some very cheap caravans from people who want to get rid, rather than store a van through the winter. Take advantage.

 

5. Be informed

Caravans can be very difficult to age and they are often listed wrongly in an ad. For caravans built from 1986, the first two digits indicate the year of manufacture. From 1992, the CRiS scheme was introduced. If you understand the CRiS number scheme, you can age more modern vans accurately. The CRiS number is made up of 18 digits. Digit 10 is the model year. It is a letter in models built between 1992 and 2000, then it was a number for models from 2001 to 2010:

N = 1992
P = 1993
R = 1994
S = 1995
T = 1996
V = 1997
W = 1998
X = 1999
Y = 2000
1 = 2001
2 = 2002
3 = 2003
4 = 2004
5 = 2005
6 = 2006
7 = 2007
8 = 2008
9 = 2009
0 = 2010

If you go to see a caravan, you can ensure you don't get told any fibs about the caravan's age by checking the number. You might even get a few quid off if the deal is done, as the caravan isn't as described. eBay's dispute console will back you up if the description is misleading.

 

6. Is it TGTBT?

Refine your search

If an eBay caravan seems very cheap with a few minutes to go, the seller is new to eBay or any kind of 'send me the money, I'll send you the van' deal is suggested, then run away. Ditto for vans that are abroad. Too good to be true is called that for a reason…

 

nigel@practicalcaravan.com

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