As the summer holiday season draws ever closer (although you wouldn’t be able to tell by the weather), the amount of people looking to invest in a caravan is increasing. With the ‘staycation’ as popular as ever due to the increasing cost of holidaying abroad, there is a demand for caravans at bargain prices.
Unfortunately, caravan thieves are aware of this increase in demand and are all-too-willing to shift stolen vehicles onto unsuspecting punters. Even the rich and famous aren’t immune to theft, as Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson found out after his caravan was stolen by a ‘well-organised’ gang of thieves. Thieves such as these are often looking to offload vehicles quickly and make a quick buck doing so, meaning that prices are usually at ‘too good to be true’ levels.
The implications of buying a stolen caravan can be dire; you can lose both your caravan and your money should the previous owners’ insurance company catch up with you, and stolen vehicles lack the quality checks reputable dealers will make on previously used caravans.
If you’re looking to invest in a used caravan this summer, it’s important to stay vigilant and make sure you aren’t accidently purchasing a stolen vehicle. There are a couple of warning signs that a vehicle may not be all that it seems.
Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the chassis and the bottom of windows – if it’s been tampered with or even worse there isn’t one at all then it’s best to steer clear as the seller may have something to hide. If there is a VIN, cross reference it with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme.
Make sure that you receive all the proper documentation from the seller, such as log books and a Touring Caravan Registration Document (used to notify the CRiS of changes in ownership). Thieves often can’t provide this material as the previous owner will have stored it away from the van itself.
Don’t take a logbook as definitive proof of ownership however, as there are quite a few cases where logbooks have been stolen along with vehicles.
As an extra measure, ask for proof of identity, addresses and even pictures of them using the caravan – this may seem excessive but any genuine seller will be more than happy to comply provided they’ve nothing to hide.
The best way to avoid buying a stolen caravan, however, is buying from a reputable dealership with the proper accreditations. Accreditations, such as those held by North Western Caravans, are an assurance to you as a buyer that all dealings will be completely legal and the caravan you receive will be of the highest quality. It’s a surefire way to avoid falling into any nasty traps this summer.