Best time to buy? +general advice

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Nov 11, 2009
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When I bought a pre owned van from a non franchised dealer I obtained a MBG warranty within the purchase. But there were certain exclusions in the TCs, cracked plastic body panels. I then used a Swift dealership Tilshead Caravans for servicing. They picked up a cracked rear panel and obtained authority from Swift to replace it at just under five years old. A friend of mine bought a new Swift from Highbridge but he too used Tilshead for service and repairs. But the big increase in ownership combined with supply chain issues and limited business resources has made life so much more complicated for prospective new owners like the OP who wish to buy a pre owned caravan from a non franchised dealership. Perhaps time to look at other makes. Adria have a good reputation as do Knaus.
 
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Sam Vimes

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If it's not been mentioned previously in this long thread or it's too late.....

When you buy a new van from a dealer any warranty work will most likely have to be done by that dealer. Others will be reluctant to do it. Which might mean a long trek back to the dealer for warranty work.

I have personal experience of this because the van we wanted was only available at a dealer a 6 hour drive away.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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You have fought for the information. And I agree with your conclusions. As I stated earlier, the situation regarding manufacturers warrantees is pretty hopeless.

The supplying dealer, assuming they are AWS approved, could, if they so wished, provide you with a written confirmation that they are willing to undertake any work and deal with Coachman. But I think they have already suggested that they are not interested.

Another possibility for the OP is to ask the franchised dealer if they could purchase the van from the non franchised dealer, at trade price. Then sell it to the OP with full warrantee.

I do feel that the discussion re CRA is muddying the waters with regard to the issues facing the OP.

John
It is clear that someone has little understanding of legislation. The OP should not have any issues claiming for any defects as they should be treated the same as a warranty claim. After all the warranty is essential between the dealership supplying the caravan and the manufacturer and not between the consumer and the manufacturer.
 
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The problem we have is that this particular dealer does not have a workshop, is neither a coachman dealer, nor and AWS service centre. They literally cannot talk to coachman on our behalf if we had any warranty issues to claim for.
It doesn’t matter what the law says, they can’t help as far as I can work out, even if they wanted to - which they don’t

I am thinking I should go back to them and ask them for the insurance backed warranty instead as now I know where I stand generally, I can tell them that the warranty that will get transferred is essentially useless. I suspect they won’t offer that and we may have to walk away, losing our £500 deposit in the process and leaving a very bitter taste in the mouth.

I can’t quite believe this is how this is
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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It is clear that someone has little understanding of legislation. The OP should not have any issues claiming for any defects as they should be treated the same as a warranty claim. After all the warranty is essential between the dealership supplying the caravan and the manufacturer and not between the consumer and the manufacturer.
I do not remember anyone suggesting that a warrantee was between the consumer and manufacturer. Cannot see where you picked that up from.

In the OP’ s case. He will have a short term warrantee with the seller. I do not think that has been in question.

Then there is the remaining part of the manufacturers warrantee. And finding a dealer who is willing to take this on should a problem arise. This is nice and clear with the original supplying dealer. But far from clear with used vans and even less clear if the dealer is not franchised.

I purchased a 1 year old Bailey privately. So no warrantee. Before I paid my money. I spoke to the supplying dealer who said they were prepared to deal with me as though I was the new buyer.

This is the sort of certainty that the OP needs.

I feel that most people DO have difficulty getting warrantee work done. Even with new vans. I certainly have had arguments in order to get legitimate claims made. I never needed to implement the CRA, but like you, would have done if it was needed.

What comes clear to me from this thread, is what we are hearing from the OP’s possible dealer, their nearby franchised dealer, and Coachman. It is vague and non committal. I suspect they do this deliberately.

Just how useful is it that the warrantee can be transferred but is of no use if no one will take on the work.


John
 
Jun 20, 2005
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John,s #117 refocuses where the OP is.

The real issue is the true cost to the OP saving £9k buying used from a non franchised dealer.
There appears to be a lack of clarity exactly how the seller will handle the different types of warranty claims.
Are we to accept this seller has no contact at all with say Thetford or Dometic if one of their products fail?
Conversely are we becoming too focused on disaster. Coachman do have a very good reliability record . Failures of the ancillary items is not too bad these days.

Have Coachman agreed to the transfer of the water ingress warranty?
The ancillaries may originally have had a three year warranty. Will Coachman transfer the balance to the OP ?
Can the OP speak to previous customers of the seller about the after sales service? Difficult but worth asking.

At what price is total peace of mind £9 k?

Yet for years Forumites have told their stories of warranty claims that have gone wrong even with a main dealer involved!
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I do not remember anyone suggesting that a warrantee was between the consumer and manufacturer. Cannot see where you picked that up from.

In the OP’ s case. He will have a short term warrantee with the seller. I do not think that has been in question.

Then there is the remaining part of the manufacturers warrantee. And finding a dealer who is willing to take this on should a problem arise. This is nice and clear with the original supplying dealer. But far from clear with used vans and even less clear if the dealer is not franchised.

I purchased a 1 year old Bailey privately. So no warrantee. Before I paid my money. I spoke to the supplying dealer who said they were prepared to deal with me as though I was the new buyer.

This is the sort of certainty that the OP needs.

I feel that most people DO have difficulty getting warrantee work done. Even with new vans. I certainly have had arguments in order to get legitimate claims made. I never needed to implement the CRA, but like you, would have done if it was needed.

What comes clear to me from this thread, is what we are hearing from the OP’s possible dealer, their nearby franchised dealer, and Coachman. It is vague and non committal. I suspect they do this deliberately.

Just how useful is it that the warrantee can be transferred but is of no use if no one will take on the work.


John
The warranty part was offered to benefit the OP and hopefully clarify warranties a bit better. If I were the OP I would try and get back my deposit citing perhaps misrepresentation as they are unable to do any repairs on the caravan. Hopefully they used a CC to pay the deposit and are taking out finance on the caravan?

However even if they lose the £500, they may be better off at another dealership. Generally if there are issues with a caravan, it is taken back to point of sale for repairs however in this case, it seems they cannot do any repairs and need to outsource to a third party?
 
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The warranty part was offered to benefit the OP and hopefully clarify warranties a bit better. If I were the OP I would try and get back my deposit citing perhaps misrepresentation as they are unable to do any repairs on the caravan. Hopefully they used a CC to pay the deposit and are taking out finance on the caravan?

However even if they lose the £500, they may be better off at another dealership. Generally if there are issues with a caravan, it is taken back to point of sale for repairs however in this case, it seems they cannot do any repairs and need to outsource to a third party?
I do not understand your first sentence, but definitely agree with the rest. However, as Dusty suggested, if a large saving is being made. Perhaps it is worth a punt.

John
 
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I do not understand your first sentence, but definitely agree with the rest. However, as Dusty suggested, if a large saving is being made. Perhaps it is worth a punt.

John
Just my view, but is the hassle worth the savings? One wants to be relaxed and confident when making a big purchase and not stressed out about it. Many of these "We buy any caravan" buy rejected caravans from finance houses and maybe dealerships.

They then put the caravan straight onto their forecourts without doing any repairs and hope the consumer will not notice until after they have purchased. This is fact and not hearsay. This may not have happened with the caravan the OP is purchasing and they can check the service records.
 

Sam Vimes

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Since my 3 year warranty expired last year I now take my van to a nearer non-franchised dealer. I asked them why dealers other than the original one from which I purchased it would not do warranty work. They were honest and said it's down to cost.

Manufacturers apparently don't give the dealers sufficient funds to cover all the warranty work. Things take longer than the manufacturer allows. If it's sold by the dealer the additional cost is down to the Sales Dept. If it's another dealer then the Service Dept. covers the difference!

The dealer I used though was willing to submit the claim, if necessary, to the manufacturer but I'd still have to go back to the original dealer to get it done.

No longer an issue for me now.
 

Mel

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This is a horrible position to be in. No one wants to buy a van and then constantly worry about the fight that they may need to have.
Can I suggest that your next set of phone calls is to a list of local Coachman dealerships with servicing centres and to AWS Coachman approved workshops and get from them whether or not they will undertake warranty work. If you have one that says yes; then sighs of relief all around. If all day no; then you make a decision about your deposit.
Good luck
Mel
Edit. Direct Leisure Repairs cover the East Midlands. I think I read that they are approved for Coachman Warranty work. Not used them myself but someone on here recommended them in another thread?
Give them a ring and see what they can offer
 
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Feb 13, 2024
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Why are you lot all doom and gloom? You have all got the op returning the van even before it's bought. As I always says, if its going to happen it will, life's too short.
 
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This is a horrible position to be in. No one wants to buy a van and then constantly worry about the fight that they may need to have.
Can I suggest that your next set of phone calls is to a list of local Coachman dealerships with servicing centres and to AWS Coachman approved workshops and get from them whether or not they will undertake warranty work. If you have one that says yes; then sighs of relief all around. If all day no; then you make a decision about your deposit.
Good luck
Mel
This is pretty much exactly where I have gotten to. I asked one AWS guy and he said no, but have now found another one nearby that has said Yes 😄

Also, we are pretty happy with the response from coachman themselves via WhatsApp - they have responded to all my questions in a timely manner and have also just sent me 2 dealerships that they say are generally happy to take on work on vans they haven’t supplied… so I’m feeling rather better about it all now 😊
 
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Why are you lot all doom and gloom? You have all got the op returning the van even before it's bought. As I always says, if its going to happen it will, life's too short.
Thanks - i am generally a more positive person and so I do take some of the doom mongers with a pinch of salt but as I did my due diligence it was beginning to sound like it might actually be a problem. Happy to report that I think we have found a solution now though and we are once more feeling excited about owning our new van. 😊
 
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Just my view, but is the hassle worth the savings? One wants to be relaxed and confident when making a big purchase and not stressed out about it. Many of these "We buy any caravan" buy rejected caravans from finance houses and maybe dealerships.

They then put the caravan straight onto their forecourts without doing any repairs and hope the consumer will not notice until after they have purchased. This is fact and not hearsay. This may not have happened with the caravan the OP is purchasing and they can check the service records.
Yes to me the savings are worth the hassle. £9k is a lot to save and means we have already taken the initial depreciation hit. Buying a brand new van means an immediate guaranteed 20% loss - at least this way we only lose big money IF there’s a problem and it doesn’t get sorted under warranty.
 
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Why are you lot all doom and gloom? You have all got the op returning the van even before it's bought. As I always says, if its going to happen it will, life's too short.
More not wanting the OP to have a crash and encouraging her to ask the right questions of all involved.
Certainly not doom and gloom😎

Getting there Redelf.
Once Coachman agree in writing their Warranties are transferred to you I’d feel more comfortable.

BTW I assume you have checked the seller has good legal title to ownership of this caravan? I wonder if it is part of the bankrupt stock from Robinsons? It may be useful if you could establish who the previous owner was and have a general chat about their two years experience.
 
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This is a horrible position to be in. No one wants to buy a van and then constantly worry about the fight that they may need to have.
Can I suggest that your next set of phone calls is to a list of local Coachman dealerships with servicing centres and to AWS Coachman approved workshops and get from them whether or not they will undertake warranty work. If you have one that says yes; then sighs of relief all around. If all day no; then you make a decision about your deposit.
Good luck
Mel
Edit. Direct Leisure Repairs cover the East Midlands. I think I read that they are approved for Coachman Warranty work. Not used them myself but someone on here recommended them in another thread?
Give them a ring and see what they can offer
It was myself, Mel, that mentioned DLS, they were very helpful after my Coachman dealer went bust. The two local dealers were too busy to take me on for a rear panel replacement.

DLS were going to replace the rear panel under Warranty from Coachman, but at the last minute Coachman decided they wanted to investigate the problem them selfs.
Redelf I would go for it, there are places that will do warranty work if needed.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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It was myself, Mel, that mentioned DLS, they were very helpful after my Coachman dealer went bust. The two local dealers were too busy to take me on for a rear panel replacement.

DLS were going to replace the rear panel under Warranty from Coachman, but at the last minute Coachman decided they wanted to investigate the problem them selfs.
Redelf I would go for it, there are places that will do warranty work if needed.
That’s good because probably the more difficult jobs are panel repairs and replacement as these are proprietary to Coachman. Things like fridge, heater, cooker, leaking window or rooflight seals etc are bread and butter to AWS technicians and normally don’t necessarily require supply from the maker.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Redelf,

As you can see bey the number of comments your questions have received, yor original posting has stimulated several diversions into areas that are actually quite important when you are looking at the such a big (both physically and financially) purchase.

Sadly it is trait of the UK caravan industry that they are incapable of consistently producing properly designed caravans that are reliable and last a long time. Historic surveys show that at usually 20% of all caravans require some warranty repairs. and thats just the issues that are reported . There are many warrantable issues that are corrected by owners becasue of the hassle of getting them done by dealers. In terms of quality assurance that is an abysmal record. Some manufacturers may be slightly better than others, but NONE of them have what I would consider to be a good reliability or after sales performance.

This is why it is important to understand the possibility of needing to have a functionable warranty scheme.

But I am also concerned from your comments that some of the choices you are making seem to be coming from the heart rather than the head. Please forgive me if I'm wrong about this.

Stop and re think everything using your head.

Do you really need such a big caravan? A smaller caravan with a decent awning will still be bigger than your motor home.

Also as the car can be uncoupled from the caravan when on holiday it is available to for trips out to the shops or to explore the area without having to pack everything up for each day.

Smaller caravan will be easier for the car to tow, and easier to manhandle into position.

If you are not used to towing caravans (which are much bigger than garden trailers) there are courses run by the clubs which can not only help with towing and manoeuvring but other good caravanning tips.

Having the freedom to spend such larger amounts does not mean you have to spend it.

Good luck
 
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Hello Redelf,

As you can see bey the number of comments your questions have received, yor original posting has stimulated several diversions into areas that are actually quite important when you are looking at the such a big (both physically and financially) purchase.

Sadly it is trait of the UK caravan industry that they are incapable of consistently producing properly designed caravans that are reliable and last a long time. Historic surveys show that at usually 20% of all caravans require some warranty repairs. and thats just the issues that are reported . There are many warrantable issues that are corrected by owners becasue of the hassle of getting them done by dealers. In terms of quality assurance that is an abysmal record. Some manufacturers may be slightly better than others, but NONE of them have what I would consider to be a good reliability or after sales performance.

This is why it is important to understand the possibility of needing to have a functionable warranty scheme.

But I am also concerned from your comments that some of the choices you are making seem to be coming from the heart rather than the head. Please forgive me if I'm wrong about this.

Stop and re think everything using your head.

Do you really need such a big caravan? A smaller caravan with a decent awning will still be bigger than your motor home.

Also as the car can be uncoupled from the caravan when on holiday it is available to for trips out to the shops or to explore the area without having to pack everything up for each day.

Smaller caravan will be easier for the car to tow, and easier to manhandle into position.

If you are not used to towing caravans (which are much bigger than garden trailers) there are courses run by the clubs which can not only help with towing and manoeuvring but other good caravanning tips.

Having the freedom to spend such larger amounts does not mean you have to spend it.

Good luck
Others have already expressed these thoughts. Thanks though. The size is part of the reason we’re switching to a caravan. Car availability being the other.
I will consider pushing the course with my husband if I feel it’s needed, but I’m sure you can imagine the response from him when I first broached the subject 😉
 
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This is pretty much exactly where I have gotten to. I asked one AWS guy and he said no, but have now found another one nearby that has said Yes 😄

Also, we are pretty happy with the response from coachman themselves via WhatsApp - they have responded to all my questions in a timely manner and have also just sent me 2 dealerships that they say are generally happy to take on work on vans they haven’t supplied… so I’m feeling rather better about it all now 😊
I believe you are only in this position due to your hard work doing your due diligence. Hope the forum have provided some support.

Best of luck.

John
 
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Hello Redelf,



Do you really need such a big caravan? A smaller caravan with a decent awning will still be bigger than your motor home.

Also as the car can be uncoupled from the caravan when on holiday it is available to for trips out to the shops or to explore the area without having to pack everything up for each day.

Smaller caravan will be easier for the car to tow, and easier to manhandle into position.

If you are not used to towing caravans (which are much bigger than garden trailers) there are courses run by the clubs which can not only help with towing and manoeuvring but other good caravanning tips.

Having the freedom to spend such larger amounts does not mean you have to spend it.

Good luck
With any caravan you have to take tight corners (eg around fuel pump) wide and monitor it in wing mirror. Longer caravan wider you need to go as caravan cuts corner.

Approach and more commonly departure angle also need to be taken into account. This rear of caravan scrapping ground when leaving a drive way or ramp on ferry. Longer and lower caravan less departure angle you have. This why aussie caravans (eg Jayco) have good ground clearnce.
 
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