Damp Caravan

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Aug 12, 2022
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I feel this is all to familiar a story... the secondhand caravan I purchased last week has damp! I thought things were going far too well, the dealer had a recent service and damp report said it was in 'outstanding condition' and swiftly organised delivery.

After delivery I noticed tape (joint concealer) hanging off the wall between the bathroom and fixed bed. When I took the carpets up in the bathroom the floor appeared sunken and had give in one section and the vinyl had been replaced. I reported this to the dealer who said it was nothing to worry about and was a professional fix by previous owner (he hadn't mentioned this to me before purchase).

A bit spooked I arranged my own service inspection which revealed internal dry rot under the bed, lots of damp patches to the floor and the previous repair was unsound. I sent the report to the dealer asking for a refund and was told 'no refunds, no warranty but he might pay for a repair'. I declined the repair and this time included photos (taken at inspection) so he could see how bad it was ... wood rotting, mould and bits flaking off.

The dealer didn't reply at first, then...

Two days later he replied saying he would have taken the caravan back but only in its original condition but now I've devastated' it he won't! The 'devastation' is a cut in the vinyl under a plastic tray liner screwed into the vinyl under the bed, accessed externally (a locker of sorts). There is no visible damage to see looking under the bed. I think it's just another excuse :-(

The caravan specialist removed the tray to look under it because the wall where this butts upto was showing signs of rot (could push finger in). He took photos and put it back as he found it.

Given previous owners took up the vinyl in the bathroom they might well have looked under the fixed bed - tray liner area to see if damage extended to the other side of the wall. But I cannot prove this. I think I read somewhere about reverse burden of proof upto 6 months, so do I have to?

I purchased the caravan one third on my visa card the rest bank transfer. I've now raised a section 75 claim. How does this work, will his wild claims prevent me being refunded.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I feel this all to a familiar story... the secondhand caravan I purchased last week has damp! I thought things were going far too well, the dealer had a recent service and damp report said it was in 'outstanding condition' and swiftly organised delivery.

After delivery I noticed tape (joint concealer) hanging off the wall between the bathroom and fixed bed. When I took the carpets up in the bathroom the floor appeared sunken and had give in one section and the vinyl had been replaced. I reported this to the dealer who said it was nothing to worry about and was a professional fix by previous owner (he hadn't mentioned this to me before purchase).

A bit spooked I arranged my own service inspection which revealed internal dry rot under the bed, lots of damp patches to the floor and the previous repair was unsound. I sent the report to the dealer asking for a refund and was told 'no refunds, no warranty but he might pay for a repair'. I declined the repair and this time included photos (taken at inspection) so he could see how bad it was ... wood rotting, mould and bits flaking off.

The dealer didn't reply at first, then...

Two days later he replied saying he would have taken the caravan back but only in its original condition but now I've devastated' it he won't! The 'devastation' is a cut in the vinyl under a plastic tray liner screwed into the vinyl under the bed, accessed externally (a locker of sorts). There is no visible damage to see looking under the bed. I think it's just another excuse :-(

The caravan specialist removed the tray to look under it because the wall where this butts upto was showing signs of rot (could push finger in). He took photos and put it back as he found it.

Given previous owners took up the vinyl in the bathroom they might well have looked under the fixed bed - tray liner area to see if damage extended to the other side of the wall. But I cannot prove this. I think I read somewhere about reverse burden of proof upto 6 months, so do I have to?

I purchased the caravan one third on my visa card the rest bank transfer. I've now raised a section 75 claim. How does this work, will his wild claims prevent me being refunded.

You might be better informing the dealer that you plan to take action under CRA2015 rather than SECTION 75 given the immediacy of timescales. You are still within the timescale to reject it. I recently used the which website where you input your information regarding the faulty goods and it generates a proforma letter to send to the trader. On a faulty recliner it worked instantly to get the traders attention. Keep notes of all telephone calls, make sure letters do get delivered and signed for. Back up with emails if you feel it would be useful. Be firm with them.

 
Aug 12, 2022
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23
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You might be better informing the dealer that you plan to take action under CRA2015 rather than SECTION 75 given the immediacy of timescales. You are still within the timescale to reject it. I recently used the which website where you input your information regarding the faulty goods and it generates a proforma letter to send to the trader. On a faulty recliner it worked instantly to get the traders attention. Keep notes of all telephone calls, make sure letters do get delivered and signed for. Back up with emails if you feel it would be useful. Be firm with them.

I've emailed the dealer and said I want a refund, is that not good enough? I don't think I have to inform him of my rights, do I? BTW I haven't mentioned the section 75 to him, he can get that surprise from them!
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I've emailed the dealer and said I want a refund, is that not good enough? I don't think I have to inform him of my rights, do I? BTW I haven't mentioned the section 75 to him, he can get that surprise from them!
If I were you I would use the Which profirma letter which spells out to the seller the basis of your complaint and your rights under U.K. law, and the sellers obligations. . Clearly your email didn’t achieve anything as the seller just brushed you off. Do it as advised by Which.

Getting redress under section 75 can take a longer time, and they may require you to show no satisf@cation under CRA 2015 and by then your rights under CRA 2015 will have passed the timeline for rejection.

Dont try and be clever by springing a surprise on the seller. You will only complicate things fir yourself.
 
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Aug 12, 2022
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If I were you I would use the Which profirma letter which spells out to the seller the basis of your complaint and your rights under U.K. law, and the sellers obligations. . Clearly your email didn’t achieve anything as the seller just brushed you off. Do it as advised by Which.

Getting redress under section 75 can take a longer time, and they may require you to show no satisf@cation under CRA 2015 and by then your rights under CRA 2015 will have passed the timeline for rejection.

Dont try and be clever by springing a surprise on the seller. You will only complicate things fir yourself.
I'm more concerned about his claim that the inspection damaged his caravan with a tear to the vinyl under the locker. Seems like he's looking for a get out and a ridiculous one at that!

I'll send him another rejection letter spelling out my rights this time. But I don't intend to tell him about my section 75 claim because it makes no difference to my case against him. The visa company told me themselves that I don't have to wait for the outcome with the dealer to start the claim and I can run them in parallel.

BTW this is only day 7 so there's still plenty of time.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Oh dear,

It seems your experience has really set off on the wrong foot. From what you tell us about the seller, Please do not name or otherwise identify them in the forum becasue you are in dispute with them and its against forum rules. I conclude by their stance they are probably not a main dealer.

Play it by the book, don't assume anything. Do follow Which's advice to the letter, and the specific wording. Further to Otherclive's advice to note all telephone conversations, If possible keep communications written rather than verbal, its much stronger evidence. But if you do have a phone conversation possibly record it, or have someone else listening in to act as witness. Do keep notes of when and who you spoke to, what was said any promises made.

Don't delay your action, becasue if it's not a main dealer, you might find they dissolve the company which means they can't be pursued under the CRA.
 
Aug 12, 2022
32
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Oh dear,

It seems your experience has really set off on the wrong foot. From what you tell us about the seller, Please do not name or otherwise identify them in the forum becasue you are in dispute with them and its against forum rules. I conclude by their stance they are probably not a main dealer.

Play it by the book, don't assume anything. Do follow Which's advice to the letter, and the specific wording. Further to Otherclive's advice to note all telephone conversations, If possible keep communications written rather than verbal, its much stronger evidence. But if you do have a phone conversation possibly record it, or have someone else listening in to act as witness. Do keep notes of when and who you spoke to, what was said any promises made.

Don't delay your action, becasue if it's not a main dealer, you might find they dissolve the company which means they can't be pursued under the CRA.
Thanks. Just one thing, as I paid by visa credit card aren't they jointly responsible and as such will pay me the full amount under section 75 regardless (provided my purchase meets the criteria, which it does)? I don't think the retailer going bust affects section 75?
 
Aug 12, 2022
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Thanks. Just one thing, as I paid by visa credit card aren't they jointly responsible and as such will pay me the full amount under section 75 regardless (provided my purchase meets the criteria, which it does)? I don't think the retailer going bust affects section 75?
What do you think to his counter claim that he would take the van back but for a tear/cut in the vinyl under the screwed down liner? He holds me responsible for this, I'm not sure how I prove it must have been existing . But I did read the CRA says a reverse burden is proof applies under six months, therefore he has to prove it didn't exist. I can't believe with the state of the floor that he'd even mentiorthis, especially as all the vinyl under the bed must come up to do the repair.
BTW your assumption is correct he is not a main dealer.
 
Last edited:
Nov 11, 2009
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What do you think to his counter claim that he would take the van back but for a tear/cut in the vinyl under the screwed down liner? He holds me responsible for this, I'm not sure how I prove it must have been existing . But I did read the CRA says a reverse burden is proof applies under six months, therefore he has to prove it didn't exist. I can't believe with the state of the floor that he'd even mention this, especially as all the vinyl under the bed must come up to do the repair.
BTW you're assumption is correct he is not a main dealer.
As you say the burden of proof lies with the seller to prove that you made that “change”. Almost impossible for the seller to do so. If it should get to the online small claims I know where that decision would fall.

Re Section 75 you are correct your “ contract” is with Visa.

Hope it gets sorted quickly and you receive a refund.
 
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May 7, 2012
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The dealer is trying it on so don't be fobbed off. If he refuses then the claim against the credit card company is your best bet and they can sort it for you. by far the easiest route.
It seems to me the only things you have done were inevitable if the problems are to be rectified and so the dealers defence is simply not going to hold water. You do not say how old the caravan is but looking at the problems you say you found I suspect the caravan is not economically repairable.
 
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Aug 12, 2022
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The dealer is trying it on so don't be fobbed off. If he refuses then the claim against the credit card company is your best bet and they can sort it for you. by far the easiest route.
It seems to me the only things you have done were inevitable if the problems are to be rectified and so the dealers defence is simply not going to hold water. You do not say how old the caravan is but looking at the problems you say you found I suspect the caravan is not economically repairable.
The caravan was 16K and is 8 years old and I think repairs might be 2K ish (unless more damage is found, after all he only looked where he could get to so he didn't damage anything (oh the irony))!

I bought it via distance selling and the video showed carpets throughout on top of the carpet was sticky plastic it actually joined the bathroom and bedroom carpets (now I realise disguising the floor change) which the dealer said was down to prevent damage.

When the caravan was delivered and after the dealer had left I took the carpets up and found the vinyl in the bathroom had been replaced. In one place the floor also felt bouncy and was sunken. I contacted the dealer and he said there had been a repair but it was now sound. However it is not sound, as shown on my report from the inspection I commisioned. The caravan specialist said it looked like there had been damage to the rear end (perhaps a shunt) ... another not so good fix as it could be spotted! The liner butts up to the opposite side of the bathroom wall so I wonder if whatever damage allowed water to ingress further. Perhaps when the damage was assessed in the bathroom they examined here also!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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If you had simply decide you did not want the caravan, becasue you had changed your mind, then the dealer would be able to counterclaim for any damage that you might have caused. But the important difference is you are rejecting the caravan becasue it is faulty, AND it did not conform to the dealers description"damp report said it was in 'outstanding condition' " which in both cases is a false description.

Under the CRA becasue it's less than 6 months from purchase you are entitled to a full refund becasue the goods are faulty.
 
Oct 3, 2013
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I've emailed the dealer and said I want a refund, is that not good enough? I don't think I have to inform him of my rights, do I? BTW I haven't mentioned the section 75 to him, he can get that surprise from them!
The dealer knows exactly what yours rights are and also what is expected of him.Don't be put off with "flannel"
 
Aug 12, 2022
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Update ..I sent him the 'which' rejection letter and he replied he will give me a refund if I take the caravan back to him. He says he will inspect and make deductions for any damage caused by the caravan specialist (who says he left the van as he found it). He will also deduct the original delivery charge.

I've responded saying the CRA for faulty goods allows me to be refunded for delivery. That he must prove there was no damage to the vinyl under the screwed down locker, 'reverse burden of proof', when delivered and that I only have to make it available for collection. I believe I'm right, but have no experience of this, just reading the CRA and following examples!

He also stated that he's leaving the country for a planned holiday on Thursday and he won't be back until early September.... Yikes!
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Update ..I sent him the 'which' rejection letter and he replied he will give me a refund if I take the caravan back to him. He says he will inspect and make deductions for any damage caused by the caravan specialist (who says he left the van as he found it). He will also deduct the original delivery charge.

I've responded saying the CRA for faulty goods allows me to be refunded for delivery. That he must prove there was no damage to the vinyl under the screwed down locker, 'reverse burden of proof', when delivered and that I only have to make it available for collection. I believe I'm right, but have no experience of this, just reading the CRA and following examples!

He also stated that he's leaving the country for a planned holiday on Thursday and he won't be back until early September.... Yikes!
Sounds reasonable on your part to me.

John
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Sounds like a result - hope it all goes well from here on for you. Be interesting to see if it reappears on his forecourt with the same claims over condition!
Don’t be put off there are some great used van out there although perhaps as you have unfortunately discovered some lemons too!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Presumably any work carried out on the caravan by your engineer was to uncover and quantify the faults within the caravan, and presumably the dealer would have had to do the same interventions to discover and repair the faults if he had checked the caravan thoroughly before selling it to you. If the caravan hadn't been faulty, you would not have needed to undertake these investigations.

Basically unless you have done unreasonable work on the caravan, the dealer cannot make any deductions to a full refund including transportation costs back to the seller's place of business.

Stick to your guns, and if he tries to make any deductions take it to the small claims court.

Based on the reports you have made, it would seem this seller is chancer, He does not deserve the title of dealer, as he is using his position of trust to serve his own interests above the legitimate rights and expectations of his customers.

He tries to rely on the ignorance of the average consumer about their statutory rights, and who uses that to falsely describe the condition of goods to sell them below an acceptable standard, and who tries to bully customers away from using their statutory rights.

Good luck.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Update ..I sent him the 'which' rejection letter and he replied he will give me a refund if I take the caravan back to him. He says he will inspect and make deductions for any damage caused by the caravan specialist (who says he left the van as he found it). He will also deduct the original delivery charge.

I've responded saying the CRA for faulty goods allows me to be refunded for delivery. That he must prove there was no damage to the vinyl under the screwed down locker, 'reverse burden of proof', when delivered and that I only have to make it available for collection. I believe I'm right, but have no experience of this, just reading the CRA and following examples!

He also stated that he's leaving the country for a planned holiday on Thursday and he won't be back until early September.... Yikes!
That WHICH CRA 2015 letter generator really does help when buyers are confronted with sellers who try to deny the buyer their rights. Hopefully when the seller gets back from holiday the problem will be fully resolved.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I have plenty of experience with rejections and taking on dealers etc and have been successful using Which Legal Services. Firstly a letter needs to be sent stating the issues and with a copy of the report. In the letter advise that you are rejecting the caravan under clauses 9, 10 and 11 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Also as per clause 19 & 20 of the Act you have the right to reject. Send the letter from a post office and ask for Proof of posting. In addition, you can email them, but do both. Give him 7 working days to respond.

However a double whammy by using S75 of the Consumer Credit Act, but be aware usng S75 can be a long drawn our process and take months to resolve. Using CRA 2015 as above is normally quicker as the delaer knows if it goes as far a s Trading standards the dealer can be shut down altogether.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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....He also stated that he's leaving the country for a planned holiday on Thursday and he won't be back until early September.... Yikes!
Yikes indeed!

I'm guessing the problems this seller has given you may well have included having to change your holiday plans, so don't feel bad about disrupting his holiday, after all you are the injured party, caused by his incompetence or possibly deliberate deciet

Don't delay pursuing this charleton. I have seen this "holiday" ruse used before. It might be genuine, but it's remarkably convenient, and potentially gives him time to reorganise, such as ceasing trading, and opening a fresh business to break any liability to existing customer's like you. If this happens you cannot pursue your claim against the original company because it no longer trades.

I hope I'm wrong.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Yikes indeed!

I'm guessing the problems this seller has given you may well have included having to change your holiday plans, so don't feel bad about disrupting his holiday, after all you are the injured party, caused by his incompetence or possibly deliberate deciet

Don't delay pursuing this charleton. I have seen this "holiday" ruse used before. It might be genuine, but it's remarkably convenient, and potentially gives him time to reorganise, such as ceasing trading, and opening a fresh business to break any liability to existing customer's like you. If this happens you cannot pursue your claim against the original company because it no longer trades.

I hope I'm wrong.
Unfortunately I doubt if you are wrong and as said the OP needs to move very quickly on this as after all it is not the concern of the OP that the dealer is taking a holiday with his ill gotten gains.
 
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Aug 12, 2022
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Yikes indeed!

I'm guessing the problems this seller has given you may well have included having to change your holiday plans, so don't feel bad about disrupting his holiday, after all you are the injured party, caused by his incompetence or possibly deliberate deciet

Don't delay pursuing this charleton. I have seen this "holiday" ruse used before. It might be genuine, but it's remarkably convenient, and potentially gives him time to reorganise, such as ceasing trading, and opening a fresh business to break any liability to existing customer's like you. If this happens you cannot pursue your claim against the original company because it no longer trades.

I hope I'm wrong.
Just checked out his company and it only opened for trading last year! So that's a worry, but fortunately I'm covered anyway by Visa section 75! It will just take longer!

My immediate plans were to use it while renovating my house. Not full-time, just when rooms were out of action .. a backup living space. So this has put works on hold!

I was going to move it off the drive onto the garden.. but I can't do that if he has to collect it. My car is now on the road, I wonder if I can put the caravan in storage and claim it back?
 
May 7, 2012
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Looks like the caravan is repairable but I would not rust the dealer given what you have said so far. The caravan sounds to be nowhere near what the advert must have said so mis description would be an added problem for the dealer. I hope you have a copy of the advert to show what the dealer said in it. I would probably still leave it to the card company as they should be easier to deal with.
I can see no basis for putting the caravan into storage and trying to recover the cost so I would not do that, but if you do you will need to get your insurers approval.
 
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