damp meter tests

Mar 14, 2005
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I have recently traded in my first caravan for a larger model which is two years old, this was through a major trader with, I suppose, a good reputation in the trade.

The financial side was sorted out and a higher than expected trade in value of my first caravan agreed upon, this was without the dealer seeing my trade in model. When I took my caravan to exchange the dealer then did a damp test with a meter and found a 'damp patch' in the top corner, which I disputed, They then said that they required a further £300 from me to go through with the deal, or I could change my mind.

Bearing in mind that I still though the trade in was more that I expected and I had travelled distance of 60 miles and I had the cheque from my bank printed out and in my pocket I went along and paid the £300 and took my new caravan home.

My question is: Is this a bit of sharp practice and is it possible for an unscrupulous dealer to 'fix' a damp meter?

Just to say though that the price I ended up paying was still a good deal and I was happy, but just hate the thought of being a victim of any scam.
 
Dec 24, 2003
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Hello Tony. This is the problem you get when you have your part-ex caravan valued "unseen". This happened to me when I bought a new caravan from a big dealer in the Northwest, after having my old one "valued unseen". Come handover day: we had to find another
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Tony, If your dealer quoted you a figure they would pay for your unseen caravan, and did not cover themselves with a rider that allows them to adjust the offer when the van is seen, then they have broken a contract and the law. I suspect there will have been a clause in the small print ("subject to inspection") that gives them the right to modify or even reject your van if it does not meet their criteria, how ever this must have been brought to you attention at the time the offer was made or confirmed. As they are relying on the results of some form of testing to assess the condition of your old caravan, you should ask what their test criteria are before agreeing to the deal. Now the damp meter is a relatively simple device that measures the electrical resistance between its two probes. For it to have any meaningful authority it should be calibrated and state the value of resistance that will cause it to show "damp" It is also important to understand that different building & construction methods will produce different readings with the same amount of moisture present. In addition the weather will also affect the readings. So if you want to be really difficult, ask the dealer to prove the test instrument is calibrated against, and traceable to, a national standard, and that the variables (such as temperature, relative humidity, materials used in the construction of the van depth of penetration of the test probes.) that affect the uncertainty of measurement has been incorporated into the recorded result. Prove that the operator is competent to use the instrument and to interpret the results. That the instrument was not used in any conditions it was not designed for. Realistically, as you have already concluded the deal, you would be on a sticky wicket, unless you seriously believe the company were trying to defraud you.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Tony,

It would not be in the interest of the dealer to try and fix a damp test, but through ignorance they could be miss-reading the meter. A screw from a corner moulding etc, or a metal plate will show up as a damp patch.I suggest that you take a strong magnet with you next time you have a damp test so you can see if they are picking up damp or metal. Caravan engineer.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Is it not possible that the van had "a damp patch in the top corner"? It seems to be too easy to label this as a scam or sharp practice, it must be very difficult to give a valuation on an item as described by the seller, not knowing if this is indeed an unscrupulous attempt to defraud the dealer. If there were no curtains in the van nobody would expect the dealer to honour the valuation, but with an unseen and possibly unknown fault he's automatically Dick Turpin. Just a thought.

On the other hand he might be right toe-rag.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As a caravan salesman this is not a rare occurrence. I find it hard to believe that a dealer would use such behaviour- it is easy to prove whether or not damp exists to an abnormal level-current meters give the percentage of moisture without even penetrating the wall board. It is not their fault you described your van so incorrectly, even if you were unaware. Would you expect them to honour the price if the van were older or had a broken window? It is not enjoyable telling people their van is damp and you should have been told the price was 'subject to viewing' however some people do try to trade out of a problem.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hate these people who can go one better!

When we changed our 'van last, I took the old van in to collect the new one. The salesman checked it over - in the lockers, behind the curtains, etc...with his hand! Then remarked how good a condition it was.

I left with the new van.

A week later they phoned to say that they had found damp and would we like to contribute
 

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