My purchase paranoia

PTA

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Have just agreed to trade in my five year old Sterling Continental 580 for a brand new Elddis Crusader Mistral which we will be collecting soon.
This is where the paranoia sets in! New caravans, on the whole, have been a nightmare for us with four out of five having either damp setting in or serious issues. One (year 2010) with 47 faults (electrics, damp, fittings falling apart).
Every time we buy new, we cross our fingers whilst reciting the mantra "this one will be good."
I realise we are fortunate in being able to buy new...but it shouldn't be like this should it?
Please reassure me!.......and,please, no responses telling me I have made the wrong choice!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Have just agreed to trade in my five year old Sterling Continental 580 for a brand new Elddis Crusader Mistral which we will be collecting soon.
This is where the paranoia sets in! New caravans, on the whole, have been a nightmare for us with four out of five having either damp setting in or serious issues. One (year 2010) with 47 faults (electrics, damp, fittings falling apart).
Every time we buy new, we cross our fingers whilst reciting the mantra "this one will be good."
I realise we are fortunate in being able to buy new...but it shouldn't be like this should it?
Please reassure me!.......and,please, no responses telling me I have made the wrong choice!

Don’t think anyone can reassure you other than to say not all new caravans are bad quality. A lot will depend on your dealers PDI and your conscientious approach to checking everything out before acceptance. Don’t be fobbed off be firm. After that you will just have to hope that any arising quality issues are minimal. There are some who prefer to keep caravans longer as overtime they have been debugged and can be relied upon. I kept a Bailey for 9 years although in its first 3 years it had to have both front and real panels replaced. But the remains 6 years were totally trouble and damp free until I sold it.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hello PTA

Welcome to the UK new caravan lottery!

There is little to choose between the largest manufacturers.

According to the available statistics approx. 20% of new caravans do have avoidable manufacturing flaws. Most industries would be appalled at that performance and put real effort into improving quality and consistency.

Hope your new caravan bucks the trend
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Elddis are on the up after being taken over by Hymer and then of course the American parent company-of course it depends a lot on dealer pdi too but our Bucanneer we took delivery of in October appears absolutely perfect other than stiff locks which are now absolutely fine! Be positive-give it a good once over on collection too!
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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I think Brand New caravans, before being given over to the new buyer, should have a damp report, as part of the PDI . It may have been sitting around for 6 months in the rain etc, you get the "new van" and the first service might show damp after 18 months. The rot has already set in.
 
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Damian

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I fully agree, and that before taking the van off the forecourt every single thing should be shown actually working correctly.
The attached photo is the Ultrastore heating element as was fitted to my brand new van, notice the nice staple through the power cable !!!!!
 

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Nov 16, 2015
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When people like ourselves take over a caravan and go through everything with "the sales person" they get flustered as you lift seats, wobble doors and panels, and point out failings of the caravan .
On collecting my last new van there was no gas pigtail, "oh you can buy a new one" out came the spanners and removed it from my old van, along with the batteries from the, smoke and Carbon monoxide alarms.
 
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On collecting my last new van there was no gas pigtail, "oh you can buy a new one" out came the spanners and removed it from my old van, along with the batteries from the, smoke and Carbon monoxide alarms.

I can't believe what they see as acceptable as being missing on a new caravan. I can just accept the bottle being missing as its a consumable, but the pigtail?? Its like buying a new cooker with no knobs. You are left paying extra to be able to use the good as intended. I don't see how this can be seen as correct.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Thats not the best bit, I was shown around the caravan, how everything worked, including the gas heater and water heater, cooker etc. The dealer removed the pigtail , whilst moving the caravan from the back service yard to the front dispatch area. The are no longer in business.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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I think Brand New caravans, before being given over to the new buyer, should have a damp report, as part of the PDI . It may have been sitting around for 6 months in the rain etc, you get the "new van" and the first service might show damp after 18 months. The rot has already set in.

You all seem to be buying from the wrong dealer. Are Robinsons of Worksop the only ones to do this(and to be fair the Chesterfield branch too).???

In October we took delivery of our brand new Bucanneer . When we arrived the caravan was lit up, electrics attached, water attached heating on music on . We were shown absolutely everything and every question answered that we had. Nearly 2 hours later we were ready to go after a thorough handover-they even stopped the traffic to let us out as I had a broken foot and my wife was relatively new to towing!

We got a superb PDI checklist itemising every check they had made, the van was immaculate even down to an Autosmart-commercial valeting supplies dealer, air freshener not that it needed it and of course a full damp report. We have always had a full damp report on our new Caravans from Robinsons. Superb dealership IMO. Oh and they even threw in 2 tv brackts and a hitch cover.
 

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Leisure Sales of Sandbach, just down the road from us, have an excellent reputation and I would have liked to buy from them. Unfortunately, they don't sell Elddis 'vans. Have checked reviews of the, new to us, Elddis dealer and they seem positive.
Proof of the pudding...etc
 
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On the flip side to this stingyness; i bought a motorhome from Barons (i think) near York. I said i wanted a leisure battery throwing in - no problem sir. And TWO gas bottles - certainly sir. A set of floor mats - sure thing. Finally, ...half a tank of diesel? Err sorry sir, we cant use the nearby petrol station any more. What about a hook up cable (which i'd forgot about) and some levelling blocks? Done! Result! Couldn't believe it. 3 weeks later they were insolvent!
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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When you buy a house you pay for a survey report. Even with a brand new caravan pay for a qualified caravan engineer to give it a once over for you in addition to the physical hand over.
 
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May 7, 2012
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A lot depends on the dealer involved, if they are good the PDI should have been done and the caravan should not be a problem. When we bought the last one the dealer arranged for the opld one to be parked alongside the old one so we could transfer our comtents, this is quite a saving in work for us. At the same time we were left for near enough an hour to go round it and spotted a couple of minor points which were dealt with on the spot.
Basically if you have doubts turn up early and ask to look round the caravan while you wait for the time to take it over. Hopefully they will be serving someone else and you should have time to give it a thorough check undisturbed.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Its all very well saying "if the dealer is good" but first time buyers have no way of knowing if the dealer they are intending to use are "good bad or ugly". And of course even a reliably good dealer may have a rouge sales person or a bad day.
 
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That is true to a certain degree; however there are plenty of forums and review sites-a google trawl would give an idea I am sure-saying that as you say they all have their bad days and of course, those who don't get satisfaction make the loudest noises.
 

JTQ

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The dealer did not build the van, I don't see their job is to rebuild brand new ones either.

The PDI, is only an "inspection", it is not a rectification and the expectation that it is, simply endorses what is fundamentally wrong with the whole culture of this trade.

The dealers don't simply tell the builder to collect the inspection's failures, till they do that, we will continue to get the quality we do.

Hope the van offered to PTA is and remains perfect, if so it will IMO be despite the system operated.
 
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I picked up a new Caravan last month, to be honest i never have a lot of faith in dealer PDI's but other than a few minor issues i appear to have come away unscathed.

Found it interesting, that during the handover i was expected to sign what appeared to be a disclaimer to attest to there being no scratches on the windows!
 
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It certainly used to be the case and I seen no reason for it to have changed dramatically but the dealer is required by the terms of their contracts with the manufacturer to undertake some finishing activities. What it involves will vary depending on the manufacture and to some extent the model.
 
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JTQ

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Prof, I have no reason to doubt that and it fits perfectly with the archaic industry, we have here, and fits again perfectly with the results the end users are so often left with.

Hopefully, at least from the end user's point of view, they will adopt a very different approach quickly, or the same firestorm will eradicate it here as happened in the automotive industry way back in the last century.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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It certainly used to be the case and I seen no reason for it to have changed dramatically but the dealer is required by the terms of their contracts with the manufacturer to undertake some finishing activities. What it involves will vary depending on the manufacture and to some extent the model.
My last two new caravans came from a sole Bailey dealer. They claim, fairly , to be the largest Bailey UK Dealer. Handovers were similar to Ray’s.
PTA appears to be buying from an “unknown “ dealer, who may well be reputable. We don’t know. Spend a few quid and get a Damian to check it for you. Why take a risk if you are not sure or with no disrespect not qualified?
 
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I think this is partly true these days. You can google the dealers name and you can then find reviews. I do accept they need some care when reading them but it should help.
 

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As before, I have checked the dealer out carefully. Trouble is, that's what I did on previous 'vans!...except for one "new" dealer who tried to apply auto sales approaches to caravan sales and went, deservedly, bust. That was a mistake never to be repeated.
I hope I'm not sounding too pessimistic but the purpose of my original post was to point out how, almost uniquely, buying a new (UK?) caravan feels like a gamble. Quite simply, it should not.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Prof, I have no reason to doubt that and it fits perfectly with the archaic industry, we have here, and fits again perfectly with the results the end users are so often left with.

Hopefully, at least from the end user's point of view, they will adopt a very different approach quickly, or the same firestorm will eradicate it here as happened in the automotive industry way back in the last century.
The car industry too has options that are added on by the dealer and they too pdi the car-for fluids fit/finish and have to valet the car as it comes in packaging to prevent damage. Cars can be sitting there a while waiting for a new owner so a pdi is important there too.
We certainly haven't found it a lottery in the slightest-one second hand and two new caravans and we've been over the moon with all three and the handovers in all cases. I don't have the jaded view of the caravan industry that some have obviously and there are a lot of good dealers, happy people and deserving UK caravan builders out there.
 

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