It pays to be wary when buying or selling a static caravan through contacts made on social media or non-specialist marketplaces such as eBay. Why? Because anybody you correspond with could be a scammer.
The number of reported frauds involving static caravans is on the rise. At a time when lifestyle living has never been so popular, more and more static caravans are being sold each year. In 2017, the number of caravans sold in the UK reportedly exceeded the previous year’s figure by tens of thousands. So, you can see, caravans are hugely popular holiday homes.
You can avoid falling victim to scammers when buying or selling a static caravan by only dealing with a specialist estate agent. Find out about our services at Sell My Group, or talk to a reputable park operator. Look out for the Sell My Group Recommended Park badge for added confidence.
When you buy from a specialist, you will know that the caravan actually exists and that the information you are given is accurate. If you are buying a caravan that is located on a holiday park, you will be furnished with honest details about pitch fees, park rules and the length of the licence period.
Modern static caravans come with every luxury. They are dream home-from-homes and, therefore, can command high prices. They are valuable, and they are also in demand.
That is why fraudsters are scouring the internet, looking for a vulnerable buyer or seller to scam. And once they have got your caravan or money, there may not be much you can do about it. The Sell My Group Facebook group was contacted last year with details of scams that were very convincing, so beware.
Fraudsters go out of their way to seem genuine. That is why it is not always easy to spot them. You can avoid being scammed by watching out for these common tricks:
Warning signs for sellers: A fake buyer will often only correspond with you over the internet. He or she will ask a lot of questions and could request more pictures – all in an attempt to look genuine. Then, without viewing the caravan, they will offer you the full asking price. This should be a major red flag.
The scam then moves to the next stage – payment. Never accept payment from PayPal – it can be reversed after the buyer has your caravan. Be wary of cheques. One scam involves sending a cheque for a larger amount than the price of the caravan. The seller will say they have made a mistake and ask for payment of the difference immediately. Their cheque never clears and you are left out of pocket.
The bottom line is that you should never part with your caravan until the full price has been paid and the money has cleared.
Sellers should also be wary about calls and emails from finance companies who may claim to have credit-cleared buyers waiting. It could be a scam to get you to pay a processing fee. There are no buyers.
Warning signs for buyers: If you choose to buy a caravan from a non-specialist website, be aware that the caravan may not exist. One of the biggest scams involves a too-good-to-be-true advertisement for a relatively new static caravan. The advert may claim that the caravan comes with lots of extras, or say the low price is for a ‘quick sale’.
If the seller doesn’t subsequently try to persuade you to pay for the caravan without seeing it, he or she may say they have had a lot of interest. They may claim to have viewings lined up but offer to reserve the caravan for you – for a fee. Of course, the caravan does not exist. The ‘seller’ has simply copied an image of someone else’s caravan.
A growing scam involves ‘sellers’ who lure you in with a great-sounding deal. When you contact them, they will give you a great sales pitch. It all falls apart when you try to arrange a viewing. The seller will say they have been plagued by time-wasters. They may ask you, as a gesture of goodwill and to prove you are genuine, to pay the value of the caravan into a bank account belonging to one of your family members.
The seller will assure you all they need is a receipt for the transaction. Unfortunately, information on a receipt is all it takes for the scammer to get their hands on your cash. Your viewing will never take place and you will be out of pocket by thousands of pounds.
Avoid scammers with a service you can trust
If all that sounds scary, don’t let it put you off from pursuing your dream of owning a static caravan. Deal with a specialist agent and have a hassle-free start to holiday home ownership. Begin looking for your perfect holiday home right now. Browse hundreds of models in fabulous locations on this website.
If you are thinking of selling your caravan, find out more about our expert services by getting in touch.