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New Caravanners need our help!


PR1
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Well sat here on our home from home site. Home farm , Kewstoke, a non facility 12 pitch site in an orchard.

Tales from the last few days!

Caravan turns up opposite. Mum, dad and four children. Starts setting up, and then comes to ask for help. Helped him level up, and set water and heating up. First time out! Just had basic tuition from the dealer. The amount of stuff, awning, bikes etc in the caravan reminded me of the French.

Then had another couple and one boy, about 10 and so polite. They asked for help with their heating and water!

Whilst chatting I looked at the tow ball! Still covered in paint, so we got that sorted! Collected the caravan just down the road. Did not even though that they needed extended mirrors!Again minimal help from their dealer. 
There should be a rule about letting people out with caravans with so little knowledge!

Sorry! Just needed saying!

2019 Bailey Platinum (640) Phoenix from Chipping Sodbury caravans, towed by our  2017 my Discovery Sport!

 

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I think that some dealers have been taking advantage of the public’s caravan-buying-frenzy during the COVID restrictions and have been selling anything to anyone without any interest in the buyers knowledge or experience. Ultimately it is down to the buyer to do their own research but I don’t doubt that the volume of new buyers has brought a few unscrupulous dealers out of the woodwork. There will probably be a few interesting sights heading down to Cornwall this summer 

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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2 minutes ago, GaryB1969 said:

I think that some dealers have been taking advantage of the public’s caravan-buying-frenzy during the COVID restrictions and have been selling anything to anyone without any interest in the buyers knowledge or experience. Ultimately it is down to the buyer to do their own research but I don’t doubt that the volume of new buyers has brought a few unscrupulous dealers out of the woodwork. There will probably be a few interesting sights heading down to Cornwall this summer 

May be true. But both the caravanners bought from what I thought were reputable dealers!

2019 Bailey Platinum (640) Phoenix from Chipping Sodbury caravans, towed by our  2017 my Discovery Sport!

 

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4 minutes ago, PR1 said:

May be true. But both the caravanners bought from what I thought were reputable dealers!


I bought four from a well known/well publicised dealership, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend them. Greed is a strange beast and can bring out a different side of people and businesses!

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Hint for anyone buying their first caravan, a new one, or an unfamiliar one.

 

1) Take your phone out of your pocket and video the handover process, concentrating on where things are, how they work and what to do if they don't, the main ones being hitching / unhitching, mover,  the water system, 240v system, 12v system, fridge, hot water, heating, gas system, toilet and cooking, the minor ones how to put beds and bunks up.

 

2) Don't be afraid to ask for things to be demonstrated again, no matter how  busy and quick the person doing the changeover appears to be, wanting to move on to the next handover, don't be fobbed off, you are paying for his time to show you, get your moneys worth.

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you may well be right GaryB1969,  but people have to take responsibility for what they are doing. Some folk come on here and you can see that they have done their homework but some others ask such basic questions, I know that we say no question is daft and it isn't, but they really should look up the basics.  I don't like to down women, being one myself, but on site last year, it was the women who were saying things were fine and  it was the men were accepting any help going and grateful for it.  I'll give you an example, the man couldn't understand why the motor mover wouldn't work, I asked if the rollers were on the tyre properly as I didn't hear the clunk, the woman told me that he was okay and knew what he was doing, so I left them to it. Later the man told my OH that he hadn't put the roller on the tyres properly. 

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3 minutes ago, joanie said:

 but people have to take responsibility for what they are doing.
 

but they really should look up the basics. 


But they don’t. Nothing will change it and at the end of the day no-one is to blame but themselves. However there’s nothing “we” can do other than educate when they ask for help as done by PR1.

 

Any VOSA check points on the M5 might be busy during the summer months!

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Not forgetting, of course, that during the covid restrictions up until 12th April handovers were pretty much reduced to "click & collect" and those that now take place will be very limited by social distancing and covid secure business requirements. 

Edited by Legal Eagle
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We can see when a new caravanner needs help and are willing to do so , but last year some comments were really silly, like the woman telling me that they have been caravanning 5 years and the chap saying it was only their second time out. I don't know why they do it , surely they don't think they have to impress me :lol::D

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When collecting a caravan, even under Covid rules, there is nothing to stop a sales person from standing back and taking time outdoors to explain how things work, and the order in which to tackle various tasks.

There is a lot to take in for someone not familiar with caravanning, so (in addition to the detailed manufacturer's handbook and assorted leaflets) a simple printed A4 sheet provided by the dealer to cover the basics, would be useful for a novice caravanner to take with them, and would act as an 'aide-mémoire' once on site.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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I think issue here is that nowadays plenty of people have zero practical skills. None at all. If you do not know even how to pick up a spanner or check tyre pressures then you are going to find the practical aspects of caravanning difficult.

 

Those of us who as children learned to fix our bikes & then as teenagers learned to fix our motorbikes & cars & learned how to drive around the country by reading maps find it difficult to comprehend how people can actually get through life without those skills & yet nowadays it appears to be possible. 

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18 minutes ago, Camperdom said:

I think issue here is that nowadays plenty of people have zero practical skills. None at all. If you do not know even how to pick up a spanner or check tyre pressures then you are going to find the practical aspects of caravanning difficult.

 

Those of us who as children learned to fix our bikes & then as teenagers learned to fix our motorbikes & cars & learned how to drive around the country by reading maps find it difficult to comprehend how people can actually get through life without those skills & yet nowadays it appears to be possible. 

 

Very valid posting!

 

Basic skills are no longer taught at school. No such thing as woodwork or metalwork these days.

 

I friend of mine’s son is the chief instructor on Merlin helicopters for the Navy yet apparently doesn’t have the foggiest about anything approaching DIY. He has to ring dad if anything doesn’t work at home. he even rang hoping to ask how to rewire a plug on a new washing machine because he had to cut the moulded plug off to get the cable through a hole in the worktop to get to the power point! 

 

Most of my sons pals ask ask him how to do what are basically very minor household jobs in his village. His advice tends keep him supplied with beer though :D (He learnt a lot when at home as we had an old house that always needed something repairing/altering/upgrading/removing. 

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Yes. School metalwork lessons. I learned to silver solder & braze & to make wrought iron candlesticks. 12yr olds using blow torches & working with red hot metal. I doubt that would be allowed now.

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3 minutes ago, Camperdom said:

Yes. School metalwork lessons. I learned to silver solder & braze & to make wrought iron candlesticks. 12yr olds using blow torches & working with red hot metal. I doubt that would be allowed now.

"I doubt that would be allowed now"

Maybe not - but many of us did it are are still alive to tell the tale, and are better able to understand the modern world as a consequence of a 'full education'.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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Virtual “Like” icon clicked on! 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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They still have both metal work and woodwork at school. 

 

A lot of kids don't choose it though. 

 

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It was never offered to my children who are both in their late 30’s ! 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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51 minutes ago, Camperdom said:

I think issue here is that nowadays plenty of people have zero practical skills. None at all. If you do not know even how to pick up a spanner or check tyre pressures then you are going to find the practical aspects of caravanning difficult.

 

Those of us who as children learned to fix our bikes & then as teenagers learned to fix our motorbikes & cars & learned how to drive around the country by reading maps find it difficult to comprehend how people can actually get through life without those skills & yet nowadays it appears to be possible. 

So true!

It seems to me that the extremes are getting further apart. Many people seem proud that they know nothing about how things work, but on the other hand there are many people who still get frustrated that so many things are made these days in ways that render them virtually impossible to repair when they go wrong.

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I think the comments relating to covid and social distancing are the main reason for reduced time and detail on handovers.

With our new van due to be collected on Tuesday, we have received a genetic video (on a Coachman VIP but not our model). The person showing the van kept saying that much would be familiar to existing caravaners but would be helpful to newbies”.  However, my view is that it is almost useless to new vanners, who for example would benefit from being shown how to hitch up rather than simply being told this is the hitch, this handle goes down then this one and this red button should turn green. Also the statement that you get a user manual from the manufacturer perhaps might give a false impression that all will be explained.

Inside the van there was little on how to get water through, nothing about the gas valves, control panel, fuses etc, but about 15 minutes on the Alde control panel at great speed which confused me and I’ve had 3 vans with Alde.

On the day of collection, we will have time to check things out ourselves but that would be of little use to a first time  without someone to actually show them things.

We have been informed that handover staff have been instructed not to enter the van at the same time as customers, and told that we should not ask them to break that requirement.

I’m not particularly being critical of the Dealer being keen to follow covid rules, but I do think they need to think more about people who have never been in a caravan before and have absolutely no knowledge of what is in there and how it works.

Edited by hp100425ev
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51 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

It was never offered to my children who are both in their late 30’s ! 

That's interesting. I guess the options must have varied depending upon the area you lived in, as my daughter - now 32 - in addition to the basic 'three Rs' did also study both metalwork and woodwork whilst at school, along with the sciences and her preferred artistic pursuits. While she may not choose to do it, she is perfectly able to carry out both soft and hard soldering, correctly and safely fit a 240V plug top, change tap washers, and check the basics on a car etc. She now works in a school passing on her knowledge to the next generation.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan and Motorhome Talk.

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The setting up part would be the least of my worries

 

What about all the new caravanners who bought privately and have no idea about towing limits and what their licence entitles them to pull.

 

Saw a couple of questionable combinations out and about yesterday, pretty sure a Fiesta isn't rated to pull a 1500Kg caravan!

 

It was nice of the OP to help out those folk, sometimes there is no substitute for an experienced hand, especially when it comes to putting an awning up for the first time !

 

I'm pretty sure that most dealers probably want you gone once they've been paid, rather than taking the time to go through everything properly.

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1 hour ago, Mr Plodd said:

It was never offered to my children who are both in their late 30’s ! 

Seem to remember ours doing something called Design Technology where you had to design something like a keyring and then make it. Plastic was used a lot as well. All good stuff, but I think it's also good if you can follow instructions and drawings to make something someone else has designed. 

A few years ago one of my sons who's a teacher rang me up one evening to ask me which wires went where on a 13amp plug because he was showing his pupils the next day! 

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I do agree that the Covid restrictions will have made handovers more difficult although some dealers have produced videos and any one short of knowledge on what to do can always consult you tube as just about everything is there. 

Not only was letting the new caravan out without towing mirrors, it also shows a lack of business sense. A pair of mirrors will not make or break the dealer, but there is a profit to be made on them and it should not be ignored. 

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There are 2 aspects to this for me. First off the dealer had a duty of care and would be in a tricky situation if a novice caravanner drove away from their forecourt to be pulled up by the police or worse still, have an accident due to lack of towing mirrors, overloaded caravan or whatever. However i also cannot understand how people who seem to spend their life’s on social media are incapable of doing some basic research. In other words take some personal responsibility for their actions. We had a situation a few years ago at the Hampton Court flower show pop up camp site where a middle aged chap with daughter arrived stright from collecting a brand new caravan overloaded to the gunwhales. We assisted best we could and advised the answer to most problems can be found by a quick google search on their smart phones.....

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1 minute ago, Flatcoat888 said:

There are 2 aspects to this for me. First off the dealer had a duty of care and would be in a tricky situation if a novice caravanner drove away from their forecourt to be pulled up by the police or worse still, have an accident due to lack of towing mirrors, overloaded caravan or whatever. However i also cannot understand how people who seem to spend their life’s on social media are incapable of doing some basic research. In other words take some personal responsibility for their actions. We had a situation a few years ago at the Hampton Court flower show pop up camp site where a middle aged chap with daughter arrived stright from collecting a brand new caravan overloaded to the gunwhales. We assisted best we could and advised the answer to most problems can be found by a quick google search on their smart phones.....

agree 100%.

I can empathise with those needing help getting set up - new things can be confusing.

But I find it alarming if people will not carry out any research about the legal and safety aspects of towing on the highway. 

 

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