Tim and Colleen contributed this story about their pleasant experience in selecting a new van.
Last year we decided our 18 month old 16' pop-top just wasn't going to suffice for our caravanning needs as we moved into retirement and anticipated an increase in the time spent on the road. We decided on a full size van for the extra cupboard space and something slightly longer to allow a bit more 'creature comfort'. We found what we considered the perfect van at the Melbourne Caravan show, made by a new manufacturer with only one Victorian dealership, in Shepparton. The first hurdle was to sell our van - luckily we found a very obliging caravan dealer in Geelong who offered to take our van on consignment at no charge (he believed there was no need to charge a commission as he would make a profit on any trade in and it provided more vans to display in his yard). We sold the van and got the price we asked for without hassles which gave us the cash negotiating power when looking for a new van.
We continued to look at various vans but kept coming back to our original choice and eventually negotiated a price, options and a delivery date. The only hassle was having to deal through an agency some 3 - 4 hours travel from home.
In May this year we got the call to go to the factory and look at our van in the building process. We came away confident we had made the right choice - we were impressed with the attention to detail and quality workmanship (is that now a politically correct 'work-personship'), to the extent even wiring specific grooves were cut partially into the insulation without causing gaps (I might add that this is the 4th van we have had built).
We collected our new van 2 weeks ago and even that process was pleasantly surprising. Glen, the boss of the dealership took almost 3 hours to run through a complete inspection, explain in detail all the electronics and devices and ensure everything was up to expectation. He even offered us some breakfast and took us for a test drive to set up the braking system, check and test the level rides and ensure the optimum towing set up was achieved. We incorporated collecting the van at Shepparton with a weekend at Lake Mulwala (management is in the process of changing the Lake Mulwala Caravan Park to a format with cabins on the foreshore and powered sites in the middle - definitely NOT caravan friendly). On the return home on the Monday we even had courtesy follow up calls from Glen to ensure our new van was fault free and everything was as anticipated.
We are now moving into retirement (21 sleeps) and looking forward to many pleasant trips in the new van. Our experience in this instance has been problem and hassle free and it definitely was worth the effort to travel from Geelong to Shepparton to experience good 'old fashioned' country customer service.
Editors note - In the belief that good service deserves acknowledgment, No Boundaries asked Tim and Colleen for dealer and manufacturer's details.
Caravan dealer: Jim from Solar City Marine
and Caravans - 195 Numurkah Road, Shepparton Vic.
Phone (03) 5831 6388 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.solarcitymarine.com.au
Consignment yard contact: Paul at Bellarine Caravan Sales - 112 Bellarine Hwy, Newcomb,
Geelong Victoria 3219
Phone: 03 5248 2922 Email: email@example.com www.bellarinecaravans.com.au Paul is happy to appraise your van and let you know what it is worth.
Manufacturer: Nova Caravans