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When life gives you lemons... Part 1. When buying a Van: Check

Is van life still for me? .... well I am hanging on by the tips of my fingers that it still is.


When buying a van: Check


I will be breaking the saga down into parts so it doesn't become a novel! I was originally not going to write any blogs on what happened, because I was so angry and upset, but I decided that maybe these blogs may help other people, especially women, what to check, to be very careful and aware when they are buying a new van. I am trying to be very careful not to name or defame anyone or any business for legal reasons. Red flags/problems = #


The best laid plans...


When I retired I had a plan... a plan of what to do when once I had picked up my brand new van, Whynnie and was at peace, travelling part time whilst preparing my house for sale.

White van driving along a road

What was NOT part of the plan was having to deal with lemons... so many problems with the brand new van! The delays were not with the van itself, it was because of faulty or missed installations and people just not doing their job correctly! This has not only caused delays in my plans, but has caused me so much stress that the health issues, that I was hoping to reduce, have increased!


My son, who had worked in car dealerships in the past warned me that there is always "teething problems" with new vehicles...so I was expecting some. What I am so shocked and disappointed in is THE issues with the van, and there have many, have all happened by people not installing things or not installing things correctly. Mistakes that could have been deadly. What I am also very shocked about, is that no one checked the van, no one checked after the installations had been done, there was NO quality control test and no one did a pre hand over check to make sure that everything had been installed and was working, this included items included in the price and items I had paid thousands of dollars extra to have installed as options.


The van arrived early: So many things to check when buying a van

Mercedes Benz Sprinter Winnebago Bondi 4S
1st Image of Whynnie

The 6th of July! I received a phone call from the dealership to say the van had arrived. I hadn't even officially retired yet nor applied for my super payout! Because she was parked in their yard, I was told I had to take out insurance because she had arrived and I had to agree to a temporary pick up day. A date was chosen. I told the dealership that I needed to pick up the van when my son was home, because my son would not be home on the date chosen, I was told to catch buses and trains to pick up the van by myself. After what happened it is a good job I didn't.


On the 7th July I officially retired


I contacted the Super and did an online application to speed up the payout. I was told the payout would take UP to 7 days! On the 7th day I started contacting them... Everything had gone through , they just were not paying it into my account. Every day I was told it was being processed that day and would appear in my bank the following day. Not true. I battled for over a week, stress levels elevated and I became quite ill, before someone put a tick in the the right box. We had changed the pick up date to Monday 24th, thinking the super would be through. The super finally appeared in my account on Friday 21st at 3pm. To pay for the van I needed a bank check... so at 3.10pm I was walking into the bank to get the check. I just made it.


24th July: So excited to pick up Whynnie!


The day I had been waiting for was finally here! I had everything I needed to go and finally pick her up. Our pick up time was 1pm. My son came to pick me up early to ensure we were close by in readiness for pick up time. We planned for everything as the day was so important to me.


On the way there, in fact we were about 5 minutes away, we received a call from the dealership to say the 10am handover had cancelled so we could pick her up at any time. We eagerly went to pick up the van.

Winnebago Bondi 4S with rear doors open
Back view of Whynnie

We found the right office and introduced ourselves. They gave us the invoice to pay which was a different amount to the invoice I received and the amount of the bank cheque (#1). This caused the initial confusion. We paid for the van, they quickly went through all the paperwork and warranties. The sales lady was sick, coughing and losing her voice (#2). We were then sent to the owners lounge to wait for handover. The room was quite pleasant and we could help ourselves to anything.


Within 10 min a gentleman arrived through the backdoor to take us to the van. We were then taken out the back way to a storage bay and there she was. I was a little disappointed as they always showed new vans and caravans handing over to owner with bows and boards say who the van belonged to. I felt we were just shoved at the back, no fan fair almost like they wanted us gone quick (#3). The gentleman who did the handover had his script of what to say about the van...but when myself or Kev asked a question, he could not answer it (#4)! While the gentleman was going through the handover, the sales lady turned up and needed the gentleman to go and help another customer that had returned with their van with issues (#5).


While the gentleman was away, we decided to check the electrical system. I had paid and extra $2600 to have the van fitted out/updated to a Lithium system. Kev looked under the seat. It was not done. It was the original system that came with the van (#6)! I complained to sales and was given 3 choices:

  1. Come back the following day and pick her up (we live over 2 hours away)

  2. Stay in a Motel overnight and catch a taxi back to pick her up (I would have to stay alone as Kev needed to get home).

  3. Or they would deliver her the following day...

We chose the delivery....


Did Whynnie turn up the following day? Stay tuned for Part 2!


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This blog is intended as an information only. Any opinions given are not meant to upset, defame or insult anyone. Information given is correct at the time of publishing but may change at any time. Travel Adventures Australia or the author in no way accepts responsibility and/or liability for the facilities, actions and services of individual operators mentioned in this blog. In no way does Travel Adventures Australia or the Author endorse any specific venue.





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