You may have read that I bought a campervan (here’s that post). I uploaded a follow-up video about collecting my campervan a day or so ago and it went live today. Some subscribers were kind enough to contact me to wish me well or to say something about the camper that they liked.
I was lying in bed early this morning (ironically in the campervan) and kept thinking about what really happened. I didn’t set out to make a video about my Big Collection Day that wasn’t true, but every time I put on the camera, I had my positive side to the front and – to be honest – that positive front didn’t reflect the whole story.
What follows is the truth of what happened.
The Gap Fortnight
The Bailey was very expensive. Most camper vans went UP in price during the Covid pandemic because they offered a way to travel that felt safer, and which allowed you to stay in your family bubble. In fact, the price I paid was just about the same price as this campervan was when it was new. This was fair, given the market. My expectation was that the experience of spending so much money on a vehicle would mean the handover process would be smooth and I would be treated nicely.
Of course, expectations can also be a way to build unreasonable goals for yourself and retailers. I have tempered this blog post to be as fair as possible.
My first hint that there might be a problem was the difficulty in getting a handover date. The company wanted to run a series of handover checks and needed some time to do that due to a back-up in their workshop. I was advised two weeks. But… every call or email to fix a date of around 2-3 weeks did not result in getting a handover date. The staff I dealt with were unfailingly polite at all times but somewhere in the background, someone was not agreeing. The difficulty for me was that I needed to pay for a flight, get back to Ireland from France, pick up the motorhome and organise a schedule around this shifting date. Had I been living in Northern Ireland all the time, a few days here or there would not be a problem, but there seemed to be little flexibility to accommodate the purchase from someone like me who needed to nail down a date. This lack of information and problematic communication did leave me with some concerns.
I am trying to avoid turning this into a massively moany blog post. How can I do that? I’ll be brief. On the day of the handover, the people doing the handover tried their absolute best with the handover and agreed to be on camera. This was VERY generous of them and I am very grateful. They were very good spirited and jolly throughout.
A problem arose when it turned out that the ONE THING I had asked to be done (the fitting of a bike rack) had not been done. I had to return a few weeks later to get the work done, causing my schedule to be restructured again (which costs money). The camper had no fuel in it and the person who was supposed to do it got pulled at the last minute to “help a customer”. Someone else did help when they came free, but it took more than 2 hours to do the handover which could have been done easily in 45 minutes.
Look, I think there are things which any retailer can do to make customers feel welcomed. My family have a retail business and, when someone makes a purchase, they do need some mild reassurance they have done the right thing, or support through the sales process. That’s whether a product is costly or not so costly. It’s part of the job, part of the business.
I felt the service I received was sub-par and not what the company can have wanted to be a representation of what they offer. At the workshop some weeks later, I heard in passing that my campervan had been rushed in for its final checks right before I came to collect it. I’m glad it had SOME checks, but the problems that I did encounter did make me concerned that not everything had been checked to the standard the retailer would usually achieve.
The problems on the day did take the sheen off the purchase. I do think some of any experience is down to your own attitude on the day. I tried so carefully to calibrate and recalibrate my expectations but there is no doubt that my first few days of driving Barbara Bailey were NOT what I would have wanted.