Paramount Caravan Review – Canterbury Caravans
Deciding that we wanted to do the “Big Lap” was the easy bit!! (Read all about it here). Determining which caravan to buy was an all consuming process!!
We started out excitedly researching ‘triple bunk caravans’ and joining every Facebook Page that was associated with travelling families and caravanning. We paid particular attention to the vans people were using for their big lap. Hours were spent trawling caravan selling websites to get an idea of cost and features available! The best research website for us was Caravan and Camping Sales. It was the easiest way to see what was available and the costs.
We sat down and wrote our dream caravan wish list. It included ‘must haves’ like….triple bunks, semi off road, large compressor fridge and a u-shaped club lounge. We also added ‘nice to haves’ like pillow top mattresses, bike racks and a filter tap.
Early on in our research we also came across a the Lemon Caravans & RVs in Australia Facebook page where victims are encouraged to share their “lemon” caravan experiences to vent their frustrations, gain support and warn others! Being armed with a detailed list of manufacturers and dealers who had mistreated their customers with poor quality builds, non existent after sales service and bitter warranty fights opened our eyes to just how unregulated and deceitful this industry can be! Suddenly, 80% of the brands we were interested in were crossed off our list! We did not want to risk spending any of our dream trip dealing with such problems! No thank you!
We refined our search and visited some caravan shows to learn as much as we could about caravans; what’s the difference between off road and semi offroad, what is ESC, ATM, GVM? Who were the pushiest sales people, i.e. those who were hired simply to sell caravans at the show? Who actually knew their brand? Who were the most genuine? What did everything cost?
It was at the Melbourne Caravan Show that we found the Canterbury Caravans Paramount stand; one of the brands on our ever shortening shortlist.
We approached the sales guys and asked who we could talk to about our wish list and a quote. They all collectively pointed at Ian Sadler, “He’s your man!” Ian replied jovially, “I guess it’s me then!”
Ian sat down with us inside the caravan we were interested in and told us to “fire away!” He didn’t have the same used car salesman demeanor as some of the other sales reps we’d spoken to and was happy to hand out free advice in regards to which features we actually needed and those we did not. He shared his own family’s camping experiences, what worked and what didn’t. It was more like a friendly chat with a fellow traveler rather than someone who was trying to sell us something.
Ian took note of all our inclusions and a while later handed us an itemized list of the prices for these. He also offered a generous discount and when we told him we were actually still researching and that we wouldn’t be buying a caravan that day he said, “No worries, the offer stands for the next few weeks, you definitely need time to think about such a big decision” and handed us his card. What??? No hard sell? No “If you are serious about buying today I’ll give you a crazy price”, No “What’s your phone number so I can see what I can do?” No “Sorry I can’t let you take that price list with you!” As we walked away it left us thinking, are Paramount caravans really that good that they sell themselves?
Many more weeks passed and we kept on researching. When we found a particular layout or price we liked we even tried to put the “lemon list” out of our mind, however a quick “product review” or FB owner’s page search would again leave us saying, NO NO NO!
We joined the Paramount owner’s FB page and were pleasantly surprised to see a plethora of feel good, “This is the life” type posts, in direct contrast to the, “Does anyone have the same problem?” type posts we’d seen on other owner’s pages.
So, after a few more months of consideration, it was time to make a decision! We sent Ian an email of our updated wish list to see what he could do. His reply was timely and he was open about the approximate cost of our requests. We responded that this cost was unfortunately above our budget and rather than abruptly replying, “Good luck with your search,” he inquired as to what our budget was and promised to work with Paramount to try and achieve a happy outcome within our budget!
We spent the next couple of weeks sending emails back and forth with our many questions and requests. Not once did we feel pressured to buy! In fact, Ian went above and beyond to cater to our needs! He accommodated our every request with friendliness and fairness. He clarified every query and updated our quote numerous times. Many of his emails were sent after hours or or weekends!
While we acknowledged we were working with a very experienced sales man (#1 sales manager at Canterbury Caravans) we were so excited to have found a dealer we felt we could actually trust! Once we had agreed on the final cost and inclusions we were so excited! We were going to buy a Paramount!
Ian explained the deposit requirements, the warranty details and the build due date.
I was expecting that choosing the colours would be stressful but having so many display caravans on site at Canterbury Caravans meant that we just needed to explore them, take photos of the colours and finishes we liked and then return to the office to finalise the choices. Again, no pressure and reassurance that we could change our mind at any stage before the final build.
Approving the plans was easy too. The van had everything we could wish for! Even when we found a few things had been left off like the pillowtop mattress and a colour in the ensuite that we hadn’t realised we’d signed off on, we were met with, “No problem, I’ll organise to get those things changed for you!”
The van was built in what felt like no time at all! We were invited to come and inspect her as soon as she came out of the factory. Ian gave us the keys, told us to take as long as we liked looking her over and make a list of any details that needed attention. We did just that and on pick up day we were 100% happy with our beautiful new van!
Now all there is to do is sell our house, move into this apartment on wheels and run around this amazing country of ours!
Do you want to find out more about our beautiful van and set up? Do you have any questions for us? Feel free to pop over to our Facebook page when you get a chance!