We've been hearing a few stories of late about 'Caravan Cloning' What this means is taking the CRiS (Central Registration Identification Scheme) number from one van, and using it on a different one, usually by scraping off the number on the windows and creating a fake CRiS certificate. While we're sure this doesn't happen often, there are a few steps you can do to make sure you don't fall victim to this is you're buying, or safeguarding yourself I you van happens to be cloned.
When buying a Caravan, from any source, check the windows of the van to make sure the CRiS, sometimes called VIN, numbers match. If one is missing, or scratched, ask the owner what happened. Damages happen and a close encounter with a tree or hedge could damage the number, and sometimes a replacement window wont have the original number at all and just be blank. If you spot that one window has a number, but it differs to the others, point it out to the owner and find out the reason. It could be something as simple as a second hand replacement window, or a misread if only one digit is wrong.
In all cases, even if all the CRiS numbers match from the window to the certificate. Phone the Central Registration Identification Scheme, and check the caravans history. Its inexpensive and can stop you getting a van that isn't 100% legit, or has outstanding finance on it that can lead to it being reposed.
When selling your caravan, make sure its registered in your name, contact CRiS about this if you're not sure and they can guide you through what to do. Having the caravan in your name means if an interested party checks it with CRiS, there's no worry about it being in a different name or address and questions being asked.
If someone phones and asks for the CRiS number before they have come to see the van, don't give it to them. If they are truly interested in buying it, they will come to look first, then they can phone CRiS in front of you and get it checked. Giving it over the phone can lead to problems like cloning because you don't know who's now got your CRiS number and what they are doing with it.
Also remember to never keep the documents to your Caravan, Motorhome or even Car in the vehicle. It make is very difficult to explain to the police its been stolen if the thief claims the have brought it from you and now have the documents.