Caravan Ownership Dispute and Caravan Insurance

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27 April 2014
Hello members, this forum may answer my question and if you do, thanks in advance, and I will tell all my caravan fellow travellers to put you on their favourites.

I purchased this caravan about two weeks ago and got what I thought was all the necessary paperwork from the seller. The couple that I purchased it off had it advertised on Gumtree and it was parked in a caravan park. I rang the moble and went and inspected the caravan and left a small deposit and then returned backed the next day with the balance which was $15,800. They signed all the paperwork and showed me a licence for the lady and then I towed it away.

Two days later when I went to transfer the registration, the transport officer said it was stolen. I had rung up my insurer on the day I got it home and insured it. The police have impounded the caravan and when I went back to the caravan park, nobody knew anything. What happens now with my insurance under insurance law?



Well-Known Member
19 April 2014
Hi Barry,
Hmmm.. not a great situation to be in. It seems to me that the bigger issue is around purchasing and receiving a stolen vehicle.

Have you managed to get back in contact with the dodgy people who sold you the caravan on Gumtree? Did you pick it up from/get their address? Did you pay via PayPal, bank deposit or cash? If its cash and they’ve taken off, then its not likely that you’ll be able to get your money back unless the police can track them down.

Have you got in contact with the police? I presume it was the local police in the area who impounded the caravan? You will need to lodge a report with the police and give them the information you have about the transaction (it also demonstrates that you didn't knowingly receive a stolen vehicle). Gumtree also have a help page “What do I do if I have been defrauded?” which confirms that Gumtree will assist the police and provide any information about the ad and user to the police. The police might be able to help track the dodgy Gumtree sellers down and perhaps retrieve your money.

In terms of your insurance, who did you insure with and what does your policy say? I haven’t heard of insurance being paid out because someone bought a stolen vehicle (which would have been discovered if due diligence was done on it) and its now police property - I imagine the insurance company will say this is a case of buyer beware. If you insured it only 2 weeks ago, then you’re likely within the cooling off period to cancel your insurance and get all your insurance money back. Even so, you should be able to cancel at any time and receive the balance back.

It sounds like in the future, you will be on top of checking the vehicle isn’t stolen before you hand over any money and advise your friends as well. The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is the national register to find out if a vehicle is encumbered, written-off, stolen or registered in any state or territory of Australia. Perhaps once you fill in some of those information gaps we can see if there are any other ideas that come to mind.