You tighten your grip on your mobile as you shake with rage.
“What do you mean the caravan is no longer available” you say through gritted teeth. You paid the deposit months ago.
You’d just rang up to pay the rest of the balance only to be told the caravan is no longer on the market.
The person on the other end of the phone is polite but firm. They apologies for the mix up and tell you there’s no caravans left on the site.
They hang up.
With a resigned sigh and slumped shoulders you go into the living room to tell your partner and children the bad news. There’ll be no caravan holiday for them this year.
Could it have been a mix up at the site? Maybe some crossed wires or a computer error has meant your deposit was missed.
But for 6 months? That seems like a long time for there to be an error in a system and no one raises it. It dawns on you slowly that you’ve probably been Gazumped by an unscrupulous holiday maker.
What is Gazumping? Who does it and why? And how can it affect your planned caravan holiday in Northern Ireland? We’ll answer all these questions in this article.
What is Gazumping?
The term Gazumping originated in estate agents. It is used to describe potential homeowners who are so eager and driven to buy a property that they’ll attempt to outbid the current potential property buyers.
Essentially, they’ll Gazump the current front runners for a house with a better offer. This practice in real estate is relatively common and it’s up to the current home owner to decide whether to take the higher offer. When it comes to buying a house nothing is final until the contract is signed and in 2019 a whopping 31% of homeowners have said they’ve been Gazumped when buying a house.
To top it all off Gazumping is legal and has been a pain in the side for many potential homeowners.
With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and lack of foreign travel UK holiday makers are starting to Gazump one another for holiday lets and static caravan rentals.
One holiday letting agent firm Bloom Stays have been approached by guests willing to pay double the value of their properties so they can Gazump the current guests planning to stay and take the holiday let for themselves.
Bloom Stays have had to create a waiting list of over 200 eager holiday makers all waiting to book a holiday in one of their properties.
Data from holiday pricing experts Guesty also shows reservations across the UK have doubled for August 2021 against the same time last year.
All this leads to an environment where there’s a lot of holiday makers and not enough holiday properties to go around making some people resort to desperate measures.
Unlike home buyers, who can take out Home Buyer Protection Insurance there’s no such safety net for holiday renters. They have to trust their caravan rental agencies or Airbnb hosts will honour their arrangement if a higher offer comes across their table.
How can unscrupulous Gazumpers’ threaten your caravan holiday?
Well, the worst case scenario is that your caravan holiday gets cancelled as your property will effectively be stolen from you. This is the absolute worst case scenario but one that’s sadly becoming a lot more common in 2021.
Other negative outcome could be having to outbid the Gazumper, matching or further raising their offer to re-secure the property you’ve already paid for. Not good.
A third potential scenario is being moved by a property owner into another accommodation. One that isn’t as nice or desirable or basically, the one you wanted.
This could be a property on another site or location, or one without all the amenities you were looking for when you booked.
How to protect yourself from Gazumping
Sadly, unlike buying a house, there’s no way you can insure yourself against holiday Gazumping. But there are several things you can do to best avoid any companies that may be open to Gazumping offers.
Research the company
Before booking or buying any caravan, static home, or holiday let it’s important to thoroughly research the company you’ll be purchasing off. At Encore Parcs we pride ourselves on our customer service and transparency and would always honour deposits on holiday home rentals. You can see our current static caravans to rent and buy here.
Once you’ve checked out a company’s website it’s a great idea to also head to review sites like Google Reviews and Trust Pilot to see what former customers are saying about them. You’ll be able to spot a bad apple from a mile off and if a company has too many dodgy sounding reviews it’s best just to steer clear of it.
Pay a deposit
Putting some money down straight away is a good way to shore up your bet and secure a property so no other holiday makers can Gazump it. Be wary of anywhere that doesn’t want a deposit and if you can pay the balance in full then that’s great.
Don’t get Gazumped, book with Encore Parcs
If you’re worried about getting Gazumped and don’t want to deal with the stress or re-negotiating a holiday you’ve already paid for, look no further than Encore Parcs. We sell and rent static caravans across our holiday parks in Northern Ireland. You can take a look at our homes to buy here or contact us for more details.