Caravan Club – Negative Review! (Why I have left)

I have been a member of the Caravan Club for a couple of years and used a number of club sites. Following a very negative experience at the Alderstead Heath Club Site I decided to cut up my membership card. My membership is not due to expire until 30 November 2012 but I won’t visit their sites again.

Caravan Club
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Caravan Club – Cutting up my membership card

Caravan Club – What happened to me

Having spent the Friday night at Slinfold Caravan Club Site I was looking to spend Saturday night somewhere closer to home. I called Alderstead Heath Caravan Club site and asked if they had any pitches available. They confirmed that they did but only grass pitches and not hard standing. This concerned me as the weather forecast was for rain. I did not want to get stuck on a wet and muddy grass pitch. I expressed my concerns and was assured that drainage on the site was good and so I decided to make a booking. Upon arrival we were asked to select our own pitch. At no time did they give us any advice on which fields offered the best drainage.

As forecast there was heavy rain overnight and we awoke to find deep puddles all around. It was clear to me that drainage was not good at all and the front wheel drive Hymer would not move.

I visited reception to explain we needed assistance and the events that followed left me totally flabbergasted. They took a look at the field and asked if I was a member of the AA or RAC. They said that it was Caravan Club policy not to use site vehicles to assist motorhomes but they would help had I been a caravan! I was shocked to hear this apparent different treatment for motorhome owners. It’s certainly not one I’ve read about before or one explained when you make a booking. I suggested that if the Caravan Club wanted to have such a policy perhaps they should only allow caravans to use grass pitches.

Alderstead Heath Caravan Club Site
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Apparently they have good drainage…….yeah right!

I have since called the Caravan Club to ask whether this really is a club policy. I was kept on hold as they tried to transfer me to the person responsible for this geographical area. Finally I was told they refused to speak to me. Apparently I would have to write in if I had a complaint. I was simply trying to clarify the policy to make sure what I had been told was accurate before writing this blog post. Having given them the opportunity to air their side I feel happy to continue with this article. They are always free to comment on this blog post if they would like to put their side of the story.

Back to the story…….

While I was having this heated discussion with the staff at Alderstead Heath a friendly French lady approached me. She had a 4WD VW Transporter with winter tyres and wanted to help tow me. The staff then actively discouraged her from helping me. They said they did not want her to get stuck on the same field. So the Caravan Club don’t want a 4WD with winter tyres on the grass pitch but they happily allowed a front wheel drive Fiat Ducato to pitch there!

The staff did try and place wood under the tyres. They also let me borrow a trolley jack I could use ‘at my own risk‘. Naturally none of this worked and I was faced with having to abandon my vehicle. Later that afternoon the staff relented a little and said I could ask someone on site to help. By this time the site had virtually emptied and all the 4WD vehicles who could have helped earlier had left.

So I was left with no choice but to call my father who came to collect me. I then switched to my Kia Sedona and returned to the campsite with a very long rope borrowed from a relative. The Sedona has twin tow points at the back and with the long rope I was able to position the Kia on hard standing and pull the Hymer clear. None of this would have been necessary had the Caravan Club staff not actively discouraged others from helping earlier.

Caravan Club – Cancelled Membership

Once I had towed the Hymer clear I left the Kia in the visitor car park. My girlfriend and I headed home in the Hymer. My father then kindly gave me a lift back to the campsite so I could collect the Kia. By the time I finally got home it was time for bed, the complete day had been wasted because of the Caravan Club.

I would suggest that the Caravan Club do the following:

  • If you insist on only assisting caravans and not motorhomes then explain this policy. Does this policy actually exist?
  • If you want to retain such a policy then do NOT allow motorhomes on grass pitches.
  • The motorhome community are very friendly and try to help each other. If the Caravan Club do not want to help then do not actively discourage others on site with great tow vehicles from helping.

I would add that The Camping and Caravanning Club are much better in this regard. At Chertsey they will often refuse to let motorhomes on grass pitches when bad weather is forecast. The treatment I received left me upset and angry. The Caravan Club has lost my business. It was a shame that the Caravan Club did not want to discuss the policy with me on the telephone, they cannot complain that they were not given the opportunity to put their side.

Gary Box

Author: Gary Box. Gary decided for a complete change of lifestyle late in 2009 which resulted in him buying a Hymer motorhome to live in and starting the Motorhome Vagabond blog. A tour of Europe followed in 2010 and he still writes about his adventures. Google

48 thoughts on “Caravan Club – Negative Review! (Why I have left)

  • September 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm
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    Hi, Gary
    I sympathise with your situation and do agree that the Caravan Club have handled this badly, both on site and at HQ – be interested to see if they respond.
    I found out very soon after buying our first motorhome many years ago that front wheel drive motorhomes in particular are notoriously bad for traction in muddy conditions, or even on a slope on wet grass! So for our own peace of mind we have taken some precautionary steps ourselves to deal with this: we now have M&S (mud & snow) tyres (Toyo H09s) fitted all year round; we also carry ‘Monster mats’ which we drive onto if not on hardstanding and it’s wet or rain is forecast; and as a last resort we carry a set of Spider Claws which will get us out of deep mud or snow, although these have not been needed since fitting the M&S tyres.

  • September 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm
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    Hi Roger,

    It was not the first time I’d been stuck on a grass pitch but the other time at Camber Sands a friendly fellow camper helped pull me clear. As I said someone was willing to help me at Alderstead Heath too but the staff actively discouraged her which really annoyed me. It’s one thing to not help themselves by using their vehicles but quite another to prevent someone else from helping too!

    I might look into those tyres next time mine are due for a change but to be honest I don’t intend to use grass pitches again, certainly I would never trust the word from anyone at the Caravan Club ever again!

    Out of interest what motorhome do you drive?

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • September 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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    Hi, Gary

    I share your frustrations with the needless Elfin Safety brigade. There was an explanation by a friendly warden on one of the forums about why they’ve been told they can’t tow motorhomes with their little tractors as they are just too heavy but as you say there’s no excuse to stop others from helping.
    We also use CLs & CSs quite a lot and they are usually grass rather than hardstanding so the M&S tyres are really worthwhile, also we visit Scotland in the winter and have driven along snow-covered roads where no other vehicles have been, as well as coping with packed snow and ice with care.

    Our current motorhome is the third we have owned, it’s a 2002 Auto-Sleeper Pollensa on a Peugeot Boxer 2.8 HDi base. We’ve had it for about six or seven years now, haven’t found a later model with the same layout which we like plus I’ve made a few mods and added accessories etc so hanging on to it for now. Still got less than 60k on the clock although we’re adding to that quicker now as we have both taken early retirement and so use it more, mainly in England, Scotland and France.
    cheers
    Roger

  • September 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm
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    Hi Roger,

    The reason they gave me for the different treatment for caravans and motorhomes was that caravans have a proper tow hitch which might be fair comment but in that case explain the policy and only allow caravans onto grass pitches.

    Interestingly following my membership cancellation I received an email asking me to complete a survey to find out why I was leaving. All automated of course and the text box only allowed 250 characters which is not enough to even explain the problem so perhaps they are not really serious about feedback at all. The 250 limit was only enough to enter the URL for the link to my blog.

    I will look into those tyres when mine are due for replacement. Fulltiming in a motorhome does mean more wear and tear and mine has a few small faults that would reduce any resale value but are mostly cosmetic so I intend to keep the Hymer for now. It’s a great vehicle to live in, a really comfortable bed, warm in winter and good kitchen and shower too. When you find a model that works for you it seems pointless changing just for the sake of it.

    Cheers
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • October 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm
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    I got stuck in the mud at Tewsbury this year, one metre from the road. I had pitched on a grass area recommended by them I was informed by the CC staff that their tractors are not plated to tow motorhomes. If the CC what motorhome clients business then they should upgrade their tractor fleet.

  • October 19, 2012 at 10:25 am
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    Hi Ray,

    Do you mean Tewksbury? So it seems this problem is not just restricted to Alderstead Heath! As a motorhome owner I do feel that the Caravan Club policy favours caravans over us motorhomers. They may have some legitimate reason to discriminate against motorhomes but all I ask is that they advise of this policy that penalises us in advance so we can go elsewhere or at least refuse to allow motorhomes on grass pitches and keep them for caravans who are they are prepared to assist.

    As I mentioned in my post what really annoyed me and prompted me to leave The Caravan Club was the fact that they even actively discouraged others from helping me! Their refusal to discuss it on the telephone only added insult to injury and I would never give The Caravan Club any business in future. Maybe if more of us motorhomers left The Caravan Club and used independent sites or those of the ‘Friendly Club’ we might see some change in this policy.

  • January 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm
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    We had a very similar experience on a caravan club site at Cheddar. Funnily enough we were in a rather old hymer & we felt we were treated like the poor relations. We were told there were no hard standing pitches available even though we could see several free. When we questioned this we were told the free hard standing pitches were reserved for other vans coming in later (even though from our experience of caravan club sites it had always been chose your pitch when you arrive). When we explained that our hymer was notoriously bad for getting off wet grass/mud we were told under no uncertain terms that that was our problem & they would not help us if we got stuck. We parked on the grass & sat watching the newer more expensive vans arriving later & being paced on the hardstanding pitches. We were able to get off the grass but were worrying about it all weekend & the experience did leave “rather a bad taste!” Maybe the caravan club don`t like old hymers!!! ….since we changed our motorhome for a much newer model we have been treated much better!

  • January 30, 2013 at 10:38 am
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    Hi Rachael,

    Interesting comment and I only seem to get replies from people in relation to the Caravan Club and not the Camping and Caravanning Club which seems much better in this regard. My Hymer is a 1998 model but it does not look as old as the earlier cream coloured ones with the dimpled finish. Whether mine is old in the mind of the Caravan Club I can’t say but I’ve never got the sense that they looked down on me on the sites I’ve used.

    On all their sites you normally get the chance to pick your pitch. I’ve never heard that you can reserve a pitch before arrival and really don’t believe this is club policy. I can understand why it left a bad taste in the mouth and I would have complained in your situation. I really got on with the wardens at Crystal Palace and Wyatts Covert but after what happened to me at Alderstead Heath I cancelled my membership and will never use the Caravan Club again. I received no reply to my complaint at all. The only thing that some companies respond to is when they get negative press and it starts to affect them financially. Otherwise they just see you as a small person and simply don’t care.

  • February 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm
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    Hi Gary,

    Do you think if you had a newer or more expensive motorhome, you would have been treated any differently? I would have done the same thing you did if I saw others receiving preferential service.

  • February 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm
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    Hi Spencer,
    No I don’t think the age of the vehicle had anything to do with it in the case of Alderstead Heath. It’s clear from replies to this post that others feel that other Caravan Club sites have a snobbish attitude about vehicle age. In my case I believe the site would not budge from a club rule not to help motorhomes but this rule is not communicated to you.

    What angered me was the fact I’d seen wet weather forecast and expressed reservations. I was told they had good drainage at the site (simply not true). I was not warned about the rule and they then actively discouraged others from trying to assist me. I don’t mind a club having rules but perhaps they should then not allow motorhomes on grass pitches if they are not prepared to help.

    It seems this is an issue only in the Caravan Club and they just don’t seem to care so have lost me as a customer (and I used their sites quite often).

    Luckily they don’t have a monopoly and I’m still a very happy customer of the Camping and Caravanning Club Site.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • March 16, 2013 at 9:59 am
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    Hi Gary,

    I came across your site while trying to find out how long the Motorhome Driving Course lasts as my wife and I are going to Winchester tomorrow to attend one. We tried phoning today (Saturday), but no-one is in the office over the weekend.

    We were truly astounded to read of your experience with the Caravan Club. If the same thing had happened to us we would do exactly the same as you and cancel our subscription. What is the policy of the Camping and Caravanning Club, or haven’t you as yet had a similar problem?

    We bought a Hobby 700 twin tag last October (moved up from a caravan) but have only been on a couple of short trips so far. Our normal driving is OK but we are both having problems with reversing. With such a large overhang, the rear never goes where we expect it to, and twice i have been saved from damage by the very heavy duty towing bracket.

    I am very surprised that the Caravan Club has not taken the opportunity to reply to your criticism via this web page. They probably know that they are unable to defend their policy.

    Best wishes,

    Bob & Sue

  • March 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm
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    Hi Bob & Sue,

    I’ve not read the policies and all small print for the Camping and Caravanning Club but my experience is that they take a much more common sense approach.

    There have been a number of times where Chertsey for example will close some pitches and refuse to let a motorhome use a grass pitch. Generally I find the Camping and Caravanning Club are more ‘friendly’ too and do not actively stop other campers from assisting one another like they do at Alderstead Heath.

    Whilst I have a major issue with the Caravan Club as an organisation it does not change the fact that they have some good sites and I’ve met some great wardens (better wardens than they deserve!).

    I’m not too surprised that the caravan club have not replied here, firstly it’s hard to see how they could defend it as others have said the same. Also like many large organisations they just don’t care until it really hits them financially.

    Hope you enjoy the Hobby, the look really well made motorhomes.

    Gary

  • August 12, 2013 at 8:05 am
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    Gary
    Definitely think they could have handled it both a bit more professionally and more sensatively.
    That said we all make mistakes. I am a member of both Caravan C and C & C. I have mostly good things to say about both but on the odd occasion been displeased by the oddbod in both organisations.

    But Gary, I wonder why you state that you are so busy you don’t have time to write a letter of formal complaint (always the thing to do) but seem to have found time to write a ball busting blog of Dickinson nature and longevity.

    I personally recommend for your own well being to avoid the Victor Meldrew stance and understand life is not always what you hope it might be.

    CL

  • August 12, 2013 at 8:28 am
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    Hi Charles,

    Thanks for the comment. When I say I did not write to complain I don’t want readers to think I made no effort to complain. I did call them and tried to explain the frustration. I was not speaking just to anyone either, my complaint was routed to the correct department who clearly did not seem interested which is why I felt writing would also be a pointless exercise.

    This year I also had an issue with Lloyds TSB and I’ve found relaying your problem on social media much more effective than writing in. A letter does not get seen by anyone else outside the company you complain to. A tweet or blog post gets seen by other potential customers and often others reply with their own complaints. Companies don’t like negative publicity and the ability for the ‘little guy’ to have their say and the fact that companies find it harder to manipulate the media has to be a good thing.

    As I’ve said in previous comments I’ve met some great wardens at caravan club but the way I was treated and then the lack of an apology means I cannot be a customer of theirs ever again. If people don’t vote with their feet or wallets what incentive do companies have to take it seriously?

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • August 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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    You seem to me a very frustrated man. But remember that no mather what advice is given, or not given, it is always the driver of any vehicle that has the end responsibility. So in future before you drive anywhere or pitch your camper anyplace remember that you are responsible. It is easy to blame someone else when things turn sour but you as the driver are responsible. As you pointed out you knew that bad weather was on the way, you knew of the risk you where taking and did not take any precautions.

  • August 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm
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    Louis,

    Not frustrated, just disappointed, especially with the response of the staff at the campsite once it had happened. Yes I knew there was bad weather forecast and I was hesitant about making the booking when I was told about there being only grass pitches. I was told drainage was good however and stupidly believed them. It’s a mistake I won’t be making again. My annoyance was more with how it was dealt with once I was stuck the following morning. Not only would they not assist by trying to tow me out but they actively discouraged others who had 4WD drive from doing so.

    Only later that day did they relent and say I could try towing myself out by which time most people had left the site.I did tow it out using my own vehicle which is not 4WD. My point is I feel the I could have been helped by others very easily had the staff been willing.

    All I would say to other motorhome owners is to be aware of this Caravan Club policy which they don’t seem to tell you about. I would urge motorhomers not to book grass pitches, it’s not worth it. Ideally I would prefer that the Caravan Club did not book out grass pitches to motorhome owners. As I’ve said before in my dealings with Camping and Caravanning Club they seem much more upfront about what they will and won’t do if you get stuck and very often they refuse to book out grass pitches if they have concerns about the weather.

    Sure I could have decided not to book and had I been in possession of all the facts that’s the decision I would have made. I certainly have not booked with the Caravan Club since so you cannot say that I keep repeating a mistake once I’m aware of the potential problems.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • August 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm
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    I to have said good bye to the caravan club.mine was simular but I have a caravan not a m home.i was told not reservations for h standing and I would have to go on the grass yet there was spaces left on h stand over night.i enquired to be told these are left just in case any m homes comein

  • April 8, 2015 at 11:06 pm
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    We were members for almost 20 years, couples years back, we left the club. We made some positive creative report, (as we made it very clear it was not a complain) when I personally experienced very bad manner staff in a couple of club sites that year. I was always cheerful & smiling, as you would on holidays. In the past, people in the offices were always very friendly , polite & helpful, as I grew older, I became more & more Chinese look, I am of mixed race. I was treated as if I was an idiot. Even I was there waited longer, the staff JUST IGNOR ME. I CAN NOT REMEMNBER all the other details. However, when I talked to the people in the HQ, I was told they would investigate, they never came back to us. Why should any one tolerate such behaviour. I urged all my friends not to join this club. We have been member of the Camping & Caravanning club,at the same time, over 20 years, we are still very happy with them.

  • April 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm
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    Hi Mary,

    Interesting to read your comment about your experience. I’ve never experienced that sort of issue from the Caravan Club but then I do look very English so perhaps others who have some mixed race or come from overseas can comment on their experiences. I know of people who seem to love the Caravan Club and most of my experiences were positive. It does seem though that there is some difference between the 2 clubs. The Camping and Caravanning Club do seem to be more laid back and friendly whilst still being professional. In the case of the Caravan Club (and it must be stated this probably applies to a minority) there are some wardens who seem to have a ‘superior’ and ‘elevated’ opinion of themselves and the club in general. I might not be describing it in the best way but no doubt many will know exactly what I mean.

    Good to hear you are happy with the other club and enjoying the lifestyle which is what it’s all about.

    All the best
    Gary

  • May 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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    to all Motorhome owners, buy yourselves a set of ‘snow boots’ they quickly fit over your front drive wheels and get out you out of muddy fields. Always carried a set and have served me well more than once and loaned to others stuck on site

  • June 1, 2015 at 11:37 pm
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    Hi Garry
    I’ve just come across your site when looking for members CC Review site in order to complain. We too have used Alderstead Heath on a number of occasions without a problem HOWEVER we do have a problem with the CC We visited the October 2014 NEC. To clarify I’m disabled so have limited physical ability & I use both a wheelchair & electric scooter.
    When booking a 1 night stopover I asked about DP (disabled parking) & was told “yes there is and its right outside of the main venue entrance approx 150′ away from the main doors Great! says I then having paid their fees I looked forward to what I hoped would be an enjoyable couple of days whilst keeping a firm hold on the wallet. On arrival & although confirming my status as disabled etc we were directed to a field some considerable distance from the venue. Curious we wonder why but decided to not let it spoil our visit We with me on my scooter arrived at the main entrance to find that the Club had commandeered the whole of the disabled parking which was right in front of the main entrance. They were using it to demonstrate their driving/towing courses and to hell with the disabled. There was no one being instructed & the 2 employees in their kiosk were lolling about with now’t to do. We went over & asked (politely) why have you taken up all of the DP’s too which they muttered something about giving courses. I fine but why here to which they couldn’t make any sensible reply. A postscript is that after leaving the venue/hall my scooter gave up, the battery having gone flat & my BH had to walk back to our MH, seek police permission to enter near the venue in order to collect me. During this time it was wet & cold so by the time she arrived I was freezing. Note because of my poor health even a cold can be devastating causing me to be bed ridden for the duration. I’ve complained & now await their response which should be interesting. I’ve already given them free legal advice namely that could be accused of disability discrimination & prosecuted under the act. I’m expecting a call tomorrow & will let you and your followers know of any progress

    Regards John

  • June 6, 2015 at 10:25 am
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    We were on a CC campsite in Scotland last year, on the last night there two caravans pulled on and pitched about four pitches apart. They were rowdy in the afternoon but during the evening they had had that much to drink they were swearing and shouting till two in the morning. We complained to the site staff and when we arrived home wrote to the club about the incident, we still have not heard of any outcome. We stayed at boroughbridge C&CC site on our way back home and I related the incident yo them. They told me that the offending parties would have been asked to leave. C&CC have a rule that there is no noise after 11 pm and most sites we have been on stick to that.

  • June 7, 2015 at 7:06 pm
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    Hi Gary,
    We seem to be kindred spirits although, bring now in our early seventies, a lot older. This year we curtailed our travels in the motorhome that had been our home for six years, needing an operation each.

    We rarely have used Caravan Club or Camping & Caravan Club sites, preferring to spend our cash in shops and restaurants rather than accessibility to a shower block. We are members of both clubs mainly so that we can use their certified location sites. Even those are getting prohibitively expensive so if we are briefly visiting a town we tend to rely on our personally compiled database of lay-bys suitable for over-nightingale. Incidentally, apart from the Lytham St. Annes “aire” – which is rubbish – have you used the only true UK aire at Canterbury?. Excellent value at £3.50 per night which includes unlimited use of the Park & Ride bus service to town. Only eight miles to Dover aswell

  • June 8, 2015 at 9:07 am
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    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for comment. I’ve not owned these for a motorhome but did have a set for the car. Heard good things about them but never used them as ended up buying another set of wheels and fitting winter tyres. With latest car think I will either get these snowboots or fit all weather tyres.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • June 11, 2015 at 10:52 pm
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    Hi Gary

    I would suggest you just get over it and move on. The CC cannot cater for all situations, all weather conditions and all vehicles. The injustice you feel at your treatment whilst perhaps aggravating at the time is not really the end of the world. Things can always be way, way worse. Try not to let it ruin your perspective on life.

    Cheers

    Carl

  • July 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm
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    Caravan Club or Camping and Caravanning Club. Take your pick. I am a new member of the Caravan Club so have not had much chance to come across silly rules or unhelpful wardens. However we left the other “Friendly Club” after many years membership having encountering unhelpful and jobs-worth wardens at three of their sites. Strange arbitrary rules regarding extending a stay whilst on one site, at another a warden who paced out 6 metres with his presumably calibrated legs and made us move two tents by approximately one foot and at a third where the warden insisted that I pay £7 daily service charge just to fill my water tank. At water company rates of approx £1/1000 litres my tankful would cost them 10p! When I terminated my membership I was asked why. I wrote giving details but like you I never had a reply. That both organisations generally provide better facilities than most commercial sites and that most of their wardens are sensible and helpful is I’m sure the main reason they manage to stay in business. Certainly its not their HQ customer service in response to reasonable complaints about the few staff who should be doing something else for a living.

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:28 am
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    PS I carry a set of snow chains and fold-up lastic tracking to help in the unlikely event that i get stuck. Haven’t had to use chains yet but the tracking got me off a very sandy site in France.

  • August 4, 2015 at 9:14 am
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    Dear Gary,

    Enjoyed reading your comments. We wish we were abroad as well enjoying our motor home. You are right about front wheel drive motor homes. We had the same problem on a private site. The owners told us that the ground was fine but we got stuck just inside the entrance gate. They had to help us get out as we were blocking everyone in. What a mess!!
    We always check the ground ourselves now–once bitten, twice shy.
    Unfortunately, we are back to a caravan now after numerous faults on our new Burstner Brevio motor home. It has turned into a nightmare.
    See http://www.motorhomefromhell.com.

    Keep enjoying your holidays.

    Harry

  • September 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm
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    Hi Harry,

    Sorry to hear about the issues with your Burstner which is usually a very reliable brand! Have you tried speaking to Burstner directly as I would imagine they would not want the negative publicity and might be inclined to either help you directly or at least mediate with Camper UK. It is shocking how many more faults you seem to get with new motorhomes compared to new cars, even allowing for all the additional things with the habitation area that could cause problems.

    I hope you get some satisfaction from the legal process, it certainly sounds like you have done your research and are speaking to the right people.

    All the best
    Gary

  • September 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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    Hi David,

    At the time I did not carry anything but even for cars now I will either have a complete set of spare wheels and winter tyres or carry those winter socks for the driving wheels. If I see someone else in trouble in such conditions I stop to help, it’s the fact that this Caravan Club site did all they could to prevent help that probably annoyed me more than anything else.

    All the best
    Gary

  • September 4, 2015 at 5:54 pm
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    Hi David,

    Yes as I noted in my article (which seemed to be ignored by the Caravan Club fanboys) most of their sites I visited were great as were the staff. This one site though seemed to want to apply rules over common sense and the head office had no idea how to try and answer basic questions. It’s a shame because simply allowing other members of the public on the site with 4WD vehicles to help would have resulted in a quick resolution and I would not have felt the need to cancel my membership.

    All the best
    Gary

  • June 7, 2016 at 11:04 am
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    I don’t think the cc is at all concerned about losing the odd member here and there, I had a very unfortunate experience with them last autumn, when packing up to leave after a weeks uneventful stay I could,nt release my plug from the bollard, asked the warden to assist who did manage to release it.it appeared to have overheated in the socket and welded in, although was still working ok, motor home was 10months old but lead was from our previous van and 4years old. Nothing much was said at the time other than he would have to close the pitch for that night and get the electrician out the next morning (Monday) this was at the end of sept. couple of weeks later I got a letter from the club stating I had been reported for causing damage on a club site along with a bill for £245 for repair to damaged electrical bollard and it was their policy to pursue payment. The tone of the letter incensed me and I wrote saying I was a pensioner not a vandal and with a lifetimes experience in the building services was it not possible that their socket had overheated my plug and that I was considering resigning my membership unless they retracted their allegation they put the matter in the hands of the area manager who although having a much nicer tone expressed concern that I was using a 4 year old lead( club policy is replace after 3years)and the fact that I had since replaced the plug myself as a diy job and had I had it professionally tested and also darkly hinting it was their policy to pursue payment. My daughter who is qualified in these things advised me to pay before it got out of hand as they would probably have in house solicitors waiting plus expert witness,s etc ready to attend court if they sued. I did reluctantly pay but it has left a bad taste and we use other sites where there is an option, I cannot view the club the same anymore

  • June 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm
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    Hi David,

    All I can say is Wow! So they have a policy that you need to change your lead every years do they? This must be another one of their policies that they don’t mention or hide in small print somewhere because it’s news to me. Now the incident you describe could be due to a faulty lead or it could be the bollard that was faulty. I don’t suppose they provided any evidence in terms of the assessment by the electrician who repaired it as to what they felt was the cause? Do you happen to know what amp rating the sites bollards are? Normally if you overload the socket it trips within the motorhome to prevent damage and if your motorhome is only 10 months old then you would almost certainly have this protection built in.

    Even if the problem was your fault it sounds like the tone of the letter was harsh. I’m assuming you had been a regular member until this point and as you mention this was at the end of a one week stay so a decent income from your stay. I can understand why someone in your shoes would not be willing to use their sites any longer.

    All the best
    Gary Box
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • June 10, 2016 at 11:18 am
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    We are members of the caravan club and think they are going down hill on manners we think that HQ should now take it upon them selfs to tell all of the site wardens it is nice ti be nice as that makes all of there club members happy and have a nice stay on their sites

  • July 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm
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    Hi Ivan and Wendy,

    Thanks for your comment. My original post was some years ago and I don’t have any recent experience of the Caravan Club. Sorry to hear that your experience shows that things have not improved. Most of the wardens I met were great and ideally suited to working with the public. I know what you mean though, bad manners or attitude can really lower the mood when you are visiting.

    Cheers
    Gary

  • July 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    Hi Paul,

    Not used Lytham or Canterbury myself but know people who have. Did you get back to travelling post operations?

    All the best
    Gary

  • July 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm
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    Yes I thought both clubs would have a rule about noise after 11pm. It’s rare to get domestics on campsites, at least the ones I visit.

    Why am I not surprised that Caravan Club could be bothered to reply to your letter?

    Gary

  • August 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm
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    I am a member of the CC but rarely stay on their sites as I have a motorhome and prefer to use it as it is supposed to be used – as a stopover anywhere I feel secure – I remain a member for the odd time I need a site on my way to or back from Europe. France is motorhome heaven, the UK and CC sites are motorhome hell, hence I avoid using my MH in the UK and would rather spend my money where I am welcome. I agree with you about the CC, it can’t cater for MHs and does not deserve to have any motorhome owners as members. I expect I will not renew my membership this year.

  • August 25, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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    Hi Peter,

    Agreed that a motorhome with it’s own shower and toilet and leisure batteries means you don’t really need the facilities of a campsite. However you do need to empty the chemical toilet and drain the grey tank so I used to use a campsite every few days just to do this as well as recharge the batteries and do things like laundry.

    Europe certainly has a better setup for motorhomers. In the old days the UK was more of a caravan culture but this is changing. I’m not sure why the UK does not have more cheap places like the French aires system. Possibly the councils don’t see the revenue they would get as worthwhile or they are worried about gypsies taking advantage of any places with no height restrictions. The UK is a much more populated and congested place than other European countries and maybe the demands on space mean places like Aires don’t get the revenue that alternative uses do. You would think however that some motorhome specific places for overnighting in council car parks would be available. If would be extra revenue when these spaces are largely empty anyway.

    Cheers
    Gary

  • October 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm
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    After taking out my caravan insurance with them I realised I could do so much better elsewhere, so I cancelled the policy with in hours. Three weeks later I am still waiting for my money back, apparently they have sent me a cheque? and it’s you’ve guessed it’s in the post.

    There is a lot of people making a lot of money out of us lot, time an upfront and proper organisation was setup for us all, one who really cares about us. Put me down as the first member.

  • November 2, 2017 at 9:21 am
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    Hi Cliff,

    I’ve heard some people are very pleased with the rates offered on insurance from the two major clubs. I’ve never used either for my motorhome insurance. As to whether the clubs are ripping us off it’s a hard one to judge really. At the end of the day they are both businesses with overheads and they need to make a profit. The amounts charged for a pitch vary between sites and at different times of the year. I do find the rates at peak times and school holidays in the summer to be on the high side but they know they can charge it because of the demand. Conversely the rates in winter can seem like great value when you take into consideration that electric is included and you use more of it.

    It’s hard to please everyone but in a free market you hope that if we are being ripped off it would be more likely new entrants joined the market to offer an alternative. I always try and see something from both sides. For example motorhomers would often complain that they could not get a pitch in high season booking last minute because of fulltimers who booked pitches up year round. The problem is some motorhomers only want to go away a few weeks a year at peak times and without the fulltimers and those prepared to venture out in winter many of the sites would not survive.

    I always liked a happy medium where I would use sites from time to time when a pitch was available. But I also had the option to wild camp if I needed to which helped save money.

    Hope you get your refund soon. It does seem odd that the department to take on new business and your money is always easy to get hold of but the department dealing with complaints and refunds work at a snails pace!

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • December 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm
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    Hi Gary,

    We realise this thread is a little old now but feel that perhaps it needs a little updating, we have just look at booking four nights a Caravan club site in July the Wednesday and Thursday night came to a total of £23 whilst the Friday and Saturday nights were double that at £56, it`s not school holidays so just put this down to profiteering.
    What`s the point in paying to be a member of a club and being ripped off like this.

  • December 14, 2017 at 8:57 am
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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the comment. I guess I can see things from both sides. Like any business they are charging more for the times when demand is high but like you say double seems excessive considering at the end of the day it’s just some hardstanding and an electric hookup being used in most cases. The trouble is people will pay it and I suspect the site will be full or almost full at those times.

    The solution for me would be to pick and choose when to use sites from the likes of The Caravan Club or the Camping and Caravanning Club. I happen to think their winter rates are decent value for the most part, especially when you consider how much extra electric you may use with heating. With campervans and motorhomes more and more are now self sufficient in terms of having solar panels, leisure batteries, their own LPG for heating etc. When the rates are that high I think many will look for the cheap CL’s or maybe even wild camp.

    We have just bought a used campervan and will be making trips again from later this month. Being December we will probably use some club sites but also wild camp. Every person has in their own mind what they feel a service is worth and if the price feels grossly inflated the answer has to be to withdraw your custom.

    Are you planning to leave the club as a result of this? We are yet to decide if we will just join the Camping and Caravanning Club (who we never had any issues with) or whether to join both clubs. I’m no longer fulltiming so it will just be weekends and the odd holiday.

    Happy Christmas and all the best for 2018!

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

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