The short version - AVOID AT ALL COSTS
The longer version...
We have spent several months trying to find the right camper van and I have come across several vans from Carasellecampers and Midlandcampers2011 on ebay and autotrader. These look very nice and are always extremely low mileage compared to the others in the same price range.
I did think it was odd some of the pictures were obviously not the same van but I contacted the guy (a man called John) and he assured me that they were legit and that they had such a high turn over of vans that they just kept a couple of vans advertised on ebay to pull in the punters.
I spoke to him several times over a period of about a month and eventually arranged that I would go down to Nottingham and he would collect me from the airport in the van we were going to buy. I bought my ticket (£186) and then texted him the flight details. I heard nothing back until the evening before when he texted to say sorry the van was sold. He then didn't pick up his phone or reply to a text to call me back. We had had a very clear arrangement that if I booked to travel down then he would hold the van. This was re-iterated several times and then he had reneged on it.
Now he has not broken the law or anything but I do think that was a pretty shitty way to conduct business so I started digging and I found a few things that just don't add up.
1. Carasellecampers and Midlandcampers2011 do not exist on the internet, anywhere (until now)
2. It's also odd that the same people trade under two names.
3. Midland Camper Conversions have a website www.midlandcamperconversions.co.uk but its just a holding site - no info and I think that is a different company based in Birmingham, but who knows.
4. The guy changed his (mobile) phone number when he texted to say the van was sold. As a general rule avoid buying stuff from people who only use mobiles and change them regularly
5. They do not have a premises, they seem to work from home. Again not illegal but does raise a flag when the claim to have such a high turn over of vans.
6. The photos of the vans are never consistent
7. There is a reference to Midland Camper Conversions on a discussion board which says how great they are, right up to the second page when one of the moderators flags it as suspicious because all the postings are by rookies. This is suspect behaviour.
8. They have an ebay rating of +61 but the comments are not consistent with somebody dealing in vans
All in all none of this is conclusively a scam and if it is I don't understand the point. So while I am not saying that they have done anything wrong, I am suggesting that it's all a bit suspicious and also that they are not nice people to do business with. So given that karmasotra gets a couple of hundred hits per day I thought I would take the opportunity to 1) vent my frustration, 2) give carasellecampers the web presence they seem to be lacking, 3) save someone else from wasting time and money dealing with them.
And if John or anyone else from that company wants to contact me and correct any of the statements above, you have my phone number.
Finally they are currently using the phones 07837068396 and 07939566711 although these will probably change soon.
VW T5, T-5, VW T5 Camper van, low mileage, van to campervan conversions, Midlandcampers2011, carasellecampers, Caraselle Campers, Nottingham, Derby
They contacted me via ebay about three weeks later and said they had another van if I was interested. No apology, but they did offer to repay the money I had spent on the previous airfare if I bought a van from them. I declined.