Irish couple tricked into buying Campervan seller didn’t own

Buying a campervan should be an exciting experience, especially as it means you can start planning your journeys and imagining all the fun you will have along the way. However, if you are buying a second hand caravan from a member of the public or a private dealer than you should always do some research first, or you could even contact your campervan insurance provider to help. One couple from Ireland found this out the hard way, as when Stephen and Margaret Murtagh from Woodford Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin, bought a caravan from a Mr Barry Callaghan they soon after found out that he didn’t actually own the van himself.

Now the case has gone to the Circuit Civil Court, as Mr Callaghan bought the Ford-transit based campervan in a hire purchase agreement with Friends First Finance back in 2007, whom he still owed €30,000 when selling it on, meaning that the company is now trying to reclaim the vehicle in order to make up for missed payments. However, a judge has ruled that the company would not be allowed to seize the vehicle from Mr and Mrs Murtagh and would have to contact Mr Callaghan in order to arrange the repayments.

When the Murtagh’s bought the campervan back in 2008 they were so excited that Mr Callaghan accepted their offer that they said it was “like their first family Christmas”. Due to their excitement the couple did not check the history of the campervan, and didn’t outwardly ask Mr Callaghan if he had any outstanding finance on it. Mr Murtagh took out a loan of €30,000 from the EBS Building Society and gave a draft cheque and €1,600 in cash to Mr Callaghan, and soon registered the campervan in his own name.

Shortly after Mr Callaghan went out of business, and then in July 2011 the couple received a letter from Friends for Finance stating that the campervan was actually their property, and informed them of Mr Callaghan’s hire purchase agreement with them made in 2007. The court then heard that even if Mr Murtagh had checked whether the campervan had any outstanding finances, due to an error by the bank nothing would have appeared on file.

Furthermore, the bank had made no effort to sue Mr Callaghan or made a counterclaim against Mr Murtagh when he filed a claim stating that the campervan was rightly his. The judge therefore decided that the banks as well as Mr Callaghan should take responsibility for the matter, and that the campervan now rightly belongs to Mr and Mrs Murtagh.