A true Story

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Thanks Tom for the support....

I will make this remarkable experience short as I can.  My whole purpose is to give a heads up to anyone who has not purchased any rv product, especially a Class A and especially a used class A.

My wife and I, well I, have been waiting over twenty years to buy our first RV.  I went to all the trade shows in the northeast and tried to do my homework just like you may have done.

Last year about this time, I went to a dealer in the southeastern part of our fabulous nation to buy my Class A.  I went to this particular dealer because they were not only one of the largest dealers  but were suppose to be great when it came to pricing.

We purchased a 1998 Class A 37 foot (36 1/2) long unit.  We bought it in July and could not pick it up unit early August because my work would not allow me to pick up the unit until August.  I called the dealer one week before we were scheduled to fly south and the salesman said it was all prepped and ready to go.  By prepped dealers mean pre-delivery inspection or PD.  Remember those three letters.

We arrived and went directly to the dealer and waited for about twenty minutes for the service person to meet with us.  The service rep came over and told us they could not find the unit.  About 40 min later the rep came back and they said they found it and that someone failed to enter the unit on the computer as it was taken off the lot to have some work done to it that was listed at the time the purchase and sale agreement was signed.

We arrived on a Monday at 10 am and we were told the unit would not be ready until Wednesday.  The dealer paid for our hotel for the next few days.  My wife and I had scheduled to pick up this unit and head north to a town where we were going to buy land so we would have a place to retire some day.  I allowed two weeks for us to p up the unit and do our business in another state and then head home with the unit.

It's Wednesday pm the unit comes back from the outside vendor and guess what...the work had not been done....period...they then take it back to the vendor and we get it back on Friday..

We get ready to leave the dealership Saturday am...the temp outside is 98 and the heat factor is 104.  Before we leave the dealer I decided to check out the wiper blades...they were ripped and our directional signals were not working....did I say remember  PD.....

They take the unit to the bay and I have the opportunity to talk to the service guy and asked him ti make sure he checks out the tire pressure all around for me.  He guaranteed me they were up to what the mfg had recommended.

We leave the dealership 5 days later than expected and head up route 95....We get 150 plus miles out from the dealer and the two inside rear tires blow at the Same time.

We called good sam and we had a membership but not the emergency membership.  But they arranged to have someone come and change the tires.  In the meantime the heat is hitting 108 and with no ac the tire changing guy comes and install two tires.  I never asked him what size they were, I arranged that with good sam...about tow hour later we are on our way to another hotel which the dealer did pay for. 

At this point I decided the next day we were going to go straight home. 

Driving up Route 95 from Florida to Massachusetts is one drive I will never undertake again.  I will go 500 miles out of my way to avoid route 95...all the construction and rough roads...beware beware of it..

Did I mention PD,  well this dealer did not do a PD on this unit...how do I know...Well when I got the unit home I had an authorized dealer for the model I bought go through the unit.

It had close to $ 9,000.00 worth of mechanical issues.  The brakes were shredded.  The steering box was leaking in two ares.  The generator had problems with it.  It was at this authorized dealer from Sept through March  this year.

What this dealer's service dept showed me was the roof sealant was cracked and the linings along the roof were separating and that water had leaked into all sides of the unit.  In March, the tech took me over to my unit and showed me how to notice if there is water in the unit.  You go to the rear of the unit and look down towards the front of the unit and you could see the units ribs it looked like it had anorexia.  (spelling)..

Did I ever mention PD?  The deal re down south did not do a PD open my unit I am convinced of it.

Anyway it took me almost one year going back and forth with the dealer and the warranty folks on who was actually responsible for the damages.

It took me one year contacting the atty general and the rv assoc of that southern state, contact was made with the mfg and I even sent individual letters to all the board of directors of the manufacturer..All because the dealer would pay to fix the unit.

Long and short one day the dealer called me up and said they were sending someone up to pick up the unit and drive it back south to the dealership.  I was told they would refund me my cost if I purchased another unit or newer one.

We had no choice and went back to this dealer and picked up a brand new 2006 Class A.  In fact the unit we bought was 7 feet shorter than the used one.

Let me suggest this....throughout all my research I talked to very many dealers and RV finance folks and most say that the manufacturers, most of them not all, rely on the dealers to do the PD..The basics are done at the factory but the dealer is really responsible for PD the units.

While we were at the dealers both times there were very many angry folks waiting in plush chairs for service to their units.  Some were sleeping  in the reception area waiting for parts to come etc.

I am in the process of developing a brochure on not only my experience but to print information regarding purchasing your recreational vehicle locally vs going all over this country looking for 'THE BUY.' In addition, I am now doing research on what federal regulations should be enacted to improve construction of all RV products, especially safety issues. I do not like the govt getting into my business but oversight in the industry is very much lacking...PD...should not be just a check list for the justification of calling oneself a certified mechanic...

There is more but I thought I would share this with whomever is contemplating buying into the RV life...as the attorney general in your state would say...Buyer Beware....

Hope this helps someone...



Jan 13, 2005
Hi Rich,

It is both sad and frustrating to read your story. We have many members here who have gone through similar stuff, some to a lesser extent and some even more. You appear to be one of the "lucky" ones in that you got your money back. I don't mean to beliitle your experience in any way by using the term "lucky" because you obviously went through a lot, but most folks were not given the option of a refund.

Because of these kinds of experiences, many folks here (myself included) are believers in factory delivery as being the only way to go for new RVs. Of course, that's not possible for used RVs and the only option in this case is for buyers to be educated on what to look for before driving off the dealer's lot.

There's no doubt in my mind that some (many?) dealers do a very good job, including prepping the RV and performing PDI. We have a staff member here who is a very competent and conscientious PDI tech. He is as appalled as the rest of us when he reads these stories.

Thanks for sharing your story.

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2005
Davison Michigan
In every business tjere are good stores and there are bad stores... One thing you shoujld do is tell your story, good or bad, and name the delaer so that others can suddenly change their mind before putting their name on the line.

Some dealers will really treat you right, some will mess you around, some will just plain rip you off. It's important to know which ones fall into which group.

True Story: Several years ago (how many years depends on which publications) Several publications including one of my local Newspapers, Popular Mechinics, Reader's Digest, 60 Minutes and others have done "inspections" of repair facilities, in other fields I know of one done by Popular Electronics as well.

In all cases the test procedure was much the same.  They took a car (TV in the one case) and caused a problem, In the case of the TV all parts were painted with ultraviolet paint.  Then they took it to a shop and had them fix it.

Some shops were honest,  In the case of the cars some shops said "oh that was so simple, forget the bill" some shops replaced parts that were deffently good, often with inferior parts, at least one car dealer went way above and beyond to fix the damage a prior rip-off place had done.

Some shops were like my local Ford Dealer (Stark Hickey West, 7mi and Grand River, Detroit)  I took my wife's Tracer in to them, it was ideling rough and had poor performance. they told me it needed basically everything replafced, Fuel pump was leaking (per them, no evidence to support a leak prior to thier guy messing with it) injectors, transmission and I forget what all else, over 5,000 in repairs.

It needed new spark plug wires

So, what did Stark Hickey get... Well I had no choice but to pay them for the fuel pump they ruined since I could not prove they ruined it.  But I suspect that letter I sent to the Secratary of State (DMV in my satate, regulates dealers and repair shops) cost them more than they ripped me off for (very evil grin) and the letter I sent to Ford (copy of same letter) did them no favors either.

Don't pay to ripp off folks with word processors!

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