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Around the Campfire: Who advocates for RVers?

Talk around the campfire a few nights ago got several folks riled up. A few “newbie” RV owners wondered who they should contact about their complaints. One fifth-wheel owner couldn’t get his emergency exit window to open. The dealer was no help after the sale. A travel trailer newbie was convinced his rig had electrical issues. “Who advocates for RVers?” they wondered out loud.

More “seasoned” RVers around the fire smirked. Others actually rolled their eyes. Raymond spoke up (as only Raymond can), “Yuh should not a bought an RV unless yuh can fix it yuhself.” Hoo-boy! We were off to the races now! But it got me to wondering, “Just who does advocate for RVers?”

Advocacy groups for RVers

Look up “advocacy groups” online sometime. I didn’t count, but there are at least 131 pages of advocacy groups on the site Google suggested. Each page is single-spaced, with multiple columns on each page. One hundred thirty-one pages under the heading, “Advocacy Groups in the United States.” Amazing, huh? With so many groups you’d think there’d be at least a few who advocate for RVers, right?

RVIA

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association licenses and certifies RV manufacturers. This group also works to set agendas for both state and federal policymakers. Here’s how RVIA states its advocacy position: “The RV Industry Association strives to ensure a favorable business environment for the RV industry and our members through advocacy at the state and federal levels.”

Do you see anything in that statement about advocacy for RVers? Me neither. The RVIA website contains “Standards and Regulations.” However, non-members do not have access to this information.

SKPs (Escapees RV Club)

The Escapees RV Club was originally organized in 1978 as a social group for RVers. The group added advocacy for RVers in 1998. They tackle issues like defending full-time RVers’ right to vote, eliminating unfair RV-specific taxes, and assisting with securing satellite services for RVers. However, I can’t find specific advocacy for RVers who have issues with safety, quality, or poor customer service.

FMCA

Family Motor Coach Association is another quasi-advocacy group. According to its website, FMCA has a Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee. This committee encourages FMCA members to organize grassroots efforts to influence governmental policies.

Here’s how it works: FMCA informs its members about upcoming changes to current laws or new legislation that pertain to RVs and RV owners. The association then explains the legislation to its members. The members are encouraged to contact their respective senators or representatives with their views.

In the past, FMCA worked to secure satellite service for RVers. However, I could not find information about efforts regarding the RV industry’s quality issues.

So, who advocates for RVers?

Can you answer this question? Do you see a need for advocacy? Let us know in the comments below.

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Teresa Willis
3 months ago

NRVIA

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
3 months ago
Reply to  Teresa Willis

NRVIA = National RV Inspectors Association (“Get your RV Inspected by a trained, certified RV Inspector”). Thanks, Teresa. Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Jesse Crouse
3 months ago

A very old expression is “God helps those who helps themselves” In other words you have to do it yourself. Certainly don’t look to the RV manufacturers unless you force them to. Latest example is the DEF head debacle.

Karin
3 months ago

Best I can gather, after 32 years of traveling in 8 different types and brands of RVs, rvtravel.com staff and the person looking back at me in the mirror are the advocates I can count on.

Quentin
3 months ago

I’ll share the example of my RV, a NuCamp T@B. I picked this RV as the company supports an online forum with volunteer moderators and that provides them some feedback on their products and their dealers. I have seen them make changes and respond to owners due to the information from the owner’s forum. This included us as used owners who found out about a window defect on the forum that NuCamp fully stood behind and replaced our window for no charge. Now this may not work for the large corporations, but that can change based upon buying habits. I was not going to spend money with a company that did not support and have pride in its product. If enough folks speak with their checkbooks and change buying patterns, even the largest manufacturers will respond as it impacts their bottom line

Seann Fox
3 months ago

GoodSam used to… But ever since Makus Lemonaidus took it over that went the way if the Dodo bird

Donnie L Parks
3 months ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

Amen to this statement, remember the monthly magazine, the true how to really make things work better. When the Campgrounds really looked at you with a smile when you said you were a GoodSam Member. Remember the ratings of the campgrounds. I became a Life member and really enjoyed the things truly offered. Now no magazine and no true help.

BillyBogey
3 months ago

Certainly a number of great replies. Pleased to read & certainly read a need for a RV Advocacy Group that takes the Ball & Runs with it whether it be Safety, Quality, Customer Service [Dealer Centric &/or Mfr.], etc. Could associate with an existing Advocacy Group that “has bite” with Government & scares Dealers & Mfr’s. to do it right.
“Customer Satisfaction” rhymes with Q1 as is Job 1!!

PS: Would Not Buy from my Dealer again; but would purchase from my Mfr. again!!

Dennis G.
3 months ago

Honestly, I only see two advocates for RVers. The first being this site (one that IO support with yearly donations). The second is the RV Wingman – Allen Warren. Love him or hate him, he does help with special guests like Ron Burge.

David carlson
3 months ago

Being part of the fire service for over 30 years, the advocate for fire safety and codes and standards is the National Fire Protection Association (NPFA). Besides Sparky the fire dog and other resources for fire safety. NFPA with their committees help to develop code and standards that industries use or are required to implement. For example, you may hear Mike talk about National Electrical Code (NEC), that is actually NFPA 70. Standard for fire extinguisher, NFPA 10. The standard for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is NFPA 58. I can go on forever because NFPA covers mover than 300 codes and Standards. So, what does is have to do with RV advocate, well NFPA has Technical Committe for NFPA 1992 Standards for recreational vehicles and NFPA 1194 standards recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds. The NFPA Research Foundation just came out with fire damage and loss assessment of RV’s (Dec 2020). What I’m trying to say is there is an organization that is an advocate to the RV community.

Jesse Crouse
3 months ago
Reply to  David carlson

I am in the Plumbing & Heating profession and NFPA have a lot to do with those professions. They are in many ways the authority that inspectors go by. I think the manufacturers of RV’s-towable and motorized- should be held accountable to them which also means “workmanship/quality and serviceability”.

Spike
3 months ago

Back “in the day” I think Good Sam & its publication arms of MotorHome and TrailerLife used to be an advocate for its members as RV product consumers. Many members that could not resolve issues with an “RV” related business, be it automotive (tow vehicles) to all types of RV’s & related products could rely on that team to work hard to resolve the issue, which they many times did. While the “club” was also a business for its owner, there seemed to be an interest and desire on the part of the managing executives to actually try to do meaningful “good” for its members.

IMO, those days are long, long gone along with the former team that ran that organization prior to the Wall Street takeover. Once you take a “club” like that (even though it was “for profit”) and merge it into a group of businesses that are also a big part of the problem, it becomes nothing more than a vague shadowy image of its former self, more dedicated to driving profits than good.

DW/ND
3 months ago
Reply to  Spike

Right on Spike! I’ve been a lifetime member for some 25-30 years. I well remember the interest the club took in member concerns and how they worked to solve them. Motorhome Mag, as was Highways Mag., and were outstanding publications – the replacement is a shadow and an on-going ad for Camping World and other owner interests! I am not happy with it!

I also have Platinum GS Road Side Assistance. Just 3 yrs. ago it expired every year on 31 March – now it apparently expires when I pay the premium! The notice I just erroneously received, says it expired on 9 March! So, this year I paid on 16 March – so now my expiration is at the end of February! Lemonus is happy – well I am not happy and that should make him un-happy!

Travelingjw
3 months ago

Chuck and I traded emails a while ago about using RV travel to start an advocacy group. They don’t have the bandwidth. I’ve talked to a number of people since then but don’t see it happening without the following.
1. There needs to be specific goal. Is it campgounds, RV quality, legal issues or rights, etc. I say this because in order to affect things you either have to have large numbers or focused lobbyists. And with numbers, you still have to have the expertise to be able to communicate those numers effectively.
2. There has to be funding. Even if Emily had the results of “polls,” it takes time and money to deliver that information.
I could continue the list, but I hope you get the idea. At some point maybe Emily will incorporate an “Advocacy” column, but in order to have an effect, other than education, there needs to be a focused effort.
Twice a year I visit our State Capitol and D. C. to advocate, but the change comes from the consistent interaction with legislative staff.

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY
3 months ago
Reply to  Travelingjw

Campgrounds (except for National, State and Municipal campgrounds which are the vast minority) are privately owned or aligned with an association. They operate under very limited restrictions except for safety and sanitary. Attempting to regulate their own private rules, IMHO, is not viable. As far as RV quality, legal issues and rights, yes, we would be bumping up against paid Lobbyists at every turn. I don’t have a good answer but would cooperate with those that do. A tough nut to crack. Stay safe, Stay well and Safe travels

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY
3 months ago

IMHO, you have to be your own Advocate. We had some major and many small problems with our coach right from the start. It arrived at our dealer from the factory “Not As Ordered”. My dealer Service Dept was not getting any cooperation from the Factory. I was not getting much from the Manufacturer Service Dept. So, I took things into my own hands, jumped some fences and made my situation known to the manufacturers Customer Relations Dept. I did not shout or use bad language, I just explained things as they were. Fortunately I got results. My dealer was advised to contact one person at the factory who would work with our Service Dept and I was to work with my Customer Relations Rep for all service problems on the road. The company extended our warranty on all repaired electrical, mechanical, carpentry, plumbing and paint work. Most was done back at the Factory Repair Center where parts and specific skilled workers were while some was done at my dealer. It worked for us.

Ellen
3 months ago

I’d love to see an article in RV Travel with specifics on how you accomplished this — how helpful that would be to so many of us out here! Perhaps, absent other options, this will provide some guidance and create a bit of a knowledge base for how those who need help can proceed on their own.

Ray
3 months ago

Maybe AARP should be approached. They are already an advocate for older folks and there are many of those in these tender boxes. Plenty of younger generation too. Perhaps they might listen.

Brenda
3 months ago

I’ve worked for different owners/managers in RV Parks and no one is going to tell them anything, they know what is best and if something is said, it may make things worse for others. Only thing those above may help is the state laws they have for parks, help you get a lawyer that knows a bit on the subject and try to keep the “hotel” business out of the RV business.

Deb
3 months ago

I would beg to differ Rick. The number of people living in their RV full time is certainly growing. If you live in your Rv all year long then it is a necessity. Now let’s look at electrical issues. It can cause a fire and god forbid if it happens when your sleeping, can destroy your permanent home as well as anyone near you. The lives who live in or happen to be near others need to be protected! On another note some RVs cost as much as a home when you count price per square footage. That needs to be protected as well. I would like to know if there has been a fire with lost of life? Anyone advocate for them?

Vincee
3 months ago

I believe most if not all new RVs that are sold in the U.S. will have an itemized charge on the invoice probably in the hundreds of dollars for the RVIA sticker near the entrance door. What a frecking scam this is in adding more money to the price of the RV with Zero return!

My older Georgetown came with no fastened mounting of any kind for the hot water tank. All that held it in place were two small self-tapping screws holding the compartment panel in place. What a nice cocktail of propane and electric waiting to blow. My stomach turned every time I went into the RV noticing the RVIA sticker by the door. A joke!

Bobby moreman
3 months ago

I suggest that the BBB be contacted. They will accept a complaint n sometimes investigate. But it b on their record of the complaint for all to see. Something a retailer or repair shot does not want.

Rick
3 months ago

One problem with advocacy is the fact that RVs are used (usually) only a few weeks a year where as cars and trucks are used daily. They are not considered a must have item. You don’t need one to go to work or to the store or to the doctor. RVs are considered a luxury item and as such it goes without saying that if you can afford one you should be able to afford to fix it, just like a boat. As long as it is road worthy then that’s all that really matters to RVIA.

KellyR
3 months ago
Reply to  Rick

Boats must meet all sorts of Coast Guard standards. They are a gov’t agency. Need the same for RV construction standards. RVs should have at least a minimal of safety standards, for crash and fire at least. Yep, more gov’t involvement, but there are areas that our gov’t does work for us.

Gigi Stetler
3 months ago

The RV Advisor and the RV Advisor Consumer Association
Are both only for the RV Consumer I Gigi Stetler have assisted more consumers in the past few years with service , warranty, and contract related issues then any organization out there
I have used my 36 years of experience within the industry from manufacturing,retail, insurance,
We are membership driven the more members the more power to fight for” the right to repair act”
Let’s all stick together

Jeff Mattingly
3 months ago
Reply to  Gigi Stetler

While all that may be true I think there’s a lot of folks that feel ignored by corporate rv dealers and/or manufactures. One sure way to irritate rv consumers is to ignore requests for assistance or wear them down by the number of hurdles they have to cross in order to find someone with the knowledge/power to help them. I’m a member of the RV Advisor website and I would like to let you know that your support folks have ignored my requests for assistance in getting the KOA discount link working. I have attempted to contact you on the feed where you and Kristin make daily entries. Crickets.
When I inquired about extended warrenty info Kristin was on top of it. And we discussed the KOA link issue which she said she would send to the support folks.
Thanks for the addition of the Virtual Mechanic diagnostic and the Coupons & Promos on the Go (that’s pretty neat). But the 10% off KOA coupon doesn’t work.
Let’s all treat our members/consumers properly, whatiyathink?

kelley Johnson
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Mattingly

Hello Jeff, as we appreciate your reply, The RV Advisor wasn’t designed to be a discount club. Apologies for the KOA link not working at this time. In addition, the feed you mentioned is live and does go away, we have no way to reach you.
Back to the importance & comments regarding this particular headline & article, The RV Advisor, is a consumer advocacy platform to help Rvers navigate through the complex RV industry with unscrupulous manufacturers & dealers.
RVA has saved members millions, by assisting them in contract negotiations being the mediator between the consumer, dealer & manufacturers. Should you need consumer protection outside of our many discount & promotional deals we are here for you! Our sister company, RVACA.ORG is our Non-Profit and all proceeds go to help others through RVs for Needs. Please reach out at any time…

Bob M
3 months ago

We need an organization similar to Consumer Reports for RV’s. RV’s are a hybrid of an automobile and a home. Both of which are highly regulated except for the RV’s. RVIA is just a puppet for the RV manufacturers. Which you realize after you purchase an RV and read the RV forums about the poor quality, construction and safety issues with RV’s, their components and wiring. But newbie’s don’t realize that when buying their first RV. Maybe what we need to do as a team is continually contact our lawmakers and Consumer Reports to start a branch reviewing RV’s and their components. Which may also get lawmakers’ attention.

Steve
3 months ago

RV manufacturers are just as “national” as automobile manufacturers. So regulating the RV industry ought be just national as regulating the auto industry. After all, both are producing vehicles that use the nation’s highways. Now think about all the Federal agencies regulating, in one way or another, automobile manufacturing, sales, even warranties. Can you even imagine an RV manufacturer offering a 3-year or 36,000-mile, much less a 10-year,100,000-mile, warranty?

Inexpensive travel trailers cost more than an inexpensive car. Unlike a car, not only do you pay extra for a 2-year warranty, your new RV may spend much of those 2 years sitting on a dealers lot waiting for warranty repairs. Congress would have to react if that type of warranty service backlog was “standard practice” in the auto industry. When US auto quality went south in th e 1970s, buyers reacted strongly by switching to higher-quality foreign cars. is that the future for RVs?

Bob p
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The RV industry (RVIA) has many lobbyists in Washington to quell any efforts to require RV manufacturers from complying with car requirements. Since RVs are not considered essential transportation politicians aren’t worried about their performance standards.

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