Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis: The “Profit” or the “Destroyer”?

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By Chuck Woodbury
EDITOR
Alan Warren, the sometimes outspoken host of the syndicated radio program the RV Show USA, takes a moment away from his radio microphone to “rant” (his description) about Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis. In Warren’s opinion, Lemonis’ questionable business practices have caused grief and even harm to many RVers. In this sometimes rambling 18-minute monologue he explains why he believes that way.

RVtravel.com has said many of the same things about Lemonis, who envisions himself as a gifted businessman but who may be instead more like P.T. Barnum without the master showman’s talent.

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G B.
2 months ago

The SOLUTION is for Congress to mandate that RV manufacturers, like automobile manufacturers, offer a 3-year 36000 mi bumper-to-bumper warranty that they alone are responsible for, regardless of component origination. Overnight, relationships between RV manufacturers and component manufacturers such as Onan, Dometic Etc would change. Also, RV’s, like autos, need to be held to the Lemon Law criteria. 3 service visits for the same issue results in replacement or repurchase of vehicle.

SANDIE BOCK
2 months ago

Marcus Lemonis is a ***!! So may have bought rigs at CW and they are not getting warranty work that they deserve, people are in dealerships crying about the investment they made. I wish people would investigate and research BEFORE they buy anything from CW. Rigs and equipment can be gotten cheaper and with better customer service. Good riddance to CW and Marcus Lemonis. He has a great last name for him LEMONis.[Bleeped by Diane. No name-calling here, please.]

Ted F
2 months ago

I understand what you are saying, BUT let’s talk about personal responsibility. Marcus did not force anyone to finance a rig for twenty years. People think first and live within your means.

larry wilt
2 months ago

You say it is going to crash, but what I hear an read RVs are selling like hotcakes, can”t build them fast enough. When I bought my I went to local bank an got a 5 year loan. But I agree with what was said.

Arvid FREIBERG
9 months ago

I got caught up in this spiral. I sold my big rigs purchased an older tt remodeled it so I could enjoy the out doors with the only cost being the site and food. No big rv payment and the rig is only has liability insurance on it. Lost a lot of money but figured it out and still enjoy family outings.

Earle Yost
9 months ago

What you say about lemonis has merit.Thank God I’ve never bought from CW.

david gebo
9 months ago

We owned a 2014 Thor Vegas, bought at Camping World, St. Augustine, This RV dealer was renamed Gander RV recently. Do they REALLY think we are too stupid to know it is still Camping World corporate? That Vegas completely fell apart in 2 years. Leaks, defective wiring, plumbing, hardware, doors cabinets, sun-damaged finish, cracked graphics, all began in one year from purchase. Spent weeks at the dealer for repairs. WE had ruined vacations, lost deposits, and totally ruined vacations. WE finally had to just dump it towards a new Regency Ultra Brougham. First class RV. Very well built. It can be done if they want to.

Karen McGhee
9 months ago

The last couple of times that we have vacationed in Gulf Shores, AL in our 5er, the flag at Camping World in Foley, AL has been missing. We went into the store yesterday (I have on my flag shirt and visor) and asked about the flag. “Oh, we have a new one on order; the old one was tattered”. For a year? I hope it is true; are their other stores flying our flag that made it possible for Marcus to become a $Zillionaire?

Luke
9 months ago

Good rant. Keep it up! Lemonis is a shark!

Sandra Greene
11 months ago

Alan, you are and always be my hero!

Cere
11 months ago

Interesting … as a (small, family-owned) campground owner, I’m waiting for your rant against Passport America. It’s a pet peeve of mine – but I see they are one of your advertisers. These people drive very pricey rigs and come in with their half-price coupon, expecting free wifi, cable tv, and plenty electricity to run their THREE air conditioners, full-sized refrigerator, 4 televisions, microwave, etc. (And they call this ‘camping’.) Worse, if you don’t lay out the red carpet and give them the site they demand, they will give you a bad review. Don’t take PA you say? If you don’t honor PA, they will drive on to the next park that will. Even so, we are considering it. Half price clubs — how are small “campgrounds” supposed to stay in business? Pay a little guy a fair price for your big expensive electricity-hogging rig.

Bob Godfrey
11 months ago
Reply to  Cere

So you are stating that the only people who come to your campground are those in “pricey rigs”? You don’t get any class B or C customers? Or tent campers? If you don’t like to give the PA discount then why are you in the program? As for me, I like to save my hard earned money so I will join any program that will enable me to get a discount particularly when we are only stopping for one night on a journey and don’t need swimming pools, swing sets, cable TV, live entertainment etc. But we are also “not camping” we RV around the country and I do not have to apologize for the fact that I have worked hard all my life and saved up enough money (without gov’t assistance) and purchased a used 40′ motor home that we have traveled to every State in the Union in. If you don’t like PA that’s fine but I am very weary of hearing about “those big rig people” expecting a discount when anyone who joins PA expects the same. The fact that we live (full time) in a big motor home is our choice and because we have more than some other people we don’t owe more than they do. If you like the socialist way of life then Venezuela will welcome you where everyone is the same.

Cere
11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Whoa. Guess I hit a nerve, Bob. The thing with the big rigs is that they use big electricity. They cost us more to host in our campground and they need and specially request our best sites (they won’t fit comfortably in other sites). We metered our sites for about a year (big hassle so we gave it up) and learned that the big rigs use an average of $5-8 of power every day, more in summer, with 3 ACs in most. That leaves us with about $14 to work with to pay our own staff, taxes, overhead, etc. We do have plenty of Bs and Cs and Travel Trailers – who ironically don’t use PA nearly as often as the big rigs. We thought about enacting a big rig fee – but maybe we should just raise our base price and give others a ‘small rig discount’ so as to not be called ‘socialists’ for charging ad valorem.

CAJUN
11 months ago

” The perfect storm is upon us!” It just ain’t RV’s.

Brian
11 months ago

Sad to hear what is going on. Sounds very close to the housing industry when folks could buy homes that they could not afford years later. Making more profit with poor business ethics can hurt some industries. Sad about the RV industry. Being a medical retired lawman, I was the guy in the tent next to folks with 500k plus Rv’s. I call them mobile hotels. I guess I missed out on some cool RV experience. I did have much fun camping in tents and spoke to many that lived in luxury next to my peasant tent. Lol with that said, I pray that the RV Industry gets better and the small business owners survive all that has happened. It is nice to hear points of views of folks. God bless all !

Mike
11 months ago

This man has decided to blame human nature on Marcus Lemonis? The same principal has drawn people to cars, houses, swimming pools and even cell phones they can afford,because the financing options were so painless.

Marcus has allowed more people to own RV’s than probably any other single human being.

Ken
11 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Marcus Lemonis rapes every business sticks his hands in. Take a quick profit by slashing service and quality, then liquidate and declare bankruptcy. He is a slash and burn capitalist. Camping World is the prime example. Just take a look at the reviews that business has racked up in the last few years.

Rich T
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Your definition of “own” must be different from mine.

Wayne D
11 months ago

I’ve made similar observations about the RV Industry and have to agree it is going to end sometime soon. Don’t know what can be done to save it, it will crash on its own wheels. Marcos made his plans but forgot what will happen when the market drops entirely. It’s bad enough now. It will take a lot of good luck to pull this up again .

Dick Reymore
11 months ago

The author is completely accurate and truth is not slander. I have bought and owned various rvs for the past 60 years and my troubles started when we wanted to downsize from our 2001 Safari Panther. I did not realize the amount of junk motorhomes being built until we traded our Panther on a 2016 Palazzo. 20 years sounded interesting because I would not need to get into our savings and I would be 102 at pay-off. In less than a year I realized I had to do my own repair work and when a California rainstorm soaked everything in my bays I went back to another dealer. Being a Thor dealer, he was sympathetic and sold us a 33′ Allegro Red. I was familiar with Tiffin coaches and knew it was built right – still 20 years of payments and the realization that I would always be “under water.” We loved the coach and its amenities but did not like the drivability and underpowered Cummins engine. Went to sell it and had to pay another $3500 to get out of the contract. 20 year loans on an RV are a disaster waiting to happen. We now own a 1999 Safari Panther that we bought after getting out of the 20 year bad decision. These decisions were my responsibility and thankfully corrected before it was a complete disaster.

What Lemonis has done to Good Sam and Camping World is unforgiveable and I hope he gets nailed for it. I have been a member of FMCA since 2001. As soon as I saw what Lemonis was doing to Good Sam, I got out. FMCA is a not-for-profit organization (like GS use to be) and has many benefits. If you still belong to Good Sam you might want to look into FMCA.

Bob p
2 months ago
Reply to  Dick Reymore

I wish I had never became a life member back in the early 90’s, it’s wasted money now, sort of like my GM stock when they filed bankruptcy several years ago.

Rafael Garcia
11 months ago

I’m not going to pretend to be an experienced RV’er.
I’m not.
But the Camping World Service Center and store is, fortunately, just a stines throw away frim where I park my coach in storage.
This Camping World Service Center performs installation of major compnents at a fraction of what the dealers charge.
And they do good work.
I’m a retired automotive mechanic. I’ve worked in telecommunications and the aerospace industry as a structural mechanic.
So I have a professional insight to lught and heavy line automotive suspensions, tires and wheels.
The aircraft structural mechanic experience gives me an idea of what to expect from any structural work.
And the electric/electronic experience I jave helps me understand work performed on my coach.
I strongly recommend Camping World

ken
11 months ago
Reply to  Rafael Garcia

You are basically 1 out of a hundred.

Al McGuire
10 months ago
Reply to  Rafael Garcia

Good service at Camping World is not a normal thing. I can’t tell you how many RV owners had repaired what Camping World repaired or installed.

John Mattus
10 months ago
Reply to  Rafael Garcia

I’ve had work performed at Camping World twice and twice have had to take the rig elsewhere to fix what they did. Maybe you have a well run CW near you but I have not run into them.

Tamara
11 months ago

So it’s all one man’s fault? The most stand out comment in the video was referring to the poor innocent consumer that doesn’t know any better. Consumers are adults, they need to keep up their RV’s or buy less expensive ones. There are BMW’s and Honda’s for a reason. BMW’s can cost over $150,000. They aren’t worth the same as the loan after a year or two either. The emotional buy is marketing, thats what companies bank on. This is the consumers fault. Don’t buy what you can’t afford. I owned 4 houses in the downturn. I didn’t lose them because I put money down and financed them appropriately. The consumers that did that ridiculous financing, bought what they couldn’t afford and lost. The terms were in black and white. I read them and realized it was stupid. If people don’t take responsibility for themselves, they can’t blame others. Read the TERMS!

Brad Butler
11 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck. You missed Tamara’s point. Yes! You should continue to educate consumers. It’s very much needed. And, you’re doing a great job. There however is a huge difference between educating consumers and perpetuating a false narrative that allows folks to believe the result of their poor choices are someone else’s fault (e.g. Marcus Lemonis). That kind of thinking is destroying this country. The sooner folks wake up to the reality that they alone are responsible for their own life choices, the better.

Dennis Gardiner
11 months ago

Marcus Lemonis is the head (CEO) of Camping World and its affiliates. If he decided to change how business is conducted, by dealers under his corporate umbrella, things would change. The bad managers running those locations would have a chance to correct practices, and hired and fire as needed.
Consumers also need to think before they purchase, and sadly many do not. They need to educate themselves, be prepared, and get a RV inspection, even on a new unit. Alan Warren is trying to teach people, and warning them on how to identify the pit falls.

Bill
11 months ago

Many Camping World RV sales locations are franchises, and Marcus exercises little or no control over them. The dealers that were bad dealers to begin with remain bad dealers, and the ones that were good to begin with remain good dealers. The company stores are another matter.