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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Arvid FREIBERG

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

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

david gebo

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

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

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

Sandra Greene

Alan, you are and always be my hero!

Cere

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.

CAJUN

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

Brian

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

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.

Wayne D

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

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.

Rafael Garcia

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

Tamara

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!

Dennis Gardiner

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

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.

Barbara

Why is this Marcus’s fault?? . . This is the fault of the BUYER!! A little common sense here people. The reason prices have gone up on RV’s is, PEOPLE KEEP PAYING IT… STOP BUYING THEM AND PRICES WILL GO DOWN.
The old saying goes, a cool and their money will soon part…

Any businessman would do the same thing, IT’S CALLED “BUSINESS”. . If “YOU” make the purchase of something and it goes to help, it’s YOUR fault. . Remember, when you’re pointing the finger and blaming the seller for this disaster, THERE ARE 3 FINGERS POINTING BACK AT YOU….
Banks did the same thing with houses in the 80’s and the bubble popped, are we going to blame the banks for this?
If you can’t afford something, DO NOT BUY IT!!!!!!

Lance Leroy

CEO’s are the Destroyers!
Even the employees of CW that I’ve talked to over the years didn’t like the direction in which the company was and still are headed in.
I use to work for a major air plane company with the same problem…greed! It’s how fast and how much money can the CEO’s make in sacrificing the needs of their employees and customers. Now the company is in the worst finance predicament in it’s history. They stopped listening to their employees and customers needs.

Ron J

Thank you Alan, your Spot On in your remarks. When Marcus got his tenacles into Camping World, and then buying up all these small RV Outlets, and even a Boating Supply Store, I knew it wouldn’t end well. I remember being at a CG, and a guy telling me he got twenty years…..just like a house – hell, I can take the interest off my taxes….I knew it was all downhill. I used to stop in the CW Stores, long before the Marcus days……now I avoid like the plaque. Please keep your comments coming, if you reach but a few, and hopefully a few who haven’t been conned, then your doing the public a huge interest.

Steve DSaint Martin

I hope Marcus turnes it around. I shop at camping world I’m not stupid enough to buy a RV from Camping world. I bought mine from a reputable Tiffin Dealer
And I love my Allegro Bus!!!!!