Court rules in favor of owner of defective Newmar motorhome

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The United States District Court for the District of Oregon has awarded a partial judgment for an RVer client against Newmar Corp., now part of Winnebago Industries, Inc.

In Roblin v. Newmar Corporation, the plaintiff sued Newmar under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Oregon Lemon Law Act, the Oregon Consumer Warranty Act and the California Unfair Competition Law. The plaintiff alleged that their 2016 London Aire RV, purchased from Guaranty RV in Junction City, Oregon, had suffered numerous failures of its various systems, including the engine cooling system, the electrical system and the room extension slide-out system.

The RV’s flaws manifested in a pattern of repeated breakdowns, unsuccessful repair attempts and lengthy warranty service periods. The vehicle was presented to dealerships for repairs under various warranties approximately nine times between 2015 and 2017, and it was undriveable for more than 130 days.

The plaintiff also claimed that, during the sales process and in its corporate materials, Newmar emphasized a large service network populated with well-trained technicians, which became a significant selling point of the RV. However, personnel at the various authorized service centers, including service centers in both Oregon and California, continually demonstrated that they were not properly trained and lacked the expertise to provide the high level of service promised.

Newmar Laid Blame on Subcomponent Manufacturers
Roblin repeatedly attempted to obtain a refund from Newmar or have the RV replaced. Newmar and its agents declined to provide such remedies, placing responsibility on subcomponent manufacturers and arguing that the plaintiff did not meet all the conditions for repurchase under the Oregon Lemon Law.

“From a practical standpoint, this decision protects a consumer from having to litigate against each subcomponent manufacturer, while also ensuring that final manufacturers cannot contract around Oregon’s Lemon Law,” said Judge McShane of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

Not yet determined in this case is the dollar amount to be awarded to the plaintiff, including the repurchase price of the RV and any potential supplemental funds. A decision is expected soon.

Markowitz Herbold PC, a trial law firm, represented Roblin.

SOURCE: Business Wire

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Vanha Pieru
7 months ago

Perhaps someone can initiate a class action suit against the piss-poor quality upholstery material that so many of us got stuck with on the mid-teen year RV’s. we have 2015 Newmar Dutch Star, 15,000 miles and Captains chairs surface has deteriorated to unusable surface. Not just Newmar but apparently any RV manufacturer who uses Flesxteel (and perhaps other brands?) furniture. Tons of complaints out there, and we are pretty much S.O.L on any remedy.

Crabbyolddad
8 months ago

Motorhomes, like boats, are a collection of sub assemblies from various manufacturers. The finished product manufacturer is responsible for the finished product and are liable 100%. However rarely do they ever fulfill their promise, in part because the selling dealer is working at predetermined “warranty” rates, rarely enough to do the job. Compound that with inept service personnel and you wind up with situations like the one quoted here. Another good reason to buy used. Let the previous owner suffer the indignities as well as the huge depreciation.

Jay Luster
8 months ago

Our 2018 Coachman has had numerous water leaks. One of them damaged the subflooring. We were told by the seller that literally everything was covered for five years. Apparently everything doesn’t include the subfloor. Another dealer had our rig for five days. When we returned, not only had they not worked on it, despite being checked in, and walked through by their service manager, they didn’t even know it was on their lot. They had lost the paperwork. Another time, we ended up paying $680 to repair the collapsed platform supporting the fridge. They said it was part of the subfloor and therefore not repairable. How can a platform built upon the flooring, above the subfloor, be part of the subfloor? Despite having 2.5 years left on the warranty, we’ve decided it’s quicker and easier to fix things ourselves. We love our RV, but the manufacturers, and warranty companies do not properly support their products. I hope this court victory is the beginning of an industry revolution in customer service

Joyfulskip1
8 months ago

From what I have heard from other purchaser’s of new RV’s in recent years is that the RV sellers only work with the original component manufacturer’s on every aspect of your new RV. They do not take personal responsibility for selling the rigs while NOT having properly trained technical staff to service and repair them. This is a problem nationwide for Rver’s in my opinion. I have now dealt with 3 or 4 different RV places that will say they can fix something and then days later they are still scratching their heads over the situation and saying they “tried” this, or “tried” that to no avail. Meanwhile you have been without the use of your rig, and you still have to pay for their time to NOT figure out the problem. I realize that some of that is indeed a shared issue and they do need to be compensated when they are trying to repair something, but there needs to be standardization of how RV’s are manufactured, and wiring diagrams need to be provided with EACH and every rig, along with specifics on their exact rig’s structural information and final weight after all additions and subtractions of options are completed. Manufacturer’s and retailer’s alike need to get their acts together on this and improve quality to the way it used to be for all RV’s.
Just my opinion.

Joel Meriwether
8 months ago
Reply to  Joyfulskip1

Every motorhome I have had (10) was a pain in the butt as were the manufacturers EXCEPT FOR MY TIFFIN ALLEGRO. Had a few minor problems but received good service and excellent response from Red Bay.

Patsy Perkins
8 months ago

We were traveling from north Texas to Florida 9 days ago in our 2018 London Aire and stopped at a roadside park for a quick bite in Tyler. When my husband restarted the engine our motor home on the drivers side airbag would not inflate. We have the Hadley Air Ride System. We knew we could not continue our vacation driving like this. We were approximately 4 hours from home when this happened. I called the Newmar dealership in Lewisville and got a recording. In the mean time we started looking for a place with an air hose, those are hard to find. We decided to turn around and go home. When we went over a bridge we saw Lonestar Freightliner and it was open on a Saturday morning, we pulled in and the first question was is that a Freightliner chassis ? My husband said it was a Spartan and we both went well this is not going to be good. Ryan came out and knew exactly what was going on, got under our motor home to air it up, a nut holding the valve in place was missing. He went to get a nut and reattached the valve and it the stair bag inflated . This young gentleman saved our day and we were able to go to Florida and have our vacation. We tipped him and gave him some “ treats”
On our way I got on the Lonestar Truck Group 903-593-2575 website and gave him a wonderful review and told them to give him a raise.
We GOT LUCKY.

DAVID QUINN
8 months ago

This is awesome, more judges need to protect the consumer from getting the shaft.

Donald N Wright
8 months ago

Wow, an honest Judge.

Bill T
8 months ago

I hope the settlement is high and well publicized. I hope the outcome will be a catalyst for all companies associated with the RVIA to slow down production and employ more quality safe guards for their products. One can only hope.

tom
8 months ago

Just because an item has a high price does not always indicate a quality item. RVs are definitely a “buyer beware” item. As manufacturers chase the bottom line, something get cut. This is another industry that will have another shakeup in the near future.

Lester
8 months ago
Reply to  tom

Don’t count on it. I have owned semi trucks for 50 years. That’s how they have treated truckers since before I started. We are cash cows. I had a Western Star with a c15 Cat in the first 10000 miles it threw the fan belt. I had a load of produce from California it lost the belt in Reno on a Saturday supposed to deliver on Monday no one had a belt to fit Monday they couldn’t find one anywhere on Tuesday they found one in New Hampshire but it was to late to air freight. Wed. They ship it but it get there till Thursday. By the time I got it delivered I had a $4000 claim. Lemon laws don’t cover commercial vehicles unless they are purchased in Texas.

Drew
8 months ago

I hope they get a fair settlement- it sounds like these poor people have been through hell with this high line motor home.

DAVID QUINN
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

This is one time where I hope the settlement is way above what fair is…hopefully it will teach the industry a big lesson, and that is to quit screwing us, the consumer.

Unfortunately, if the consumer wins, I fear NEWMAR will drag the appeals never ending.