Sunday, October 2, 2022


Go slow at the dealership – Don’t let money burn a hole in your pocket

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

They call it “buyer’s remorse.” Here’s a real-life example: An RV shopper and his wife had in mind a new toy hauler. They’d done their research, they knew what they wanted. Once on a dealer’s lot things got a bit hairy. A different toy hauler caught their eye and soon they’d plunked down a $6,000 deposit and signed off on the contract, and a delivery date was scheduled.

Once back at home, the couple started doing a little pencil pushing. The RV they’d just bought turned out to be way over the limit of the towing capability of the family pickup truck. In the “heat of the moment” of shopping, that all-important factor had been forgotten. The research previously done was for the “first rig” and it was well within the scope of the tow vehicle – but, oh dear, that new, flashy rig was irresistible.

What’s to be done? Could they get out of that contract?

Asking the advice of the readers of an RV forum, dozens of responses came back. Emotions ran from calm and collected to heated – some downright nasty. Both the customer and the dealership were made out to be the villain, and suggestions ranged from simply never picking up the trailer, to biting the bullet and buying a big enough truck to tote the rig.

There are a lot of elements to the tale, but one thing to be taken away is this: When you’re spending money, particularly big money, go slow, double-check, and do your homework. From a legal standpoint, the customer put himself on the line when he signed the dotted line. In the state where the transaction occurred there was no “cooling off” period – that is, a time frame where you can change your mind, cancel the deal and get your money back. From a strictly legal standpoint, the buyer was stuck.

On the other hand, there’s Solomon’s advice: “If you have been ensnared by your promise, caught by the words of your mouth. Do this, my son, and free yourself … go and humble yourself and urgently plead with your neighbor.” We could hope that the RV dealer is reasonable, and would offer some sort of an out. Perhaps “Buy a different RV from me, and your deposit applies.”

The reality being that not everyone out there is reasonable, here’s another way to be a smart shopper. When you go shopping for an RV, know your limits. Not just knowing how much you can safely (and legally) tow with your tow vehicle, but know your other limits, too. How many buyers have been enamored with a “different” rig that’s only “a little bit more money,” and later found themselves in a world of hurt when they couldn’t make the payments?

Take your time with a decision, and don’t let a pushy salesman (or a pushy heart) force you into an immediate decision. There’s lots of wisdom in “sleeping on it.” It’s not very likely that your “dream RV” will walk off the lot in the next day or two. Even if it does, how much better that it becomes someone else’s heartache and not yours.



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Chuck Dunn
2 years ago

I drove onto a RV sales lot to buy a 5th wheel. I was driving a Toyota Tundra, Thought when I left there I would go buy a larger pick-up. I asked the salesman how big a rig I could get, and before I could complete the sentence, he told me my truck could pull anything in the lot. I got into the pick-up and left.

John R Crawford
2 years ago

Good advice, sleep on it first. We negotiated on a class A at Lazydays and at the end we said we would have to go home and pray about it and come back the next day. We decided that we would need to get another $4,000 off to go through with the deal. The next morning we met with the salesman and before we could say a word he said that they were taking another $8,000 off the price. It really paid to sleep on it.

2 years ago

Do your research before you ever go to a dealership and do up a check list of wants/don’t wants, needs/don’t needs and take that with you. I need to do that as I just can’t keep all the options I want in my head. You see as I age my CRS is getting worse. (CRS – can’t remember squat). I bought a one year old truck. It had everything I wanted (almost) and didn’t have the two things I didn’t want. Nope – no check list. I wanted the puck system in the truck bed for my 5th wheel hitch. Didn’t get it. So then I spent $500 putting in a rail system. Ah, such is life.

2 years ago

The truth isn’t always apparent. I purchased a new truck camper that was listed at #1650 plus options. Well by the time you add it all up it’s #2200. Fibron weighs mire than aluminum,air conditioner,microwave ,toilet, you see where im going?. The manufacturer should put the real weight of THAT unit on the label. I had no problem,but that unit was rated by the brochure for a 1/2ton truck.

John S
2 years ago

Russ & Tina,
How did the story end?
Did the couple get their money back?

2 years ago

So true- We were are an RV show in Phoenix AZ and looking at new Class A’s. I asked the sales guy for their best price and he would not give us a price until I gave our name, address, phone number. He walked away to “talk” with the manager and proceeded to hand us a “Pre” purchase agreement to sign. He kept saying it was just to get their lowest price. Thank goodness I was savvy enough to walk away. He literally followed us with clip board in hand for at least fifteen minutes.

2 years ago
Reply to  Nanci

Good for you! I would not buy from a salesman with that selling style either.

2 years ago
Reply to  Nanci

What dealership did he represent?

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