By Ron Burdge
RV LEMON LAW ATTORNEY
When an RV manufacturer goes out of business, everyone loses. Hymer North America just shut everything down. They aren’t the first RV company to go out of business and won’t be the last.
What does it mean to owners? Plenty. Here are my thoughts as an RV lawyer: It may be upper management’s fault but practically speaking that doesn’t matter. But let’s not start at the top. The lives most likely disrupted are owners whose new RV warranties are now worthless, and their lives and plans go up in smoke overnight. Now any service or repair is most likely at their own expense and that could be thousands of dollars on top of the thousands they paid to buy the RV in the first place.
So what to do?
Owners should start planning their maintenance better, get it done regularly and save up for the certainty of future repairs. It sucks, but it’s reality. In most situations owners won’t have any legal rights against the selling dealer (they should read their sales paperwork carefully and talk to a local contract law lawyer in the state where they bought the RV).
And the hundreds of company employees? Bad news. In most cases they won’t be able to do anything but look for unemployment while draining their savings looking for another job. Even if the company owes them wages or money under an employment contract (which most people don’t have anyway), that’s just a claim that will likely end up in a bankruptcy or similar liquidation proceeding.
Some companies go out of business without even doing that; they just lock the doors and write out checks to whoever they want until the assets are gone. It could be a mentality of “Let’s pay this supplier so we have a chance of getting new jobs for ourselves, but not pay the last payroll,” etc. Filing a lawsuit to stop it probably won’t work because the money and people will be gone before their case even gets to court.
What about the RV dealers?
Now let’s look at the retail dealers. They are owed for pending warranty claims; good luck. They have expensive new “orphaned” RVs sitting on their lots with disappearing warranties that have ripped the hearts from the RV’s price and, hence, their retail value. Get ready for a “fire sale,” folks.
If a buyer is really good with mechanical things, it will be a good time to buy. If not, steer clear of the orphan lot. Either way, dealers might as well get out a towel because they’re going to take a bath, a deep one. Nobody wins when an RV company goes out of business, except maybe the ones at the top of the corporate ladder who can grab the money and run.
Next week: Thinking of buying a new RV without a warranty? Be careful!
Ron Burdge is one of America’s most highly respected RV lemon lawyers. He has gained justice for countless RVers across the United States during his more than 30 years of practice. He is a frequent speaker at national seminars and conferences on Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Laws. For more information or to contact him visit his website or call his office in Dayton, Ohio, at 937-432-9500.