Friday, December 1, 2023


“If the RV industry was driven by pride instead of corporate greed…”

By Clint Norrell
Thinking it was the only safe way to cross the country to visit their grandkids, close friends bought their first RV. After questioning us for months, they finally purchased a brand we warned against from a volume dealer with a questionable reputation. The problems started immediately.

The stabilizers wouldn’t retract. The upgraded TV and the microwave were improperly wired. There were electrical wires that hadn’t been connected, pipes that leaked, and all the promised help disappeared. Roadside service didn’t come. Dealers that carried the brand wouldn’t do warranty work because they hadn’t sold the product.

Three thousand miles from home they played with their grandkids and stewed about getting screwed. Wanting to wash their hands of it all, take their loss, and move on … my friends will return to the selling dealer for warranty work before swallowing the terms of a buy-back offer. They want the RV to be in as good condition as possible before some other sucker gets stuck with it.

That will be the end of my friend’s RVing experience. It could have gone better if the RV industry was driven by pride instead of corporate greed. But with billions in back-ordered RV sales, why should they care about customer satisfaction?

They don’t! It’s a whole lot cheaper to assign a flunky to answer the complaint phone than to hire quality control personnel and allow them to slow down production … especially when all that most consumers care about is, “What does it look like, how much does it cost, and when can I get it?”


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Dr. Mike (@guest_132055)
2 years ago

I have a slight disconnect going on here.
Everyone seems to complain about products “made in China” (like almost every product that we purchase for our RV) that are “cheap” followed by: “Why can’t we make that in this country?”
Well…..all of the six (and seven) figure RVs ARE made in this country and all have issues. What would the result be if all of our gadgets were made in the US?

Dana D (@guest_132051)
2 years ago

I worked in the aircraft engine manufacturing industry. Quality can’t be inspected into any product. Quality has to be designed into a product. Then workers have to be employed to follow the design and manufacturing processes. Give me a month at any RV manufacturer and I will show management how to manufacture a quality product.

Dr. Mike (@guest_132053)
2 years ago
Reply to  Dana D

Let me join you!
I have been consulting with hospitals and laboratories around the nation to redo their procedures to show an increase in quality with a decrease in costs.

From what I understand, our first assignment should be Shaw Industries in Florida. They make the DEF heads that have been failing for several years and now have many fellow RVs stranded because of the poor design of their product.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dr. Mike
Montgomery Bonner (@guest_131936)
2 years ago

Oh, forgot, the financial crash is coming, it’s going to be worse than 1929, and 2008, add those two together, and then add 25-50%. When it does, their might not be an RV industry left, if their is, it will be the companies which have customer service as the NUMBER ONE PRIOROTY, not production numbers, and profit. Yes, business needs to make profit, but look at Costco, competitive pricing, but #1 Rated Customer Satisfaction. That keeps people coming in the door. Bad experiences with poorly built RV, those companies will be gone, just like last time, when national was the “biggest”, but the worst quality, they failed. Will Thor be next, now they are the biggest, but the quality is not there based on what we have seen in looking over products built by them, in one unit, we found 35 defects, “oh we can fix that”, question, why was it not fixed before you showed it to me?

Montgomery Bonner (@guest_131935)
2 years ago

When knowledgeable people give someone good advice, and those people fail to follow it. It’s no sweat off you nose, and if they come to you and complain, I would tell them we told you so, and if you want to complain, we do not want to hear it, take it someplace else. If they refuse, I can ask them to leave. Some people are too stupid to own RV.

Genzo (@guest_131917)
2 years ago

After one year of ownership, the items that failed in our RV were all third party components (Fireplace, TV, Stereo, etc.). Warranty was easy as have been the re-installs. Now, having said that, it is atrocious that all of those components have failed within a year.

Tom Horn (@guest_132331)
2 years ago
Reply to  Genzo

The manufactures and dealers of the RV’s demand low cost, cheaply made components to increase there profit. One year warranties can be eaten up quickly if the RV is setting in a dealers lot waiting for parts to fix all of the defects. The industry uses this angle all of the time. Next thing you know, your warranty is gone and your out the $$$$$,s for the repairs. Its a Vicious cycle. Next time you set up to buy a new camper, get a list of all of the dealers around the country that sells the product. Before you buy, call a dozen of those dealers and ask them if they do warranty work on that brand. First thing you will hear is Did You Buy It From Us. If you say NO they may or may not say yes we work on that brand under warranty. The catch is, you go all the way to the back of the line to get the warranty work done. Warranty count down begins the day you sign the papers and pull it out the gate. Again, Its A Vicious Cycle.

Roger V (@guest_131911)
2 years ago

It is sad, but I recently advised two families, dear friends of mine, who inquired about getting an RV for their retirement years not to do so. Here’s what I told them.
You need to be very handy with several trades, and be looking for a part time maintenance and admin job to keep you busy in retirement. You also need to be willing to spend the first year of ownership working through every warranty issue. Plan several very short trips for the first year so you will be close enough to return home easily when the inevitable happens. This will build your punch list. There will be many issues and you will be working with dealers who are hopelessly backed up and will tell you that they’ll “…do the best we can, but we just can’t get to you or get parts for X months.” If that still sounds like fun, then go for it. There will eventually be some good times too.

Not surprisingly, they both took another look and decided to explore other options for retirement recreation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Roger V
Bill (@guest_132059)
2 years ago
Reply to  Roger V

Buy used. Hopefully most problems solved by original buyer, and you save the initial depreciation. Still need to inspect carefully.

Tom Horn (@guest_132333)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill

I suggest paying for an inspection if a person does not know the ropes. It will be the best money you will ever spend. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect on new or used. Don’t take ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. Do not sign the papers until all defects from the First Inspection have been completed. Do not fall for the old ( Bring it back next week and we will gladly take care of all of those problems. )

Seann Fox (@guest_131900)
2 years ago

It’s always been that way with many of the RV manufacturers. So now with them not being able to produce RVs fast enough do you think that’s going to change? As much as I hate to say it government needs to get involved with some legislation forcing any sales lot that sells that brand to do warranty work on that brand for anyone.

Glenn (@guest_131895)
2 years ago

We bought our new 2018 class C, went home and loaded it for a 1600 mile round trip to Key West. Made a three page punch list and took it back to the dealer (independent) where we purchased it. Dealer made all repairs within 3 weeks.

As my wife once told me, they’re all junk; find the floor plan you like and be prepared for repairs.

After two years and numerous modifications and repairs, we love it.

We’ve been RV’ing for about 30 years, so we’re either accustomed to accepting mediocrity or numb to poor workmanship.

Lil John (@guest_131890)
2 years ago

As the bumper sticker says . . . “Indifference and Greed . . The American Way”

Martha Tassi (@guest_131864)
2 years ago

After much research, my husband and I ordered a new coach in October 2020 and took delivery in February 2021. My husband is an engineer and is beyond meticulous when it comes to how things are designed and put together. As we have found things that don’t work quite right, all of it has come down to lack of quality control. We have an interior wall separating and we see that it is held together by skinny staples. The wiring was not done correctly. There is currently a recall on the chassis (!!!) because the units were pushed out without enough lube in the rear so the bearings are seizing/burning up. None of the dealerships have the parts/supplies to make the repair but we can leave our coach there for two months while they wait for the manufacturer to send repair kits??? Don’t get me wrong, we love our coach and find it very livable. With all the profit from increased sales the manufacturers should be upping their quality game.

Leslie Berg (@guest_131857)
2 years ago

Friends who ask for advice and then disregard the advice are one of the mysteries of the universe.

Tom Horn (@guest_132334)
2 years ago
Reply to  Leslie Berg

You got that right. It’s a head shaker. The problem is, potential new RV owners get emotionally involved with the purchase. It should be all business until it is out the gate.

Ronald L. (@guest_131855)
2 years ago

Unfortunately too many people hop in a new car, truck, boat, rv etc. and take off thinking the dealer has checked everything out. Folks old enough to have grandkids should know this by now so while the dealer was remiss, the people were also to blame for not having their priorities straight.

Mark Patrick (@guest_131844)
2 years ago

In my opinion if people would start report issues to the ntsb they will start tracking issues and force more recalls. Which in turn will drive better quality

Richard (@guest_131825)
2 years ago

Put down a deposit (not excessive) and after you check it out, have an INDEPENDENT certified inspector create a punch list. No final payment until EVERYTHING is fixed. Dealers can run like racehorses to grab that carrot. Pay upfront and you will likely not be respected in the morning.

Thomas D (@guest_131801)
2 years ago

I keep reading about wait times for delivery of rv’s. Within a mile of my house, 2 dealers have over 70 units available for purchase RIGHT NOW. All kinds: tt’s, fivers, mh, and even some teardrops. People don’t look at what they are buying and take enough time to make sure everything works. Afraid if they dont snap it up, someone else will.Then the fun begins. Slow the wagons down. Start the refrigerator,the oven the waterpump the ac. If it doesn’t work, walk, no better, RUN away.

Marty chambers (@guest_131779)
2 years ago

The RV manufacturers are destroying RV’ing with their desires for short sighted profits.

RVs are going to get the reputation for being nothing but overpriced crap and not worth the money.

Gman (@guest_131790)
2 years ago
Reply to  Marty chambers

,,,and yet, we buy them. The couple in this story has no one to blame but themselves. Why bother to ask questions for months and not heed those advices. With the absence of quality control oversite, hourly wage earners are gonna cut corners when specific quotas are placed on them.

Alex (@guest_131836)
2 years ago
Reply to  Gman

100% right .. customer expectations, almost always price, drive industry decisions. Buying used from a knowlegeable private seller, is always the better way to go.

Tom (@guest_131778)
2 years ago

Bought the dream, lived the nightmare.

Bill T (@guest_131774)
2 years ago

Sounds like they missed doing an intensive PDI walk-through.

Tim (@guest_131793)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill T

What good is a PDI that produces months and months of work? The PDI should find NOTHING WRONG.

If it does a cash penalty should be paid for each item, daily, until it is fixed. This could be used to pay for alternative travel other losses caused by crappy quality.

The RV industry would make a better product if there was a financial consequence.

Dan (@guest_131854)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill T

The PDI should be done before the RV is put on the lot to sell. That’s the norm for new cars, most of the time. The technicians in most car dealerships love PDI’s because they get paid a certain amount to do the PDI, and then get paid, by the manufacturer, not the dealer, to repair the faults on that new car. It works for the technician, obviously, then the dealer, because he has confidence that a product ready to sell. In the end, it works for the manufacturer too because they can see flaws in building process before it leaves the factory. Too bad the corporate bean counters at most RV builders are too short sighted to see that. This is another one of the articles that keeps convincing me I’ll never buy a brand new RV.

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