A Facebook group member recently shared their buyer’s remorse. They shared their experience purchasing a brand-new trailer in November 2022. Approximately 6-7 weeks later, the owner found that the undercarriage was significantly “rusted like the Titanic….” As they described, “Anything that can rust is rusted: screws, bolts, nuts, brackets, slides, springs, wheels, axles, etc.” This member stressed the importance of getting an RV buyer inspection prior to taking the unit into possession, whether it’s brand-new or used.
Seeking warranty coverage
Since finding the rusted undercarriage, the consumer has made attempts to seek a warranty through the RV manufacturer, the frame manufacturer and the selling dealership. In all cases, there was no warranty through any avenue for rust. As he described, “… as soon as the unit leaves their lot rust is not covered … because they know the issue; the same with the framework manufacturer.”
A few days after the original post, the consumer provided a new update. The RV manufacturer has now approved the dealer to have the axles and springs replaced with new ones. The dealer was also authorized to “address the rust.” However, the method and time allowed are currently unknown.
The importance of an RV buyer inspection
For many of my customers, purchasing an RV is the second largest purchase of their lifetime, outside their home. For many, it is their home. I hope this example serves as a reminder that getting a purchase of this magnitude thoroughly inspected can save you from some serious buyer’s remorse.
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In looking at the photos provided, that only appears to be surface rust. Nothing looks rusted through and even the bolts don’t seem to be frozen. I am guessing (since it’s new), an accumulation of salt/saline from wintry roads during transport. Do you mean to tell me the buyer didn’t look at the undercarriage before signing off? Weird. I would have at least asked for some kind of undercarriage rust encapsulation treatment and then there would be a “shrug” and let’s go camping! I think the dealer went above and beyond by providing new springs.
Yeah, I tried to get my new diesel pusher inspected by an independent inspector but General RV in Birch Run, MI would not allow it. They said it was brand new and under warranty. They also do a PDI before the buyer arrives – so what’s the sense. Besides, it takes up too much of “their” time. Had I not traveled so far and placed a substantial deposit, I would have walked.
An RV buyer’s inspection sounds great and worth the money. BUT (always one of those) not usually practical when the buyer lives in a rural area. The nearest RV dealer (and I wouldn’t buy from them anyway) is a 100 miles away. So when you are buying a unit that far away, you typically can’t haul the unit to somebody you know. And it isn’t like you can easily haul your inspector to the dealership. Finding an independent inspector closer to the dealership and determining that individuals quality is far from easy. Let alone getting everybody on the same schedule.
I’ve accepted this and wear my grungy clothes, flashlight, tape measure, level and ask to borrow a ladder from the dealership. Management might roll their eyes, but the RV techs in the shop almost never do and can be helpful.
You have identified one of the several challenges to get a reliable pre-delivery inspection when buying a RV from an individual. When a buyer encounters the challenges you have listed, walk away. Same with the dealership that would not allow the prospective buyer to have his own inspector inspect the unit.
The purchase of a RV is a significant investment and an inadequate inspection with a detailed itemized report should be required, or again, walk away.
My son paid a ‘purported’ RV Inspector $350.00 and was not present when the ‘non-itemized’ inspection was performed (100 miles away). After he towed the rv home, he had to spend about $500.00 to repair the rubber roof to a usable condition, plus a few other less significant issues that were not identified & repaired. He canceled the $350.00 payment and did not hear back from the ‘inspector’.
Not many things in the RV world are ‘simple’!
Terrible story, but left out the most important details: Manufacturer and Model?
(full disclosure, I’m a certified RV Inspector). It is amazing things I’ve seen in last 3 yrs. I think the worst was, $350,000 Super Class C, brand new, laundry list of 46 things wrong with it, including: water leaks, propane leak, generator that did not work, just unreal.
The pictures indicate that unit was being transported to the dealer during a snow storm where salt was spread on the highway to clear the snow and got covered in salt spray. Looks just like the bottom of a new car I had years ago when I lived in northern IL after the first three months of driving on salt covered roads.
We live in Southeast Pa. and Brine is worse than Salt. It has actually rotted the tool bins and bottom floor of my work truck. $65,000.00 down the drain
I agree the Brine they use is is worst than salt. Plus they use salt like they get paid for how much they use. I heard one of the TT’s brands had trouble with frames rusting quickly. As an inspector for the Army it was difficult to stop rust 100 percent on frames unless you dipped them in plating tanks then sealed the cracks prior to painting.