Reader letter: ‘Stick to basics or lose me as reader’

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Dear Chuck,
letters to the editorWhile I find the subject of battling the RV industry interesting and its lack of scruples disheartening, it’s not why I subscribed to your newsletter. I own a 2009 25 ft Nash travel trailer which is well built, and I am quite pleased. I bought it used and plan to keep it for several more years. We put more than 4,000 miles on it a year and are gone 3-5 months.

My interests (and why I enjoy your newsletter) are maintenance tips, new products, interesting places and the various and diverse subjects you include, plus questions and answers, even the jokes. If your newsletter were to lean too heavily in this new direction you would probably lose me as a subscriber. I think of you more like a newspaper with several sections.

But I don’t read editorials nor am interested in politics. I just want to enjoy my RVing and all the different aspects. So feel [free] to add the industry battle news, but remember your subscribers and why they probably joined your newsletter to begin with. — Rob Olson

Dear Rob,
I understand and appreciate your thoughts. But, frankly, there are some serious problems out there. If you could sit at my desk and read my mail you would understand better.


All the topics you want to be included in the newsletter will remain. But I cannot back away from what are serious issues in the industry that affect many RVers and more in the years ahead. You have no problems yourself — a quality RV, and no serious issues with crowding and I know you are not alone. For now.

IN THE LAST YEAR, since I began writing about what is going on, circulation has climbed faster than ever before. More than 2,000 of our readers have now voluntarily subscribed, helping provide necessary funding for us to continue to serve as an advocate for their RVing interests. I take this support as a strong message to pursue my course.

If you should ever purchase an RV that’s a piece of junk (hopefully you never will) — that’s so defective it can’t be used — and then learn there is no lemon law in your state — you will wish someone like me had influenced your state legislators to adopt such a law. Right now, the RV industry associations fight them everywhere they show up and nobody — that’s NOBODY — fights for them!

For RVers who do not wish to deal with the parts of our newsletter where we deal with these issues, there are dozens of other websites and even newsletters that provide plenty of feature material and technical advice (good and bad). But I don’t know of another source besides RVtravel.com where questions are raised about the current state of RVing and where it is headed, and what that means to you and me.

While I would not like to lose you as a reader, I need to live with myself, and right now I cannot do that by burying my head in the sand.

Thank you very much for writing. I hope other readers will weigh in with their thoughts by leaving a comment.

—Chuck Woodbury/editor

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Jef Boutin
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Jef Boutin

I meant to respond to this letter when it came out last week, but I had to think about it for a while. I don’t want Chuck to stop writing about problems that many of us are experiencing in our full time RVing lives. But I do get Rob Olson’s point, in that he isn’t experiencing any of these issues, and that he probably views these issues at whining and complaining. But for him to stop being a reader because of this I think is a little extreme, but that’s just my opinion. I think his problem could be solved… Read more »

Jim
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Jim

Chuck,

I wouldn’t change a thing, what you are doing has worked well for many years.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Thanks for all you do.

Walter Kreppein
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Walter Kreppein

Hi Chuck. Thanks for the coverage of the RV Industry. We have a 2004 Coachman Freelander Motorhome,. A plaque above the entrance door says “ANOTHER QUALITY PRODUCT MADE BY COACHMAN”. What a joke! If I wasn’t handy, much of the coach would fall apart. FMCA rarely or never talks about quality issues regarding motorhomes that they review.

Patc
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Patc

Dear Chuck,

Please keep writing about the industry. We are at the mercy of poor workmanship and there are dealers out there only interested in pushing product and not at all interested when problems arise. We’ve had good and one really bad purchase that cost a chunk of our retirement savings.

Gail Behrle
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Gail Behrle

Chuck, we really appreciate your newsletter. It always interesting info. We have owned an RV since 2003. Started in a 26 ft Sunline travel trailer. We had that for 10 years and never had a thing wrong. It was built so well. We moved up to a 2013 Cougar High Country fiver with slides. Again we had done our research. Walked through many models and found this to be built well. Never had any issues with it. We visit the RV shows every year looking at the newer models since then and have seen a steady decline in workmanship. Such… Read more »

Casey Piton
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Casey Piton

Dear Chuck, Keep doing what you are doing! You are the only one who has noted the problems in the RV industry thus far and it needs to be done. We purchased our home on wheels in May 2016 and have had nothing but problems. There needs to be something done about the poor quality of RVs, and I suspect it will just get worse. The saying “You get what you pay for” does not compute in the RV world. Our RV cost over $100,000 and it had problems from day one. Keep it up Chuck – We support you!!!

Gary Causey
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Gary Causey

It irk’s me when I read a headline in RV Business industrial magazine that “celebrates” Joe Blow, RV lobbyist, paid by RIVA for yet another successful shut down of the lemon law vote in congress. RIVA is NOT helping to insure “we” the consumers receive a quality product. Many more Chuck Woodbury’s are needed. RV Travel.com newsletter and many RV related Internet sights are terrific tools that help educate the consumer. We’re not talking about buying $19.95 Ronco products!

Mike Bacque
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Mike Bacque

We’ve owned 11 units since 2001 and only ever bought one brand new off a dealer lot, a Keystone product, all others were used. We’ve never encountered the quality issues that have been reported in this newsletter but have seen lots of suspect issues while at RV shows and on dealer lots. This newsletter is invaluable in educating anyone wanting to purchase an RV that you need to know what to look for and what to avoid when shopping. There are still several quality manufacturers out there, they’re not all bad. I enjoy this newsletter very much and support it… Read more »

Jim Langley
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Jim Langley

The issue seems to be that the average consumer doesn’t know how to tap into great resources like your newsletter, Chuck, until AFTER they buy that poorly built RV. If you could somehow reach those people before they make that mistake, you’d really have something, I think. Because then, maybe enough consumers would actually inspect the RVs before buying. And, if you’ve looked at new RVs in dealerships, I’m sure you’ve seen all the poor quality we saw in rig after rig – brand new and every type and price point. If consumers knew what to look for and the… Read more »

Pat
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Pat

Keep up the great reporting!!! All I have to say is that the more I hear and read about the poor quality of new RV’s, the happier I am that we bought an older travel trailer. Our 94 Mallard is one wonderful camper. It was in great shape when we bought it and we plan to keep it for many years. We do walk thru’s in new campers at dealerships just for the fun of it. We like to look for decorating ideas. But we have not yet found one that we would trade our old girl for. We were… Read more »

RV Staff
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😀 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Martin Nadelman
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Martin Nadelman

For years I have been on the crusade to get FMCA to use its collective influence to work towards enacting nationwide lemon laws for RVs, specifically motorhomes. My voice has been stifled. Why? Because FMCA feels it needs ad revenue from motorhome manufacturers to survive. We had a new 2004 Country Coach Intrigue which was surely a lemon if there ever was one. It was in the shop for warranty work 54 weeks out of the first three years. On many occasions I asked Country Coach to just give us a new coach and take ours back. They reimbursed repair… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

I ditto what others have said: if you don’t like it, skip over it. There is lots of other interesting things to read about that makes this worth it.

Eric Eltinge
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Eric Eltinge

The advice was correct. It does take 2 years to work the bugs out of a new motorhome. Even a new 2015 Winnebago ERA built on a Mercedes 3500 Sprinter chassis. Every trip yields one new problem. Towed twice. It really tries my wife’s patience. Hmmmm……

Sandy Lindsay
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Sandy Lindsay

July 20, 2017 we bought a brand new 2017 Winnebago ERA built on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis and the only time we have driven it is back and forth to the dealer! The quality control at Winnebago is terrible! We were planning a trip between ‘fixes’ and the night before the month long trip the refrigerator/freezer stopped working! We’ve had electrical problems, our Infotainment center had to be replaced, the Truma system didn’t work, the TV doesn’t work, etc…a brand new RV!! This is a great newsletter and we love the articles. If there is something we aren’t interested in… Read more »

Ellen
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Ellen

Chuck — Add another voice to the chorus singing, “Keep it up! We need you!” RV manufacturers are abiding by the law in what they manufacture and naturally oppose any lemon laws that would force them (economically) to correct issues that later surface. The legislature (especially these days) has so much on the plate that RV lemon laws aren’t even on the list. But here’s the thing: NO BODY wants to hear about lives lost, people maimed, lives changed because of the awful quality of any product. If someone delivered to Congress a long list of people whose lives were… Read more »

Jann Forrest
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Jann Forrest

I think everything that Chuck has written is supported by the ongoing lists of recalls. There are recalls from almost every mfg. and type of rig known to man and for things you would think a 10 year old would notice before the finished product goes out the door. Reason is the Mfg. does not really care to know. The rig will be finished being built by the buyer. This is the sad part because some things ignored are life threatening and if anyone things this should not be talked about, they are on kibbles & bits. One last remark… Read more »

Sherry Dawson
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Sherry Dawson

I look forward every Saturday to your newsletter, when I make my coffee and sip contentedly while I read the whole thing in one sitting. My Saturdays wouldn’t be complete without RVTravel. Your information has been educating me for two years now to prepare for full-time RVing, buy the right rig for my needs and interests, learn to boondock wisely, do proper maintenance, diagnose repair problems, take safety precautions, prepare for emergencies, see the beauty and diversity of this country, and much more! Also, you’ve helped keep my excitement and determination stoked through some health and physical setbacks that have… Read more »

Lynn Hudgens
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Lynn Hudgens

What the industry needs to keep it healthy is more voices like yours. The manufacturers are hurting themselves as well as owners of RVs. You don’t talk a lot about how poor quality manufacturing affects consumers, the lending industry and buyers of Pre-owned RVs. Poor quality in terms of vendor reputation adds significantly to big depreciation and the so-called “upside down on payments.” Buyers take out loans on a vehicle that has no chance of lasting as long as the payment terms or length of the loan. What does it add up to? Someone is going to get burned…and often… Read more »

Denton
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Denton

Chuck You’re campaigning, quite rightly, against poor RV quality and lack of decent RV parks. I’m only going to address the first one – maybe next week, I’ll get to my thoughts on the lack of decent parks. While the tackling of the quality issue is admirable and worth pursuing, complaining about an issue is not going to get changes made. How do you get the ear of management of the manufacturers and get them to realize that they could make many more $$ (and it’s all about $$) if only they would improve quality when they are already getting… Read more »

sqeakytiki
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sqeakytiki

Leader? Messiah? Those are pretty big shoes to fill. It’s entirely possible that Chuck doesn’t have the energy or the inclination to be your ‘messiah’. Maybe now that you are educated thanks to Chuck’s articles you should come up with some solutions yourself? It’s not his responsibility to lead us, only to keep us informed.

R M Roberts
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R M Roberts

Chuck keep doing what you are doing. Building a DIY rig is not a viable answer for everyone. Certainly not me. Buying a Used rig has it’s challenges too. I looked very carefully and decided to stay away from large corp. entities that are turning out thousands of RV’s per year. It cost me a bit more up front, but I’ve had very few repairs. I hadn’t run into a problem with finding nice parks until this year after the hurricanes. It seems that many of the folks who would normally go to the gulf south are coming out west… Read more »

Ken Kirkwood
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Ken Kirkwood

Keep doing what you are doing, Chuck because no one else is. If a reader only want RV tips and tricks, there are lots of websites that cater to those topics. You are unique and we RVers need you in our corner.

Denny Wagaman
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Denny Wagaman

Chuck please please keep doing what you are doing! Even get more into the problems naming companies. The price we pay for what we get is a shame in so many instances. Many manufacturers and dealers have had a free for all with us (buyers). No one and I mean no one has taken the banner for us like you have! Thank you thank you for seeing what many have seen but could not do anything about it!

Jim Morgan
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Jim Morgan

Chuck,
Keep doing what you are doing…
More than one person out there having the issues… Rob sorry but some of us do not have our head in the sand.

Thanks
JM

Vick
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Vick

Chuck,

Keep pointing the finger at the RV manufacturers! I am still transporting new rvs to the dealers and the quality is still dropping to levels that should not be accepted by the dealerships or the public. The bubble will burst sooner or later and the manufacturers will regret what they did to the industry with the junk they are pushing onto the public.

Roy Christensen
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Roy Christensen

Dear Chuck,
I enjoy reading your newsletter. The info about the RV industry and poorly managed campgrounds is enlightening. I have experienced some of this myself. I especially enjoy the details of your life on the road and the places you have passed through and stayed at. I also read all the tips and expert advice. I consider your newsletter the Consumer Reports of the RV world. It is good to have a source of info that you can trust. Please keep up the good work

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

Chuck, I am somewhat confused at a catch 22 situation. To make this website grow you need more people to subscribe and you’ve ask for more readers. Then there is an explosion in RV sales and we hear complaints about too many new RV’ers buying RVs and not enough camping spaces to park them. I will agree RV craftsmanship is not what it used to be. I agree we need more campsites. What I don’t agree with is pushing these new people away and discouraging them from this endeavor so WE can have more spaces. The law of supply and… Read more »