Early last month we wrote about two RVTravel.com readers with a weird problem. Their brand-new Forest River travel trailer came equipped with a roof that in some ways resembled a wavy potato chip. Gregg and Cathy P.’s 2023 Apex Nano had the relatively new Crossflex roof membrane, which should be flat and tight. Their roof had ripples and bubbles. After a bit of a tussle, Forest River offered the couple a five-year extended warranty on the roof, covering all parts and labor. Sound good? It did at first. But here’s the rest of the rippled-roof story.
Ripple roof recap
Initially, the selling dealer tried to pawn off the roof situation with, “Some bubbles are normal.” For its part, Forest River tried to write the thing off, telling Gregg and Cathy that a seam “had shifted,” and that this was “common.” Not so, countered Dicor, the company that manufactures Crossflex. A Dicor representative told us that when the roofing is installed at the RV manufacturer’s plant, all bubbles and ripples should be squeegeed down, flat, and tight.
We at RVTravel.com reached out to Dicor, and heard back that it had contacted Forest River about the matter. “All’s well,” said the Dicor rep. Forest River would give the couple an extended warranty, no sweat. And Cathy reported that, indeed, Forest River had promised the warranty that very day. They were ready to take the deal and see what happened. That was on March 30, 2023.
Extended warranty or extended headaches?
Cathy waited for the promised “extended warranty” to show up. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, on April 23, she fired off this e-mail to Forest River. “I’ve been extremely patient waiting for the 5-year roof warranty that Matt from Dicor promised. He said Forest River would need to issue that. We are going to contact an attorney to see what our rights are regarding the existing warranty.”
Perhaps the word “attorney” was the flame needed to get Forest River to act. The next day, April 24, Cathy got the “extended warranty” offer—not from Forest River, but instead from Dicor, the roof manufacturer. The so-called extended warranty only offered a free fix, “for premature deterioration of the membrane to the point of failure because of weathering….”
The offer didn’t sit well with the couple. Forest River was anxious to have the matter cleared up, and wanted to know if the couple had signed off on the agreement. Cathy fired back, “It is very unlikely that the membrane will fail due to ‘weathering’ since we will be using it on an occasional basis and that it is kept under a roof the remaining time. The failure is more likely to occur due to improper installation. It is obvious the adhesive was not applied sufficiently. Therefore, I will not be signing the warranty extension agreement as presented.”
Not JUST an extended warranty
Interestingly, as would appear to be common in the RV industry, not only was Cathy asked to sign off on Dicor’s “goodwill gesture,” the title of the document spells out Dicor’s major concern. The title? “NON-DISCLOSURE STATEMENT.” Yep, the customers, in exchange for the “goodwill gesture,” couldn’t tell anyone about the deal.
Since Gregg and Cathy refused to sign off, the ball was back in Forest River’s court. The company decided to pick up the travel trailer and haul it back to Goshen, Indiana, where they’ll see to it that a new roof membrane is installed. Cathy has a copy of the transport order in hand.
While this may make Dicor look like the “bad guy” in the play, we should note that the warranty that came from Forest River indicated that Dicor would be the one to warrant the roof. Never mind that Forest River’s employees apparently did the real dirty when they improperly installed the Dicor roofing material.
Moral of the story
We’re hopeful that when the little Apex travel trailer comes home, it will be as good as new. Wait a minute—did we say “good as new”? Make that, “a whole lot better than the ‘new’” that Forest River tried to foist off in the first place.
The moral of the story must be this: Don’t take poor workmanship lying down. Understandably, there will be “bugs” that come with a new RV. But this set of bugs should never have happened in the first place. We’re happy Gregg and Cathy stuck to their guns. If more RV buyers did the same, it’s possible the industry might invest in better quality control.
Thank you for “the rest of the story!” Yes, informed owners/buyers can affect the industry’s practices. However, naive owners/buyers lack the understanding necessary to do this effectively. Thanks to RV Travel, and Russ and Tina more particularly, the naive are being transformed into the informed. Good job! 🙂 😎
Not a surprise based on my experience with Forest River. My 2 year old Ibex trailer developed a large crack in the sidewall that you could see daylight through and the wall warping due to poorly welded aluminum cage frame separating. Forest River told me to pound sand due to the 1 year warranty being expired and a weight distributing hitch being used, which was properly sized and installed by the dealer. They said I could ship it across the country to them so they could look for potential defects because they disagreed with a the dealer assessment. Right…
Shame on Thor for not repairing/replacing the roof membrane. Something is definitely wrong under the Dicor material. Hopefully their repair man take plenty of pictures during the repair process, and that this family sends copies to Thor.
There’s always small claims court. Its usually cheap and easy. File alone usually gets action and the defendant corrects the problem without actually going to court.
I’ve sued Wells Fargo and others. Never had to actually go to court. Settled before.
I hope that this issue is resolved to the customers satisfaction. I just felt compelled as an owner of a Forest River class A motorhome, that while everything was not perfect on our new coach, Forest River and their employees have gone overboard to take care of any and all issues I have found and reported. We certainly paid more for our class A, but even with that fact, my self and a number of others have been very, very well taken care of. For the record.
I would have never taken the RV off the lot. I would have seen this on pre delivery inspection and said No, I’m not buying this RV, show me another. Once you take it off the lot or sign on the dotted line, they got you.
Extended warranty is an unacceptable fix anyway. Would you feel like Forest River has taken care of you when the roof failed one day after the warranty ended?
Extended warranty is a piece of paper with the liability carrier on the other end sitting with fingers crossed and hoping that the final day of warranty comes soon. Do you want a good roof or a piece of paper stating it is a ‘good enough’ roof? Hope this gets resolved satisfactorily in the end.
Again, a piece of paper saying the roof won’t leak is not actually a roof that won’t leak. Does the warranty cover consequential damages? New sofa? Photo album? Important papers? Warped wood cabinets? Mold abatement?
A key learning point is that companies (and governments and cops etc.) will ask you for permission to do something even when they are not legally required actions. It’s like a cop “innocently” asking you questions that lead to further action, such as asking if they can come into your RV during a traffic stop “because they are thinking about buying an RV”. If you allow it you just agreed to a visual search of the contents they can see that they otherwise would not have been legally able to do.
If you agree to things like this NDA instead of rejecting it or modifying the terms so they are less onerous, guess what, you voluntarily agreed to it.
At a minimum I would require that the warranty be transferable to any subsequent owner. Otherwise, should you decide to upgrade in, say, two years, that roof will decrease your resale value, the NDA prohibits you from telling any prospective buyer about it, and they do not get it.
“A person who does not know their rights has no rights.”
Yep, don’t let the manufacturer off the hook, make them accept their mistakes and correct them. We pay much more than these units are worth so it better be very close to perfect.