Friday, June 2, 2023


Reader unhappy with my negative reporting: Unsubscribes

I am withholding the name of the author. I know that some other readers have similar feelings, so posting his thoughts is my way of showing I understand his (and probably many others’) point of view, and my reasons for doing what I do. Please feel free to comment. —Chuck Woodbury, editor
Dear Chuck,
letters to the editorI’ve been a subscriber to your various newsletters for a number of years.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, your reporting has devolved into nothing more than a negative slant against all things RV related. It’s your newsletter and you can certainly report as you see fit, just as I can decide whether I want to subscribe to its influences or not. We have reached a decision to unsubscribe from all of your newsletters. The final blow comes as a result of your taking time to bash a 7 year old BLM public service video! Meaningful news must be scant for you these days, apparently. 
It seems that you have become somewhat cynical in your attitude and resulting reporting and while I believe there should be a strong voice representing RV owners to the RV industry, your voice has become almost entirely negative. I believe as a result of the vehemence and sarcasm evidenced in your newsletter on an increasing basis, you are evolving into an ineffective force, NOT to be reckoned with….not unlike Chicken Little. That’s really a shame. An organized and professional approach will cause industries leaders to want to sit down and talk about the issues, not snarky, sarcastic, sniping and biased editorials. Some of your content is interesting, informative and relevant, but I found that many other online newsletters provide identical content, without the negative slant.

We have owned eight RVs over the last 20 years, all of them purchased new except one. We have been full-timing for more than 12 years. I mention this only to point out that we are not newbies and do speak with some hard-earned experiences. We fully understand the issues with owning a complex piece of equipment, pieced together with parts sourced from many manufacturers. Things happen, parts do break, there are poor manufacturing quality control systems in place, but at the end of the day you either enjoy the ride or decide it’s not worth it.

Is the problem solely the RV manufacturing industry or is it possible the consumers’ ceaseless demand for bigger, better and more high-tech products partially a factor? We no longer camp, we glamp, as no one wants to leave any of our “required” conveniences at home.

Chuck, good luck with your efforts in the future. We truly hope your quest to be the Don Quixote for RV owners is successful as you to strive to conquer the windmill collectively known as the RVIA. Given the negative state of our country and our world as reported each and every day, we refuse to ingest negative influence into our major source of enjoyment:  RV’ing.

Take care. —David


Dear David,
Thanks for the observations. I am aware that I have been more “negative” lately than at any other time in my 35 years of RVing, in which I have spent, on average, at least a few months a year on the road.
The change in my tone began about a year and a half ago when I went full-time and began to really live and breathe the RV lifestyle, and see first hand what’s going on. There is something about being “out there,” talking with other RVers and observing their lives, that opens a writer’s eyes to more than what he or she would see from home or an office. Of course, I write a whole lot that would never be considered negative, as I am in love with the RV lifestyle as much as when I first hit the road 35 years ago.

Despite what you have observed, our circulation has hit new highs since I started what you perceive as negative reporting. Our “voluntary subscriptions” have also increased significantly in the last year, which has enabled me to commission more quality articles from our current writers and hire new ones to help report about the RV lifestyle better, with higher quality information and articles. It’s these pledges of support that have enabled my staff and I to finally launch Mike Sokol’s RV Electricity Newsletter, which I guarantee will save some RVers’ heartache from dangerous mistakes they might make that result in loss of their RVs and sadly sometimes even their lives (or a family menber’s). Mike and I are working behind the scenes to develop some education programs to help RVers be safer with electricity.

There is a lot of frustration among RVers these days and it seems I am the only one addressing the issues and their concerns. I learned three decades ago when I first started reporting from the road that I could not please everyone. Heck, if I can please two percent of the RVers in America I’ll have a substantial audience, a big enough voice that the industry will pay close attention. Nobody else watches the industry, how it treats you and me (we’re $$$ to manufacturers and not much more) and other RVers. They do what they wish, including cranking out way too many substandard products. Also, nobody else that I know of is seriously addressing where you put a half million new RVs a year when there are virtually no new RV park spaces or public campgrounds. Okay, that’s negative. I understand.

 So while you are certainly not alone in your observations about my reporting, there are a lot of folks who see what my staff and I do differently.
Frankly, I found the BLM video stupid — a confusing, long-winded animated feature produced, I suspect, at considerable expense. Most viewers of such videos never get beyond 10-20 seconds into it before clicking away. I doubt that even 10 percent of the 500 who viewed this one over 7 years (let’s see, that’s 71 views a year!) watched it all the way through. And, yes, I posted it to this website with my comments on New Year’s Day, which was, indeed, a slow news day. But like most days of my life, I worked (in between football games).
I went ahead and removed you from all our newsletters email alerts except the new one about RV electricity, which I do not edit. I believe every RVer should read it. Feel free, of course, to unsubscribe: I just thought you might find it more to your liking than the other publications where I am more involved. It’s all about safety.
But like I said, I do understand your points. Thank you for taking the time to write.
The very best to you.
P.S. Just as I was writing this response, a recall notice was issued by the Federal government about satellite dishes that were installed on some Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler motorhomes that were coming loose and flying off the roofs. As soon as I am done here, I will report the recall on this website. Is this negative news? Should I just let this pass without a mention? Here’s my thinking: If I’m following behind one of those motorhomes and the dish comes loose and flies off and slams into my windshield, I will not be a happy camper, maybe not even a camper again.
And why is this recall even being issued? Because the normal supply of plywood ran out where the dish is attached and a composite material was substituted. Well, apparently it didn’t work. To me, running out of the product reflects bad planning, but using a substitute product not designed to do the job is just plain wrong. This is just another example of bad workmanship coming out of manufacturers’ factories these days in the name of building RVs too fast in an effort to keep the cash rolling in.
Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


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5 years ago

We are new to the RV world & last year we spent a lot of time going to dealers & shows & reading & then we found this newsletter. We always heard the rosy picture never the problems. Long story, thanks to this newsletter we did not buy a stick camper. Even though we saw how flimsy they were built, we wanted one so bad that we were going to over look it, until we found this newsletter. We ended up with a fiberglass camper. We have a 10 month wait, but worth the peace of mind. We will find out if we made the right choice this spring. Keep up the good work.

5 years ago

I ride a motorcycle as well as traveling with a fifth wheel.
I am not happy to hear that some rv’s are loosing their rooftop satellite while underway!
Thanks for the heads up, and keep on keeping on!

Michael McCracken
5 years ago

No complaints here Chuck. Your articles are informative and spot on. I want to know the problems that I might face as a full-time RVer. The good as well as the bad. Thank You Chuck for keeping me informed.

Mike H.
5 years ago

I have to sit back and smile, obviously you have generated quite a bit of interest. We have the option to read or not read these articles. I’ve been playing with these things for forty years now ({bleeped} I’m old) serviced and repaired numerous rigs, none of this is going to change our passion of this type of travel. The old adage “take it with a grain of salt “ keep up the good work and happy travels….

5 years ago

I think a little doom and gloom about the current state is fine. I’d wish you’d do some searching about alternative rving choices.
We’ve been full-time since 2013 and have been completely happy staying at COE and State Parks from New York State to Florida. Yes we have to make reservations months in advance. But we never have the worries traveling and wondering if we will have a space and if we will fit. If something changes our plans a quick call and a cancellation fee is all that happens.
And we went with a residential refrigerator after two cooling units failed in our 2005 Newmar Dutchstar MH. So now we are Happy Campers without the worries about throwing out spoiled food. It’s not just boondocking vs private park camping. There are a lot of options out there.

Dave G
5 years ago

I think the negative things you talk about should be heard. However, why not do it in a section like the other information sections and talk about your travels and POSITIVE adventures in YOUR section. Negative can be good but enough is enough. I am also a contributor and look forward to your newsletter. But I too get tired of the massive negativity. Talk about RV problems and negativity in an RV problem Section. That’s my opinion and most wont like it but it is what it is. Thanks David for bringing this to light. Thanks Chuck for your newsletter and attention to these problems. Keep up the good work, overall.

Patricia Bankston
5 years ago

Chuck, I hope you realize that your voice is needed to share with consumers to “look before they buy:” and the RV Industry that, yes, someone is watching you and letting people know.
I became a member to your newsletter because I needed to find out all the information I could before I made this huge “leap of faith” to purchase.
Over the year and half I saw what you and your staff do to provide interesting, often thought-provoking commentary. That’s when I became a paid subscriber.
Don’t lose faith in what you’re doing … there’s always rain before the sun shines!
Thanks to you and your staff, I know that I have a lot more knowledge about RVs, and I’m an informed consumer.
So when I make that decision to buy, I know I have been provided the kind of information that will help me make a good decision.
Thanks again and keep up the good work!
Patricia B.

Chuck B
5 years ago

I’ve also read many of your articles for many years and personally meet and talk to you at an RV show. Yes, you are getting more negative but you did not create the source of that negativism.
Yes some of it is getting “old” and no one seems to know what to do about it. Maybe a “NEW” twist for the news letter. Solutions from our readers. The more we get involved as a group the more influence we will have.

5 years ago

Personally I welcome a newsletter such as this one as it exposes a lot of problems with quality control in the RV industry.Without advice,such as Mike’s electrical segment,or recall notices lumped into one newsletter,many would be clueless about how greedy and uncaring the RV industry has become.With the cost of new towable RV’s exceeding $100,000 anymore,one needs all the help and advice he,or she,can get to help make good decisions.Keep up the good work,Chuck,there are many who actually like your efforts.

Larry McLeod
5 years ago

Great job Chuck i enjoy all your items and look foreward to reading a lot more.Thanks Larry

Diane M
5 years ago

Marty Chambers, I was going to write a similar comment about this topic, but you said it better than I would have, so i’ll just say I agree.

Linda Greasamar
5 years ago

Hear no evil? See no evil? Speak no evil? Does that mean that it doesn’t exist? I appreciate your honest reporting and only feel enlightened by your so called negative reporting. I am afraid that a lot of people have forgotten how to speak up for what is right! Thank you for your honest reports on the RV industry.. Keep up the good work!

Patrick Granahan
5 years ago

Chuck, Thanks for all your excellent reporting.
Fact is if the industry was not cutting quality we might only hear positive reports…but…sadly that is not the case.
We sold our RV a few months ago and are not sure if we will return to the RV Life but I still read this electronic gem every week.
Keep up the great work and thanks for the reports!

Carlos M. Pérez
5 years ago

I’ll bet the guy on the Titanic who yelled “ICEBERG!!!” wasn’t being “negative”, and those that survived were probably grateful for the heads-up! ????

Let David keep listening to the orchestra…I’ll see you at the lifeboat station…

Keep up the great work! Carlos

Roger White
5 years ago

Sorry you lost a subscriber due to your “negative” attitude, Chuck. My response? I just doubled my monthly contribution. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend!

John Kiblin
5 years ago

I don’t think canceling all subscriptions is helpful to the reader. I read the newspaper daily and there are numerous stories I do not read. Many are obvious opinions rather than news reporting. But I won’t deny myself everything else just to avoid some things I don’t agree with. Television, radio, magazines, newsletters all should be taken with some sense that causes you to question the host’s/writer’s veracity, etc. Why throw out the baby with the bath water.

5 years ago

As a visible/consolidated lightening rod/spokesman for the “little consumers”, your (Chuck’s) commentary is absolutely necessary if still ignored — as many here have reported, the industry has no motive to improve or take care of customers because they have more business than they can handle even while producing dangerous and shoddy products. Alerting new RVers until sales fall off is the only leverage “we” really have.

One problem that I haven’t seen Chuck address yet, if he wants to REALLY tilt at windmills, is the effect mega-government has on campsites. I’ve talked to many campsite owners about “If you’re ALWAYS booked, why don’t you expand? Why are competing campgrounds closing? Why so few new ones opening?” Time again, it’s local bureaucracy and regulation making “little guy” campgrounds completely absurd businesses — sewer fees that eat several months of income? One campground actually closed their toilets/dump just to afford to stay in business. Inspecting kitchens that don’t even exist (but still collect a fee to prove that)? Is inspecting distribution panels constantly, but none of the pedestals really safer? Certain safety inspections SHOULD happen at a sane frequency, but so many are licensed/registered/otherwise taxed in 30 ways until 11 months of a year are working for Uncle Sam. It’s possible that this is a particularly Socialist Northeast issue, but I suspect the government overreach issue (affecting ALL small businesses) will quickly spread mid-country soon if unchecked.

5 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

While some government regulations may seem to go overboard, the sad reality is that profit-driven businesses would likely neglect safety and upkeep to save a buck whenever possible.
Look at the crap coming off RV assembly lines for example. I’d rather have MORE govt inspection than burn my time and money when buying one of the lemons coming off their assembly lines.

5 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

Socialist Northeast Issue. Why hell yes! Let’s just let all safety regulations fly out the window for the sake of profit and hope no one is injured, killed, as is the case with today’s
QC or lack of. RIVA and their salaried lobbyist constantly pad the coffers of the interior secretary Department against any form of government “Lemmon” laws that auto manufactures must by law adhere to. Why Not!….RV manufacturers?? Sending more donations Chuck! No negatitivity but positive promotion for the end consumer, enough!

5 years ago

Chuck—I thank you for your voice because it informs me, supports me and reassures me that someone, somewhere feels as I do.
I don’t have a giant coach, just a small 13′ fibreglass camper. But the issues you address in your newsletter concerning lack of campsites, for example, affect us all, not just the large rigs. Keep up the good work.

Vito Mazzaro
5 years ago

Hi Chuck,
We just bought a travel trailer from camping world in May of 2017. I had to get a couple things fixed on it and was told that they would have to check to see if it’s under warantee and I might have to pay for the repairs. I mentioned to them it has a 1 year warantee. This is what you mention about dishonest practices. I got everything fixed for free but they knew it was under warantee. Keep up the good work and remember for every idiot who doesn’t like what your saying there’s a 100 of us who support you. Keep doing the GREAT reporting

Ken Wahl
5 years ago

Spot on in your response to David. He’s the lapdog. He’s been watching too much “negative” on the evening news, daytime chick-talk and cable gossip “news and opinion”, creating his infectious negativity. Keep up the good work Chuck and Gail. Everyone enjoys a little bit of good news.

PS David, I can see you. Peeking out of one eye. Checking out the responses to your “letter to the editor”, he he he.

Joe Allen
5 years ago

Chuck, wife and I started the full time life back in 2000 and even then, saw the problems that were coming about. The higher sales in the RV industry with poor workmanship, low wages and a care free attitude toward the consumer. We saw the permanent trailers taking over the small Mom and Pop RV parks, the poor electrical systems with open grounds, etc.
Yes, we still loved this lifestyle, but needed someone with a voice to address these issues and maybe, one day, the industry will realize their ill ways and start putting the customer first rather than the bottom line.
Keep up the great work and calling a spade a spade! There are 10’s of thousands of us in your corner!
Wishing you and your staff a very successful 2018 and beyond!

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