Friday, December 8, 2023


Ripped off by shady RV dealers — What can be done?

Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkWe were trapped at an RV dealership in New Mexico for two weeks because it was a cold winter and our heater would not stay running. The mechanic pulled it out once and said it worked fine after bench testing it. He then sold us a new propane regulator and filled our coach tank with a drying agent to the tune of three hundred dollars. The heater would still not light, and we were then told we had electrical problems in our converter and the furnace was not getting enough juice.

After two more dealers, and two more bills, we found out it was the main board. After this was replaced everything started working fine.I feel abused by incompetent and shady RV dealers who took advantage of our lack of mechanical skills. Knowing that the furnace could not have functioned on the first bench test we paid for, I feel we should get a refund for at least that service. My husband does not agree. He doesn’t like to rock the boat. He will usually do the right thing after he has tried everything else. This issue is causing tension between us. Should I just drop it or do you suggest I keep harping until he calls them? Ripped Off Road Warrior

Dear Ripped:
I don’t think your husband should call any of the dealers. He doesn’t seem to have the stomach for conflict and debate. I think you should call them. You sound like you understand the problem, have ample facts to prove your point and the passion for debate it often takes to wear down a business that has made mistakes honestly or otherwise.

I would give the dealer the benefit of the doubt. Don’t come out swinging no matter how upset you are. The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made. If you cannot come to some agreement after the first attempt, it is simply a matter of persistence and volume control.

I ran into a mechanic once who told me it took him 15 years to discover he had no talent for fixing RVs, but he couldn’t give it up because by that time he had a constant stream of people clamoring for his expertise. In the future, make sure you do not send your husband in to do the negotiating. He is too easily bamboozled. Leave him in the parking lot and handle it yourself. Get an understanding of results expected before service fees, and never, I mean never, let them see you sweat. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink

The RV Shrink is not really a psychologist (or professional RV technician). But he does know a lot.




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