Thursday, September 21, 2023


Auto mechanic asks, “Whatever happened to dealer goodwill?”

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs (we asked you to submit your stories here). We’ll tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of this article, you’ll find a place to submit your own comments. I encourage you to do so.

Keep in mind, we typically only present one side of the story in most of these. Also, any remarks about service centers and mobile techs mentioned are the opinions of our readers and not necessarily 

Here’s what you had to say:

Whatever happened to dealer goodwill?

Steve A. was an auto mechanic and every day the customer received goodwill checks on their vehicle. He writes, “I went to the service center first thing in the spring because I believed the battery wasn’t getting charged by the solar panel. This is a Grand Design Transcend 2022 model 260RB. Purchased in July of 2022, so it should be under warranty. The service manager said everything checks out okay. Now, I was also there because I was having my spring de-winterization done and a tire monitoring system installed. In my hand were tire chocks and a one-hundred-dollar mat. The service manager said checking the charging system was not covered under warranty because nothing was found wrong.

“I was an auto mechanic at a dealership for 35 years before I retired. Every day I would perform goodwill checks on cars like road tests for noises, performance issues, rattles, etc. I was on a flat rate and never got paid for any of this. Thousands of dollars over my career. We never charged the customer. When I mentioned this to the service manager she said they charge for everything, even if it is just to check tire pressure. She said this is how the techs are paid in the RV world. Come on. The labor rate at the RV center is $169 an hour. They charged me $68 and would not budge. What about dealer goodwill? This particular dealership has over 70 stores. My $68 was paid, but I put back everything else and haven’t gone back. What a shame.”

Shady service costs?

Jerry B. was denied warranty service until he called the manufacturer. He tells us, “I bought a Bushwhacker Plus from a dealer in Clarksville, Indiana, which had a 2-year warranty. After the first year, I was getting it ready and the water pump wasn’t building up any pressure but I decided to take it out to Florida anyway. I called a dealer in Orlando, who checked it out and verified it needed a new water pump. They didn’t charge me and there was no waiting. I got lucky.

“When I got back home I called the dealer I bought it from. I had to make an appointment, which was three weeks out, just to get it on their lot. I went ahead and made an appointment with the secretary and left a detailed message with the service manager. He never called me back, and when we finally talked he didn’t have a clue or never listened to the message. During the conversation, he literally laughed at me and said once it was on the lot it would be another week or two before they even looked at it. He also told me about all the charges and that the price of the pump went up to over $100 and it would not be covered. He was trying to do everything possible to charge me for this warranty repair.

“I called Bushwhacker Braxton Creek and the service manager at the factory was great and sent me an upgraded water pump at no charge. I replaced the water pump myself and I’m glad that I did because it was slightly different and I know the dealer would have screwed it all up.

“The invoice for the pump was $35 but they didn’t charge me.”

Service department fried all their wires

Robert D. has a lot to say about RV manufacturers and service departments. He tells us his issue with service: “RV builders are the worst. And the companies that sell the junk RVs are fully aware of their condition no matter what they may say. Service departments are hiring anyone nowadays. We had a horrible experience getting work done on our RV at a dealership. They fried all our wiring and tried to blame it on us. I won’t go into detail about all our problems. After paying them, I ended up redoing all their work myself. You know what they say about karma… Two years later this horrible dealership had to close its doors and go out of business. Serves them right.”

I understand now: Go back to the manufacturer

Mickey T. understands why people avoid the dealer and go back to the factory for work. They write, “Reading the stories and experiences about repairs and I can now understand why everyone, especially if you own a Tiffin, goes back to the manufacturer for repairs.

“Dealers don’t react immediately or have the parts to fix your motorhome. The manufacturer most likely does and they employ the Service Tech capable of working on your motorhome. The other benefit is that the repair time is greatly reduced. Most repairs done by the manufacturer are performed in a day or two and you get your unit returned to you ready for the road again. It isn’t if you will have issues but how do you get them fixed when they occur? Finding a manufacturer who will service/repair the motorhome after the sale is priceless!”

Bad luck at La Mesa

Helen M. does not have anything good to say about La Mesa RV in Tucson. She writes, “We have a 2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 37AP that we bought used two years ago from La Mesa RV in Tucson. It was the second motorhome that we had purchased from them. We had a punch list of items that needed to be taken care of before we would take delivery on it. Some were routine services (generator, Aqua-Hot, 20,000-mile chassis service), and others were inside coach things that needed to be repaired or replaced. They kept it for weeks and did NOTHING. We went to pick it up because we had some trips planned, but ended up having to cancel everything because nothing had been done and we didn’t think it was safe to travel in.

“We were told it would be months before we could get an appointment and months before the work would be completed. They had outright lied to us about the services that they said had been done before we picked it up and we caught them red-handed.

“We refused to leave with it and blocked their service lane. We escalated it up the corporate chain and got a lawyer involved. Long story short, some of the critical services were then completed within two weeks.

“It took so much fighting and arguing with them that we took it after those few services were done and found an excellent mobile RV tech to finish the rest. No hassles, good work and fair prices. Joel Davis at Happy Camper RV Services takes excellent care of us and I would not go back to La Mesa Tucson if it were that last place on earth. We will never buy another RV from them or use them for anything.”

Contrary to popular opinion, here is a good report on Camping World

Wayne D. had a good experience with Camping World in Wisconsin. He told us, “Camping world often gets a bad rap, but I had a good experience at Camping World service in Eau Claire, Wisc. The furnace in my new Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite wouldn’t stay lit. I figured it was a wiring issue. They found I was right and repaired it gladly under factory warranty, even though I hadn’t purchased the unit from them.

“I understandably had to wait for a couple of months to get it in because of how busy they were, but once they were able to get to it they were very responsive and able. The technician did make a mistake and accidentally blew out the thermostat, but they freely admitted their mistake and replaced it at no charge.”

Editor’s note

Note from If hiring a mobile tech, a small or mega service center, make sure that they are experienced in the issue and have insurance in case something goes wrong. Also, check their warranty policy on the work they perform. Check reviews too and read between the lines—if the review sounds way too good to be true it might be. Compare with several reviews and not just the ones on their website.

Questions for you about RV service

We’ll continue to share stories of your RV service experiences. We want to know:

  • Have you had good luck with great service or not so much?
  • Did you get good service from knowledgeable technicians?
  • Are you waiting to get into a service center or have a mobile tech come out?
  • What has been the average time to get an appointment?
  • Has your RV been in a service center for a while?
  • Are you able to get any mobile techs to come out?
  • Are the service centers able to get parts?
  • When you do get the repairs done, is the price reasonable?

Please fill out the form below and tell us what your experiences have been like. It can be a horror story, an opinion about what’s going on, a positive experience, or anything else related to the topic. We want to know the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Check back next week for more on RV service centers. See you then.

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Last week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report:

Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. Thank you, Nanci! Thanks to this article, I now have the contact information for a recommended RV technician in the Tucson area; thank you!

  2. It would be nice if the commenters let us reader know the name of the dealer so others can avoid the dealer giving poor service and sales.


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