RVers awarded $500,000 in Winnebago “lemon” lawsuit

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This article is based on a post on the Roseman Law Firm website
Attorney Christina Gill Roseman of Roseman Law Firm, along with Ron Burdge and Beth Wells of Burdge Law Office, won a jury verdict against Winnebago for $500,000 on July 19. In Hanreck et al v. Winnebago, the plaintiffs sued Winnebago under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

The plaintiffs alleged that their 2013 Winnebago Adventurer motorhome had defects including a large slideout that would not fully retract at times. When the slideout could not be fully retracted, the RV could not be safely driven. The vehicle was presented to dealerships for repairs under the Winnebago warranty approximately nine times. 

The plaintiffs asserted that Winnebago failed to repair the vehicle in a reasonable number of times and reasonable number of attempts. Winnebago claimed that the plaintiffs did not meet all the conditions for recovery under the warranty and that they failed to establish damages. 

After a five-day trial in the federal U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the jury of 8 rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs against Winnebago for $500,000. Still pending is the judge’s decision on the non-jury claim under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. 

The Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law permits a court to award up to three times actual damages.

Is your RV a lemon? Here’s where to find out.

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Kathy
1 year ago

They should be going after more, Winnebago is actually one of the better manufacturers. There are a lot worse out there

Alvin
1 year ago

BRAVO> A victory for all RV owner owning todays crap builds. The door is now open proceed and lets get these guys in moral alignment with what we deserve as consumers. This is a great announcement 6 years late or not.

Daniel Pankiewicz
1 year ago

And please note it took six (6) years since purchase

Dry Creek
1 year ago

This is an interesting case, indeed. The ultimate outcome could be precedent-setting and act as a base for many following litigants.

Mark B
1 year ago

Need warranty laws that increase the judgement amount automatically every week from when case is filed until guilty verdict reached. Hopefully, this would encourage dealers/manufacturers/vendors/installers to fix or settle outside of court very quickly, freeing up courts and eliminating many of the stall tactics that are used.

Thomas Urso
1 year ago

I have a 2014 Winnebago Adventure and also had full wall slide out problems. After taking it to a dealer who didn’t know how to fix it nor did they call Winnebago on how to fix it and really made it worse I took it to Winnebago in Iowa and they fixed it by installing a Power Gear mechanism. Now the slide out works fine. Did the plantiff take the coach back to Winnebago, probably not. I don’t believe in lawsuits until I have exhausted every other channel.

Steve Shapiro
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Urso

Thomas Urso, sounds like you’re blaming the victim. Not all of us have the ability (time, $$, etc.) to take our vehicle halfway across the country to receive service that should be able to be provided by a factory authorized service center.

Mark B
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Urso

I admire the spunk, but you missed the point. The warranty is a contract that guarantees (at least for the short period of time) you can get your RV fixed. If the dealer is a Winnebago dealer, then they own the responsibility of having staff that can fix, or work with Winnebago to get the issue resolved. If the dealer fails to contact Winnebago, then before driving to Iowa wouldn’t it be prudent to call Winnebago and ask them to work with their dealer (or find you one nearby that can fix)?

If your RV was in Alaska, it is not reasonable to drive to factory in Iowa. If your slide was stuck and even manual procedures failed to get fully closed, would driving through rain and snow hundreds or thousands of miles be reasonable? Consider all the other problems that might keep a motorhome from being driven to the factory. Would you tow to the factory ? Consider the smaller problems that might need to be fixed, but the drive to the factory isn’t worth it; is fixing them yourself or paying for a non-Winnebago dealer to fix reasonable?

Mark B
11 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Urso

So you are saying the factory had to augment the engineering design by adding a component from Lippert that wasn’t part of the original manufacturing build. Keep in mind the slides are purchased by Winnebago from Lippert and the slide manufacturer should ultimately be responsible for the operation, UNLESS Winnebago failed on the weight, other installation specs, or framing was not square enough, for the slide area.

I believe through over the phone troubleshooting with a competent dealer, Winnebago, should have been able to help identify that a Lippert Power Gear would probably alleviate your issue. That, coupled with the shared knowledge of how to correctly install (along with handholding from Lippert) would ensure a quick repair. This is what we should expect from a warranty – not a factory visit. Maybe you really wanted to drive to the factory for the experience, but the rest of us want warranty support at the closest authorized dealer…or our money back.

Under warranty, how do you get your LG washer manufacturing fail fixed? Take it on a boat to Korea or China? I would like to go there (maybe not the LG factories in each country), but not because an incompetent authorized repair provider in my city was unwilling/unable to fix.

Hoy
1 year ago

Need more law suits for the treatment customer get from dealers and manufacturers .they need to hire people that are licensed to plumb and wire these units so they won’t be catching fire while driving down the roads. And the repairs should be done in a timely manner one or two weeks not months

Goldie
1 year ago

2013 Winnebago that failed to be repaired under warranty…that means it took 5-6 years for the buyers to get an award. And who knows how many more years of appeals before they actually see a dime. In the meantime they have either been making payments on an RV they could not use, had their credit impacted because they gave the RV to the bank (not likely), or had a large chunk of change tied up in a non-moving vehicle. That’s why many manufacturers (not all) keep turning out junk. Not many people have deep enough pockets to push through a successful lawsuit. And those with deep enough pockets are purchasing brands that are much more likely to deliver a higher quality product that they stand behind.

David Tatlitug
11 months ago
Reply to  Goldie

There can’t be appeals. It already went to the supreme Court of the state. That ruling is final. It’s time to take money from people like Buffet who owns many bad RV builders.
Hit them where it hurts the most.

Jason Laber
1 year ago

Congratulations to the Henrick team on this! It’s encouraging to see cases go all the way to trial under the Magnason Moss. These lemon RVs + poor customer care = expensive lawsuits. A win for the plaintiffs on this – is a win for us all!

Ken
1 year ago

Finally! Love to see many more hefty fines against these unscrupulous outfits. Long overdue.

Richard Davidson
1 year ago

ABOUT TIME manufacturers are held responsible for their products! Although Winnebago is not one of the worst, perhaps this will help to fo force those “other” brands to stand behind their’s. (don’t hold your breath).