Monday, November 28, 2022


Buying a new RV without a warranty? Be careful

By Ron Burdge

Thinking of buying an RV that doesn’t come with a factory warranty? Be careful.

With Hymer North America shutting down, two things have happened. First, owners of the company’s RVs, camper vans and class B motorhomes [including Roadtrek], etc., have no warranty at all and no company to call for help. If that’s you, you are on your own.

You can go back and try to get coverage from your selling dealer, but it probably has no legal obligation to you and won’t get paid for any work they do unless they charge you for it. So you can bet what the result will be.

Second, RV dealers may have a lot of Hymer RVs on their lots and have to really chop the price to sell them “as is” and that may give you a good deal — or a bad deal!

Ron Burdge

Take a look at that MSRP price sheet first. The dealer profit margin can be gross, really gross. Using round numbers across the industry, it is pretty common for an RV of any type that has an MSRP of $90,000 to have been bought by the dealer from the factory for about $60,000. The dealer’s 1/3 profit margin is where you want to negotiate. Some will cut into the bone to get rid of stale tin or lot rot (an RV that’s been on the lot too long) or a new orphan (a new RV where there is no factory warranty).

If you are mechanically inclined, you may be able to fix some things that go wrong yourself. If you have enough money, you may be able to pay someone else to fix the things that you can’t fix. And, by the way, you can bet the odds are that things will go wrong.

So should you buy a dealer service contract (sometimes called an extended warranty) with that new Hymer over at your local dealer? Maybe, but watch out. First, it isn’t really a dealer service contract since most are just a contract that the dealer sells but doesn’t back themselves. The backer is usually some out-of-state company with a name that you may or may not have ever heard of.

Next, make sure the company that backs it is legit and not hot on Hymer’s trail. In other words, do your research, get the company name and check out internet reviews and Ripoff Reports, etc. Dealers often deal with several different warranty companies with different coverage levels.

Get a good warranty and get it backed by a good company; having been burned once, ask the dealer to give you its own guarantee by writing on the sales contract these magic words: “We will give you a 3-day warranty with this RV,” which will actually give you legal rights far beyond those 3 days.

And be careful you don’t end up with one of those “colander” warranties (with so many holes in it that all your money just goes down the drain); and watch out for the company that has such a bad reputation that next month it will be selling vitamins over the internet from Los Vegas.

Next, watch out for the price you pay — it can be a killer. Dealer’s often mark up their cost on a service contract — way, way up. If the dealer quotes you a price of $4,000, you can bet there is probably about $2,000 to $2,500 (more or less) pure profit in there for the dealer to keep.

Argue, bargain and negotiate a fair price that gives the dealer a fair profit. They know that with no factory warranty you will think you need one, so they’ll be looking to make big bucks off you. Get a little RV education on the internet (there are lots of free sources) so you can tell the dealer you already know enough about RV mechanics and are only interested in the warranty “for peace of mind.” And then argue some more about the price they want to charge you. Don’t take unnecessary chances.

Do your homework. And negotiate prices like heck. And be especially careful about an orphan with lot rot. Don’t waste your money.

Ron Burdge is one of America’s best known RV lemon lawyers. He has gained justice for countless RVers across the United States during his more than 30 years of practice. He is a frequent speaker at national seminars and conferences on Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Laws. For more information or to contact him visit his website or call his office in Dayton, Ohio, at 937-432-9500.


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Abe Loughin
1 year ago

I would like to add a little to the above article. On a brand new rv, even an “orphan ” all of the components are still covered by the component manufacturer, so a Dometic refrigerator is covered by Dometic. A Carefree awning will be covered by Carefree. In the case of a motorized rv the engine/ drive train are covered by the chasis builder. The parts of the rv not covered are those that are built by the now defunct rv manufacturer. The rv dealer I worked for went through this back in 08 when Monaco closed it’s doors. I will add that we also bought the extended warranty and I needed it in the sale, no upcharge to the customer. I do understand that most dealers won’t step up like that but we did.

3 years ago

The following is an interesting negotiation idea with the dealer: ““We will give you a 3-day warranty with this RV,” which will actually give you legal rights far beyond those 3 days.” But as news articles go, “legal rights beyond those 3 days” is ambiguous. What legal rights? Where is the supporting link with more info about these rights?

3 years ago

So let’s say I have a new Roadtrek van, with a new Dometic fridge and AC, and a new suburban furnace and water heater, on a new Chevy chassis. Are you saying I have no warranty on those items?

3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Thanks for your reply. I was referring to the second paragraph in this story;

“With Hymer North America shutting down, two things have happened. First, owners of the company’s RVs, camper vans and class B motorhomes [including Roadtrek], etc., have no warranty at all and no company to call for help. If that’s you, you are on your own.”
I get that Roadtrek/ Hymer will not be there for us, but the statement implying we have “no warranty at all” is not accurate and probably stirs up some unnecessary anxiety.

I would have doubts that any RV manufacturer would cover warranty on a damaged furnace (or other appliance) due to driver error or road conditions such as a pothole, even if they were still in business. Unless we could show that the appliance was improperly or incorrectly installed at the factory and the pothole caused the problem.

Would Chevy cover the potential front end/ suspension damage from a pothole? Highly unlikely I would guess. Warranties, as I understand it, are designed to cover manufacturers defects in the components and the unit itself.

And if an RVer were to hit a pothole large enough to jar a furnace loose, I can’t image the other damage that would occur to the unit, like suspension, tires and wheels, and all the other components installed similarly to a furnace. That would have to be one heck of a massive pothole!

I know you probably used the pothole-furnace scenario as an example, but I believe it is a very inaccurate scenario, and the statement in the story about “no warranty at all”, is also inaccurate.

Bob P
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken

Picky picky picky

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