RVer stuck with bad toilet. Dealers won’t do warranty work

16

Dear editor,
I am very frustrated trying to get warranty service on my 2020 motorhome.

Currently I am touring the good old USA in the warm weather (that’s what some of us like to do with our rigs) and need to have an issue with my toilet fixed as the gate valve will not operate. What really irritates me is when talking to the service departments of several dealerships on our route they’ve told me if we didn’t buy our RV from them they won’t service it.

What the heck is going on? If they would work on it, they tell me, it would be two months from now. If I buy a Ford or a Chevy on the East Coast and have a problem on the West Coast I don’t have to prove where I purchased it from.

Is this an issue that others have? Have you covered this before? In the end the toilet manufacturer will send me the parts so I can repair it myself. —Joseph B.

Dear Joseph,
Sad to say you are not alone. This happens all the time. RV manufacturers and dealers love to sell RVs, but most don’t give a rip that a customer can’t get it fixed in a timely manner. See the Facebook group RV Horror Stories.

Auto dealers are required to honor the warranties of owners of vehicles who bought from another dealer of the same brand. But to my knowledge there is no such policy with RV dealers. If you buy from an RV dealer in Kansas City and have a problem in Fresno, California, the dealer in Fresno has every right to put your repair at the very end of the queue — behind his own customers. Yes, it can be months.

In one way, you can’t put all the blame on the dealers as they all have a hard time finding qualified technicians and so are always booked solid taking care of their own customers. But shame on the higher-ups in the RV industry who have not addressed this issue in a meaningful way.

##RVT933

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16 Comments
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Tom
7 months ago

Well Chuck. It isn’t hard to find everything wrong about getting your RV repaired. Posting unhappy comments is a great way to complain about these difficulties and tell folks to be aware but I’m willing to bet there are some travelers out there who found exceptional service in unexpected places. I wonder if this news letter would be a perfect place for people to post their near death situations and how they were saved by a facility or a business or a person who was there to save the day and maybe reward and promote these exceptional people. When I find something bad I’ll post it once. When I find something good I can’t post it enough. Thank you.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
7 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Thanks for your comment, Tom. We do post good news when people pass it along or when we find something good to report. It’s a very refreshing change of pace to all of the negative comments and items in the news to report. (P.S. I love bluegrass.) 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Thomas
7 months ago

I’d suggest he buy a few basic tools and ” have at er ” Pay attention on how things are built. Take pictures. Take it apart and reassemble it learn to do stuff yourself. I made my living doing for others they didn’t want to do themselves. I sometimes felt bad taking their money for changing a fuse or a simple switch. Your Rv toilet, an hour tops. No waiting weeks or months.

Karen T McCormick
7 months ago
Reply to  Thomas

Also, there is a helpful video for just about everything on YouTube.

Paul S Goldberg
7 months ago

I have been back to the dealer I purchased from a couple of times when it was convenient. Mostly I am 3,000 miles away. I depend on a service company (Redlands Truck and RV) for most of my major service needs and on mobile techs for interior work and stuff that does not require a shop. When I was in warranty I never had a problem with Tiffin and I let my extended warranty lapse because it was more of a hassle, as a full timer, to get them on the case when I needed a fix NOW (refrigerator failure while on the road). In that case mobile tech asked if there was warranty, when I responded NO he said “be right there with the part.” five hours later reefer was fully functional and we were good to continue our cross country run.

Alvin
7 months ago

Joseph B discovered late that warranty for the most part is not worth the powder it takes to blow it into the next county.
I really pity the poor buyer who relies on WARRANTY (or a certified mechanic dropping out of the clouds who may or may NOT know what he or she is doing once you wait months to get it in) to get simple things like that toilet valve fixed. I lube mine twice a year spring and upon locking her up for the long Canadian winter ahead – never had a problem with one.

My advice folks, check out YouTube videos (and the archives of RVTravel too) for such things, You’ll be surprised at what you can learn & accomplish yourself, to get the job done right & without excuses for why the repair either didn’t come off as planned or failed shortly after. The RV repair industry is a mess, and I do not see it getting better soon, without regulation.

If I was anywhere near Joseph I’d have changed that toilet out with simple hand tools everyone should carry ( very simple procedure in most cases) in about an hour ET, while he was mailing the bill to the factory for compensation.

When I read these things I puzzle why an enterprising person somewhere on this giant continent, hasn’t figured out the mammoth opportunity present – opening a chain of RV repair goliaths in critical RV hot spots then expanding from there – just repairing RV’s, no sales, no trailers, fifth wheels or motorhomes sitting sitting, no sales people, just trained RV technicians who know and care about the industry. A critical component is that they be well monitored for performance, they be extremely well paid which would naturally lead to those techs being proud of the work they do.

I see this as a HUGE opportunity – ohhh! if only I was younger………………

Captn John
7 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

I agree and have stated often a young person getting his certifications through a dealer then all it takes is a van and some popular arts to be in business!

POBoyPCB
7 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

One of the best ideas I’ve heard. I echo your “oh if i were only younger”!

Captn John
7 months ago

CW at Myrtle Beach has been great with all repairs, warranty or not. I rarely have had to use them, but great over decades.
I never buy extended warranty and am many thousand ahead. If I need anything on the road I look for a mobile tech, often suggested by the CG. Only once did I get a bad lead that way and now try to find reviews on them.

Pat Duggar
7 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

Camping World (CW) @ Myrtle Beach, SC was great for us also when we went there every summer. Warranty covered or not they always got right to the job and did excellent work at a reasonable price. Wish we were young enough to still camp but age and poor health are a bummer.

Gary P
7 months ago

We own a Grand Design 5th wheel and I called them directly and got the case number. I had a mobile tech come out and diagnose the problem and I needed a new water pump. Grand Design sent me the new pump and I got reimbursed for having the mobile tech come out. I got the Mobile tech from Coach-Net and the guy was good.

Irv
7 months ago

Find a mobile RV repairman along your route. I’ve used one twice while on the road and both came within 2 or 3 days. Commercial campgrounds can often recommend one.

Douglas C Rutz
7 months ago

To me this is the number one problem of RVing. It is beyond my comprehension as to why the Rv manufacturers do not fall under the same rules and guidelines as automobile manufacturers. It appears that a class action suit against the RVIA would be a good place to start. Manufacturers should insist that if a dealership represents their brand, they must work on all of the products of that company regardless of where it was purchased.

I personally am tired of talking about it and am ready to take further action. If RV travel is willing to take the lead, I am willing to contribute.

I cannot imagine owning an RV and not have the ability to do most of the repairs on it yourself. In reference to buying from a local dealer to have service. Is that dealer going to come repair your rv when it is broke down a thousand miles from their location. What a joke.

Bill T.
7 months ago

Hi Chuck and Joseph. It has been my experience that getting initial manufacturer warranty period work done on my rig was not usually a problem of parts or available workers, but the actually warranty side of the house. IMO dealers and manufacturers spend a lot of time arguing over who is going to pay for the repair. As a first hand example, the “authorized dealer”, not the one I bought my new rig from, could diagnose and repair my entertainment system within a day if I wanted to pay for it out of pocket, but it could take weeks to do it through warranty. He told me sometimes it takes 2 weeks just to get a written answer from the manufacturer before the payment tug of war even begins. Most of the time the RV manufacturers will defer the problem to one of its many sub-component manufacturers, claiming “we didn’t make the fridge, Dometic did so it’s their problem, not ours”. So you can see why dealers hate warranty repairs, and all the money they lose. IMO, the dealer, where you purchased your rig from, has the same issues with warranty service but will put you at the top of the work list in hopes you will buy your next rig from them, that’s why you end up at the bottom of the repair list or not on it at all from other dealers.

Alvin
7 months ago
Reply to  Bill T.

Bill if you read my solution above, I’ll add this. A strong repair system would negotiate and advocate on behalf of the RV owner. The poor devil, sitting in 101 degree heat in parking lot with the tanks filling up wouldn’t be caught between who pays , when they pay, or if the outfit that built the crap will pay.

The simple fact is that with the junk out there today, two things need to happen!

Regulation must be implemented forcing manufacturers to build quality and stand behind it! And the warranty period must not be eaten up waiting for a repair.

In other words when a particular item is on record of warranty, the entire warranty of all the components under that warranty extends for the period of time the unit is held up for whatever reason. This in all likelihood would force the system to speed up the repair processes. Right now you can time out of warranty waiting to talk to someone about a repair, which may never be warrantied because of the tricks played.

It’s taken a long time for another industry to be smartened up so they treat the consumer with respect – the airline industry. They can no longer bump people or treat them like crap without paying big time for it.

Likewise the RV industry needs more (MANY MORE) people to ban together as has happened in the aviation biz to effect positive change – let your voice be heard.

Bill T.
7 months ago
Reply to  Alvin

Thank you Alvin, I appreciate your reply. The problem I see is that, unlike the airline or automotive industries, RV’s are at the bottom of the daily use ladder for needs of the general public. RV owners are still a small percentage of the population. Even if we all banded together, I don’t believe we could take a big enough bite out of the elephant sized RVIA. As long as the RVIA is meeting current government legislation for all facets of its business practices, and people still fall for and purchase the “bling”, they can control the future the industry. One only needs to look at the repeated shutouts by the industry on “lemon Laws”. For the RVIA, it’s all about the business. It still in the best interest of the RV buyer to be responsible for the quality and any needed repairs before they sign. Due diligence, in protecting yourself from after purchase warranty issues, is the best course. Yes things can still break after you buy it but if buyers do what they can to mitigate problems they will enjoy their rigs. Technician shortages may be a problem, but it is funny how fast problems get fixed when dealers are trying to sell you rig.