Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Buyer unhappy about RV dealer treatment. Your thoughts, please?

Dear Chuck,
I read your articles on the Dysfunctional RV Industry with great interest as I am in the process of purchasing a new trailer. Since I am a member of an RV club I am familiar with the problems associated with faulty production and service of RVs. My trailer is new from the factory but I am still concerned that the unit will not be delivered with all parts working.

With that in mind I called my salesmen and told him I wanted to inspect my trailer with all electrical and mechanical systems hooked up. He asked what I expected when the trailer was ready for delivery. I told him I would inspect the entire unit and if everything was satisfactory pay the balance. He responded, “Oh no, it does not work that way.”

HE EXPLAINED that when the trailer comes in we will be notified. We will be asked to come in to make sure everything is as ordered. I would then have to pay for the trailer in full with a bank check. The trailer would then be sent to service for cleaning and to repair any deficiencies. Then I would be able to test the systems. I explained that this would require a 3-hour round trip to inspect and then another 3-hour trip to pick up the RV 3 or 4 days later. I wanted them to prep the vehicle and I would come in and pay after my inspection. When asked why this could not be done he stated, “No, we don’t do it that way, none of our stores do it that way and this is the industry standard.” I said, “I am the customer and I don’t do it your way.” I asked to speak to a manager.

I have a deposit on the trailer and did not want to lose the deposit. If that was not a concern, I would have cancelled the order. Is it standard industry practice to pay in full for an RV before you test all the systems? After a heated argument the manager agreed to let me hold some money back until a final inspection.

It is amazing to me that the RV industry survives treating customers in such a callous manner. Between the quality control issues, service problems and sales procedures it is amazing they are all still in business. —Richard A.

Readers: What do you think? Can you offer Richard advice? If so, please leave a comment


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Mike Daw
2 years ago

I am a retired Car Dealer. If I ran my business the RV dealer way Id have gone outta business. I purchased a new Georgetown 12 years ago. My excellent dealer has closed and Ive been lucky enough to find a dealer who for the most part does a good job. There are enough manufacturers that it should be a competitive market. Dealers should be doing everything they can to keep the customers happy. The fact it seems many times they can’t is a reflection of the manufacturers.
This must change, quality must improve, customers have to be number one!

Theresa Ornoff
2 years ago

Our experience was that we had the walkthrough, all systems were explained and demonstrated and then we went through the payment process. It was a long day but in the end, we learned about the camper, saw that all the systems worked, and trusted our RV deaker.

2 years ago

They all suck!

MIke Schwab
2 years ago

Look up UCC Rejection of Acceptance for your state (which was not listed). If they don’t let you inspect, then tell them the unit failed inspection and you want your deposit back. You should be able to sue to get your money back.

2 years ago

The fact that you ordered the camper does necessitate a down payment. The final payment for me happens at walk-through and delivery which is with all systems functional. Don’t like the deal, walk away. Seems that you have made a compromise that might be satisfactory.

Peter Boyce
2 years ago

Hmmm, we had the opposite problem ( but a good problem ) We bought our Winnebago trailer 2 years ago. The dealer insisted on a 3 hour walk through inspection with us. Every single thing in the trailer was tested, all panels were removed to show us what was behind them. The guy even tested the dvd player ( it didn’t work, trouble shoot, a loose cable on the back, fixed on the spot ) and then it worked. He also went with me while I did a test tow, and made sure the brake controller was working properly. I have only heard good things from other RVer’s I’ve met that bought there. And so far everything still works. 12,000 kms of nothing but mountain towing. Can’t wait for warmer weather. Happy Trails.

2 years ago

Lets start an input group..list by name the lesser quality manufacturers, the poor service dealers, and put a stop to those causing our suffering. Enough is enough.
Many of us are living out the last of our lives, looking for the rewards of the rv lifestyle.

2 years ago

“Industry Standard” doesn’t mean it’s law. so there is no reason why buyers can’t expect better. If EVERYONE requested inspection first, things would eventually change. That and getting the lawmakers to do their job and institute regulations that allow for first inspection. Time to lobby.

2 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

Right on.

Howard Malpass
2 years ago

If I am the customer, and it is MY MONEY, why would they act like that. It is not that they are the “only show in town” but cater to the customer!

Don’t sweet talk salesmen glaze over the issues, and bring it out in the front. When you pay for something it needs to be checked out PRIOR to signing the deal and giving them the money!

Are they scared so much that their product will not pass inspection? What are they hiding from the customers in advance of taking possession of the RV?

This practice raises too many questions and very few answers from the RV sales companies!

Steve Murray
2 years ago

It would be great if this excellent site were to have an Attorney draw up a Document with all of our reasonable demands of condition listed here. We would then give this to the Dealer to sign at the negotiating table. The General Manager will be called in and he will decide if the Deal moves forward. If the answer is no, walk away. Nobody needs a new RV. Buy used. Build $5000-$20,000 into the offer for unknowns. Repair, Update and enjoy! (Also, read your Contract! If something looks weird, walk or Send it to your Attorney!)

2 years ago

Trying to read RV Shrink, but this article pops up instead.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  mdstudey

Well, that’s very weird, mdstudey. The link works for me. Here’s the link to the Shrink, if you want to try it: Sorry for the inconvenience. —Diane at

2 years ago

Let me guess CAMPING WORLD!!!!
All sales are not final until you drive off the dealership lot. You have a right too 100% refund for any reason if you ask before you pay in full.
There’s no such thing as a NO REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT on any purchase.

2 years ago

In Tennessee a deposit can not be kept by the dealer. You are the customer,they need you. Your money will allow you to purchase anywhere. I would ask for my deposit back and go elsewhere. It sounds like they don’t appreciate your purchase.

2 years ago

NEVER, NEVER, EVER drop a dime of deposit money on a dealer without having iron clad written conditions allowing you, the buyer, to back out and demand return of deposit. With a non-refundable deposit the buyer just agreed to take whatever junk the dealer comes up with or pay for nothing. If the dealer won’t agree to a conditionally refundable deposit, with conditions you demand, just look for the door and walk toward/out it. Until he has your money in his hand you’re in control. If he’s got it unconditionally he’s in control.

2 years ago

Bet you don’t do that schidt again!

Julius Rosen
2 years ago

Problem is you did not negotiate delivery .

James Hamilton
2 years ago

Run away even if it means losing your deposit. Then use social media and BBB to inform others. If a local TV station has a consumer affairs reporter, use them also. The behavior of pay us first is unacceptable.

2 years ago

If this isn’t a classic instance where the consumer should have placed conditions on the sales order giving him/her the right of refusal based on demands stated and which if not honoured would have given that buyer the right to tell the dealer to get lost -there’s no better example.

The 64 dollar question seemingly with no answer! At what point in time in a modern world will consumers realize THEY”RE in the drivers seat (before money changes hands) not the seller??????

Scott R. Ellis
2 years ago

As in any business, you only have to be as good as the competition. Alas, in the RV racket, that’s a low, low bar.

2 years ago

caveat emptor! Trust your gut. The sales people should be grovelling for you business, not dictating how they are going to take advantage of you. The salesman doesn’t get his commission until the balance is paid in full. What do you think is on his mind?

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