A Faulty RV?

Say it ain’t so. You spent a small fortune on a brand new RV. You drove it off the lot. And, surprise, things went wrong. Over the first few months, or even years, of ownership, your brand new RV could readily spend more time with the dealer than with you.

Here is an example from a recent social media post.

Awwww… the joys of breaking in a new RV. Kind of like raising a toddler or a teenager. Ya never know what will happen next. 2019 DS 4018 that now has a whole 6500 miles. This is only our second big trip (5 weeks) and we’ve already started a list for service when we get home.

@ Televator is off track and doesn’t go all the way down sometimes

@The dreaded DEF gauge isn’t accurate. Filled it today but it’s showing around 1/4 full. This issue just popped up a couple of days.

@Satellite in living area doesn’t work but the bedroom one does. Swapped boxes but that didn’t fix it. Independence RV installed it so looking to them to fix

@We have A LOT of air noise by the door while traveling. This just started happening.

@The front door awning started going out while we were traveling at 65 mph on the freeway and now have it gorilla taped till we can get it fixed

@Kitchen slide doesn’t come all the way in at first. Have to push retract one extra time to get the slide seated.

All minor stuff and a part of RV life. Wonder what all those gazillion new people that purchased RVs due to Covid are going to handle all the issues that happen because we are driving a house on wheels down the freeway.

So for those of you with a new DS…how many “boo boos” have you had to deal with while potty training your new Dutchess/Duke? Our next door neighbor can’t believe how many times we’ve had our coach in to fix “stuff” with it being brand new.

But she’s beautiful and luxurious and better yet, we can pass semi trucks on a mountain incline.

How many “boo boos” have we had to deal with?

Too many.

After four years, the issues have calmed down somewhat. I am still surprised at how many corners are cut when these units are being fabricated. Cheap components, poor wiring practices, questionable design decisions are all part of RV life. Which is why the industry still pushes out poor quality products. Consumers willingly buy them. In some cases knowingly and in other cases unknowingly.

A Genoa couple say in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that they unknowingly bought a faulty RV from a Roscoe dealership and they want the company to buy it back from them.

Joseph and Sherry Chavez, who had recently retired from their respective jobs as a police officer and bus driver, bought the 2020 Jayco Greyhawk 30X on May 15 from Camping World of Rockford in Roscoe for $94,758.63, including a $40,000 cash down payment. That’s according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division, which names Camping World RV Sales and Jayco Inc. as the defendants.

Since the day they drove the RV home, the vehicle has had troubles including a faulty transmission, refrigerator, levelers, air conditioner, and electrical system, according to the lawsuit. The couple said that they had possession of the vehicle for 21 days compared to the 98 days that Camping World had it for repairs.

The Chavezes said the vehicle broke down on their first road trip with it and left them getting repairs out of state that took days. They not only want Camping World/Jayco to buy the RV back from them, they also are seeking reimbursement for loss of use of the vehicle and an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

In the first example, the poster asked this question: how are all those gazillion new people that purchased RVs due to COVID going to handle all of the issues that happen?

Some of them, like Joseph and Sherry, will sue.

Most of them will have regrets.

And, I suspect, many of them will sell.

If you are looking to buy, take the time to do your research. Experienced RVers come to terms with the inevitable problems that go along with owning a motorhome. The industry should do better but it doesn’t. Issues are handled after the sale either by customer service or by the company’s lawyers. Best to go with a company that has a good reputation for customer service. That is why we went with Newmar.

I have no way of determining whether lawsuits against RV manufacturers are on the rise. The publicly traded companies, like Winnebago Industries, include the following language around lawsuits:

We are involved in various legal proceedings which are ordinary and routine litigation incidental to our business, some of which are covered in whole or in part by insurance. While we believe the ultimate disposition of litigation will not have material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations or liquidity, there exists the possibility that such litigation may have an impact on our results for a particular reporting period in which litigation effects become probable and reasonably estimable. Though we do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change related to these matters, litigation is subject to inherent uncertainties and management’s view of these matters may change in the future.

Angry enough about your purchase to sue? From the manufacturer’s perspective, your lawsuit is nothing more than ordinary and routine litigation incidental to their business.

4 replies
  1. Michael Butts
    Michael Butts says:

    I live within a few hours of Elkhart IN so I’ve been able to go on a couple of RV factory tours. The facilities are dimly lit, dirty, trash-filled, and look like an OSHA inspector could spend weeks writing up violations. And yes, I still continue to purchase RVs (on number four currently).

    If the buyers were made aware of two things (1. RVs are shoddily built using mid-20th century tooling & techniques 2. The dealers are unable to service anything over minor “I think this trim is a bit loose” issues), they could make the decision to buy knowing that they’ll spend a lot of time and money getting the RV ready to use over the first two years.

    You’re not really buying a vehicle, you’re buying a partially assembled kit for a LOT of money.

    Reply
  2. Mark Hamilton
    Mark Hamilton says:

    Richard,
    Do you know if Travel Trailer owners experience similar Build Quality problems with lengthy repair visits, resulting in Non-Use days/weeks of their investment?

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Hello Mark,

      All RVs will have issues. And that includes travel trailers. Travel trailers will see issues that include water leaks, poor build quality, faulty materials, premature rusting, bad assembly, unreliable and in some cases downright dangerous appliances, failures in ventilation, plumbing and fixtures, brakes, wheels and on and on.

      I love Airstream trailers but if you jump on the Airstream owner forums, you will see countless threads like this one on the lack of quality control in their products. Airstream would be considered one of the better brands out there.

      Best to do the research and know what you are getting into. We love our coach but I do find it almost inexcusable the level to which the RV industry avoids dealing with its quality control issues.

      Reply
  3. William Kitchen
    William Kitchen says:

    After owning a pretty but shoddily built class Super C RV, we traded on a new 2020 Dutch Star. It was expensive, but in our opinion a well built coach. Independence RV’s service department is first rate, and they quickly corrected the bugs after a short trial trip. The problem came when we encountered some significant problems on the road. Dutch Star took their time answering the phone, during and after business hours. (Their music on hold is horrible, royalty-free drivel. Don’t they know that for a few dollars a year they can subscribe to a real music channel?) Many times I just hung up after waiting on hold for 30 minutes or more. Sometime they didn’t even return the calls after I left my number. When I talked to someone they always tried to help, but they were so short-handed that it took a long time to respond. In one case, It cost us a day waiting around near an independent service center while Dutch Star fiddled with the paperwork to get us a hose for the A/C system. Clearly the service rep is not empowered make a decision, and go grab part and take it to shipping. Sometimes for urgent issues I had to pay for parts, and wait for reimbursement.

    What Dutch Star management fails to grasp is that if you can afford a $500,000 motor home, your time is valuable. They should hire enough people to respond on a timely basis and empower their service and parts people to make decisions and bypass endless paperwork ESPECIALLY for brand new coaches.

    Reply

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