Winegard and Customer Service

I am not a fan of Winegard. They are not a customer-focused company. They build products that fail and they make their customers go through a lot of inconvenience and expense to get Winegard products functional again.

You can read about the issue, an SK Motor Stall, here. It happened on February 2nd just as we were moving our coach to another site. Our satellite dish was stuck, pointing straight up into the air. This motor stall happened, mind you, after perhaps a mere dozen or so duty cycles on the system.

I called them up. They told me that the unit was no longer under warranty and that I would have to ship it to them at my expense, pay $350 USD plus taxes for the repair, and then they would ship it back to me. Oh, and it would take a couple of weeks to turn the repair around but only after I had submitted a WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form. Winegard would issue an RMA number and I could then ship the unit.

This is the WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form delivered as a fillable pdf document only it wasn’t fillable on a Mac. I had to import the pdf into an image editor, manually enter the required fields as text blocks, and export it back out as a pdf.

The first task was the disassembly and removal of the motor turret, dish and extension arm. Took two of us on the roof roughly an hour. We had a third person helping us on the ground.

Here is the motor turret after being removed from the mounting bracket on the roof of the coach.

The motor turret weighs about 40 pounds. My American buddy, shown here on the roof, despite not having a Robertson, helped me with the disassembly of the satellite dish. Thanks to Ron on the roof and Ron on the ground for all of your assistance.

After filling out the form, I waited for an RMA from Winegard. As we were leaving Florida on February 5th, I needed to get an RMA from them on February 4th so that we could arrange to have the motor turret packed and shipped to their factory before we left for California.

I called Winegard several times on February 4th, patiently explaining our situation each time, only to be told that they were overloaded with RMA processing — that in itself tells you something about the quality of their products.

Finally, late in the day, I received the RMA. I took the unit to the UPS store, paid $200 USD to ship it, and went on with life.

I received a call from them as we were travelling to California. They informed me that they would repair the unit without charge and ship it to our current location.

Okay. That is an acknowledgement that the product was known to be defective and that they are, to their credit, standing behind it.

But why make your customers go through all of these steps? Why cause the inconvenience associated with disassembly and reassembly of a complex piece of equipment? Why make your customers wait several weeks before they regain the functionality of the equipment? Why create complex forms and RMA processing?

Don’t get me wrong. I like engineers. I just don’t think they should be running businesses that interact with customers. And Winegard should use motors that can perform more than a few dozen service cycles.

Break and Enter

They broke in at 1:08 am. According to the cameras at the front gate. And they went site by site, breaking into any car that had unlocked doors, which was pretty much the whole park.

There is a bit of a false sense of security, being within a gated community, that you will somehow be immune from petty crime.

Not so.

The police are out in full force at the park. Two forensic units, 3 cruisers and one detective unit. As I write this post, one of the forensic officers is taking pictures of my car. Inside and out.

It appears as though the thieves were only looking for money. They went through our car, opening the storage areas within the centre console as well as the glovebox. We had sunglasses, our supplementary braking system, detailing products and a few other odds and ends. Those are all still in the car.

The thieves did leave residue from their break and enter. Those of you who know me well, know that I am very particular about detailing the car. I would never, ever tolerate suntan lotion smeared over the interior areas of the vehicle. I cleaned everything up before the forensic crew came along.

Oops!

I made it difficult, likely impossible, for the forensic officer to lift fingerprints.

We were fortunate in that nothing of value was taken from our car.

Did we have money in the car? Absolutely. All of the money was in Canadian currency. Loonies, toonies, quarters.

The thieves decided that the value of the Canadian dollar was so low that they left our Canadian money alone. They may have been petty thieves but they understood the value of a Canadian dollar.

Looks like we have to make sure that we keep everything locked up for the night. Might need to get a couple of security monitors for the coach.

Norway

This is my office for the nine days we are onboard the Norwegian Jade.

I could get used to this cruising lifestyle.

We lucked out and the good folks at Norwegian provided us an upgrade to a suite.

This is our main living area:

And our bedroom:

I think they knew we were celebrating something:

We just returned from our first day in Bergen, Norway. Stunning city and a great start to our time here.

Weather so far has been sunny and warm. Long days. Sunset is at 10:30pm.

Internet access is decidedly mixed. I seem to have a bit of bandwidth right now so pushing out a quick post to let you know that we are doing well and having a wonderful break.

We’ll have lots of pictures and experiences to share on our return to Canada.

Our Little Town

Less than four weeks to go before I retire from corporate life. And, a few weeks after that, we will be leaving our little town of Kingston, Ontario.

I don’t think we will be coming back. Our plans will likely see us settle elsewhere in Ontario, a bit closer to our grandkids.

I love this town particularly the old part of Kingston where we live. We are right by the water amidst homes that were built in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Being Canada, there is no rationale with the prices of houses. True even in Kingston where the population is only about 130,000 people.

This townhouse on the left-hand side, semi-detached, is listing for almost two million dollars. Not sure if it will come with the flowers.

Still, there is an undeniable charm to living in an area which has so much history, at least from a North American perspective.

We live in the top story of a massive, oversized mansion. Across the street are homes that belonged to people from a long time ago. Like Dr. Kilborn’s house.

Gold letters spell out his name above the doors at 244 King Street. Kilborn lived here from 1896 until he passed away in 1916. The Kilborn’s have long since vacated the property although the sign remains.

The street on which we live is like stepping back in time.

The architecture ranges from Victorian to, well, old world castles.

A few blocks from where we live is McIntosh Castle. The front entrance:

And a more complete shot of the castle:

Many people that live in Kingston are unaware of the McIntosh Castle. And there it is, right in the heart of the downtown.

The McIntosh Castle was designed and built for the McIntosh family, during 1849 and into the 1850’s.

The story behind this building is that McIntosh promised his family that moving to Canada from Great Britain would be an incredible experience and that the family would live in a castle overlooking Lake Ontario if they would agree to move to the new world.

Perhaps back then, the castle did have a view of the Lake. It doesn’t now.

There are so many beautiful heritage homes in our neighbourhood. When we take our golden retriever for walks, I will often take my camera along to capture these wonderful homes. I’m sure that each one has its own bit of history.

Tourist season is now upon us and most visitors fail to walk a few blocks from the main tourist area to see these heritage properties.

I’ll have fond memories of our years in Kingston. Wonderful place to live and work.

Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort

Having been knocked down really hard with severe bout of the flu and a heavy workload at the office as my time for retirement draws near, my online activities literally grounded to a halt. Sorry about that!

For my 61st birthday, we flew down to Vegas for a week. We stayed at the Aria resort (pictured above). As Canadians, we have to be very careful about how much time we spend in the United States. We are planning to be south for 6 months starting in November of this year. The maximum time we can spend in the United States is six months on a rolling basis. Which means no more time in the U.S. until we head down to Florida in November.

We have been planning our agenda for our first winter south. A few months in Florida followed by a few months in California. We were also thinking about spending a month in Las Vegas. Specifically at the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort.

While we were in Las Vegas, we took a drive out to the LVM Resort and we were given a tour of the facility.

I was on the back of a golf cart so I did not have any opportunity to really frame the images but here are a few that should give you a bit of an idea about the resort itself.

This is the entry gate to the resort property.

LVM is on the small side at 41-acres. It is a Class A restricted park with sites that are 35′ by 80′ or larger. The gatehouse is staffed 24×7 and the clubhouse is well equipped with a concert hall, lounge and outdoor kitchen. There is also an onsite diner.

There were a variety of coaches in the park. I caught a few Prevost coaches like this one.

Each site offers some unique touches like this one with the Tiki huts.

The photo below would be a fairly typical site at the resort. Most of the pads are concrete. Most are back-ins. Purchase prices range from a low of $80,000 and most sites for sale seem to be around the $160 – 260k mark.

Rental rates off season could be up to $2,400 a month and closer to $2,700 in peak season. Discounts are available to Good Sam, FMCA, AAA and military.

LVM was not quite as nice as we expected. Sites were a bit narrow and the overall feel of the resort was closed-in and some of the sites did look a bit tired. The staff were accommodating and not as friendly as we have experienced in other Class A restricted parks.

The area of Las Vegas that LVM is situated is not particularly attractive although the resort itself was well appointed with numerous palm trees and flowers.

Despite those few concerns, if we did decide to come into Vegas, this would be our first choice of park for our coach.