I watch as we all do, the infinite amount of promises advertised on television. Medicine guaranteeing to improve your life completely. Diets that run the gamut of eating everything to almost nothing. New cooking items that will make your life easier. Cleaners that will remove any stain. Cars that will transform your life into a more virile man or beautiful woman. The problem with all of these of course is that there’s little recourse to the consumer when, after making the purchase, problems arise with the item.
Take a new car for example. There’s a marked difference between all the attention you receive during the initial purchase of a vehicle and when something is wrong with the vehicle. You go from stardom to just another clog in the wheel. Worse is when the problem is a recurring item that the dealership is unable to repair.
We purchased a new Jayco Pinnacle just a year ago and so far we are out about 20 days of use of the 5th wheel due to a combination of factory installed issues and dealership inability to repair an item. For instance, there are usually two to three slides on these RVs and for the most part with proper maintenance, they last a long time. We however, started out with problems. The main slide would not retract or extend without several stops. The dealership, Dunlap RV, told us it was the circuit breaker resetting each time. OK, so how do you fix it? That was the first reason for them to keep it several days while they cut through the bottom of the RV, worked the wiring, adjusted the slide several times, reset circuit breakers, etc., all in an effort to uncover the “why” it was happening. Giving up, having reached the limit of their expertise, I was referred to the factory. To make a longer story shorter, twice we’ve been to the factory to find out they could not get to the repair “that week” (what do you think I’m in Indiana every month)? And this last time after numerous emails and calls back and forth were told they would definitely repair it in March. They never called me back.
Now I understand the brand they sold to us, Jayco, had been in business “forever” was “family owned” that they “they really care”; that company was sold about two months after we purchased our RV. Now, they are part of an even bigger RV empire of Thor RV products. Fine. I’ve still a warranty; I’m still a customer. Well, this is where things start to slow down no matter if it’s your bricks and sticks mansion on the hill with a leaky faucet or the Fiat you purchased last week, the longer the problem takes to diagnose and repair the less likely it will ever be fixed. You start getting sideways glances from other dealership employees. People talk in hushed tones around you. The order for your parts takes longer or it’s no longer available. The service department parts girl goes on maternity leave, come back when the kid graduates.
I was at a Ford dealer in Louisiana not too long ago and in the service waiting area was a young family that had purchased a new vehicle just weeks before and they stated they’ve spent more time in the waiting room than driving the car. They felt ignored despite the service department manager keeping them updated, it never seemed like their repair was getting priority. They discovered through a friend of theirs who worked there, that the setup, cleanup, and delivery of new vehicles was the number one priority and often times people working on other vehicles were taken from those jobs to insure the new product was delivered on time. It’s just business.
We changed from a motorized large RV called a Class A to this 5th wheel last year, simply for the room. The difference is remarkable and the creature comforts are excellent. This is not an indictment on RVs at all, because there does not seem to be an industry out there where taking care of the customer is truly a core concern of most large businesses. Don’t even start me on cell phone companies. Now many people knock Camping World and it is the big box store of RVs granted. My experience with them however has been better than most I’d say, perhaps because I never went in there expecting to be treated like the king, I just wanted quality work completed for a fair price in a reasonable amount of time. And for the most part, that’s what I’ve received.
It’s different when you purchase new and buy into the hype about how great their business is and they’ll always stand behind what they sell: well maybe they do but they failed to say how far behind they stand. So today is day 7 without the camper this time. It seems Lippert systems, the manufacturer of the leveling system, the axles, the slides, did not have a leveling jack in stock. According to the parts department at Dunlap RV, nobody anywhere had one in stock. Do I believe them? To be honest I don’t anymore. I don’t believe them because the caring the pride the concern for the consumer, is just not there anymore. I’m sure there are plenty of caring service technicians and parts people out there who care but are hamstrung by the system they work for.
I just hope that when the part is finally available, installation will follow in a timely manner. But I’ll not hold my breath.