In the RV world, there aren’t many regulations or government interferences. Manufacturers are pretty much on their own to deliver products to customers. It’s quite common to hear complaints from RV owners about the lack of quality of their RVs and how much money they have to spend on repairs each year. Typically, this just comes with the territory of owning an RV.
However, this time an owner is stepping forward in hopes of making changes to the RV buying process and quality control. A Texas man says he’s had enough of the deception and lack of quality craftsmanship. He’s suing Camping World and Heartland RV over his new travel trailer purchase.
What Is Camping World?
Camping World is the largest RV dealership in the world. These locations are all countrywide, making shopping at a Camping World easy for RVers. Travelers can choose from various brands and RV types and stock up on gear inside the Camping World stores.
Travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, Class As, Class Bs, Class Cs, and pop-up campers are all sold at various Camping World locations. Manufacturers like Heartland RV, Keystone, East to West, Coleman, Forest River, and Thor send their lines to Camping World for distribution.
What Is Heartland RV?
Seventeen years ago, in 2003, Heartland RV was founded by a group of RVers looking to build better RVs for people. In 2004, it introduced the Landmark, a luxury fifth wheel featuring 88-degree turning technology and a drop frame basement.
It added travel trailers, toy haulers, and destination trailers line up over the next several years. In 2015, Heartland acquired Cruiser RV and DRV. Currently, it manufactures seven travel trailer lines, six fifth wheel lines, five toy hauler fifth wheel lines, and four toy hauler travel trailer lines.
Who Owns Heartland RV?
Thor Industries, the largest family of RV manufacturers in the world, owns Heartland RV. In 2010, Thor made its largest acquisition to date by purchasing it.
Thor owns 17 North American RV brands, including popular brands like Tiffin, Airstream, Jayco, and Keystone. It also owns 16 European caravan manufacturers, five other European companies, and 14 other North American companies like Dicor, Airexcel, and Togo.
These other North American brands are mainstays in RV manufacturing, like the installation of MaxxAir fans and Aqua-Hot water heaters, both products by Airxcel.
What Is the Complaint in the Case Against Camping World and Heartland RV?
Michael Jones of San Antonio, Texas, bought a 2021 Heartland Pioneer BH270 travel trailer from Camping World in June 2021. However, Jones alleges that Camping World failed to deliver a serviceable vehicle.
When he returned the RV to Camping World, the company failed to do the repairs under warranty. Furthermore, Camping World returned the trailer and claimed it did repairs.
But, according to Jones, Camping World either didn’t complete them or it completed them deficiently. The Heartland RV travel trailer was in the shop for over 200 days during that first year of ownership.
What Is the Lawsuit Seeking?
Jones is not only suing Camping World because of the repair problems. He’s also suing because he believes the company operated with deceptive selling practices. He also believes it knew the travel trailer was defective when delivered
The lawsuit “seeks relief and general, special, and actual damages, including treble damages, in accordance with the Texas Business and Commercial Code.”
Jones also wants the court to rescind the sale of the Heartland Pioneer. He wants all of his money back from the purchase of the travel trailer. He also wants the costs associated with taking it back and forth to the shop and his attorney’s fees returned to him.
Why Can It Be So Difficult to Get RV Warranty Work Done?
RV warranty work can be difficult for a few reasons. One reason may be the service center itself. If they are backed up or don’t have a large shop, you may be waiting for weeks or months to get repairs done. When warranties generally last for only a year, that doesn’t leave much time for waiting around for a service center to get to your RV.
Another reason RV warranty work might take a while is that the manufacturer doesn’t pay RV dealerships quickly. RV service centers within dealerships don’t want to deal with warranty work because they have to wait on payment. When customers are responsible for payment, they immediately get paid for their work.
This isn’t so when dealing with an RV manufacturer responsible for covering the costs under warranty. Paperwork is submitted to start the process, warranty claims are accepted or denied, and more paperwork is submitted. The process is much more time-consuming.
Finally, the shortage of parts and labor add to the difficulty of completing RV warranty work. If your slide needs repairs but the motor is on backorder, there isn’t anything anyone can do to get the part delivered sooner. The service center and the customer have to wait until the part comes back in stock.
In addition, the labor shortage has affected service centers. There aren’t enough technicians to service the vehicles quickly and properly.
How Can You Alleviate Warranty Work on Your RV?
First, if you need significant work done, you’ll have a better chance of getting access to parts more quickly if you’re near a large city. If you’re boondocking in a rural town, it may take days or weeks longer to get new parts.
Second, dealers prioritize customers who purchase from them. If you’re a random RV owner who needs warranty work, you’re going to the back of the line. If you can take it back to the dealership from which you purchased the RV, you’ll speed up the repairs.
Finally, be on top of the repairs. Call frequently to check on how things are going. Keep the manufacturer and service center focused on your repairs. Don’t sit idly by while your RV collects dust in the corner of the dealership.
Be Careful When Buying Your Next RV
Before buying your next RV, do your research. Don’t just look up what floor plans will work best for your family. Also, research the customer service departments of RV manufacturers and dealerships. How satisfied are customers with the service they received after purchasing from certain manufacturers?
Check out the service centers and not just the RVs themselves when you visit dealerships. If there are only two bays, you’ll be waiting a while to get repairs.
Finding an RV you like is one thing, but preparing for repairs is another critical step in the RV buying process. Your RV will probably need repairs sooner than later. Slides will malfunction. Appliances will break. Understand the warranty process and choose your next RV carefully.
Did you ever run into problems getting RV warranty work done on your RV?
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