AI image looking over the should of a judge at a court room with a Thor motorhome in it

Judge Calls Thor’s Warranty a “Scheme”

RV warranties have been a hot-button issue in the community in recent years. A federal judge has had enough and threw the book at one of the largest names in the RV industry for their warranty.

The court ruling puts RV warranties under the microscope and will likely send waves through providers.

Today, we’re looking at the case against Thor and some reasons owners hate RV warranties.

Let’s get to it!

Federal Judge Takes on Thor

Thor may be one of the largest entities in the RV industry, but they didn’t start 2024 on the right foot. That’s because they found themselves in a federal courtroom in California. The judge was letting Thor have it, stating they had been using unenforceable warranty terms in California for many years.

The terms that the court was fighting for were provisions that restricted RV owners’ right to have a jury trial. However, in California, RV warranty cases often guarantee that owners receive a jury trial. Thor was able to skirt the law on this issue for years by transferring cases to Indiana, which doesn’t have the same requirement.

However, Federal Judge Rita Linn wasn’t having any of the nonsense from Thor. On January 6, 2024, Judge Rita Linn made her ruling, which didn’t go in Thor’s favor.

Despite other judges falling for Thor’s legal games, Federal Judge Rita Linn did not. She had done her homework and stated Thor had lost a year earlier in a similar case but with Federal Court Judge James Lorenz.

Judge Lorenz stated that Thor encouraged owners to initiate lawsuits in Indiana, which was typically easier for the empire to win. 

If owners filed outside Indiana, they’d request the judge transfer the case to Indiana. However, Judge Lorenz saw through the games and labeled Thor’s warranty a “scheme.”

Thor even went as far as to state that they’d not enforce the provisions in Indiana court. However, Judge Rita Linn wasn’t buying it. Despite others falling for the excuse in the past, Judge Linn was ready to go toe-to-toe with Thor.

About Thor

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Thor Industries manufactures a variety of recreational vehicles and travel tools. It was established in 1980 by Wade Thompson and Peter Busch. The company has grown over the last 40 years and is now one of the most recognized names in the RV industry. 

Some of their brands include Airstream, Jayco, Keystone, and Tiffin.

Because of their large umbrella, Thor has a massive variety of recreational vehicles. There are hundreds of options to consider that are a part of the Thor family. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a full-time traveler, the Thor family makes an RV for you.

Reasons RV Warranties Are Too Good to Be True

Despite what the sales team at dealerships tell you, RV warranties are often too good to be true. To help you lower your expectations regarding their coverage, we have listed some reasons RV warranties aren’t as good as they may seem.

Limited Coverage

RV warranties don’t cover every single nut and bolt on your camper. Generally, they’ll protect the major systems and equipment but often exclude items prone to wear and tear. Items like tires, brakes, and interior fixtures are typically exempt from coverage.

Additionally, the limited coverage often extends to other, more complex systems. For example, the coverage can be confusing if your RV comes with slideouts. 

Specific components may fall under warranty coverage, while others won’t. This can result in owners getting caught by surprise by costly repair bills. As you might expect, this leaves a sour taste in their mouths.

Complex Claims Process

Some RV warranties have extremely complex claims processes. Some may even require annual inspections, or they’ll deny claims. 

In addition, you may have to file a ridiculous amount of paperwork and follow specific instructions to get the provider to accept your claim.

These situations can be highly frustrating as owners typically are in sticky situations. They’re just wanting to get their camper fixed as soon as possible. However, the complex claims processes can make this anything but smooth.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Another major reason owners hate RV warranties is because of the out-of-pocket expenses. Some policies require owners to pay a certain amount out of their pocket before accepting the claim. If you’re not prepared to write a check, this can create a severe problem.

Additionally, we mentioned earlier that some policies require annual service visits. These can often direct owners to visit dealerships and other RV service centers. These expensive annual inspections are additional out-of-pocket expenses.

Limited Transferability

Not only do RV warranties cost a pretty penny, but they’re also non-transferable. You’ll often find that coverage is only available for the original owner.

This can make it challenging for those trying to sell their camper. Buyers may run when they hear that the rig has little to no warranty coverage.

Since this isn’t always the case, it’s best to check with your specific warranty provider. However, in our experience, more warranties are non-transferable than are transferable.

Short Warranty Periods

RVs typically last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Unfortunately, if you own it that entire time, you’ll likely only have warranty coverage for a fraction of that time. Most coverages will expire after a year or two of ownership.

Once your warranty expires, you’re on the hook for most issues your camper will experience.

Luckily, many appliances will often come with separate warranties. However, keeping track of the requirements and length of coverage can be a part-time job.

Fine Print

One of the biggest reasons RV owners hate warranties is because of the fine print. Here, you’ll find the numerous exemptions and requirements to maintain the warranty. 

The legal teams for RV warranty providers know what they’re doing when writing the fine print. Most owners don’t read them thoroughly because they often use big words and are hard to understand.

We encourage you to read and understand the fine print, especially if you plan to use your warranty. It may not be the most exciting content you’ll read, but it’s valuable information that can help you if you ever file a claim.

Thor got lucky and received a Valentine’s gift from District Judge Daniel J. Calabretta. On February 14, 2024, the judge granted the motion to move the venue from California to Indiana

However, Thor will still be under California’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which means their legal troubles are far from over. We’ll keep you posted on what happens next!

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