From The Mailbag

 Posted by at 12:40 am  Nick's Blog
Nov 292017

While I was working my way through yesterday’s e-mail, deleting all of the warnings from the IRS and Windows, and three different banks where I don’t have accounts, all wanting me to click some link to save myself from disaster, along with four messages from women in other countries who want to come to America and love me big time, and the usual load of forwards and nonsense that I automatically delete, I also came across a couple of interesting ones I thought I would share with you today.

One was from somebody asking me about buying fuel on the road. She said they have the Flying J discount card, and that’s where they usually go. But the other day they were someplace in Arizona where there were five RVs lined up waiting to get fuel, so rather that sit in the road waiting for somebody to move so they could pull in, they went across the street to a different place and paid four cents a gallon more, but were in and out and back on the highway in a very short time. She asked me if it was really worth waiting around that long to save a few cents a gallon on fuel.

Not to me, it isn’t. Yes, we also have the Flying J discount card, and we used it whenever it was convenient. But think about this, our motorhome has a 100 gallon tank, and I seldom let the level get down to 1/4 tank, always preferring to fill up somewhere around half a tank. But even if I was completely empty, and the difference was four cents a gallon, we are talking about four dollars. I like to save a buck as much as the next guy, but my time is worth something. I would rather be done with it and get those wheels rolling again than spend half an hour or more in line at the fuel island. How do you feel about that? How long will you wait in line to save a couple of bucks?

The other email was from somebody telling me that after 20 months of fulltiming, they are done. She said they bought a new upscale motorcoach three months before they planned to hit the road, and that their departure was delayed because it was sitting in the dealer’s lot waiting for repairs under warranty for issues that should have been caught and taken care of during the predelivery inspection. These included a wobbly passengers captain’s chair that wasn’t properly mounted, a main awning that was almost three inches higher on one end than the other, and a leak in the water heater that flooded the floor the first time they connected a hose to the motorhome.

She said it took half a dozen calls to the dealer over a period of weeks to even get the appointment, and once they dropped the rig off it was there for a total of five weeks. The service manager’s excuse was that they were waiting on parts from the factory that were on backorder. I wasn’t surprised because we went through the same run around with our first motorhome, a Fleetwood Pace Arrow Vision. It’s been my experience that a lot of dealerships make you get an appointment, then decide what you need and try to order the parts to make the repairs.

The unhappy former fulltimer said that once they were on the road, they kept having problems with the motorhome, and going to dealer after dealer that the factory sent them to for warranty work, only to find out that they could not get an appointment, or if they could, it was the same old game of parts not being available.

Meanwhile, they had many more problems crop up. So many that they finally demanded an appointment at the factory to get their issues resolved. It took five months to get that appointment, and guess what? The nice folks at the factory kept the coach overnight and told them that most of their issues were things that could be handled at the dealer level.

Yeah right, except it’s almost impossible to get an appointment with an RV dealer when you’re on the road and can’t sit around waiting for weeks to get in, and when you finally do get an appointment, the chances are pretty good that the dealer won’t have the parts that are needed and can’t get them from the factory.

Nothing has changed since we started fulltiming way back in 1999. We got the same run around over and over from Fleetwood and from the dealers they sent us to, trying to get things fixed on what we came to call the Motorhome From Hell that should have been taken care of before it ever left the factory. I’ve always said that the worst thing about the RV lifestyle is the piss poor quality of the RVs being sold. I wrote about our many problems with the Fleetwood in my book about fulltiming, Meandering Down The Highway, and in a blog post way back in 2011. It’s sad to see that nothing has changed in all that time.

The lady who wrote to me yesterday said that they finally gave up and are done. She said life is just too short for those kind of hassles and stress, and that their dream of the fulltime RV lifestyle had cost them a small fortune and turned into a nightmare. They put the motorhome on consignment with a dealer, knowing they are going to lose a lot of money just to get out from under it. It’s really sad that companies can turn out crap like this, refuse to take care of warranty issues in a timely manner, and could care less about their customers. Welcome to the world of RVing.

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Thought For The Day – Christmas just like a day at the office. You do all the work and the fat guy in the suit gets all the credit.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “From The Mailbag”

  1. Appreciate your honesty about such things as this lady shared about how they finally gave up RVing due to the crappy rig!! We have had the idea to try it ourselves but currently one of our kids is in dire need of our help…and we see no end to that…so likely? Probably won’t happen…but I will read this to hubby anyway…a word to the wise might make life better eh?

  2. Question 1. We have a class A about 37 ft long and tow a Jeep. We have 150 gallon tank. We used Fling J until they were bought by Pilot. The price of fuel went up and the quality of service went way down. We now use gas buddy and google maps. We look for good prices and ability for us to get in and out of the station easily. Prices at most smaller fuel stops MUCH lower (use cash) than Pilot, Flying J, Love’s, TA and Petro. We rarely have to wait at these smaller stations. So in and out quickly.
    Question 2. Sorry to hear that the woman (couple) got a lemon. We first bought an older Class A during our last year of work to LEARN. We also went to an FMCA regional rally to LEARN about RVs and talk to people. That led to us buying a quality brand and quality coach. I really would recommend that people go to some sort of RV show with seminars or a rally (Escapees, Good Sam, FMCA) with seminars and LEARN and QUESTION before they purchase an RV. Do this before you even buy an RV. If you do get a lemon, trade it in ASAP, take the hit and get another RV. Life is too short to waste the time on this mistake.

  3. I also gave up on the Pilot/Flying J, truck stops…..just too much hassle, and one time they wouldn’t honor the card discount. Good ol’ Gas Buddy gets me to good prices, not always the lowest. Quality of the fuel is the most important, I don’t want a clogged filter.

    Everyone pretty much has the same problems with the dealer repairs. Nobody has parts anymore, have to wait on the shipments.

  4. When I first went looking for a motorhome, I did lots of research on the service records of different manufacturers. I purchased the one with the best record, even though it cost me more than I COULD have paid. That paid off big time in the long run, because most all of my problems have been minor (so far anyway) and it’s been six years. I’m so sorry they had a bad experience, but they are definitely not alone. The RV industry is all about the dollar … they don’t really care about the people.

  5. I can so relate. With 7 years of fulltiming could not take the breakdowns any more. Every time we hit the road I was stressed waiting for the next problem. Our 2016 Open Range is in Indiana at the manufacturer getting repairs. Too numerous to list. Then it gets sold. Had enough! What happened to quality?

  6. Fortunately I’m fairly handy at fixing things which has upset many of the dealerships we’ve had to deal with. Having been in Mechanical Trades for over Forty Years does teach you things like not taking Crap off the Dealers or Manufacturers.
    The internet is a great tool for lodging Complains against RV Manufacturers. Simply go to the BBB in the State the Company’s headquarters is located and you get quick results.
    Another thing is back in the Seventies because of all the crap the US Automakers were putting out there was a Lemon Law put out. Not too long back the same kind of law was enacted for RVs. If the Manufacturer has not corrected the problem after a reasonable number of attempts (3) they can be forced to Replace or Refund the cost of the RV. Repairs under warranty are also done at the Manufacturer’s Expense not the Consumer’s.
    Sorry to hear those people are giving up on their dream.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  7. I think that lots of folks make a big mistake by buying the rig right before they go full time. It might be better to buy the rig before you sell your home, use it for week ends and vacations and work out the kinks. That way you are probably close to the dealer where you purchased the rig and have the flexibility of leaving it with the dealer for the warranty repairs. Also everyone needs to do lots of research and not be swayed by the decorations in the rvs.

  8. Not that kind of problem with Lazy Daze. I owned 3 . They check and explain everything to you when is has been built (Montclare, Calif.

  9. We have spent more time on Tiffin’s Factory Repair Campground than we care to track. The boys in Red Bay, Alabama have their own work pace in the repair facility and you are not going to sped them up. Both of us being retired manager, we get very frustrated with the lack of good organization, We have provided the factory people with a punch list of our problems along with any recall information and instead of ordering parts from the stock room, they will take one item, make out a parts pull ticket, wait for the parts clerk to pick up the pull order, that it to the stock room and return with the ordered parts to make the repair. In the meantime instead of looking at the next item on the repair list and having the pull request ready for when the parts clerk returns, they will complete the job with the now on hand parts and start the whole process over with the next item. Even the workmen in the repair facility complain about the poor quality of the new units coming out of the factory.

  10. No kidding. I try to fill my car at the cheap station near me, but don’t sweat it much if I can’t. Even I am not going to be broke if I pay 30 cents more to fill my tank. When I was a kid and gas was 19cents a gallon, and the 15 cents you saved if another station had it at 18 cents, could buy a loaf of bread, that was something. Now bread is $3- a tenth of a loaf in savings at a 2 cent price difference. OK…that ran on and got convoluted, but i’m not going to rewrite it for a blog comment!

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