Trouble with dealers - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 11-30-2014, 02:59 AM   #1
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Trouble with dealers

Hi folks. Last July I bought a Dutchmen 275BH. I live in Denver but found what I wanted in Salt Lake. No issues so far with the TT but did a little scouting for local dealers to do maintenance as I'm sure things will need fixing eventually. I have three dealers within 5 miles that Dutchmen says are authorized to do warranty work. They are Camping World, Casey's Four Seasons, and Windish (a local company). I went and talked to each of them to find out who I wanted to deal with for repairs. The three dealers all said about the same thing, "we only work on units that we have sold." I had made an appointment for next spring to do some pre-season maintenance. The service manager happened to walk by and noticed what was happening and jumped all over the service scheduler for scheduling me in. I just wanted the brakes checked, roof inspected, and a few other small items. I was immediately taken off the schedule and told that the RV business isn't like the car business. If you didn't buy from us we'll get to you if we can. Then they had the audacity to tell me that they would be doing this as a personal favor. Doesn't sound like a favor to me. If I need something fixed I can't be driving the TT back to Salt Lake and I can't be leaving it at the local dealer and have it sit while I should be out camping. Bottom line: how do I deal with this? Is this really how the industry works? If so I'm pretty disillusioned.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:34 AM   #2
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This is only my opinion! We bought ours from Camper World. I know enough about business to tell that they live and breathe on camper and motor home sales. The store inside just might make enough to pay the hourly help. Given today's manufacturing quality control issues, these franchises have more people waiting on service, especially warranty work, than they probably should. Comments on this board indicate a wait of weeks, even sometimes months, to get an issue resolved. So you drove 500 miles, and maybe saved $500. I wish you luck, and think you might have the best odds with the independents. The big guys need more sales, and frankly, less service. IMHO
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:11 AM   #3
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You can look for an independent repair shop that isn't a dealer for your normal maintenance, they are few and far between but they do exist.

The RV dealers are not regulated like the car dealers so they can pretty much do anything they want. Is it a good business practice? Probably not, but in a way I can see where they are coming from.

Camping World is hit or miss IMHO. Yes they make the bulk of their money on camper sales. The number of units that they have in for warranty service is mind boggling. I would be willing to wager that at least 35%+ of what they sell goes back in for some sort of warranty work. And of that number quite a bit is substantial warranty work. I know at my local CW there are two 5'vers sitting in the bays with their slides taken out waiting on Dutchmen/Keystone to authorize repair and send parts, and they have been there over 6 months that I know of. That is two bays they don't have available for regular work. I also suspect that warranty work doesn't pay particularly well compared to regular maintenance and parts installation.

We no longer have any locally owned RV dealers in our immediate area, two went out of business and CW bought the other one. Closest local is over 2 hours away.

I have one locally owned dealer that I buy a fair amount of parts from (wish I had bought my RV from them, but they didn't have anything I wanted at the time). I was in there the other day and the CW parts van rolls in and loads up a couple of boxes of parts. Asked the Parts Manager what was up, and he told me they can only order what they sell and don't keep any back stock. So he cheerfully sells them what they need, and makes money at it. They are literally across the road from each other. I asked them about service, they will service anything, but only do warranty work on what they sell and give priority to what they sold. FWIW they are also an Airstream dealer and will do warranty work on Airstreams not sold by them, however from my understanding they are required to do so by Airstream.

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Old 11-30-2014, 01:25 PM   #4
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Interesting thread...

Since purchasing my rig in May, 2013... I've had a number of warranty issues come up. Mostly small stuff, and mostly nothing to do with the build of the rig itself... just components that have either stopped working or needed adjustment. I've also purchased a few items here & there while away from home & the bulk of my tools... so I had them install it.

Since I'm fairly new to the RV world, and I happened to buy my rig at a CW... I tend to look to them first when something comes up. Also, like the OP stated, I know that CW's service dept. is an authorized Dutchman warranty facility... as they also are for Good Sam's extended warranty plan.

All of that said... I've never had a single CW anywhere I've ever been refuse to service my rig. Now, they HAVE asked if I bought my rig from them, and they can't always get to it when I'd like them to (3 week delay)... but they've never refused to do work for me.

It is true that warranty work pays pretty poorly... sometimes not even to the break even point. While normal shop-rate labor in most places is at least $100/hour, they usually only get paid about 30% of that. So it's only natural why they would want to do service on either rigs they've sold or installs on accessories they've sold before doing any warranty work on other rigs.

But to flat out refuse is something I have yet to experience.
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Old 11-30-2014, 01:51 PM   #5
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Since Camping World is all the same company whether in Salt Lake or Denver, I can not see how they could play the you didn't buy it from us card.


I too bought ours from Camping World in Colorado Springs, but do not much care to take it there. Their lead times for service are too long and their pricing on options are just too high compared to other places.

If you want to take your camper for a small road trip to get servicing I highly recommend Pikes Peak Traveland in Colorado Springs. They are authorized to do warranty work (at least on a component level), have reasonable labor rates and when they tell you how long a job will take, it takes just that long. They get you in and out. They could care less where you bought your trailer, in short they want your business and, I think, they really hope you are impressed enough you will look to them first to buy your next camper from them.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I guess what I'm experiencing is pretty industry standard. At the time when I picked up the TT in SLC the dealer made a point to tell me that if I had any trouble to be sure and bring it back and they would take care of me. I thought to myself, why on earth would I do that. Now I know why. MartyG, I saved about $1000 after taking out the drive costs. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Chalkie, I'll look up and bookmark Pikes Peak Traveland. That's looking like my best bet if I need warranty work. Wahoonc and ATCguy thanks for your posts and help also.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:59 PM   #7
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Dealing with my local dealer who I purchased a new tt back in 05' from. When it was time for another new tt back in the summer of 2011, I knew exactly what model I wanted and options. Asked for a "out the door price" (paying cash). My sales lady from my last purchase took my info and returned with a price I felt was laughable. Over the next 6 months was contacted with the same price. Maybe they thought I might cave in, I don't know why they were not interested in my cash?

6 months later, after talking to them again at the RV show, I was again given about the same price. So I Googled the tt I wanted and found a dealer 2-1/2 hours away, called them, within 60 seconds of telling them what I wanted and what my trade was, was given a price 50% less than the offer I was presented at my local dealer. My dealers offer was $19.5k plus my 2005 tt. This dealers offer was $9800 plus my 2005 tt. What would you do?

What I did do was call my dealer and say you have 24 hours to give me your last and final offer. They called me back 7 times and got the price down to $15.5k + mine. If it would have been $1000-$1500 difference I might have bought it there. Ended up getting it at the out of town dealer. The next day I drove to that out of town dealer and put down a deposit for him to order the unit I wanted. Both were offering $6500 trade value. I did end up selling it ( my trade ) for $8500 on Craigslist the next week. Took 6 weeks, ordered a 2012, but when it showed up March 1st, he said I was given a 2013 because they were done building 12's and are now on frames titled for the 2013 model year.

When my local dealer owner found out when I was there to pick up some RVing supplies, he ( dealership owner ) said don't bother bringing it here for any warranty stuff. Well as any new tt goes I had 7 warranty issues that were not major. So I called at the end of the season (Nov) and found out they were more than glad to do my warranty stuff. I knew unless I had a major issue, I would just bring it in during their slow season. I know not to take my tt to a dealer for service during the spring and summer, where they hold it "hostage" in their "HOSTAGE LOT" , waiting on a authorization, parts or shop space.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:30 PM   #8
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That's an interesting story.
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:57 PM   #9
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Did the same thing on my first RV (1999 Coleman pop-up) Local dealer wanted XXX amount. The salesman said " you know where it's at, you'll be back" Did the same thing, called a dealer 90 miles away and said, "give me a price to make me drive 90 miles and buy from you" Got a price $1800 less. And when there was a recall issue and a warranty item, the dealer that said "you know where it's at, You'll be back" was more than happy to do the work.
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