I hear about the service challenges that RV owners have every day. People are excited when they buy an RV. Often that turns to regret the first time they contact the dealership for service. I have experienced everything from: “we are booked out 30 days for an oil change,” (I am on the road seeing the country. That’s why I bought an RV. I won’t be there in 30 days!) to “you’ll have to leave your RV with us a few days,” (I am a full-time RVer with a dog. Where would you suggest I sleep?!) to to taking my RV 10 times to the dealership because my self leveling jacks don’t work… and being assured that “It’s fixed this time.” (Every time I took it in!) to being told, “Checking your tire pressure and putting air in them costs extra.” (I am spending a lot of money in your dealership and you can’t take 5 minutes to make sure I am safe?!”) Why don’t more RV Dealerships get it?
Five years ago, I bought my first little camper. Miss Daisy was a Forest River Shasta Airflyte Re-Issue. The buying experience was perfect! They took smiling pictures of me and the sales team for social media. She was adorable and had everything I needed for a summer on the lake. Only problem was, I couldn’t get the inside temperature below about 90 degrees! I called the dealership to tell them something was wrong with the air conditioner and scheduled the earliest appointment they had. I interrupted my summer vacation and broke camp to tow her across town. They pulled my little camper into the (shaded) shop while I waited a few hours. They told me the air conditioner was fine. Back to the campground I went, only to soon be roasting again! And now after a week of heat, humidity and my a/c never shutting off, I have a moisture problem. The dealership told me that I must be trying to keep it “too cold,” that maybe my “expectations were too high”!
I am not the kind of person who gives up! I started googling and found an amazing Facebook group specific to my RV! I started asking questions and learned what the problem was. When the reissue was designed, it was meant to look EXACTLY like the original, but still incorporate modern conveniences like air conditioning. That a/c couldn’t go on the roof, so where could it go? They put it on the floor under the kitchen counter and hid it with a wooden vent. It looked PERFECT! But, the thermostat is shoulder height, heat rises and the tin can roof was broiling in the Florida sun. Cool air never reached higher than a few feet from the floor. When the dealership wouldn’t help, someone in this group gave me a contact at Forest River. The customer service at Forest River ROCKED! They would solve my problem at their facility and offered me two options. I could travel there or they could send a transport to pick Miss Daisy up for repairs. I decided to let them come get her. No run around, no arguments. They accepted responsibility and made my experience easy. They even helped me find a rental!
When I decided to go full-time in an RV, Miss Daisy was too small. Because service after the sale stunk at the dealership, I went to another dealership. Because Forest River service was so amazing, I trusted them and bought a big Forest River Wildcat 5th wheel. Statistics show that most people buy another RV. It seems like it would be smart business for a dealership to provide great service and keep customers coming back to them for everything!
I bought used this time and learned quickly that this is different than buying a used car! I assumed that RV dealerships inspected used RVs before they sold them to someone else. But I am sorry to say, they don’t. It’s the norm everywhere. When I had my first problem, I was frustrated, but the new dealership was amazing! They checked everything, looked for recalls, fixed things under warranty and suggested other repairs in order of priority. They even gave every buyer a gift certificate to use in their camp store, a gift certificate for camping at a local RV Park AND 10% off all parts, purchases and service for the life of the RV! I could call them, text them or just drop by. They ALWAYS treated me like I was a VIP! I never went anywhere else for service. When I was waiting for service, I was shopping in their store for fun camping decor, spare water hoses, etc. with my discount. I happily spent a lot of money there. And when it was time for a new RV, I told them what I was looking for. They found my gently used, Newmar Class A, Irma for me. They inspected everything. Because I asked them to make sure I was safe, they replaced all of the tires and batteries before I even gave them a check. When I needed warranty work or just an oil change, they made me feel like I was their number one priority!
I was in the market for a new RV, something smaller that would be easier to take to Alaska. I just had no idea what I wanted. Sadly, my favorite dealership sold, and the new company did not act like they had time to help me decide. It was time to find a new dealership. I heard that Ocean Grove RV in St. Augustine, Florida had sold to RV One Superstores and they were having a huge sale. I made a detour and pulled Irma into their lot. What I didn’t know until I arrived, was that this was officially their first day as owners and everything was under construction! They welcomed me with open arms anyway. I bought a brand new Jayco Greyhawk 30Z Class C. It took all day to decide what I wanted and then negotiate the deal. By then, it was too late for me to go to the bank and I also had to transfer all of my stuff from Irma to the new RV.
I spent two nights at their dealership in a perfect RV site with power and water. They helped me move things and even drove me to the bank to pick up a check. When I need service or repairs, both RVOne and Jayco, treat me like I am their number one priority. I found a new home and a new family; a dealership and a manufacturer partnership that understands what customer service means!
In an effort to help other RV buyers find the best dealership and RV for them, I’d love to hear your amazing customer service experience stories. Just post your comments here for everyone to see.
I hope to see you on the road. You can’t miss me, I’ll be driving the Jayco with Flamingos on her side.