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Old 03-24-2014, 06:59 PM   #1
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Service Local, Buy Remote????????????

I am not getting a lot of price movement as I try to wag the dog. Folks on the Forums have been saying to be willing to travel, and buy out of town. I am in agreement that there are a lot of dealer options (and equipment) the further you cast your net.

The concern is that buyers end up allienating the local service provider (who missed out on the sale), and who you are now dependent upon to give you good waranty service. I don't get the impression that the manufacturers hold their dealer network to a high service expectation for non-buying customers.

Maybe I've got this wrong, or over-reacting to a few bad stories. Does anyone had experience with the external buy, but local service scenario? Good or bad??
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:06 PM   #2
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I'm going to assume you are talking about the purchase of a new coach.

Think about the purchase of a new car....the people you deal with in that transaction are usually totally different than the ones you deal with when you bring your car back for service. The same holds through (even more so) for an RV. If that dealership is an authorized "XYZ" dealer, than your "XYZ" coach will be serviced exactly the same as if it had been purchased there.

How good the service operations are at that particular dealership are a whole 'nother story, which doesn't affect the purchase (or non-purchase) either way.

That's my two cents...others?

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Old 03-24-2014, 07:15 PM   #3
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If you purchase a coach that is still in production, you should consider the manufacturer for service. Its seems to be the trend now that folks buy anywhere in the country.

The sale group at your local dealer will tell you that they don't service what they don't sell. Go ask the service manager if HE wants your business. Chances are the story might change. It worked for us.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:22 PM   #4
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I have heard a lot of stories about RV dealers not servicing (or long waits for an appointment) if the RV wasn't purchased from them. I purchased locally and the dealer did my warranty service. I asked the service manager about their policy and he said "we service everyone" no matter where purchased. Auto dealers have to provide warranty service to everyone; RV dealers apparently don't have the same rules and regulations.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:39 PM   #5
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Buy where ever you want. When it comes time for warranty work go remind the service manager ( If he needs it) That most people do not trade motor homes ever 2 or 3 years. When you need work after the warranty the work you received during the warranty is going to determine whether or not you bring it back to them. I bought a used coach but I bought an extended warranty with it. I have never had one bit of difference that I could tell from the dealer where I bought it versus other work I have had done on it.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:30 AM   #6
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Having just purchased a Bounder in Florida and living in Indiana I can add some things:

So far I've had minor problems. But living here, even near a reasonably sized city (Indy) I can say that most things, even during warranty, are just easier to do myself if I can. If I have to go to a dealer for service I can say that most "will" service the brand they sell, even if not bought thru them, but the question becomes "do you want to?". The distanc to the dealer (average of 1 hour drive), the wait to get in (usually 2 weeks) and the challenges of seeing how well it's done are convincing me that warranties are only good for big items or very expensive repairs. It's usually a long drive to get to the dealer (and you have to drop it off), then wait 2 weeks, then wait on warranty approval and it's almost 4 weeks total elapsed time. This always occurs of course when you are starting in the spring or during the summer. In other words when you want to use the RV!

My two cents is get the best deal wherever you can, then go to a dealer for service only if you must. As someone said, if they want future business they will work on what you have. I'm just emphasizing a different point...a "house on wheels" suffers from the service issues of a house and a truck....not as easy to find as car service and they don't usually come to your location like house service.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:06 PM   #7
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In-warranty may be a different issue from out of warranty purchases.

Many new rigs develop a punch list of items to be fixed right after being manufactured. Those may be fixed quicker at the selling Dealer.

Used rigs, all bets are off. JMHO and experience.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:02 PM   #8
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The main reason dealers farther from your residence are willing to give you a better price is that they are fairly well assured you aren't going to bring it back for every little detail you don't think is "acceptable". When the sale is finalized it's probably the last time they'll see you.

On the other hand a local dealer is easily accessible and is going to be inundated by "warranty issues" that could consist of everything from the customer not knowing how to operate a system to real component failure issues. Each complaint takes time to diagnose and remedy and only the ones that can be verified and repaired are going to be reimbursed by the manufacturer. Even then the manufacturer barely pays enough to cover expenses and requires proof of the service performed. Warranty work in general doesn't pay enough to keep the maintenance department or the dealer in business. Many places avoid it by only servicing the units they sell.

When we bought our first motorhome the local dealer was over $5,000.00 above the next closest price. They defended their position by saying "that's the cost of doing business locally". They also included the statement that "if the unit isn't purchased here don't expect to get it serviced here".

We went with an out of town dealer that was considerably less costly. Some time later we tried to make a service appointment with the local dealer. The first question from the service manager was "did you purchase the unit here"? When the answer was NO, he declined to make an appointment saying again "we only service the units we sell".

Purchasing an RV is not the same as buying a car. There aren't 3 brand XYZ dealers in the neighborhood competing for your business. Many dealers follow the above policy or schedule appointments for those who bought elsewhere months out to discourage them.

If you're willing to go to the dealer you purchased the unit from or the factory for service work consider the lowest price dealer even if it's hundreds of miles from home. If you need local service think twice on where to purchase.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:02 PM   #9
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I guess if you are looking to buy new there may be some initial considerations for buying local, but I would never buy from any dealer that told me they would not provide service UNLESS I purchased from them. Of course if they had the lowest price for what I wanted that might make a difference . That being said, I have never purchased a new unit. All four of my coaches have been approximately two years old when I bought them. I have had extended warranties on three, and have never had an issue getting service/repairs when needed. There are numerous smaller repair facilities that do not sell RV's, but provide excellent service. I found one in my area that works with most, if not all, service contracts. Remember that most manufacturers only provide a one year warranty. Dealers charge much more than the smaller service facilities, and don't typically do any better work.

My last two coaches have been purchased in Florida, with a 30 day warranty. I have taken them back to the selling dealer (600 miles) to get the warranty repairs made, and even went 600 miles the opposite direction to the manufacturer for a few bigger items on my last coach. In that case the manufacturer actually covered much of the cost even though the warranty was expired for quite some time. Other items have been handled without issue by my local shop. I have found that buying slightly used, and shopping far from home, you can save substantially.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
We went with an out of town dealer that was considerably less costly. Some time later we tried to make a service appointment with the local dealer. The first question from the service manager was "did you purchase the unit here"? When the answer was NO, he declined to make an appointment saying again "we only service the units we sell".
I can't imagine the manufacturers allowing such B.S. to go on. I would never buy from any dealer making such a claim. Ridiculous.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:51 AM   #11
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We live in Connecticut
Two years ago my buddy bought a new Jayco Grayhawk from camping world in New Jersey .
He tried to by from the local dealer . Who did not have the unit he wanted in stock or the pricing
When he tried to have some small warrantee repairs made locally they told him flat out that they will not service his unit and to bring it back to camping world ! . He called the manufacturer and they told him that they had no control over the dealer..
And to bring it to another dealer and submit the bill for reimbursement to them .
I think the dealer is making a big mistake . As he would have bought the unit from them if the price was even close and they had a leftover in stock !
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:01 AM   #12
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The points made are good ones

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vsilvester View Post
We live in Connecticut
Two years ago my buddy bought a new Jayco Grayhawk from camping world in New Jersey .
He tried to by from the local dealer . Who did not have the unit he wanted in stock or the pricing
When he tried to have some small warrantee repairs made locally they told him flat out that they will not service his unit and to bring it back to camping world ! . He called the manufacturer and they told him that they had no control over the dealer..
And to bring it to another dealer and submit the bill for reimbursement to them .
I think the dealer is making a big mistake . As he would have bought the unit from them if the price was even close and they had a leftover in stock !
.
With regard to service, I understand the point about the local dealer that he wants to penalize whoever doesn't purchase from him. He can do that subtly by taking longer (to get it in the shop) as probably his best choice. Per the point above, any refusal or even delay does jeopardize his business some.

Selling these products by the dealers CAN mean the distant ones do it more cheaply because they don't worry about service. If there's not much demand for service then that fits their model whether it's because it's too much trouble for customers to get there, the warranties are short or the quality is high.

This (jeopardizing business) is especially so for most of us I suspect who know that "new" becomes "used" and we do our own repairs on used if at all possible. So his efforts to penalize in my case mean I won't get repairs OR purchase from him in the future...new or used. It's a difficult world for the dealers sometimes but that's the business they've decided to be in.

All of this could change. Forty-five years ago I was in the TV repair business when TV's were new technology and very complicated. The dealer I worked for had a motto "we service what we sell". That was his clever way of saying he gave preference to his "purchasing customers". A lesson I got also was that the brand he sold, RCA, really benefitted from being highly serviceable. As time progressed TV's in general became more modular and "replaceable", not "repairable". Manufacturers consolidated and designs standardized. That was driven by demand. Shops like I worked at disappeared. Automobiles have changed similarly.

It seems like we are in a mode with the RV industry similar to where TV's and Cars were years ago. RV service operations may experience the same changes as they did due to pressure. Consolidation in RV production is occurring as it did with them, so manufacturers are seeing business pressure. There's an opportunity for an "RCA of the RV industry". Whether the industry stays as it is, highly expensive and customized, or changes to standardized and cheaper depends on what we as customers purchase and demand.

For now we will all do what is best for each of us and service and sales will follow the money.
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:19 AM   #13
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I also thought the dealer should have put him at the bottom of his list and serviced his customers first but still serviced my Friends coach it I'd just good business practice
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:59 AM   #14
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I bought locally and paid too much, BUT they fixed everything I asked for friendly. I did not have to fly/drive to go get it or take it back far away for service. You can not drive a coach for less than $1.25/mile. A car for less than $.60/mile. Doesn't take long to offset the savings and convenience of local sales and service. Above person drove 600 miles x2 ways x 1.25 = $1500! If he had to leave it and drove back in his car too add another $1440 (2 trips), Total $2940.
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