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Old 08-23-2016, 07:27 PM   #43
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IMHO, Here's another part of the problem that has not been mentioned.

Working on a car, or truck is a world apart from working on any RV. All vehicles (not RV's) sold in the US have a system of parts, service, information, training etc available. If you take it to a dealer they have on-line service information, parts distribution centers, back up service information, etc, etc.

The RV world is all together different. Those units are homes on wheels. They involve a multitude of different systems that are not on a car. To find an individual qualified to work on RV's (MH & TT) is no small task.

I can also tell you from my 35 years in the teaching field that to work (teach) on any vehicle made for the US market or the RV market the learning and training never, never, never stops. Not a year went by during my 35 year tenure as an instructor not a year went by when I didn't attend a seminar or some sort of training. I read and studied almost daily or nightly. If I didn't I was behind.

That is not true for all the academic teachers. Once they graduate their official subject learning is done. Well they do have to learn how to teach the kids but for the most part they have learned all they will need to learn.

There are many, many quality teachers. I'm not saying that they quit learning. I will say that a math, science or English teacher (and others) would not have to learn as I did to teach their entire career. Had I not learned I would have been out of touch and never been able to prepare kids to enter the automotive service repair industry.

One last item. Finding a part for an RV is also no small task. The supply of replacement parts is filled with issues. Many of the RV suppliers are kind of fly by night companies. What you had installed on your TT may no longer be available. If it is it can take many, many weeks to obtain based on the supply and demand during the busy summer season. The complete story of all the parts issues would take way to much time here.

When we take our truck in for repairs even if they don't have a part in stock they can always buy from a local parts house and get you back on the road. For the most part that's just not always possible with an RV.

I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. I'm not making excuses for poor service but understanding the complexity of the RV repair world might help to put this in perspective.

TeJay
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:27 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Peter M View Post
Newbie here, So the RV dealer clearly stated the following. If you did not purchase your RV here we will not service it ! He suggested that you are last on the list and there buying customers come first. This policy he said is implied through out the industry .
What is your experience ?
(Mod Edit)
It can and does happen. When we were looking for our first motorhome we were considering 2 dealers. One was local and the other was 200 miles away. The farther dealer had a better price by over $5,000.00. We wanted to buy local so we tried negotiating with the local dealer to be more competitive with the other dealer.

We were told the price was firm and that it was "the price of doing business locally". When I said I couldn't justify an additional $5,000.00 just to save a 200 mile trip I was told "If you don't buy it here, don't expect to get it serviced here"

Needless to say I didn't like the attitude so we purchased from the more remote dealer. About 6 months later I thought I'd see if the salesman's threat was in fact the company policy. I called to schedule a service appointment and the first words out of the service writers mouth were "Did you buy it here?" When I answered no I was informed they only service the units they sell. That was pretty much the end of the conversation, and the end of any attempt to do business with them.
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:04 AM   #45
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Not having read all 5 pages...

Managed service shops in the past and the op complaint is common but often missunderstood.

Usually due to a lack of understanding on both parts.

We had contract service in addition to t & m service which all are usually scheduled.

Then come the walk in service who does not have any appointment and expects instant action.

Priorities were public safety first then everyone else, general contract first then everyone else folliwed by contract first then t & m.

Walk in were given a can you wait until someone can triage and usually they would wait until someone could give them a "quick look" as often repairs may be just a fuse.

If we were swamped we would state "cannot fix it today" and they would need to make an appointment.

The dealer in the op may be 100 % loaded and not willing to add resources to make available for additional work as maybe too much risk.

It may be that their primary motive is supporting the sales side and focus in those clients so they get a service level promised.

Adding the "walk in" customers takes resources away from promised work so they avoid it.

You as a customer have the choice to seek out competent providers who can get the job done correctly.
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:45 AM   #46
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Service Truth or Myth

We bought our Tiffin from the largest family owned dealership and probably paid too much because of wanting service at many locations. Tiffin's factory is in Red Bay Alabama.We are in PA.
The initial warranty service took weeks and was poor and when done they gave our unit back to us with a scratch and a muddy mess. They told us that the service charge per hour was going to go over $120 per hr.
The point I'm trying to make is that real correct and expert service is done at the factory. I know that Tiffin knows their products design flaws and deficiencies and knows best how to deal with them. Our best friends have a Fleetwood and have taken it to Decatur FW factory service and were extremely impressed. Tiffin is more difficult in that they don't take appointments but, from what I hear on the forums, does it right.
I have learned how to repair most issues of our 2014 Allegro but things that require more expertise will have to be done by factory service. The problem with dealers is they TRY to cover service on many brands and classes of RVs.
My take is to buy your unit with proximity to factory service. Forget dealers. Look for private RV repair people for those things you can't do and go to the factory for those things that require manufactures expertise. Fleetwood is making locations for factory service in other locations than Decatur and Tiffin units can be serviced in the north at Connecticut Motor Cars in Connecticut, which has gotten great reviews.
Get your best price and research for the best service both private and factory and learn RV repair for anything you can handle. Forget dealers.IMHO.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:04 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M View Post
Newbie here, So the RV dealer clearly stated the following. If you did not purchase your RV here we will not service it ! He suggested that you are last on the list and there buying customers come first. This policy he said is implied through out the industry .
What is your experience ?
(Mod Edit)
Peter M
The TRUTH is: Buying a RV only guaranties that you own a RV.
In my experience it's a MYTH that "prompt", "reasonably priced", "satisfactory" RV service is available ANYWHERE.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:41 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by mel s View Post
Peter M
The TRUTH is: Buying a RV only guaranties that you own a RV.
In my experience it's a MYTH that "prompt", "reasonably priced", "satisfactory" RV service is available ANYWHERE.
Mel
'96 Safari, 148k miles
"prompt", "reasonably priced", "satisfactory" RV service is a subjective term. As such it can be interpreted differently by each customer. In our experience all 3 can be had when going to the factory for service.

To me "Prompt" is having the motorhome accepted at the repair at the time agreed upon by the customer and the repair facility. It also means having the repair work completed at the agreed upon date and time. The length of time spent at the service facility is dependent on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the system being repaired, and the availability of repair parts.

It should be a given that if the repair facility accepts the motorhome and agrees to do the repairs they have people qualified to do the work, sufficient space to complete the job and the proper tooling to do it.

"Reasonably Priced" would mean competitive with other businesses in the same area that provide the same service. You can't expect prices to be the same across the country. Prices are dictated by a number of factors including but not limited to, property and income tax rates, the cost of living, the size of the labor pool, the skill level of the labor pool, the price of transportation, etc., etc.

It's a fact of life that all prices rise over time. In 1975 the average hourly rate for repairs in a franchised auto dealership was $22.00 to $25.00 per hour. Today that's less than most technicians make. The average hourly rate for the same shop today is between $110.00 and $125.00 per hour.

"Satisfactory" service would mean the repair is completed properly and the system is operating as designed. It would also mean no damage has been done to the motorhome including the technician leaving a mess in the area he/she worked on. It doesn't mean a system would operate "better, or differently than the original design unless the "repair" was intended to be an upgrade.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:01 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
"Prompt" is having the motorhome accepted at the repair at the time agreed upon by the customer and the repair facility. It also means having the repair work completed at the agreed upon date and time. The length of time spent at the service facility is dependent on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the system being repaired, and the availability of repair parts.

"Reasonably Priced" would mean competitive with other businesses in the same area that provide the same service. You can't expect prices to be the same across the country. Prices are dictated by a number of factors including but not limited to, property and income tax rates, the cost of living, the size of the labor pool, the skill level of the labor pool, the price of transportation, etc., etc.

"Satisfactory" service would mean the repair is completed properly and the system is operating as designed. It would also mean no damage has been done to the motorhome including the technician leaving a mess in the area he/she worked on.
Hikerdogs

Exactly

BTW I suppose I should have said: In my experience it's a MYTH that "prompt", "reasonably priced", "satisfactory" RV service is available ANYWHERE ...except at the factory.

(I didn't because when I bought my used Safari coach in '01 there was no longer a "Safari factory").

Mel
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:47 PM   #50
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TeJay is right on again.

TeJay your post 43 is as usual right on the money. Being a service manager I would add a couple of other notes. 1. Everyone says the manufacturer is paying us to work on the motorhome. I NEVER turned a bill into Fleetwood that was paid in full or even close. They always cut the time of the repair. We were lucky to break even on warranty work. That is why we aren't beating the bushes to get your warranty work, if you did not buy from us. 2. Finding qualified R V mechanics is difficult. It is very hard to find and keep GOOD mechanics. As TeJay said, Motorhomes have gotten very complicated. Shadetree mechanics are no longer able to work on them. It takes a guy with a lot of skills to do the job right. As I have posted before, I retired in 2005 but was called back and wound up working two days a week for three more years.(They wanted me to work more, but I refused to work over two days a week.) The reason we don't don't work on your motorhome is not spite. It is because we don't have the manpower.
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Old 08-24-2016, 12:59 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M View Post
Newbie here, So the RV dealer clearly stated the following. If you did not purchase your RV here we will not service it ! He suggested that you are last on the list and there buying customers come first. This policy he said is implied through out the industry .
What is your experience ?
(Mod Edit)

Sad but true! It's called "payback"! If he is the local dealer for the manufacturer of your RV, you can complain to the manufacturer, but even if they put the squeeze on him to provide your service, there's nothing to keep him from continuing to bump you to the end of the line!
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Old 08-24-2016, 01:39 PM   #52
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It seems to be a trend all over. As many have mentioned (on the few threads I read), the dealers in my area are the same. If you don't buy from them, they don't service your coach. One owner told me he sells so many coaches that he don't have the time or resources to service those who haven't purchased from him. In the next sentence he bragged how a customer came from Texas to purchase a coach from him. I said well isn't that sort of contradicting your own policy? I explained I didn't understand why they felt that way because units will need service every year, where as a customer may only buy one coach. I found a local guy who left a dealership and started his own rv service (Atlantic RV Culpeper Va) to do any house repairs, and go to Freightliner, Speedco, or truck locations for chassis service.
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Old 04-14-2017, 05:22 PM   #53
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My experience with two different RVs, two different brands, bought at two different places, is that it rings about 90% true. If you are seeking service within the warranty period (typically a year, but sometimes longer/shorter), you can bet your bottom dollar that if you purchased your RV at Dealer-A, no other dealer will want to do the warranty work.

If you are getting work done out of pocket expense, my experience has been that I get to wait at the bottom of their list, if they'll put me on it at all.

I am thankful that I now live within a few hours of where my RV was manufactured, so I'm just taking it back to them now when I need to.
The implication here is that you can't use your RV during the warranty period away from the dealer of purchase as you won't get it serviced.
This exactly my experience trying to get problems resolved last year on a cross country trip during the warranty period.
It wasn't until I decided to pay out of pocket and take my chances getting my money back from the manufacturers that I got my issues resolved. These were not minor issues such as no A.C. automotive and house, bad transfer switch, generator problems, no heat, chassis issues, etc.
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Your complaint is a common one, but I think most posters on this subject fail to look at service from a dealer's perspective. If a dealer has a customer who has just plunked down hundreds of thousand of dollars on a rig, the dealer will take care of that customer first. In our area we basically have a six month camping window. That means that the dealers are buried in their service departments during that six months. I don't think it is reasonable for a customer to expect a dealer to prioritize the needs of a non-customer over a returning customer.

In my own practice we run some pretty long hours during tax season. I will get people calling for tax advice during the season. If they are a client then I will gladly take the call, but if they are not, then I really don't have the time for those who are not a client. That isn't being selfish, just taking care of business.
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The issue is not how big you are. The issue is whether you are their guy or not.

Chances are you will not do enough business to make any difference to them as few of their customers will buy more than a couple rv's in their lifetime. They know that. They know they have to keep their customers happy. I'd give the guy a star for being up front with you. A lot will just take in your rv and put it in the back lot until they get around to it. Say next winter when things slow down.
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:22 AM   #54
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FWIW If I Was planning on buying a motor home for a cross country trip I would want at least a year to break it in and get anything sorted out that needed sorting. At that point the warranty becomes moot for most brands. I'd also plan on a vacation week at the manufacturer. That just seems to be the trend of what I see. That said I would be quite happy if there was nothing to worry about and the few small things were something I fixed as it was easier than going to the dealer.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:48 PM   #55
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Full-Timers

A year ago we purchased a 12-year-old Class A from a "local" dealer 45 miles away. 8 months ago we sold our home and have been full time. We have not been back to the area where we bought the motor home, although we're planning to be there in a month or two.

The attitude of not servicing an RV they didn't sell would leave us totally out. I can understand scheduling priorities but not blatant provincialism.

We did join FMCA, and, IMHO, one of the most valuable benefits is the monthly letters to the editor where other FMCA members recommend places on their travels that have given great service, often above and beyond normal. Those places do exist, we just have to find them.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:11 PM   #56
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Having read all of this thread a few thoughts come to mind.

1. Extended warranties might be valuable or completely worthless if you can't find anyone willing to do the work at the 'warranty labor rate'.

2. I understand why dealers only support their own sales staff, but it seems like a 'huge opportunity' for expanding the service department and making more money. Which leads me to #3.

3. Dealer techs should really consider becoming an independent tech working out of a wagon or van. Or anyone else technically minded with tools and some experience. I'm an independent tech for large format printers. You can charge the same as the dealers with way less overhead which means more money for yourself. Most people just want it 'fixed' not as concerned about how much you charge per hour.

4. Someone (like me) who buys for the best price usually understands that service side could be more complicated since you didn't buy from the closest dealer. My solution was to save up all the warranty issues and have the factory do them all at once at the one year mark. Most of the new issues I'll be attempting myself. If that doesn't work then I'll be seeking out the factory again and pay them or an independent technician.
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