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Old 09-21-2008, 06:25 AM   #1
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Whenever I get my Good Sam ˜Highways' monthly magazine, I seem to gravitate to one particular column. Good ole ActionLine or the "I've been screwed by someone and I want my money back" column.

After reading the column for the last 10 years, most of the letters seem to fall into two primary categories:

1. I've had my RV for a million years and I think the manufacturer should ˜stand behind their product' and pay for my bogus repair
2. I have a legitimate gripe and the manufacturer totally blew me off.

Some hypothetical examples:

Dear ActionLine,

I own a 1973 Winnebago Chieftain and recently had rodents chew through my electrical system. I am sure the animals gained entry through holes in the water and sewage access points. Since these holes have been there since the motor home was manufactured, this is an obvious design flaw and Winnebago should pay for the repairs and the loss of use of my motor home. I have contacted Winnebago numerous times but have not heard any reply.

Signed, William ˜Will' Steele

ActionLine: Upon receiving Mr. Steele's letter, we received this quick reply from Mindy Nicenice, Winnebago Customer Service Supervisor:

Upon receipt of Mr. Steele's first call, we dispatched our roving warranty service unit to his location but he had left that location a few days before with no forwarding address. We then hired a private investigator who used satellite imagery and cell phone records obtained from the FBI to locate Mr. Steele's current whereabouts. Our investigator and roving warranty service supervisor found Mr. Steele and inspected his Chieftain. We found that Mr. Steele is the owner of "The Wonderful World of Squirrels Mobile Squirrel Sanctuary" and his coach is home to no less than 85 squirrels of various species both in and out of cages. After probing through his storage compartments, our supervisor located a series of nests and an errant squirrel which Mr. Steele referred to as ˜Rocky'. Mr. Steele admitted that ˜Rocky' was a little ˜mouthy' and could have possibly gnawed through the wires. Even though Winnebago has no warranty responsibility to a 35-year-old coach infested with squirrels, our supervisor, as a goodwill gesture, was able to splice a number of connections back together and get Mr. Steele's electrical system operating again.


In this first case, I can't believe that some RVers really expect their coaches to last forever. Whether it is a wheel alignment, extendable stairs, trailer axles, tires, leaky roofs, A/C units, they are all going to break at some time. Now granted, if it's during the warranty period, the manufacturer should ante up and pay the full cost. But when you buy your RV, you know going in that a LIMITED warranty covers the components and each part of the RV has a different manufacturer and a different warranty. In reality, no one can afford to buy a RV that is designed and built to last forever. Even the space shuttle breaks down and NASA dumps a ton of your tax dollars into that SUPER RV in the sky!

Related to this category is the fabled ˜extended warranty'. As convoluted as it may seem, each one of these warranty companies has a set procedure to getting PRE-APPROVED (with emphasis on the PRE) and filing a subsequent claim. Many of the letters seem to be from RVers who were on the road, in a sweat to get somewhere, and bucked the system to get their repair done ASAP. When they finally come to their senses and want to file a claim, the warranty company now has the right (and they are happy to execute that right) to hide behind some technicality in the fine print of the agreement you signed two or more years ago and never read. When I read these letters, I can't help to think "Dude, why didn't you just make a quick call to the warranty company to ask them how it's done?" Trust me, any place that can replace your drive train will have a phone.

It's also amazing how the letter writer will leave out key elements to make their complaint seem more sound. It's quite common for the manufacturer's response to make the poor guy look like a fool when they enumerate all the attempts they made to appease this RVer and you soon realize that NOTHING will make this guy happy. Hey, but it's the American way – make a mistake and try to get someone else to pay for it...

Here's another made-up example:

Dear ActionLine:

While driving from Omaha to Denver carrying 80 pounds of T-bone steaks for a charity all-you-can eat dinner benefitting children who can't afford wheelchairs, our coach refrigerator stopped cooling and ruined all the steaks. Needless to say, our charity fund raiser was not successful.

Upon arrival in Denver, we contacted our extended warranty service and the refrigerator manufacturer. Since we had waited until Monday to call, our coach was one year and one day old and the refrigerator manufacturer said that it was beyond the one year warranty period and there was nothing they could do. Before any repair was started, I also contacted the Ripov Extended Warranty Company and emailed them pictures of the refrigerator and ruined steaks. They promptly contacted me and asked me to eat a steak to prove that they were ruined. After being discharged from the intensive care unit, I contacted the extended warranty company again. They said that they examined the refrigerator pictures and determined that the steaks did not allow for proper air circulation which caused the refrigerator to fail. They referred to Section 1.2.b.7 in Subsection 14 in volume 3 of their list of ˜Exclusions and Non-Covered Items', which, they say, ˜clearly states that a condition of refrigerator overload that prevents the free and unobstructed flow of air around cooling fins WILL NOT BE COVERED'.

As the steaks cost over $500 and the repair eventually cost $852.34, I hope that ActionLine could provide some help.

Signed: Dolly Dorite

ActionLine: After repeated letters and calls to contact the refrigerator manufacturer and the extended warranty company, we received this response from Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, attorneys for the Ripov Extended Warranty Company:

To parties related to ActionLine and The Affinity Group,
Our client, Ripov Extended Warranty Service, is prepared to file a harassment and slander lawsuit against you and your assigns if these repeated letters and calls DO NOT CEASE AND DESIST immediately. Pursuant to federal and state laws and statutes, your actions are punishable by no less than 5 years in a penitentiary, $50,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.


Here, in Category 2, is the RVer who goes by the letter of the law, dots his I's and crosses his t's and still ends up with the short end of the stick. He buys a RV in good faith and then finds out that the manufacturer cut a corner here and there. Trailer axles that are not made to carry a fully loaded trailer. Defective tires that blow and shred the back half of your coach. How many RVers have these problems and don't even bother pursuing the manufacturer? You would think that if a guy is making the effort to get some well deserved money back that the manufacturer would just pay the bill and shut the guy up. Maybe even get some good press out of it. But some nim-no in Customer Service is rejecting every claim that comes. Sort of like David Slade in the "What's in your wallet?" credit card commercial. ˜Just Say No' to EVERYTHING.

When you deal with these companies, don't be afraid to act like a Jersey guy. Pretend you're Tony Soprano. Get their promises in writing. Take down their name. Remind them you have an uncle named Vito with no neck who knows where they live. Long walk off a short pier. Cement slippers. Capish? But beware of the little announcement before the call of ˜this call may be recorded for training purposes'. They usually don't mention ˜can be used against you in a court of law'...

I don't know about you, but I keep a mental file of manufacturers who could have done the right thing and fell grossly short. That information goes into every buying decision I make and often influences my friends when they are ready to buy.

It is for righteous RVer with a common sense argument that this column really does a service. But seeing all these wacky letters they actually print, imagine the crack-pot letters that they throw out. Now THAT would be an interesting column...
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'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
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Old 09-21-2008, 06:25 AM   #2
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Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Florida Keys
Posts: 2,163
Whenever I get my Good Sam ˜Highways' monthly magazine, I seem to gravitate to one particular column. Good ole ActionLine or the "I've been screwed by someone and I want my money back" column.

After reading the column for the last 10 years, most of the letters seem to fall into two primary categories:

1. I've had my RV for a million years and I think the manufacturer should ˜stand behind their product' and pay for my bogus repair
2. I have a legitimate gripe and the manufacturer totally blew me off.

Some hypothetical examples:

Dear ActionLine,

I own a 1973 Winnebago Chieftain and recently had rodents chew through my electrical system. I am sure the animals gained entry through holes in the water and sewage access points. Since these holes have been there since the motor home was manufactured, this is an obvious design flaw and Winnebago should pay for the repairs and the loss of use of my motor home. I have contacted Winnebago numerous times but have not heard any reply.

Signed, William ˜Will' Steele

ActionLine: Upon receiving Mr. Steele's letter, we received this quick reply from Mindy Nicenice, Winnebago Customer Service Supervisor:

Upon receipt of Mr. Steele's first call, we dispatched our roving warranty service unit to his location but he had left that location a few days before with no forwarding address. We then hired a private investigator who used satellite imagery and cell phone records obtained from the FBI to locate Mr. Steele's current whereabouts. Our investigator and roving warranty service supervisor found Mr. Steele and inspected his Chieftain. We found that Mr. Steele is the owner of "The Wonderful World of Squirrels Mobile Squirrel Sanctuary" and his coach is home to no less than 85 squirrels of various species both in and out of cages. After probing through his storage compartments, our supervisor located a series of nests and an errant squirrel which Mr. Steele referred to as ˜Rocky'. Mr. Steele admitted that ˜Rocky' was a little ˜mouthy' and could have possibly gnawed through the wires. Even though Winnebago has no warranty responsibility to a 35-year-old coach infested with squirrels, our supervisor, as a goodwill gesture, was able to splice a number of connections back together and get Mr. Steele's electrical system operating again.


In this first case, I can't believe that some RVers really expect their coaches to last forever. Whether it is a wheel alignment, extendable stairs, trailer axles, tires, leaky roofs, A/C units, they are all going to break at some time. Now granted, if it's during the warranty period, the manufacturer should ante up and pay the full cost. But when you buy your RV, you know going in that a LIMITED warranty covers the components and each part of the RV has a different manufacturer and a different warranty. In reality, no one can afford to buy a RV that is designed and built to last forever. Even the space shuttle breaks down and NASA dumps a ton of your tax dollars into that SUPER RV in the sky!

Related to this category is the fabled ˜extended warranty'. As convoluted as it may seem, each one of these warranty companies has a set procedure to getting PRE-APPROVED (with emphasis on the PRE) and filing a subsequent claim. Many of the letters seem to be from RVers who were on the road, in a sweat to get somewhere, and bucked the system to get their repair done ASAP. When they finally come to their senses and want to file a claim, the warranty company now has the right (and they are happy to execute that right) to hide behind some technicality in the fine print of the agreement you signed two or more years ago and never read. When I read these letters, I can't help to think "Dude, why didn't you just make a quick call to the warranty company to ask them how it's done?" Trust me, any place that can replace your drive train will have a phone.

It's also amazing how the letter writer will leave out key elements to make their complaint seem more sound. It's quite common for the manufacturer's response to make the poor guy look like a fool when they enumerate all the attempts they made to appease this RVer and you soon realize that NOTHING will make this guy happy. Hey, but it's the American way – make a mistake and try to get someone else to pay for it...

Here's another made-up example:

Dear ActionLine:

While driving from Omaha to Denver carrying 80 pounds of T-bone steaks for a charity all-you-can eat dinner benefitting children who can't afford wheelchairs, our coach refrigerator stopped cooling and ruined all the steaks. Needless to say, our charity fund raiser was not successful.

Upon arrival in Denver, we contacted our extended warranty service and the refrigerator manufacturer. Since we had waited until Monday to call, our coach was one year and one day old and the refrigerator manufacturer said that it was beyond the one year warranty period and there was nothing they could do. Before any repair was started, I also contacted the Ripov Extended Warranty Company and emailed them pictures of the refrigerator and ruined steaks. They promptly contacted me and asked me to eat a steak to prove that they were ruined. After being discharged from the intensive care unit, I contacted the extended warranty company again. They said that they examined the refrigerator pictures and determined that the steaks did not allow for proper air circulation which caused the refrigerator to fail. They referred to Section 1.2.b.7 in Subsection 14 in volume 3 of their list of ˜Exclusions and Non-Covered Items', which, they say, ˜clearly states that a condition of refrigerator overload that prevents the free and unobstructed flow of air around cooling fins WILL NOT BE COVERED'.

As the steaks cost over $500 and the repair eventually cost $852.34, I hope that ActionLine could provide some help.

Signed: Dolly Dorite

ActionLine: After repeated letters and calls to contact the refrigerator manufacturer and the extended warranty company, we received this response from Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, attorneys for the Ripov Extended Warranty Company:

To parties related to ActionLine and The Affinity Group,
Our client, Ripov Extended Warranty Service, is prepared to file a harassment and slander lawsuit against you and your assigns if these repeated letters and calls DO NOT CEASE AND DESIST immediately. Pursuant to federal and state laws and statutes, your actions are punishable by no less than 5 years in a penitentiary, $50,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.


Here, in Category 2, is the RVer who goes by the letter of the law, dots his I's and crosses his t's and still ends up with the short end of the stick. He buys a RV in good faith and then finds out that the manufacturer cut a corner here and there. Trailer axles that are not made to carry a fully loaded trailer. Defective tires that blow and shred the back half of your coach. How many RVers have these problems and don't even bother pursuing the manufacturer? You would think that if a guy is making the effort to get some well deserved money back that the manufacturer would just pay the bill and shut the guy up. Maybe even get some good press out of it. But some nim-no in Customer Service is rejecting every claim that comes. Sort of like David Slade in the "What's in your wallet?" credit card commercial. ˜Just Say No' to EVERYTHING.

When you deal with these companies, don't be afraid to act like a Jersey guy. Pretend you're Tony Soprano. Get their promises in writing. Take down their name. Remind them you have an uncle named Vito with no neck who knows where they live. Long walk off a short pier. Cement slippers. Capish? But beware of the little announcement before the call of ˜this call may be recorded for training purposes'. They usually don't mention ˜can be used against you in a court of law'...

I don't know about you, but I keep a mental file of manufacturers who could have done the right thing and fell grossly short. That information goes into every buying decision I make and often influences my friends when they are ready to buy.

It is for righteous RVer with a common sense argument that this column really does a service. But seeing all these wacky letters they actually print, imagine the crack-pot letters that they throw out. Now THAT would be an interesting column...
__________________

__________________
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:19 AM   #3
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Excellent !!
Tom, there is more truth to the extended warranty portion than many people want to admit. If most folks would simply put the total amount of money the warranty costs into an account and leave it alone, they could pay for most repairs and have money left over.

Keep the the good stuff coming
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">... He buys a RV in good faith and then finds out that the manufacturer cut a corner here and there. ... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
but what was the corner cut in the second example?
and is there a general requirement to not overload a fridge? i always thought that actually provided for easier cooling for the fridge

at any rate, excellent post
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:47 AM   #5
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Amen! No caps. Just , amen.
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:42 AM   #6
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I have often been curious to see the letters they DON'T consider worthy of printing--

Although IfI am the one to get raked over, I might be the first to write one!
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