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Old 10-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
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Heartland Buyers Beware

We had a situation with our 2014 Heartland 4100 King Toy Hauler. They day we purchased it we spent a night at the dealers camp ground for a shake down night and the auto leveling system seemed to have a mind of it's own at times. It did not level the unit correctly and several times when I went inside an tried to put the slides in the front jacks actually started to retract. The service department looked at it several times and finally told us that they calibrated the unit and it was fixed.

We went camping at a near by camp ground and when we hit the auto level button the thing lost it's mind and lowered the rear 4 jacks and then tried to extend the right front jack all the way and it bent way out to the side. I yelled at the kids and told them to get back I was afraid it would snap off and under all that pressure God knows where it would have flown.

SO I owned a brand new 44' toy hauler with a BENT FRAME.... Needless to say I was not happy. Dealer was great and called Heartland they engaged Lippert and they sent (2 weeks later) a repair man down. He was very competent and did straighten the jack and frame and let me know that "a weld was missed during mfg which allowed the I Beam to twist when the jack extended". He also welded some additional bracing in on both sides and painted it so it looked the same and apparently (to my eyes anyway) did a professional job.

Everything is working fine now so I contacted Heartland and spoke with the manage of warranty service for the entire company looking for something in writing standing behind the repair. The TN rep was a jerk and wanted to know "why I was calling Heartland and was not calling Lippert". I told him in my view my warranty was with Heartland and he told me it was not. I ask to speak to his manager and initially he declined, I insisted several times and he finally agreed. SO they transferred me to "Jim" and he basically ask me why I was calling and I told him I wanted a written lifetime warranty from Heartland on the specific repair that Lippert executed on my frame so when I went to sell the unit I would have it to ensure that the defect was permanently repaired.

Long story short Heartland (Jim) refused and told me I had a 11 month warranty left on the frame with Lippert and he would put nothing in writing to the contrary.

So I called Lippert......

My experience with Lippert was 180 degrees from Heartland. They totally understood my resale value concern and happily agreed to send me a lifetime warranty on the repair they installed on my unit. Have used it several times and so far everything is fine.

I feel that Heartland has very POOR customer service and frankly I found them to be rude. I bought a over $90K 5th wheel and the first time I used it I had a 12" I beam/frame that was bent. They did engage Lippert but would not stand behind their product. They claim that there are many systems on the unit and they have no responsibility for anything other than the fact that they bolt the pieces together. I will never buy or recommend anyone else buy a Heartland product, they will not take ownership of issues with their product.

If I buy a Ford or GM product and a Bendix Brake or Allison Transmission fails the car or truck manufacturer will not tell me to call the supplier of the sub system or component. Heartland expects the customer to do what I consider to be their job and demand quality and inspect what they receive from the suppliers for quality.

Bottom line is Lippert made a mistake during the build and owned up to it, fixed it, and gave me a lifetime warranty on the repair to give me peace of mind. Heartland was only interested in deflecting responsibility, all they really had to do was call Lippert and get a warranty on the repair (they gave me one), put that in the file for the unit and turn around and give me a back to back written warranty on the repair. It would have cost them a phone call. Instead they chose to treat me poorly and show that they had little concern over the fact that I had one of their flag ship almost $100K 5th Toy Haulers with a bent frame.

Needless to say my strong recommendation is DO NOT BUY FROM HEARTLAND THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT THE SALE AND NOT THE CUSTOMER.

Maybe all of the mfg's are the same I cannot speak to that, I certainly hope not.....
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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Welcome to Thor's world..
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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Unless and until we the people step up and simply stop buying rigs that are not supported properly buy manufacturers this is going to continue.
Sadly, not every potential RV buyer gets on the interwebs and does their due diligence on the various brands and models before signing that contract. It doesn't make sense to me, but that is the way it is.
So...as long as the rigs go off the sales lots we will have to count on the integrity of the manufacturer.

I agree wholeheartedly with your evaluation of the Lippert/Heartland deal and Heartland pushing it off on Lippert.
Your trailer is wearing the Heartland Brand. It is not a Lippert 4100 King, it is a Heartland 4100 King.
The auto industry buys parts from a huge network of suppliers to produce a car on their line...when the car leaves the lot it is a Ford or Chevrolet, not a the manufacturer of the rear axle or the electronics..
The RV industry has pulled these shenanigans for far too long in my mind.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #4
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Interestingly enough...

I did do quite a bit of research on various brands of the large (over 40') toy haulers and in the end it came down to Dutchman's Voltage and Heartlands Cyclone. One thing is both are now owned by Thor (I believe) so in the end probably not that much difference. Bottom line is Heartland had on balance more positive reviews for quality and customer service that Dutchman from what I could find. I also like the hydraulics for the slides and jacks rather than the electric drive solutions.....

I think in the end you can end up with a nightmare no matter what you buy. It is the luck of the draw......
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Old 10-02-2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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Polar opposite of my own experience with them and that of most I read on the net. I guess when you sell enough units, you will drop the ball from time to time. I had the same experience with a Regal boat. They had won JD Power awards for customer satisfaction and had excellent reviews on the net. For me though, buying a boat from them was the worst new purchase of my life. You can go on all major brands forums and find similar posts. If I had a dollar for every "Never buying a Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc." post I've come across in the last ten years, I alone could stop the government shutdown. Very sorry for your experience, but I don't believe it's the norm. On the other hand, if I was you, I'd feel the same....
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #6
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I don't necessarily disagree but I guess the thing that struck me was that I was dealing with the head of warranty for the entire company and he took that stand.

Honestly I could have hired an attorney and fought and won either my money back or a new unit. A bent 12" I-Beam (frame) is not a leak or malfunctioning AC system. You could easily argue that a straightened and braced frame is not the same as a new never bent one. The standard for warranty repair in the federal statute is to return the product to as new condition. One could argue that in my case that was not possible and if it happens again I will likely go down that path.

But to not stand behind their product and defer to a sub-component manufacturer and claim it was not their responsibility, especially coming from the senior manager in the warranty group was to me somewhat telling. I wonder how they would feel if they just dropped over $76K on something and 3 days later it had a bent frame due to a manufacturing defect which caused a major malfunction...

SO is Heartland a bad company? I don't know I am sure there are many fine people who work there. But what I do know when my unit was damaged due to something that was in my opinion their ultimate responsibility to stand behind they punted and flat out told me to pound salt....

Everyone has to be their own judge but for me the next time I pull that kind of money out I will think long and hard prior to buying another Heartland product....
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:34 PM   #7
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Well put and I agree. A shame is these competitive times that something like this can happen even once in a while. To me there are no acceptable number of customer satisfaction issues. Products will fail, but how a company stands behind them is the key. I'm glad I'm on the other side of the issue with my Heartland product and wish you the best with yours. Hopefully this is the last time you have to deal with it and good on you for getting it in writing from Lippert...
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:24 AM   #8
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To the OP I had a Heartland (Heartless) product, and I found the costumer service to be exactly the same as described.
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:30 AM   #9
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I'm sorry for your problems. I would be upset as well, but I'm another one on the side of Heartland. My problems have been small, but my dealings with their customer service have been stellar. It's the dealer that I have a problem with. Heartland has stepped up to the plate 3 times when the dealer dropped the ball, shipping parts directly to me, and following up on pending issues with the dealer.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottybdivin View Post
I'm sorry for your problems. I would be upset as well, but I'm another one on the side of Heartland. My problems have been small, but my dealings with their customer service have been stellar. It's the dealer that I have a problem with. Heartland has stepped up to the plate 3 times when the dealer dropped the ball, shipping parts directly to me, and following up on pending issues with the dealer.
Good to hear that there is some hope I still have as Jim pointed out I have 11 months left on my warranty.....
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:45 PM   #11
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Call forest river and ask them who is responsible for the lippert frames they use?
This is the reason for the information packet you get with your new trailer it includes,
Warienties register activation cards for your fridge,stove,furnace,converter,ect from the
manufactures
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:30 PM   #12
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Hey all, long time reader first time poster. Anyway, I have read a lot of these posts with situations that are similar to this one and I just have to ask, do the manufacturers and dealers do a QA test of their products upon finishing / shipping and receiving or selling a unit? I would think this would be a logical thing to do to keep customers from returning with issues that Q&A would have detected. I am in the market to buy a new TT and you can bet when I do I will be out there repetitively working all mechanisms several times before I sign.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kf514 View Post
Hey all, long time reader first time poster. Anyway, I have read a lot of these posts with situations that are similar to this one and I just have to ask, do the manufacturers and dealers do a QA test of their products upon finishing / shipping and receiving or selling a unit? I would think this would be a logical thing to do to keep customers from returning with issues that Q&A would have detected. I am in the market to buy a new TT and you can bet when I do I will be out there repetitively working all mechanisms several times before I sign.

Your dealer should have completed a thorough PDI however some dealers are less than thorough after they have your money.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:50 PM   #14
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Wow, I had the same thing happen but I was able to stop the over extension before anything damaging happened. I can't get my LCI level up to work right. I re-calibrated the unit twice now. I guess a call to Lippert is in order. Sorry to here what happened but glad to know I wasn't the only one that this happened to.

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