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Old 12-14-2011, 10:23 AM   #29
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I do believe that RV dealers take advantage of most customers and some service writers think coach owners are dumb and that they can throw a lot of bull at us expecting that we do not know any better. I recently had some repair work done at my dealer here are the results. ( have extended warranty} they had the coach for 3 weeks

#1 Rear monitor not working ( replaced camera $ 500 still not working)
#2 charged to replace seam sealer on slide out ( unauthorized repair) and charged me for 2 rolls of seam seal 25' each @$ 63.00ea. slide out is only 24' lg. I verified only (1) roll was used
#3 attempted to charge for shipping on parts ( shipping cost covered on extended warranty)
#4 claimed they spent 2Hrs on checking report of ac/heat on @ same time could find no problem still an issue when vent is in bi-level
#5 steering box leaking fluid. (not yet repaired)had to do some research and tell them the maker of the steering box they told me it was a Smith when it is a Sheppard I also gave the the part # for a seal replacement kit.

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Old 12-14-2011, 10:42 AM   #30
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Thanks for all the great responses here, but I think I need to clarfy a point or two in my story.

I did not go to an "RV Dealership", I was going to a local (two miles from home, nearest Dealership is over 40 miles) RV Repair Shop and Supplier. This company has been there for as long as I can remember, so that puts it someplace over 30 years.

I went there because they have been in business at this very same location for so long. Seperate from the Supply Store (behind it in fact) They have a 4 bay garage which I have never seen empty, they have room to park a 40 foot MH up to the bay doors (which is almost always full when I have been by) and room for about 4 or 5 rigs off to the side of the building in a waitng area.

First time I went there I had to wait two weeks to get in to check an electrical problem and do a full service on the complete MH as I had just bough it and did not get any service records. I explained to them that I was local to them and came there because they had been around a long time and I wanted to develop a relationship and bring the MH there for all required work. So they knew I was not a passing through RVer that they would never see again, but a long term repeat customer. Appears to carry no weight with them, so now for automotive type work I will take the MH to the same guy that has been doing my cars and trucks for the past 20 plus years.

And belive me, I do know and understand the cost of "overhead" as I was a estimator in a shipyard for a number of years and overhead in a shipyard is a BIG deal and an RV Dealership is peanuts by comparison.

Those that are able to do their own work, my hat is off to you and I am envious of your abbility to save all those bucks, as they then add other good things to your life, but all of us cannot for a wide number of reason do things ourselves and must depend on others and it hurts when they gouge on the prices..
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:27 PM   #31
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I guess as with anything else, it's the luck of the draw. Some shops are definitely gouging customers, and others are not. I have found that most things associated with RV ownership are overpriced...sort of like going into a "Pool Store" and paying 5X the price because you own a pool.
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:51 PM   #32
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Out of all the so called 'authorized service centers' my MH has been to, the very best work comes from "Mile High Mobil RV Repair", no credit cards. If he'll take the job, and he is independent, you don't have to worry about it any more. He once found I had burnt up the circuit board for my slide out. How much and how long would that take for a dealer to get that part? He said, "ah no big deal I can solder that" and it worked fine for over a year now. He even told me the RV Industry is infested with greed because they can. He told me the general attitude at big RV dealers is that if you can afford a big motorhome and buy it, you are going to pay premium prices to have it worked on." Because they can". And sometimes it may be 3 months before they will let you park it on their lot and no promise they can start on it then.
Maybe some parts of the country are not like this but there is obviously no recession in the RV repair business around here.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:51 PM   #33
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QUOTE: "Those that are able to do their own work, my hat is off to you and I am envious of your abbility to save all those bucks, as they then add other good things to your life, but all of us cannot for a wide number of reason do things ourselves and must depend on others and it hurts when they gouge on the prices.. "

Yes, I understand. Having started to fix things since my (non-mechanical) father gave me a go-cart when I was 9yrs old, I figure I have saved approx
$1,416,357.95 in repair costs that I was able to do myself.

But now, as I get older and my body weakens, I just pay one of my mechanics to do the things I can't. But even that is way cheaper than paying a repair shop.

That attitude I have is why my customers love me, and keep coming back to my shop. And we all make a good living, without ripping off people.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:06 PM   #34
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How many hours did you spend looking for the repair kit?

How long does it take to remove the jack and do you have the ability to do it?

Re-building something like a jack ( I have recently had to buy one ), could be an iffy situation. The RV place buys the part, then finds the jack is beyond repair, or is iffy and does the rebuild. Now he has to warranty his work.

My jack weighed at least 50 lbs and was a struggle to r&r.

I alway suggest to rv owners or those that want to be should be handy with tools or handy with a check book.

Second guessing a good service facility like this is a bit unfair if you are not in the service business.

The oil change could have been a bit pricey but I bet he doesn't have minimum wage high school drop outs. He also inspected your rv and apprised you a a leaky jack.

Call backs, or reworks makes customers unhappy. Stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime is not a good idea.

What service people need to learn is that we don't "fix" things. We "fix People". Take the time to explain what you did and why. Don't be embarrased to charge a decent price. Be prepared to offer the customer a reduction if needed even if you are right. All of my employees have the authority to "do whatever it takes". In a medium sized town (used to be small", your reputation is everything.

Quality service and service centers are costly to run. I have technicians making over 80G a year plus benefits. Those techs have many many years of experience and our total service center has a couple hundred years of experience.

Remember, time is money. If the service manager had to search for the parts and spend time that would be labor too.

So remember how much time you spent, and how much it would cost to pay someone $120 an hour or more to do the work for you.

Just my 40 cents (inflation) and I will gladly answer all questions.

Oh yeah, and after 37 years in the service business, It is not my responsibility to give you a new replacement because your kid put a pb$j into the vcr slot.
Your wet cell phone is not my responsibility. "How did it get wet?" I wasn't at the scene of the accident sir.

I truly hope everyone that took the time to read this understands I am not ranting. Just voicing my view and still like to keep my tools handy. I hate writing checks.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:25 PM   #35
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First motorhome and it was a diesel and I was scared of it. Thought I'd let the experts work on it so I took it to Findlay RV in Las Vegas. This was what they charged me in March of 2007. Oil change with filter and 20 qts oil=269.99. Trans service with filter and 20 qts dexron=500.32. Air filter=287.94. Onan service with air and oil filter including 3 qts oil=129.99. I now do my own maintenance. Recently checked with Freightliner in Tolleson, AZ about changing a radiator surge tank and muffler bracket (I had the parts). Was quoted 4 hrs at 125.00 hr plus 12% for shop towels, etc. That's 140.00 an hour. Couldn't justify and had a local mechanic do the work for $200. I find it amazing that these places are so busy you have to make a appointment.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:25 PM   #36
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Excellent response YCI. I have a hard time understanding people grouping all dealers or repair places into the same pot. There are bad apples in every barrel & it is very unfair to ridicule the majority of dealers or service shops. JMHO.

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Old 12-14-2011, 08:38 PM   #37
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This problem is not limited to RV service centers. In any service business there are good guys and bad guys.

It has taken me 7 years to find the right plumber, carpenter, concrete man, electrician, etc... that I trust to do good work and charge me a fair price. I don't make most quote hard dollar just ask them to be fair. My concrete guy just finished the pad for the new garage, his final bill is $3,000.00 under initial estimate. SO there are good service providers.

Fortunately it only took 1 year to find my RV service center. Went through 2 bad ones the 3rd was great.

I now have a leak somewhere on the front curbside corner. I will let them do it as I don't have the time to remove the cabinets, etc... and dig around and find it. Thankfully I know I can trust them to treat me fair on a T&M job like this.

I know it's expensive bouncing from one shop to another to find a place you trust. Ask friends in the area who they use and why. THe why is important, lots of people will use anyone and swear they are getting a great deal because they don't now any better.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:31 PM   #38
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The comments and concerns in this thread worry me a bit. A single older female walking into any repair/service shop is automatically seen as stupid and in the DC metro area you are also an open wallet or blank check. I have checked the reputations of a few RV dealers (the ones relatively nearby) on the BBB website and the ratings do vary widely as noted previously by others personal experience.

I'm not afraid to pick up a wrench (heck, I kept my first husband's roll-cart and lots of handy tools) or screwdriver to fix small things on the car (though I can capably rebuild a motor if I chose) or whatever is falling apart on the house. There is only one of me--the cats only supervise--so my time must be spent wisely (not to mention 12-13 hours away for work).

All these real world experiences listed tells me that perhaps I need to wait to purchase or perhaps only rent until I have the time to fiddle around with whatever is breaking (something is always going to just like a house). Too bad, I really need some fun in my life. Oh well, I can still go hiking.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:30 AM   #39
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I have to ask, of all who have made statements about prices too high....did you ask for a quote up front or just tell them do it, only to find out the price was out of line after the fact?

an oil change or trans service or gen service is pretty much cast in stone...those repairs can be quoted to the penny prior to a wrench being lifted.

Also....as if this is anyones' business...Does your job over pay you for your work? or did the job you retired from overpay you?

Not trying to start probs..just curious if overpaid folks think it is wrong if they feel they overpay

I thank my dad daily...for his lessons taught with tools and mechanical things...I love using my tools vs my checkbook

Sandy, there are many many good repair facilities in the country. You just have to use good thinking when dealing with them. Do not assume anything..ask questions, so many bad feelings that can evolve with a repair shop could simply be avoided with a few simple up front questions. So many times(I'm doing it now myself with age) we think what it used to cost and remember that #. We do not even realize the cost may have risen through the years. Perfect example....I remember oil being around 99 cents a qt for many years...I'd buy it and not pay any attention to the cost....then 1 day I look and see it is over $4.00 a qt..I about dropped my teeth...
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:44 AM   #40
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Quote: "What service people need to learn is that we don't "fix" things. We "fix People". Take the time to explain what you did and why. Don't be embarrased to charge a decent price. Be prepared to offer the customer a reduction if needed even if you are right. All of my employees have the authority to "do whatever it takes". In a medium sized town (used to be small", your reputation is everything.

Quality service and service centers are costly to run. I have technicians making over 80G a year plus benefits. Those techs have many many years of experience and our total service center has a couple hundred years of experience.

Remember, time is money. If the service manager had to search for the parts and spend time that would be labor too.
So remember how much time you spent, and how much it would cost to pay someone $120 an hour or more to do the work for you."


Good comments here. You would not believe the # of customers that want to pay little to nothing for repairs. Most of them are that way because they don't have any $$$. Some because they are just the
"I, Me Mine" people, and to heck with everybody else.

One week I kept track of all the "Freebies" we gave away. The ones I could have or should have charged for, but did for "customer relations".
It was equal to 1/2 weeks work for one technician's pay. That's about $900. So in 5 days, we gave away $800 to various customers that other shops (mostly the chains) would have charged for.

I grew up in this town. It has grown alot. I know who will treat you fair, and do a good job that they will stand behind. Those are the fellows I refer people too. There are now TOO MANY shops that will steal your $$$ as fast as they can. Why??? Because they can.

Why can they?? Because the customers that get ripped off are too lazy to call the BAR office and complain. So....nothing changes.

The law states that you must have the customer's OK before doing the repair. So....that customer knew ahead what the repair was gonna cost.

The customer is NOT responsible for any $$$ over that APPROVED amount, period. So...as a customer, it is up to YOU to pay attention to what is going on with your vehicle when in the shop.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:35 PM   #41
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Just to answer a couple of the questions "YC1" ask.

Question: How many hours did you spend looking for the repair kit?
Answer: No hours, but about 10 minutes to go to the "Power Gear" Web Site and download the information


Question: How long does it take to remove the jack and do you have the ability to do it?
Answer: It took 1 hour to remove the Jack, but it could have been done quicker if parked over the repair pit at the RV Shop, rather then jacking up and blocking the MY and laying on the floor.
Could I do it? Yes in my younger years, today, yes in that shop environment, but not laying on a floor and I no longer have the tools that were required.

Question/Comment: Second guessing a good service facility like this is a bit unfair if you are not in the service business.
Answer/Response: How can you with no knowledge state that they are a "Good Service Facility? I happen to be retired from a "Service Business" with over 40 year of experience Writing Work Orders, Estimating and Supervising the repair projects, may of which cost more then 10 of your Motorhomes combined. The last ten years I worked I wrote specification for the repair of machinery, equipment and structure of US Navy Ships, so I think I have a bit of experience in the Service Field and have seen many types of price gouging.

You will notice I never gave the name of the RV Shop, I only questioned how many RV Repair Facilities are overcharging customers, and from the responses, quite a few are. But like several have stated, there are good and bad in every group regardless of what the group is about, it just seems the bad far out weight the good in this area.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:13 PM   #42
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I would like to think the good out number the bad. Just seems like we tend to remember the bad.
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