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Old 02-18-2016, 06:47 AM   #1
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Dealer Issue

I have a general question I'd like opinions on please. I purchased a new Diesel Pusher last fall and have taken a few small trips. Less that 600 miles. I took the coach to the purchasing dealer for some warranty work before our first "big trip". Repairs went fine and no payment was required. When the wife and I went to pick up the coach we found it plugged up with the heat off. Everything was froze like a brick, even the water in the commodes. The dealer was aware that the unit was not winterized and needed the heat on. Here is my problem, they claim that since they had to send it to Freightliner for a steering alignment, it's thier problem and I would have to seek payment for damages from them. That in the meantime I'd have to pay for the repairs, which today are a little over $2000, and then get the monies owed from Freightliner.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? I really feel that they are responsible and had total "Care and Custody" of the unit. I mean, even after they brought the unit back from Freightliner the dealer did not even turn the heat on, just plugged it up. For a unit with less than 3000 miles on it I feel a little unloved here.

Any ideas or comments are appreciated and welcome.


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Old 02-18-2016, 07:45 AM   #2
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Hi. Sorry to read of your issue. No disrespect intended, but if it were me in your situation, I would have either winterized before taking it in or made darn sure it was addressed instead of assuming and hoping someone else did. No one will look out for your coach more than you.

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Old 02-18-2016, 08:10 AM   #3
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It is a good idea to winterize yourself or pay the dealer to do it.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:25 AM   #4
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It does not do one bit of good to admonish the OP for not winterizing. He may have had a trip planned right after the work was done.
Far as the freeze up, was the coach at the dealer when you found it frozen? Can the dealer prove that it happened at Freightliner? Is it possible for you to file an insurance claim and let the insurance company seek monies from the dealership?
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:48 AM   #5
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This is NOT the OP's fault... Clearly he made the dealer aware the unit needed to be kept warm due to not being winterized.. for whatever his reason for not winterizing, he is perfectly within his rights..

Personally... I think I'd be going directly after the dealer... it's BS they are passing the blame down the road... I would "discuss" this with your insurance company.. only because they have a powerful litigation team on your side.. they won't/don't want to pay that claim anymore than you... I only hesitate to recommend this course of action because I don't how a claim like this would impact your rates.. Maybe if you have a good relationship with your agent, you could solicit his advice first..

An additional recourse might be your states Attorney General's office.. you didn't say where this is happening... I would think if you could fill in the blanks a little more.. someone may have state specific advice they can give you..

Some info to help others help you would be the following

State this is happening
Year, Make and Model of the RV
Dealership name if you want to tell us

You have a very large throbbing brain waiting to help you here on IRV2.. we hope you have an amendable outcome !!

Edit note: Couple Questions:
  • Is there a note on the original RO (repair order) with the RV dealership explaining the need to keep the unit's heat on ?
  • If the answer is yes - I would ask the Freightliner dealership to provide a copy of their RO to see if the RV dealership told them about the special request.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:49 AM   #6
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As for winterizing, why? I keep it in our heated garage when we are not out on a short trip. And we were leaving for a cross country trip as soon as the initial repairs were made.

It had been made clear to the dealer that the unit needed power for the heat.

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Old 02-18-2016, 08:55 AM   #7
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Thanks. I am trying to keep everything amicable right now with the dealership to work this out. If it does not work out to my satisfaction, then I will have to go the legal route. My insurance guy is a close family friend and he is willing to take this on. Does not mean he wants to though as he has stated it is a difficult situation what with everyone pointing fingers. I'm trying to not give specific details yet, till things go bad, so it's easier to say that I'm a volunteer that purchased the unit brand new last year. The model is a Itasca Ellipse Ultra, our dream unit.

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Old 02-18-2016, 08:58 AM   #8
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Edit note to my previous post: Couple Questions:
  • Is there a note on the original RO (repair order) with the RV dealership explaining the need to keep the unit's heat on ?
  • If the answer is yes - I would ask the Freightliner dealership to provide a copy of their RO to see if the RV dealership told them about the special request.
Eric & Denise
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:08 AM   #9
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I think you have a few ways to go and may have already done so. First, you need to explain to the dealer that you brought the coach in and made them aware that the coach needed to be heated. An alignment only takes about 30 minutes, so it sounds like THEY left it at Freightliner for a day or so. I would impress on the dealer that you're holding them responsible.

If no help from the dealer, I would call Winnebago and explain the situation and how your coach was cared for by one of their dealers and you're expecting the repairs to be covered.

Next step is to turn it into your insurance and let them pursue the dealer which I doubt they will do since the cost will be pretty small after you pay your deductible.

The next step would be to take the dealer to small claims to cover your deductible or if you don't turn it in to the insurance, pay for the full amount of the repair.

Lastly, you can send your complaint to Motor Home magazine hot line. Often they will send a letter to the dealer and ask what's going on. This often spurs the dealer to do the right thing. Several of these resolutions will probably require you to pay out of pocket and try to recoup your losses later.

I hate taking my RV to any shop. No matter how many times you explain something to them, it goes in one ear and out the other.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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I just want to say that must be a difficult situation and I hope it's resolved properly quickly.
A heated garage, that's just cool!
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:48 AM   #11
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Already stated a few times...

First step is to confirm agreement that unit needed to be plugged in and heater operating as condition of the FIRST SERVICING PARTY.

Confirm this by reviewing the service order which should have been noted, lesson to all here is if and when any special needs are required for any reason ALWAYS ASSUME SPECIAL AND NOT USUAL get them written in the work order and be certian what is written is in plain easy to understand by a stranger language AT THE TOP.


That is just an example.

If nothing on the work order then get the service writer to make a note on something for you to take back to your insurance as yiu need documented evidence that it was understood as condition of you leaving it there.

It is out of your control the second you hand them the keys and as such they are 100% in control and responsible.

If they subcontract work they are responsible for insuring special instructions agreed upon as condition of service are honored.

So a call to the subcontractor to confirm if special instructions were placed on their work order is next.

If they were not made aware that they needed to do anything special then they are off the hook.

Here is the most important point specific HERE....

You found it at the dealer plugged in and heater OFF.

So for all points of argument the sub could have had it plugged in and all would have been fine as the dealer failed to turn the heater on when the sub returned it.

Does not matter a bit what anyone did or did not do along the trail...The primary responsible party was in control of the unit when yiu discovered they failed so this seems to be 100% their fault.

Go back to them and remind them that by them not turning on the heater they failed and the unit would have been damaged under their responsibility regardless of the sub so they should step up and get it done or better have factory do it
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:10 AM   #12
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I didn't know dealers plug and unplug units. Must be a full time job in the winter.
Apparently Freightliner didn't get the memo.

Good luck to the OP.
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Old 02-19-2016, 06:05 PM   #13
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99% of dealers do not accomodate units that are not winterized. Its a good bet that your paperwork states just that. Take a look at it. Most will say something to the effect that they are not responsible for non winterized units or food left in refrigerators and that holding tanks must be dumped before leaving unit with dealership. Unless you put your wishes into writting on the service order, my bet is your out of luck.
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:09 AM   #14
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The "care & custody" thing is a fact, but this is a real gray area. The rig was left with them in an unwinterized condition, and it's not 100% clear they would be responsible for correcting that problem once the coach left your heated garage. However, you say it was "made clear" that power or heat was required (hope that is in writing somewhere!). If that's the case, then they accepted it n that basis and assumed responsibility. If they don't buy that explanation, then you are probably stuck with the small claims court alternative.

I don't think you have any claim against the Freightliner shop - you are not their customer. The RV dealer subcontracted to them, and they are responsible only for what they agreed to do per the work order from the RV dealer.

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