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Old 08-12-2014, 12:31 PM   #1
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RV Service in Texas... and more

Ok Guys.. this is not new information for many of you, but I gotta share some really frustrating feedback about one Texas RV dealership, then some positive info on another. This is also a bit of a rant that goes well beyond Texas, so kindly skip over it if you so desire.

Disclaimer:
I did what RV dealerships must think is the ultimate sin. Yes, it's true. I bought my RV at.... <insert dramatic music here>... a different dealership! Indeed, I purchased my RV out of state, no less! Granted, it was about $75k cheaper for me to do that , but in their eyes, that is no excuse! Now... I did give my local dealership the chance to earn my business. I told him what I wanted, didn't take up any of his sales staff time, and I showed him the offer that I had from another dealership. That dealer had a new 2013 model on his lot, and my local guy only had 2014's (exact same model) at the time, and we both agreed that I found a special circumstance. So you know what I am talking about, it was a 2013 vs 2014 Fleetwood Discovery 40G. These two years are practically identical in every way. The 2014 had a slightly smaller kitchen table () and it had a TV in the overhead above driver/passenger, whereas the 2013 that I purchased did not have that TV. So these two units were practically identical except for the model year and TV, and even still, my local dealer wouldn't even come down a few hundred on the 2014 model. In my view, he didn't want my business, and at a savings of nearly 75k, it was worth it for me to purchase from the out-of-state dealer.

So now I'm trying to get some end-of-warranty work done, and you can imagine how eager they are to establish a relationship with me. Keep in mind... I'm now talking to service guys, and they have no idea about my prior conversation with sales about the original purchase. For all they know, I moved to Texas with this RV that I purchased out of state when I lived there. (Gee--aren't these things "mobile" homes anyway? I digress.)

I know.. I know... I didn't expect them to roll out the red carpet. I knew that I would get lower on their priority list for service appointments than for people who bought their RV from them. I get that. But just to be clear, I did verify that Fleetwood does pay ANY dealership for their labor associated with warranty work. So while I expected that maybe I'd get some eye rolls and late appointments, and maybe even some longer than necessary delays, I figured that eventually they'd work me in, right?

For those of you who live in Texas, take note of the following:

I contacted Holiday World in League City. They also have a Katy location, but I had such terrible service there on a previous RV that I couldn't possibly leave my new Discovery in their hands. I hadn't tried the League City location yet, and they are literally 5 minutes from my house, and they are an authorized Fleetwood dealer. I told them about my two warranty issues (Air bed leak, couch repair). They were just about to make an appointment for me, and then the dreaded question came... "Did you buy your RV from us?" When I told him that I didn't, he put me on hold for a couple of minutes to talk to his manager, and then said they won't work on my coach because I didn't buy it from them. Plain and simple. No illusion here. I politely requested that he reconsider, and told him that he'd be earning my paid service too, like oil changes or out of warranty repairs, but he wouldn't budge.

I didn't get a low priority service from Holiday World: I got a flat-out NO. They would not make an appointment whatsoever. No negotiations.

So I'm on record here to recommend that any current or future RV owners who live in Texas avoid Holiday World like the plague. If you have been using them and are happy with them, then I am very happy (and a bit surprised) for you. Given how they treated me today and my earlier terrible service from their Katy location, I provide my strongest negative review of this dealership possible.

Now the good news!
I have had a very positive experience with Ancira RV located in Alverado, TX. They did some fantastic body work for me after my first outing with the D, when a fire ring jumped up at me in the dark and did some body damage . I didn't call them initially for my current warranty work because they are a 5h drive from home, but given the above experience, I called them. They were happy to accept my business. They provided a reasonable drop off date of August 26th, and were up front with explaining that their "drop off" date is just that--a drop off. They will start work as soon as possible, but sometimes a prior job takes longer than they anticipated, so the RV may sit around for a few days or even a week or more before they can start work. I get that too--it must be very difficult to estimate work-time for problems they haven't seen yet. So here is a dealership that understands that by establishing a reasonable relationship with servicing customers, they earn future business--both for paid service appointments, and also for potential future purchases.

So again I'm on record to highly recommend that any current or future RV owners who live in Texas consider making your next purchase or service appointment with Ancira RV in Alverado. Their body work is top-notch too, in my experience. They have an after-hour drop off that has a 24h guard on the premises too.

BTW...With regards to Fleetwood... I called Fleetwood and let them know about Holiday World's policy, and they were not surprised. I asked Fleetwood if they reimburse dealers for warranty service, and I was assured that they do. They admitted that they don't like this situation, said that it's common in the industry, and said they could do nothing about it. Of course they can! They can make that a condition of their franchise agreement! BAM! Problem solved.

The general practice of refusing to service or even low priority service for RV owners by a non-selling dealership is a sin. This is particularly true given the nature of a MOBILE home. Some people live in these rigs full-time and drive them all over the place. At some point, they are going to require service, whether under warranty or not. I know that it is common among most if not all brands, but I put this squarely the result of manufacturers who are too timid to put themselves on a higher plain. If manufacturers make it a condition of their franchise agreements that their dealers perform service for any and all owners, sure, some dealers would say no thanks and pursue another franchise. But I believe that there are dealers would step up to the plate and accept that kind of contract (Like Ancira RV, who already does this anyway). These would be higher quality dealers too, and that would benefit the manufacturer and RV owners. All it would take is one or two big brands, like Fleetwood, to start something like this and once the word got out, customers would appreciate it and brand reputation and loyalty would improve. After a short while, other brands would have to follow suite or jeopardize their own reputation, and before you know it we'd all enjoy service conditions similar to Ford, Toyota, Honda, Chevy, and every other auto manufacturer!

ok.. stepping down off my soap box now...

Rob
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:50 PM   #2
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I purchased new 5'er from Holiday World a few years ago. After closing I was told okay there it is have fun. I said I've never hooked up a 5'er and was told we can not help you. Well I did get that done on my own. Then came the time to bring it back for warranty repairs. Told me it would be ready within a week and it took five weeks. Pick it up and head to campground and find they repaired nothing!! Took it back for another 4 weeks and same result.

Few years later we are in 2014 and they are a Newmar dealer so I go to them to do my test drives and inspections of vehicles. After I choose which Newmar I wanted, I started shopping other dealers. Never gave Holiday World a chance to sell me a coach. I sure enjoyed test driving their Newmars. I can play their game. Not a chance in ---- that I would try to take my coach to them for anything. Do not trust them and never will.
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Old 08-12-2014, 01:17 PM   #3
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You can submit reviews about HW which would warn others about your experience. Should probably think about doing that, because as of right now the reviews look pretty good.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:54 PM   #4
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osok--very sorry to hear this.. but I admit to chuckling a bit at how you bought your Newmar (awesome coach, btw).

Fred--where did you think I should report this? That's my goal--to spread the word.
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:02 PM   #5
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Holiday World Katy has avg. good rating on RV Service Reviews They have two postings of excellent and two postings of poor. I added my very late rating of poor so now have to wait and see if it is applied to their rating. I think it takes a few days for ratings to appear.

Their past treatment of me on newly purchased from them 5'er, cost them a sale on Class A several years later.
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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A car dealership owner friend of mine once said, the salesman sells a customer the first car, the service department sells them the next ones


Joe 1998 Itasca Sunflyer Ford 460
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annierufus View Post
A car dealership owner friend of mine once said, the salesman sells a customer the first car, the service department sells them the next ones


Joe 1998 Itasca Sunflyer Ford 460
Boy, if that ain't the truth!! It's as if the RV industry hasn't figured it out, yet when we purchased our first RV, the sales guy we worked with told us that the average buyer upgraded within 3-5 years, so I know that HE know's this! (He was already planting the seed for our next purchase. We would have purchased from him too, if he had the coach we wanted.)
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:53 PM   #8
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I had the same type of situation in Louisville, KY when I had a slide out stuck in the out position. The dealer next door to the KOA was a Newmar service provider, but absolutely refused to provide any type of assistance because I had not purchased from them. Fortunately, I was able to get the slide in a position where I would be able to travel, but am deeply concerned about future travels with iffy service capabilities at best. What is a person supposed to do while a thousand miles away from home and problems arise? Beginning to question my decision to purchase a class A.... :-(
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:24 AM   #9
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I bought my 2014 from HW in Katy - they did give the best price of my MH in a 150 mile radius of where I live(90 miles east of Houston). I did have some warranty work required and some self inflicted work right after I purchased. I made an appointment there(even though I would have a 200 mile round trip). It was 3 weeks from the date I called - seriously backlogged. They did the initial work in 4 days. For other reasons I asked them to replace something I broke...that took 3+ weeks - some order time plus the backlog I am sure. Bottom like I haven't been back for 2 reasons; distance between me and my home as well as I don't like having to wait so long just for an appointment.

I have since gone back to using TT/FW dealership 15 minutes north of here. They stay busy but always seem to work my coach in, usually can drop off immediately and usually complete in a week or so - I do plan accordingly around my travel needs/wants. However, none of my new work was warranty related.

Interesting though - I would kind of understand if a dealership doesn't sell your brand but not if they do. I would think they would be required to. I would call up your Fleetwood rep - if you haven't already - haven't read all of the responses above. You would at least be sharing your experience with your brand and issues you have had with dealers that sell them. I know I wouldn't want to hear that if I were a rep.

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Old 08-17-2014, 08:14 AM   #10
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RV Service in Texas... and more

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmalberto View Post
Interesting though - I would kind of understand if a dealership doesn't sell your brand but not if they do. I would think they would be required to. I would call up your Fleetwood rep - if you haven't already - haven't read all of the responses above. You would at least be sharing your experience with your brand and issues you have had with dealers that sell them. I know I wouldn't want to hear that if I were a rep.



Regards,

I would have thought that too. I did call Fleetwood, and they claim that there's nothing they can do about it. To which I replied...well of course you can! You could make it a part of your contract with dealers. They aren't willing. Of course, they said that their mgmt reads these concerns, so maybe something will be done in the future, however I'm not the first person to have raised the issue, so it'll likely remain the same until customers vote with their feet in huge numbers.

I plan to handle as much service as I can on my own. For larger jobs, I now have contact info for a certified mobile rv guy. If I have things he can't handle, as a last resort I will get service at a dealership.

However, my rv will rot in it's tracks before I'd take it back to Holiday World!

(Surprised to hear that you suffered with that Newmar dealer near the koa! Newmar is such a total quality brand!!)
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:32 AM   #11
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To the original poster, you are all too kind with your remarks about Holiday World in Katy. I could post my dealings with them but would prefer not to relive that. Normally, in a situation like yours, it would be a good idea to escalate it to the top man but in the case of Holiday World, dealing with the owner, Michael Peay, would only make it worse. He makes Obama look like an honest man!
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #12
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Arby. Ha! I haven't dealt with the owner, but I would suspect you are 100% correct.. You know what they say about crap flowing downhill...
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:07 PM   #13
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If you are not having warranty work done, you might want to try RV-Masters in Houston.

They are an independent shop with very good reviews. I took my coach there and was satisfied with the results. They kept me informed about progress and costs along the way. They are very pleasant to deal with. I'm going back in tomorrow for a new problem.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:28 PM   #14
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The sad fact is that many RV dealers consider service to be a necessary evil to be endured and not a profit center. Much of that comes from the number of poorly qualified RV techs and the difficulty in finding really well qualified ones. I retired from a similar kind of customer service work and know what real qualifications are and they are very broad for RVs because of the different skills needed to work on any and all problems. A good tech must be a little bit carpenter, a fair plumber, an above average electronic tech., a decent electrician, and a good mechanic and then he needs to know at least some fiberglass, aluminum and EDPM repair skills. The really good ones in all areas are very hard to find. Far too many dealers are not willing to compete in pay to get the really good ones so a few dealers have them or they start their own businesses.

If you can find one, I have found that usually the best RV shops are those which are service only and that do not sell RVs at all.
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