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Old 03-25-2015, 03:09 PM   #1
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What is forum member experience service from non-selling dealer, but same mfr?

Wondering if others have had similar experience as we have when seeking maintenance, repair, or warranty work on their motorhomes.

When we purchased our new MH we found a floorplan, colors, etc we liked at several various owners of dealerships "in stock.".

We thought buying from one dealer in a "nationwide chain" would mean you would be considered a "customer at any dealer in that national chain.". But, this turned out not to be the case. When needing service or warranty items addressed, it became a game of finger pointing... "you didn't buy from US (that location in nat'l chain". ). This meant delays in getting an appointment time, and/or unusually long turn-around time to do the work we required.

A different mfr dealership also told us that while his service is mfr certified techs for his brand, and his svc dept has
received mfr's service awards, he would service "HIS" customers (those bought MH at his location) first. That, "if you didn't buy here, we will take care of our sales and schedule you maybe 4 weeks out in order to service our customers first." When we asked, what if your customer is 4 states, 1,000 miles away and needs repairs? He said he will be glad to tell them closest "same mfr dealership" to contact. But, we wondered: wouldn't you be "the other dealer's customer there & delays?"

Our experience seems like national chain means little, same mfr dealers means little, even if service award for service.

We have resolved to returning to factory for service and our first-hand experience receiving factory service (great people, very happy quality, timely, treatment there by friendly techs & staff), it would appear only the factory service center "cares/see you as THEIR customer regardless of which selling dealership.".

So, we are wondering what others' experience has been? If your closest & same mfr dealer was not your "selling" dealer...what do you do for repair, or service?

How many trek to the factory your MH was made for service? If so, does distance from home base to factory service center influence your brand choice?

Thanks for sharing with us.
Safe travels to all.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:19 PM   #2
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My experience has been, even though it may be a "national chain' it's most likely a franchise & they can determine their order of service.

As to a dealer, ours, from whom we purchased our Bounder, will (& has) put us first for service, even on short notice, ahead of other non-purchased from them service requests. I appreciate that & return to them for just that reason.

Unless I have a very good reason to do so, I would not haul my coach to the factory for service...mainly because my dealer is half an hour away & the factory is several hours. Distance to factory had no influence on our purchase, nor will it in the future.

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Old 03-25-2015, 03:31 PM   #3
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We purchased several National RV products because we lived 15 miles from the factory, the units never say the selling dealer.

I probably will never purchase a new unit as we no longer have a manufacturer close by.


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Old 03-25-2015, 11:02 PM   #4
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My experience has been " mixed ". When negotiating with a local dealer, after deal went south, sales manager told me not to bother bringing unit in for service - they would not have time for me ! I had issues with the full wall slide - Newmar called the dealer in Phoenix and they took us in next day to fix the problem. ( Warranty ). Also had problem with Microwave in Texas and none of the dealers there would help us out. " Too busy with regular customers "
To Newmars' credit, they approved local mobile repair service to complete the work.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:16 PM   #5
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Unlike car manufacturers MH manufacturers don't have the same "clout" with the dealers. So, if you buy somewhere else than what you find is what you get. We never had trouble with Newmar as there was no dealer within 100 miles and they would authorize a local shop. In fact Newmar paid the fuel cost to drive the rig from the west coast to Spartan, then to Newmar and back home to replace the front axle.
Now, with the Magna we're about 110 miles from CC in Junction City. Not local and no warranty anyway but still close enough to get work done. Don't like the 2 hr drive but it is what it is!
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:19 PM   #6
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When I'm at home, a use a small RV dealer that doesn't even sell motorhomes,they only sell truck campers. When on the road, I'd use a mobile RV service. For chassis related things its Freightliner or Cummins.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:38 PM   #7
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I purchased my Winnebago from LaMesa in San Diego even though I live in the Los Angeles area. When the furnace went out, I didn't want to drive all the way to San Diego. So, I contacted the local Itasca dealer in Colton (Mike Thompson's) and they got me in quick and fixed the furnace without any real concern that I had not bought the unit from them.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:57 PM   #8
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Back in 2002 we bought a Cedar Creek 5er (made by Forest River) in Atlanta, not thinking about the problem of service. There is a local dealer who sells Forest River products, but not Cedar Creek. When we had problems in warranty Cedar Creek tried to get that dealer to service it, but they refused because we did not buy from them.

Any time you plan to buy from an out-of-town dealer, you need to consider that.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:37 AM   #9
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We bought our coach in Dallas while living in VA because that is where we found what we wanted. After the first two years in VA, we were full-time for 7 years. We have had the coach serviced at Winnebago/Itasca dealers all over the country, many while we waited and/or hooked up on the service center property overnight. We have never been told "you didn't buy it here," and we have noticed zero difference in how we were treated at other dealers compared to our selling dealer. ...and I stripped the dealer decals off the coach when they started to peel in the first few years. We have had factory service only twice when we were there for the annual rally.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:23 AM   #10
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A long time ago, we purchased a Class C motor while on vacation in the 'lower 48' and drove it back home to Alaska. When the MH needed to be serviced the local dealer was a little 'shy' at first, but did do warranty repairs on it without too much hassle. Yes they put 'their' buying customers first, but still managed to get us in, in a reasonable amount of time.
Now our current Class A, has not been to a dealer here in Alaska, as I am not too sure of the level of repairs that they can/will perform. When we take trips to the 'lower 48', we schedule time for repairs to be done at a factory center.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:58 AM   #11
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My experience has been, avoid using any dealer for any repair or service work. Whether its the selling dealer or not, the majority of them are incompetent and don't have your best interest as a priority.
If the walls fell off or the roof caved in, I might take it back to the factory. Otherwise, do it yourself or hire an independent professional.
I currently have 3 RV's of different types, 2 bought new, 1 used, now aged 4 to 10 yrs, and none of the 3 have ever been back to a dealer. Not that they haven't had issues, I just prefer to fix them myself, or hire a known trusted mobile mechanic and know its done correctly, without shuffling back & forth to a dealer.

"" So, we are wondering what others' experience has been? If your closest & same mfr dealer was not your "selling" dealer...what do you do for repair, or service?

How many trek to the factory your MH was made for service? If so, does distance from home base to factory service center influence your brand choice? ""
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:53 AM   #12
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When we were looking to purchase our first motorhome we ran into a dealer that tried to use the "If you don't buy it here don't expect to get it serviced here" line as part of the sales pitch. They wanted several thousand dollars more than the next closest dealer. I responded that if they were willing to meet the lower price I would be happy to purchase it from them. The response was "That's the price you have to pay to get local service".

Needless to say we didn't buy from them. We went with the lower priced dealer. It was almost an equal distance to the selling dealer as it was to Forest City so we've always taken our motorhomes to the factory for both warranty and customer pay service.

We've always been happy with the factory service and see no reason to take it to a dealer unless it's an emergency situation. There is no waiting for parts, and far more expertise in all areas than at any dealership. The labor rates are similar to most dealerships and lower than some. They also offer a discount if you're a WIT member.
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Old 03-28-2015, 08:45 PM   #13
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So a national chain...

Likely a franchise or maybe not.

In and out burgers are company owned and headquarters has everyones name (manager trees) on a board for every store so never any issues.

For rv dealers if you drive into national chain store in state x and you bought it from national chain in state y and they give you grief then whip out your smart phone if you have one and google headquarters and call them right can get interesting.

Many manufacturers have warranty rates that may be less than desirable to the dealers so they will put their customers first as they made money on the sale then they place local non warranty next as that is "real money" and you last if the warranty rate is not good.

It would seem like the best process would be to call manufacturer and request they direct you to a warranty servicer in the area where you are.

They may have contracts with independent folks who do better work for them than the dealer.

If not they can work with the dealer to help.

This is also something that needs to be covered before signing on the dotted line.

Our old 1989 cc had pages of authorized warranty providers across the country listed in the back of one of the manuals and not many were rv dealers.
Tony & Lori
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:17 PM   #14
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I really do not plan on going home to have service work done. Currently I am 1800 miles from home and I plan on having the work done at the local dealer. There may be times when you can wait to get home before arranging to have repairs but most of those repairs will be made by me. If it is critical it cannot wait.

IMO it does not matter where you buy. If something fails you will not be close to home unless you are just weekend camping.
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