The readers write — Hammer-toss at poor-quality RVs

The readers write — Hammer-toss at poor-quality RVs

 

Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris

In a hilarious and sad-but-true fashion, a YouTube feature we highlighted showed just how bad things can be for folks buying new RVs. What a nerve that struck with you. Here’s just a SMALL sample of the many responses that came rushing in.

Wayne wonders, “Why is Thor still in business? Maybe they make better ones and the buyers aren’t commenting like on this blog? If there are any happy Thor owners, I’d like to hear those stories,but then I didn’t know any RV maker had a real heart once their product reaches the selling floor. Good luck buyer…”

Another Thor owner, Laurie, writes of her experiences. “Our first attempt to work with the dealer from which the RV was sold ended up in a standoff between my husband and the very belligerent manager there. So we contacted Thor, and got some other dealers we could work with. We contacted a dealer and he reluctantly agreed to take us on. (Not much money for them and LOADS of hassle!!) One trip to the dealer to take pictures and present our list of problems. Then MONTHS of waiting and calling and pestering both the dealer and Thor. Interesting that Thor has a great customer service department – they say all the right things, and haven’t been difficult to reach – but they obviously have NO power and control over getting real decisions made and getting things fixed in a timely manner. The dealer too was pleasant enough, but was understaffed and we continually went to the bottom of their priority list.”

Theresa offers a suggestion to RVers: “Social media is the answer. Years ago, our only resource was to threaten to “write the newspaper.” Now social media allows dissatisfied owners to immediately spread the word and let the whole world know what a piece of crap they’ve purchased! Good luck, Jon, with this pursuit. I think you have a just case for getting ALL of your money refunded. Keep us informed of how both Thor and CW respond after all of this exposure.”

Richard Hughes was succinct: “Typical for Camping World and most RV makers. ‘We have your money, you have your coach and warranty, both are bad, but we are going to ignore you until you go away.’”

We could relate plenty of horror stories. Here’s one from Jeff: “My wife and I purchased a 2014 Hurricane built by Thor from Camping World. Both of these decisions were probably the worst we have ever made when it comes to camping. Like you, we spent three months in Camping World’s shop in Garner, North Carolina, and the items we brought it in for were never fixed. I ended up having to fix some of them myself. The remainder required another six week trip to service and those only got fixed because my wife went in there and lost it in the service department. Long story short, the useless general manager called me a couple of weeks later after I posted a letter on their website. I guess he didn’t like my bluntness. We are now looking to trade away from poor quality Thor to something that won’t rattle apart going down the road.”

Not everyone has completely lost faith in Camping World. Andy writes, “Camping World’s CEO Marcus Lemonis either has his head buried in the sand or his people are keeping the many customer complaints from him. I think he is a very competent and honest person, and he needs to step up. CW is in desperate need of a complete company wide customer care revamp. Let’s see if he can ‘turn around’ his own company as he does with the ones on THE PROFIT!”

Observes Mike, “Latest figures indicate that 80% of the RV industry is owned by three corporations. Their only purpose is to answer to their shareholders, not the consumer. As such, it’s ‘caveat emptor.’ Better off to buy from a company which isn’t publicly traded and who are known for their quality.”

Here’s a suggestion Bill makes when it’s time to shop for a new RV: “I went with a used 2006 Four Winds with a Chevy engine from El Monte Rentals. My theory was that for insurance purposes, they have to keep things maintained and safe for rental customers so when they decide to sell them, at least most things have been fixed. Sure, we had to buy new tires and some minor details had to be fixed, most of which I was able to do. Took it to a mechanic who said it drove great and all looked good. We drove it 8,000 miles our first summer across the country with no problems…engine hardly used any oil and had a great time. We have bought used cars from car rental agencies too and they always seem to be in good shape. With people suing for almost anything, these rental companies have to be on top of maintenance or they will be out of business.”

And as to the amazing logic of some RV dealers? “American traveler” writes: “When we were shopping for our 5th wheel we tried Camping World. The models shown had numerous visual flaws. I asked the salesman if that was wise. He said they fixed that stuff if a customer bought it. I said I thought it might drive people away. It certainly did us!”

You may wonder if anything has happened for Jon Henderson, who posted (and starred in) the original video. After a week or better of the video rattling the heavens of YouTube, here’s Jon’s report: “So far we have not heard from Camping World. We actually sent it to Thor before we released it. They fixed the stairs and the rattling, calling it ‘good will’ as the warranty expired. But [they] didn’t address that the coach was in the shop during four months of the warranty period . They offered us three months of the payments we made while the coach was in the shop, but only if I signed a release saying I would not release the video or talk about Thor negatively on social media. The gentleman I spoke to was very condescending. He talked to me as if I was a child, not someone who just spent $80k on his product. Thor cares very little about their consumers.”

##RVT776

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15 thoughts on “The readers write — Hammer-toss at poor-quality RVs

  1. Dennis

    I have a 2007 Fleetwood bounder that I have had problems with, roof seam came apart and water came in to the mh. heat shield fell down front window shade fell down, and water heater stopped working and a water leak I cannot find, oh and the jacks really screwed up, I took it back to the dealer and had more problems when it came back then when I took it in. I have been able to fix most problems myself so I am lucky there. I was going to trade it off but after looking at the reviews I will keep it and be happy

  2. john Kauffman

    We bought a 2016 Jayco c motorhome model 31 DS, looks great, test drove really well.
    A recall was missing, but would be mailed.The dealer never did, not even after phone calls.
    At the first camping trip the instant water heater did not work right, the bedroom slide out trim got stuck and loose, both doors of the wardrobe needed adjustment to close, the seal on the shower door kept coming off, the passenger seat would not slide far enough back to sit comfortably, the speedometer reads miles while we bought it in Canada where everything is metric and, therefore, should read kilometers.
    The dealer did repair the shower door seals and the slide out trim but then tried to charge us $333.00 which we really determinedly refused and after 30 minutes of arguing the manager said the service mngr. had made a mistake on the order #.
    We left promising to never return there.
    We’ll try to have the water heater fixed this summer.

  3. Steve Willey

    We own a Coach House motorhome which we bought on the observation that its construction was basically a bit higher quality than Thor or Forest River experiences in our past. The factory sells direct and was willing to customize the unit we purchased for our extra solar batteries etc. But purchasing at the Florida factory and bringing it home to Idaho prevented any further work from the factory. Since this unit was new but sat on their display lot for a year before we bought, there were a few issues, like one leak under an awning mount screw, a corroded main battery on-off relay, and a slide out hudraulic hose fitting broke off. Yet none of these was costly, and I fixed all but the hydraulic hose myself. No failures of cabinetry or chassis or body. The shower, as is common in RVs, had poor temperature control and water wasting shower-head, also easy to replace. So while I know maintenance and custom improvements are a necessity every year, I feel the build quality on this and other independent factories that sell direct is a good bet.

  4. Troy

    After seeing this article I was quite worried because I am looking at buying an RV when I retire in August and going full time for a couple of years. The reason this article worried me so much is that out of everything we have looked at online (because we don’t have RV dealers in Hawaii) Thor has the best options and build quality. So, after seeing this I started researching the forums, and have discovered a few things. First off mostly the people who write posts are the ones who have problems, the ones who are good to go don’t usually post because they are out enjoying their RV. Next EVERY brands forums say their brand is the worst and don’t buy…and this is due to the first point I just listed. Then it’s really the dealerships that are the problem, so you should really research them before you decide where to buy…and consider getting maintenance at an independent non dealer business. Finally there are very detailed checklists that some people have created for PDI that you should print out and take with you before you buy.
    I’m with everyone else and don’t understand why we have to pay so much for something that is of very poor quality, but it’s economics 101 supply and Demand. Because so many are willing to pay that amount and keep buying it the dealers and manufacturers will keep charging those high amounts and pushing out product as fast as they can regardless of the quality.
    I would like to see some comments on here from some people who have had good experiences.

  5. Ron

    I bought a new Thor when my previous (new) purchase from a competitor was in the shop 310 days out of 365 and still could not fix it. I have had very few problems with this coach and most of those have been with the components they have installed from other companies.
    One comment in the article above caught my attention, “Their only purpose is to answer to the shareholders, not the consumer.” Become a shareholder, I have in both Thor and Camping World. The more owners who become shareholders the more they will have control over the problems each company may have especially if they ban together as one voting block. I know being a shareholder hasn’t hurt when I have contacted Thor. Besides the dividends and the share price increases have been nice.

    1. Ron

      To add to the above comment, we have had the RV for 2+ years and have driven over 30,000 miles as full timers. I have talked to a lot of full and part timers and it does not matter what brand they have purchased most have problems of one sort or another. Some customer service is better than others as far as dealers go. I found Thor’s service department in Indiana super……just make an appointment befor showing up.

  6. Bluebird Bob

    Sorry, I have no sympathy for people that blindly go for the bling and don’t check into the background of the company they are buying from or the product.
    We manage a large campground in Arizona and see the lack of quality that drives or gets towed into our park each day.
    We have a 32 year old Bluebird Wanderlodge that is in better shape than 90% of the rigs out there.
    Bottom line…..newer most times is not better.

    1. Roy

      To be fair. I took 6 hours to do my PDI and QA every repair and still had major issues with mine.

  7. Bob Wohlrab

    My wife and I purchased a 2015 brand new Jayco Pinnacle Fifth Wheel from Apache Village RV in St. Louis. Since we have owned our RV since March of 2015 it has spent a total of 7 months in the shop. Both air conditioners have been replaced. One replaced twice. Both Recliners still broken. Toilet that doesn’t work. Sinks leak, dealer replaced faucet and it fell off one week later. Dealer winterized RV. Still broken pipes and water filter frozen. More problems too many to name here. Found out Jayco was bought by Thor. Now I know nothing will get done. After all my visits to Apache Village RV, St. Louis. I would highly recommend you buy an RV anywhere but Apache. And since Jayco is now Thor, don’t buy Jayco. We will continue to fight our battle with Jayco/Thor. Anyone else want to join us? Power in numbers!!!

  8. George

    I bought a 2007 Keystone Everest 37 ft 5th wheel with 4 slides. I bought it in 2010 from Sirpilla RV in Akron, OH and made a special trip from Canada to pick it up. I was very disappointed they couldn’t even fix the broken fridge handle, a broken weld on the step and several other little things that would have totaled around $100.00. The frame was twisted where the wheels attach and once that was repaired at a cost of near $7,000.00 all is well. Nothing else has caused issues and overall I am quite happy with the RV and I have close to 30,000 miles on it. I would consider buying a Keystone again but would likely go used and check it out very, very carefully.

  9. Guy G.

    Extended RV warranties are a joke. Do not buy one when you purchase an RV. They designate most repairs as “adjustments”. And of course, “adjustments” are not covered under the warranty. We had these problems with the Compass Protection Plan, and one we purchased from Good Sam.

    Further, when you buy one of these plans with a new RV, it starts immediately. You are paying for this plan even though you are already under factory warranty. Don’t buy extended RV warranties!!

  10. JBS

    Not only is it Thor it’s all so Forest River. I believe they are the #1 manufacturers of American made Junk. I believe Thor took Forest River business model and took it to the next level. Both should be held to the same standards all other business are.

  11. Warren Trost

    I know the feeling. In 2007 we bought a new Damon (Demon) Tuscany from Camping World, Katy TX. After a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway it started tearing itself apart. Six trips to Freightliner both in Houston and Bryan, TX we found out it had a twisted frame. Both Freightliner and Damon pointed fingers at each other saying you should not have shipped us a twisted frame, you should not have built on a twisted frame. With us in the middle at Camping World’s lot for 3 weeks doing nothing for us we finally exchanged for a 2007 Gulf Stream. After 5 tries there to get a slide leak fixed and another 3 weeks we got a 2008 Monaco Diplomat. Left and never went back for any work.
    Nobody wants to be bothered making things right or reimburse for their screwups.

  12. J. French

    I am also scared to spend $250+ thousand on a motorhome then deal with numerous defects, huge maintanence costs & associated downtime especially when the desire to Fulltime for 15 to 20 years post retirement which is now.
    I own a 32′ Jayco & have had almost zero problems.
    My potential solution is – purchase a DRV Mobile Suites 38 or 39′ 5th wheel. Pair this with a Dodge 1 ton basic single cab truck.
    Believe I can then spend significantly less initially, massively reduce maintenance costs & enjoy the ability to separate the drive train from the home.

  13. John M

    After reading all the issues with Thor, I will not purchase one of their motor homes. I currently own a Keystone toy hauler. I purchased it in 2015, and I have had very little issues with no warranty work required.
    John M

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