Has a dealer refused to service your RV because you bought it elsewhere?

Let’s say you bought your RV from a dealer 200 miles away from where you live. Your local dealer either didn’t offer the particular model you wanted or didn’t have it in stock, or the out-of-town dealer would sell it to you for $5,000 less?

The rub comes later when you then call your local dealer to have the RV serviced and are told “You didn’t buy from us so we won’t service it.”

Yes, it happens. At RVtravel.com we get frequent letters from RVers angered by this practice.

Has this happened to you? That’s today’s question.

The poll may take a moment to load, so stand by.


41 Thoughts to “Has a dealer refused to service your RV because you bought it elsewhere?”

  1. Shirley C

    No we were never refused service by a local dealer because we had bought our RV out of State but a sign in the service area states they do service RV’s purchased there first.

  2. Barbara O’Brien

    Well, I guess we must be very fortunate! We bought our Open Range from Robert Crist in Mesa. We are in Arizona for winter so we do our yearly ‘Warrenty Forever’ service with them. We have had some issues while we were on the road during our summer travel. Every time we needed service we located a local dealer through the Highland Ridge site. We found ones in Washington, Illinois and Iowa. They all got us in and serviced us within a few days. Hats off to Blade RV in Mt. Vernon, WA; Ketelson RV in Hiawatha, IA and Terry Frazer’s RV in Davenport for excellent service!

  3. Sheryl L Hudgins

    We purchased our first RV locally, it was new and had several issues. Each time it went in for the work they kept our rig for weeks and weeks. Saying it was a delay in getting the parts. That was our service experience from a dealer we did not buy our next rv from.

  4. Russ M

    we bought a pull behind travel trailer to move to another state to live. ( the dealer was fully aware we were moving a large distance…) on the way home after purchausing this new unit we found it was tugging along behind us not just pulling jerks or tugs. When we finally arrived home I climb underneath to find the electric brakes wire rubbing and shorting out our brake system.
    It took over 9calls over week to finally get the dealer to send some mechanic to fix it in our driveway, ( we were informed by our state patrol friend if we pulled it back to the dealer we be cited for being unsafe and not road worthy)
    The condition could cause serious injury or death to us or others on the road. The mechanic that came out only put a bandaid on it ( this is what he called his work he did on it )and told us to take it back to the dealer. We did and only to find out they never resolved the issue they had it for week and after 0ver 3000 miles later we found out from another dealer that no other work was done on the brakes.. Image 3000 miles we could have been in severe incident, and for that dealer that discovered that it wasn’t done we kinda used the leverage of saying we pull lt out to the nearest state patrol office and leave it there and have it impounded for it not road worthy vechile and they refused to service it. I learn when I graduated from college automotive technology that we are responsible if someone takes a vechile back if we have the knowledge that it not safe. That be said they completed the work properly with our oversight and took care of our other warranty issues.

  5. Bud

    I had work done at Lazy Days in Tampa when work was completed I asked if they would check the air. Because I didn’t purchase it there they said it would be ($65.00). No charge if I purchased it there

  6. Joseph Weinstein

    When we were shopping for a Travel Trailer one of the first things I investigated was the reputation of the dealer in regard to service. When we went out shopping we looked at the physical service bays at the dealerships. We ended up purchasing at a dealer that has 28 service bays and a policy of servicing their customers first. This is not the dealership closest to us. While I support the “customer first” policy I would hope that manufacturers would at least encourage dealers to help out vehicles that are on the “road.”

  7. Craig

    Yes, my local Rockwood dealer (Boise, ID) effectively limited my warranty work by indicating their schedule was booked out 60 or more days. Took it to Wilson’s RV repair and they worked with my original purchase dealer, RV Wholesalers to process the warranty claim.

  8. Don Davis

    Aloha RV in Albuquerque would not do warranty work on my Montana 5th wheel because I didn’t buy from them. They were the Montana dealer in town but they had the previous years model that was missing up upgrades I desired in the updated model. Took it to camping World & they did the warranty work. Will never purchase anything from Aloha RV.

  9. Don Eby

    Yes. Two of the Fort Myers dealers refused to provide service because I hadn’t bought from them. The others said they were booked for the next three months and by that time we’d be gone.

  10. Charlie

    I wasn’t refused outright but I I did experience a situation where the closest dealer would try to look at my RV is three weeks or so if I left it there. Since I’m full time that wasn’t an option and he refused to set up an appointment to enable me to bring the trailer in on a specific day even three weeks into the future.

  11. Bob Bevard

    Yes, many dealers advised no if not purchased from them. We live on MD eastern shore , purchased the Keystone Montana in GA as no local dealer had the model we wanted. We were assured authorized Keystone dealers would provide warranty service and maintenance. Hard to find in practice. Standard reply was we’re too busy to service our own customers. One dealer even said they aren’t a Keystone franchise so Keystone can’t tell them who can come to them, they told us not to come on their lot. Keystone said loyal customer service is understandable. We finally found a dealer hours away but hope this works out.

  12. Nanci

    We bought a brand new Tiffin motorhome in California and returned to the Phoenix area for the remainder of our snow bird winter. As with all new motorhomes there were a number of things to adjust or fix. I called LaMesa RV in Phoenix in November and when they realized we did not buy it from them they said they were booked out until March. I told them OK, please make an appointment in March. She replied that she didn’t have any scheduling calendars for the next year. So how were they booked out until March? The dealer in California did get us in for one of the major repairs (new air conditioner) but it was an 800 mile round trip to take it back there.

  13. Walt M

    If you didn’t buy it from me, don’t bring it to me to fix the problem. Warranty or out of pocket makes no difference.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Walt, are you a dealer? If so, please identify the name of your business so our readers can know your policy.

  14. Paul

    I haven’t been refused service but was told it would be three months before they could work on my motorhome then I told them I had purchased from them and they said I could get it in next week.

  15. Jay French

    Once again I want to say Thank You to Chuck for this extremely informative blog.
    Prior to retirement, I had decided to spend upwards $300k on a gorgeous RV & live beach to beach with mountain excursions.
    Discovered the folly of this desire & the reasons why.
    1st was the inability to find available space without months of pre-planning reservations.
    2nd was the extremely poor quality control of most RV manufacturers.
    3rd is the long waiting times, failures to honor warranties & excessive costs of repairs.
    Sooooo— what I did instead was buy a cute 1900 sq/ft home in a Retirement Country Club on a Golf Course in Florida 30 minutes from a beach & a 32 foot Jayco bumper pull trailer spending close to the same amount of money, paid cash.
    Hate that I could not live out my retirement dream but Love the Retirement Village, vastly enjoy camping a week or more at a time in the Jayco & still grow a garden at the main house in Louisiana spending time at all 3 never bored.

  16. Bill

    Answered no, but I avoid RV dealers because most are scheduling too far out. If I can’t fix myself, I go to a truck service place where they understand the value of time, or back to Newmar where they fix things at the time scheduled..

  17. Rick Stephenson

    Years ago I had a situation where I needed a major repair done. The dealership where I purchased my RV went out of business. I call the closest dealer that serviced my brand of RV. They refused to service it even though it was out of warranty and this would be out of pocket for me. I called the manufacturer, explained the situation and they said “Sorry, but there was nothing they could do”. I called the dealer back and pleaded my case. They were “kind” enough to schedule me in 45 days out because they were “busy with customers that had purchased from them”. I guess they were punishing me for not buying from them. Nice business model.

  18. John B.

    Bought our Tiffin RED at Hershey RV show in central PA. Dealer was from Buffalo NY. We live in Morristown, NJ.

    Scheduled an appointment for warranty work Witherow the ONLY Tiffin dealer in NJ; waited 60 days for the appointment; drove 2 1/2 hours to dealer (Scott Motorcoach) and were told, you didn’t buy here, we cannot/will not provide warranty work. I asked to speak to owner of dealership; service manager agreed to address “ five” items! Take it or leave it!

    We’d bought our prior coach from SCOTT.

    Will I ever go back to Scott? You guess.!!

  19. Bruce

    The dealer we bought our new class C refused to do any work on the Ford E450 chassis! They said the closest place to have any work done was over 50 miles away…I wish I knew that before I bought it!

    1. Dave Jones

      I have had a similar problem with the Ford E-450. Only one Ford dealer in my area will work on it, and it is a small dealership in a neighboring small town.

  20. Spanky Goodin

    We bought our first RV in Ohio instead of Ontario when our dollar was at par with the U.S. dollar and saved over $18,000. Our nearest dealer refused to service it, and when we traded up to a Newmar Mountainaire, that dealer, who is a Newmar dealer, didn’t get our business . What goes around, comes around.

  21. Gary R

    We drove from MA to VA to buy our RV because we saved a bundle doing so. WE were told not to worry about service because the dealer is a member of the Rt. 66 RV network. Their slogan is “RV Dealers You Can Count On… Coast-to-Coast”.

    We tried calling some of these dealers that are in our area, just as a test, to see if the slogan is for real. They all told us that we would have to wait for service, or that they would not take us at all because we didn’t buy it from them. Good thing I can do 99% of the repairs that might come up. And for the 1% left, we have a nice little independent shop nearby that doesn’t keep us waiting.

  22. rob

    We have a class A that we purchased used from first owner. I called Ford before buying and was told any Ford service center could work on it. On a trip in New England had a rear end problem but could not get a Ford service center to even look at it. Found a independent truck repair shop to fix us up. So much for any service center will work on it.

  23. E

    Who uses a dealer, I do it myself. Refuse to be raked over the coals for shoddy work and long delays. Besides, my 1984 Shasta and 1995 Gulf Stream are just out of warranty.

  24. R. Abbott

    The problem goes back to the manufacturer not promptly furnishing parts and a fair labor re-imbursement to the dealers for warranty repairs. There is no excuse for refusing to do regular repairs the customer is willing to pay for.

  25. Kimalee Prewitt

    We purchased our 5th wheel at Camping World in Nashville when we were on our way to visit family. We had major issues with our other R.V. and had no choice. The people there were very helpful and assisted us above and beyond during a difficult time during our trip. Now 8 months later when we are back in Texas one of the sides malfunctioned and the Camping World closest to us told us that they couldn’t work on our 5th wheel because they don’t sell our particular model. A couple of other RV dealers told us it would be 4-6 months before they could get us in to their shop. We found a shop that is certified to work on our 5th wheel and have waited 3 months for the parts to arrive. Thank goodness we found a wonderful RV park at a reasonable price to stay at until parts arrive.

  26. Shannon

    We have a good relationship with our local dealer and service department but several failures have occurred on the road far from home. If you explain that you’re just traveling through many dealers will accommodate you. I do wish the dealer service/repair network was as effective as it is for cars and trucks.

  27. Deborah Mason

    We’ve been lucky. There were a couple of recalls. We bought in Indiana while living in Colorado. Recall work was done by a dealer in Montana where we live now.

  28. Chuck

    I had to vote no. The question you might want to ask is did you get good service? My experience was dismal that they were busy so a date was weeks out “ok” but at that date they had not even looked at it so two weeks later we had it back. I did have them change a access door to a custom in the last week of the service. And that was done quickly for a fee.
    Also whenever I called for the appointment and drop off the rig. There FIRST question was “did you buy it here” Finally I said that they did not have this model whenever I had money in my pocket!

  29. Bob Jamieson

    One dealer flatly refused & other dealer would put me in after “his” customers were looked after, perhaps in a couple of months! Forest River couldn’t or wouldn’t force the issue. Customer service? Looking out for your next sale?

  30. Tommy Molnar

    We bought our latest trailer in Salt Lake City, and we live in northern Nevada. Kinda hard to go back there, especially when THAT dealer is now gone . . .

    Our local dealers will fix stuff no questions asked.

  31. Roland

    Dealers would be fools not to service an auto or RV, since nearly all service centers are profit centers for a dealer.

    1. Alan Ford

      An old friend of mine owned a very successful Buick/GMC dealership for many years. He said that after he sold it, his biggest relief was not having to deal with the service aspect of a dealership. Manufacturers reimburse a dealer a percentage of the cost of warranty work. Findiing techs that are good enough and willing to work enough was a recurring nightmare. Selling ‘em was easy.

  32. Wendell

    Yes. Town and Country in Clyde, Ohio will not service an RV if not bought there.

  33. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    Never purchased a brand new RV and never will. If I can’t fix it myself I locate the “best” place to have it fixed and get back on my way. I stay away from ALL Camping Worlds for anything as they are the worst!

  34. Jann

    When we owned a HitchHiker Fifth Wheel, we went to the manufacturer for repairs or upgrades at NuWa in Chanute, Kansas. When owned a Navion Class C and then a Forza Class A, went to Winnebago in Forest City, Iowa for repairs. Then an Allego Red, went to Tiffin Motorhomes in Red Bay, Alabama. Last place we would go for repairs would be a dealer as they are notorious for keeping rv’s 6-8 weeks and still not repaired correctly.

  35. Matt

    No that’s because I fix and surface myself. I like it fixed right not cobbled.

  36. Alaska Traveler

    Hubby is a “Master” RV Tech so he does all the repairs. We had tons of warrenty work. Grand Design sent the parts and he did the work. A couple of items were done at the factory. At the end of the warrenty we identified 2 more items but was politely pushed off on a dealer 450 miles away. We couldn’t agree on a date and will find someone closer and pay ourselves. Feel bad for all the folks that lose time with their RV constanly at the dealer.

  37. Vicki

    No, but they said it would be a long time before they could get to it because we hadn’t purchased it there.

  38. Bill T

    No but some have charged me extra to be “put in their system”. What a pile of crap. An authorized dealer is an authorized dealer regardless of where you bought your rig.

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