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Old 09-06-2014, 11:59 PM   #1
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Buying a Solero from RVDirect vs. from your local RV dealership

I'm researching into possibly buying a new, 2015 Solero 24R. I've seen very good sales prices from, probably for prices I would likely be hard pressed to get from any local RV dealer, at least not without lots of haggling, which I prefer not wasting my time doing if I can avoid it.

I do have a question as to whether I should expect to get really poor service from my local dealer if I haven't bought my Solero from him? I've always bought my cars through pre-arranged, no-bartering, set prices, and then gotten good warranty work done by any car dealership of the cars' brands, even though these dealerships knew from their computerized records that I didn't buy my cars from them. So, why should I expect to get lousy service from my local RV dealership if I don't buy from him? Well, because FR essentially tells me that I should expect it.

1) Forest River, Inc. dealers are independently owned and operated businesses so priority service and scheduling is at their discretion and is often provided to customers that purchased their unit at that dealership.

2) Purchasing locally allows customers to establish meaningful relationships with a dealer, enhancing the RV experience through assistance with product questions, user tips or RV regulations for your state or country, and much more!
My question. Has anybody purchased a FR RV from RVDirect? Have they found that they received poor treatment from their local dealers when they went in for warranty work? With my cars, I stopped returning to any dealership for work once my warranties ended. I've built up relationships that have lasted for decades with local repair shops, and that's where I go for non-warranty work on cars.

Also, how good or bad have you found the quality of material and workmanship on your Soleros to be? Would you buy one again? Would you look at some other Mercedes Benz Sprinter based RV? If so, which ones? Why? How would you rate the FR dealerships? Are they capable? Fair? Honest? Thanks for any advice you can throw my way. (I hope FR doesn't delete my post.)

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Old 09-07-2014, 02:08 AM   #2
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First off, your post won't be "deleted by FR" because this forum is in no way controlled or even associated with Forest River.

There's a search bar at the top, with "FRF" and "google" underneath it. You can click "FRF" and put in the words RV Direct warranty service and you'll get LOTS of information there.

You'll also find lots of threads here about people who bought their FR RV at a dealer much further away from where they live because of better pricing, only to discover that the dealer close to them is under NO obligation to service them at all, and if they do, they put those customers who bought from them first, meaning your unit will go to the back of the line.

Reportedly, there are exceptions, for example, if you're stranded "on the road" somewhere. In that case it is my understanding the dealer you wind up at will try to get you operational again.

There was a thread just a couple of days ago about this, and someone stated quite fairly, IMO, that they would be irritated to find out that their RV (bought locally) was pushed back in the service schedule, so the dealer they were loyal to could service an RV owner that had gone to "a lower priced dealer" out of town somewhere.

No, buying an RV is not like buying a car or truck, in many more ways than just this one.

You could also simply contact the dealer you are considering and ask them if they have a network of dealers willing to service your RV during and after the warranty period. IIRC there is one wholesale dealer that does that, but I don't know about scheduling issues.


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Old 09-07-2014, 06:25 AM   #3
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#2 Weezer's post

We live in OH so we had our choice between:
1) A couple wholesalers, including RVDirect, with bottom-dollar prices & reasonably close
2) National chains like Gen. RV & CW w/sale prices near wholesalers but 10 minutes away
3) A mom & pop shop w/high prices, but exceptional service & loyalty

We went with #2 on a big sale day so prices were closer to the wholesalers but we still have the support of a local shop combined with a national chain when we are out-of-state... Because salespeople want referrals, they will often go to bat for you when it's time to receive service. Our salesperson will keep checking-up on the maintenance staff until they get the work done so IMO we get faster service than folks who did not buy there...

Interestingly, RV Direct did not carry the PrimeTime lineup & when I asked, the salesperson LIED and said that it was due to the poor quality of the PT line. He said, "We only carry the highest quality RVs. Primetime did not meet our high standards, and so we do not carry that line." He went on to name a couple issues which where all falsehoods because the other FR products they sell have the exact same components or lesser quality components with more known issues...

I won't buy from someone who lies to me. The opposite is probably more likely. IMO PT likely has higher dealership standards since they have raised the bar with the PT lineup.
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:13 AM   #4
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We bought our unit from RV Direct. The only worry was having to pay for it before laying eyes on it but it all turned out great including the PDI. Ours is a 5er, we took close to four hours on the PDI. Delivery was 1200 miles from home. The closest FR dealer to us put us off a couple of times saying it would be several weeks before they could look at it and for us to leave it, no thanks. So far I have been able to take care of anything that came up with FR sending me directly what I needed. I talked with FR and a independent repair shop close to us and they are willing to work with each other if the need arises. 9 months into our new unit we are very happy with it and FR.
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Old 09-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #5
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We got our Solera from RVDirect, It is a little stressful waiting for it and all but we haven't had an issue with it at all. I did a lot of research into RVing before buying and I do most of the service and work on our MH myself with the help of books and manuals also youtube. We just found out that our local camping world has started to carry FR so if I have a major issue hopefully they can help out. I have gone to the local MB dealer for some service issues with the chassis and have not encountered an problems with them. As with any vehicle you purchase these days you just have to chance it. Good Luck.
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:48 AM   #6
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I'll start by saying I hate this question, because everyone seems to make it so simplistic. The internet guys are angels sent down to protect the consumer the local dealer is a high priced gangster. As with everything in life...the truth is somewhere in the middle.

1. The internet guys are just like any other dealer. They have to pay people, pay for units to have on the lot for you to look at, keeps the lights on, etc. If you come on their lot, you will see higher prices because they need to make a profit. Their internet pricing is designed just to get business from a consumer they would never see otherwise. They will never have to comp you service or items, because you will take it home and have it serviced elsewhere. They will never have to pay overnight charges to get a part to get you on the road. The local customers are paying the bills.

2. I was involved in one deal where one of their local customers came on the lot, bought a unit and was ecstatic. They went online in another zip code to show their parents what they bought and the exact same unit they bought was few thousand less from the exact same dealer. (just the difference in their lot pricing versus internet pricing). Canceled the deal because they felt the dealer lied to them.

3. In many cases this is to combat trade issues. Most customers with a trade expect top dollar for their trade and the lowest price possible on the new unit. There is a lot of risk taking in a used unit. To get the very best price on a new unit...sell the trade yourself, then you are dealing with ONE negotiated item, not two. If you don't want that hassle...then have them open up the NADA dealer book. Most dealers will give you wholesale book price minus a few percentage points for detailing. That number is dictated by what units are going for at auction. So if they can't sell it, they can wholesale it out and come out even. That price is not based on how much you loved it, or took care of it, or washed it, or got new tires. Wholesale buyers don't care. This is the price it gets at auction. Be prepared for that...or again, sell the unit yourself and get what you think is a fair price. Dealers do this so you feel good about your trade in. The last thing they want to do is insult you by offering a too low price on your beloved, well maintained trailer.

4. 99% of all dealers will service your unit, even if you did buy it elsewhere. You just may go to the back of the line. That is not poor service, that is good service for their local buyers. If you bought from a dealer you would expect no less. You want to be at the top of the service list, take it back to that deal you bought from. The only time I ever saw a dealer refuse service, was when a customer came in, gave them a price. The dealer said they would match that price plus freight cost (which the internet dealer did not have figured in). Seemed like a fair deal, they even showed them cost of freight. Customer refused, dealer felt slighted. Refused service.

5. So in the end. If you have no trade or are selling it yourself, Private Message me exactly what you are looking for, your email address, where you are located and I can have one of our factory reps see if they can help you with the local dealer. Please let me know if you have already contacted a local dealer (and who).

In 99% of cases I have dealt with, I was able to connect them with a local dealer that was able to take care of them. Even if you have a trade...if you are OK with taking wholesale book on your trade then we can still make it work. The dealer is not going to give away a brand new motorhome at a tiny margin only to take a HUGE risk with your trade in that may have unseen issues.

Consider me like, the dating site. I'll pair you up with a dealer that is most compatible. Sometimes, maybe we can't find a local dealer that wants to help, but at least you tried.

Everyone wants a dealership to make a profit on customers so they can have units on display for them to look at. They just don't want it to be them.
PLEASE do not send questions via Private Message, my inbox fills up too quickly. Post questions in the forum as a new thread so that other users can benefit from the answers. Use Private Messages for sensitive information only (VIN, Contact info or things you do not want the public to see).
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:56 AM   #7
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And no. We do not delete posts, we do not run this site. We are here as a service to our customers.
PLEASE do not send questions via Private Message, my inbox fills up too quickly. Post questions in the forum as a new thread so that other users can benefit from the answers. Use Private Messages for sensitive information only (VIN, Contact info or things you do not want the public to see).
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:06 AM   #8
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@Bclemens: Best offer I have seen on a forum to help, thumbs up to you on this.

@OP, everyone here has given you solid advice. I don't think anyone can say for sure what you will experience and a conversation with your local dealer is the only way to know for sure. My personal experience, rVision product was told to go pound sand by the local dealer when I moved to a new area, rVision could not make him service it. I had a keystone product for 3 yrs and on that forum there are post after post of the same type of service rejection or delays getting it fixed.

Price from rv direct may be good enough to take with the expectation it is where is as is unless willing to take it back.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:36 AM   #9
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Great info from factory rep on this thread...heed their recommendations!
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:22 PM   #10
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I have done business with RVDirect as they are not that far away. About 100 miles. I consider them fairly local. If the need arose and an FR dealer refused to assist me then I would just pull it back to them. It would be a pain in the butt but when is it not.

We all need to make judgments on cost vs. benefits.

I am pretty handy and hope to do the repairs myself. Not sure how FR feels about this but I hope they would stand behind the product. I do not blame FR for a broken unit supplied by a supplier like a Domestic oven. But I would hope FR would ship me another oven if I agreed to send them the old one. To me that is just good customer service. Cannot game the system if you send back the old one first. The big problem arises when you get into actual FR manufacturing mistakes. This is when the finger pointing begins. I have not had this arise and hope I never do as it would be incredibly frustrating.

Are customers even allowed to contact FR directly? Or does FR defer you to their independent dealer network? This business plan works well until the dealer tells you go jump in the lake. The FR customer is then stuck.

As was previously said, this topic comes up a lot and I feel this is just a personal answer we all must decide for ourselves. Is the $10 - $20,000 extra you pay to a local guy worth the chance of you needing warranty work? Remember the warranty is only good for 1 year. Here in New England we put a tarp over our units for 8 months out of the year. So your really talking about spending $20,000 for a 4 month window when you might need warranty work. Might be better to save $20,000 and put that towards work performed by an independent RV repair shop. These independent shops are much more agreeable to establishing a relationship with you than the dealers. They charge by the hour for work performed.

Good luck with your decision jjva.



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