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Old 03-20-2014, 11:10 AM   #1
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Open Letter to The RV Industry

Slow morning and all the "tales of woe" regarding RV Dealers, RV Quality Control, and general state of the industry got me to thinking...

This post is prompted from the forum thread:
http://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f34/i-have-to-give-up-56040-2.html#post567380

Regarding a Lemon Rockwood 8289WKS. However, comments made by others ("All Manufacturers are like that" "had to take our unit back 6 times" and "our dealer refuses to fix X on our 2 month old RV" prompted this:


<SOAPBOX>
What REALLY Pi$$es me off about all these RV issues we hear about - and Mac you are 1 of hundreds (if not more!!) is this: Companies like Forest River contract with a independent "RV Professional" to sell their product. A product that even at the extreme low end costs the consumer several thousand dollars.

Yet, a number of these "Professionals" want to treat the RV business like the wild west days of the Auto Industry in the 60's and 70's (forgetting all the while that BECAUSE of those "wild west days" we have many many consumer protection laws and VERY litigation hungry attorneys.)

Unfortunately, from my foxhole, I see these unscrupulous RV business practices reflecting back on the manufacturer and it beats the HELL out of me WHY the Manufacturer does not police the dealerships more vigorously -- I can only surmise it is because the RV industry has been in a slump since C 2008 and the Manufacturers can't afford to be choosy.

There are exceptions out there – and some of us have documented that in our dealer reviews. My dealer is a good example of someone who knows if they take care of the customer he becomes a walking advertisement for them which is good business sense.

More importantly though it is the RV Business’s attitude: my dealer does things because – and I quote management here – “It’s the right and decent thing to do.”

I like to chide folks and say this is a “Southern thing and you wouldn’t understand” but NO that is hopefully wrong.

Forest River (and every other RV manufacturer out there) you need to WAKE UP!! The economy is on the mend, people are taking interest in RVs again (and not just us die-hard RVers.)


Let’s go back to the modern car dealer business paradigm: Our Ford dealer did everything in their power to earn our business. Don’t have what you want on the lot? No problem let me access dealer databases within 100-200 miles. No, sorry still nothing – let me make a factory order for you; once submitted it will be 4-6 weeks for delivery.
  • 1 week later we get a email from Ford: your truck is in production! Here is the VIN, go to this website to track the assembly process: XXX
  • 3 Weeks: Update email received: your truck is ready for shipment from our Kansas City plant! You can expect delivery at your Huntsville Ford dealer within a week!
  • 4 Weeks: Dealer calls. Your truck is in Mr. Williams. We are sending it out to Line-X, then over to the window tint shop, then accessories for the deer whistles, bug shield, door guards, sliding bed cover, and window vent shades.
    • (NOTE: Dealer got all accessories installed at the dealer rate which was @ 25% cheaper than if I had run around and had it done myself – dealer was up front – he makes his money in volume and does not mind passing savings off to the customer).
  • 3 Days later: Dealer Calls. Mr. Williams your truck is back from installation, we need 1 day in the shop to apply undercarriage protectant, nitrogen fill the tires, apply stain guard to the leather and carpet, and final body, paint & interior detailing. When would you like to schedule pickup?
  • 2 days later: Pickup at dealer. A tech spends over an hour going over all the operation, where things are under the hood, infotainment/navigation/sync my wife’s and my cell phones, activates the satellite radio, and then hops in the back and off we go for a 30 min test / shakedown drive. When we get back, while we go sign the final paperwork the tech took the truck to the shop, tweaked some things, spot cleaned the exterior and windows and topped off the gas tank.
As we walk out to the truck, one of the managers congratulates us on our purchase and hands us a “gift bag” – a large 24x20” insulated zipper cooler bag that includes a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, window break/seat belt cutter tool, leather folio for insurance & registration, snow brush/ice scraper, coupons for 4 free Goo-Goo car washes and a $30 gift certificate at a local BBQ (just in time for lunch it turns out!)

This, my friends is customer service!

Now, simply insert “Forest River” in place of Ford above and you will get my point…if Ford can do THIS on a $40,000.00 truck, why can’t a RV dealer do this on a $75,000 RV????
</SOAPBOX>

*Grumble* SOMEONE needs to print this out and take it to Goshen and put it in the FR CEO's hands.....
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by HSVBamaBob View Post
...*Grumble* SOMEONE needs to print this out and take it to Goshen and put it in the FR CEO's hands.....
Agree, better yet HSVBamaBob, go to the rally and hand it to him personally. He is a nice guy and would probably Thank You!
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:26 AM   #3
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agreed !!! X2
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:53 AM   #4
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I work hard for my money and I expect a quality product and service.

I had the same experience with my "local" Ford dealer when ordering my new Ford F150. Additionally, at the "local" Lincoln, Nebraska RV dealer (Leach Campers) I have purchased 3 units. I speak only to the sales staff I know and the owner. The staff listen and treat me with respect; I like the sign on the front door "Dogs Welcome!", these people know who buys RV's. We conducted a 2-4 hour walk through and system check on each unit I have purchased, received a starter package and a gift certificate for purchase in their parts department.

On one RV I purchased, I returned the unit the same day for a full refund because I found a factory defect that rendered the RV unusable, excellent customer service! (I will not name the manufacturer nor the defect because this defect may be national recall for safety which may result in death).

I previously purchased an RV at a different dealership (I will never go back). After the sale they didn't care to see me; didn't want sell me items from their showroom (I was an inconvenience). They charged me for warranty work (which I did get my money back), lost the keys to my RV and blamed me for the lost keys; overall very unfriendly; this is exactly what HSVBamaBob is commenting about.

I agree with HSVBamaBob comments.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:18 PM   #5
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(slight deviation in topic) As a person whose income is 100% commission, I can tell you: Please always vote with your dollar. Sounds like that Ford dealer should get all your business, forever. Reward them for the experience! But the thing to remember is that sometimes, the good places to spend money and receive the awesome service you deserve MAY cost a little more. Why do they cost more? They're not trying to screw you. They are in demand because they provide awesome service! When they are in demand, they can charge a little more. Who wouldn't? Things you buy have 3 attributes: Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick two attributes.

More on topic: The NewJersey/Tesla conflict is a good strating point. Could Forest River start selling through company owned dealers? Buffet certainly has the clout. When a company wants to control the whole Customer Experience, they start owning the Point Of Sale, too. See Apple.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:28 PM   #6
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Great write up HSVbamabob!
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:45 PM   #7
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One of the biggest things is if they would slow down and do proper quality checks of all systems in an Rv before it gets shipped out it would cut way down on quality control issues instead they use dealers to do quality control fixes for them
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:37 PM   #8
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One of the biggest things is if they would slow down and do proper quality checks
then it would take away with units going out the door and management has quotas, because the CEO needs a new summer house, and the shareholders demand it..
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
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Quality from the factory and quality of the dealers are different animals.

It's easily within FR's power to introduce QC/QA processes to fix the factory problems - at least for the parts of the RV they produce in-house. As for the dealers, they could go to factory-controlled, franchised dealerships like the auto industry but we all know that there are lots of auto dealerships out there that treat their customers poorly. The auto industry still has a ways to go to resolve that problem. I live in a GM town and I won't buy a GM product because of my previous experience with their dealerships.
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Old 03-20-2014, 03:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCoot View Post
Agree, better yet HSVBamaBob, go to the rally and hand it to him personally. He is a nice guy and would probably Thank You!
I am hoping to do that OC!!

Small logistical problem I am working through (I am still a working stiff for another 1 1/2 years)
Want to Go to Goshen
Need to go to DW dad's 95 birthday
Need to Kick DD out of house...errr see her off to College

Need to be there to for DS BS RN pinning ceremony
  • Goshen 3-9 Aug (AL-IN - 2 days travel each way in RV)
  • DS RN - 12 Aug (AL)
  • DD College - 18 Aug (AL)
  • Dad's B'day party & family reunion 24-31 Aug (AL-MI)
Need to be gainfully employed imtermittently between these dates

Question to past Goshen Attendees:
Can provisions be made for us to leave Goshen early (I know, Sacrilige!!)
If we can leave Thursday or Friday I can probably shuffle all these cards and make all 4 events and even make a few buck in the process
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