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Old 09-19-2012, 11:28 PM   #1
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Question Dealing with wholesale business or local?

We are looking to purchase a Columbus soon, but the nearest dealer here, Camping World, is 140 and 250 miles away. Plus when we visited, the salesmen were too busy elsewhere to answer questions. So we are thinking maybe it wouldn't matter if we purchased from a distance. Anyone here have experience? I know some have traveled a long way to pick up their units.
Anyone with 'this dealer is good' (or salesman)? We hail from Eastern Washington.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:20 AM   #2
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We bought our Columbus from FunTown RV in Cleburne, Texas (near Fort Worth) and have been very satisfied with the purchase process and the follow-up visits. But that's quite a haul for you. Bear one thing in mind...for service, I strongly suspect you'll be taken care of much more promptly if you can return the unit to the dealer where it was purchased.

I'm not speaking from experience - just what I've read in these forums.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:59 AM   #3
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I'm struggling with the same question, as I posted in another thread. Only thing that gives me pause is all the problems with these early units that people have posted. Having to spend a bunch of days/trips to deal with those kind of things is time I don't have.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:36 AM   #4
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we live on the West Coast. we also struggled with buying from a Midwest dealer, to save a lot of money.

we ended up buying from House of Camping, near Chicago. it was a 4000 mile RT, but we saved over $4k after trip costs. great dealership and super helpful.

FR found local dealers that did the warranty work. one of them didn't even sell any FR products.

saving $4k on a $22k MSRP trailer, was a huge chunk. the 3 NorCal dealers that threatened us with "no one will service it", lost a sale due to their refusal to come within even a couple of thousand of HOC's price.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:54 AM   #5
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My way of thinking is more closely aligned with how these wholesalers work. I appreciate the take it or leave it approach. That's the way I deal - have in mind a price - if you can do that great, if not, then see ya later.

I hate the dickering back and forth. I really detest a dealer who gets angry or vindictive over price, did you buy it here, etc. What is there to get mad about??? You do what you can do. Price it honestly to cover your costs & desired margin and let the chips fall where they may. This trying to extract every penny they can squeeze out of you is revolting and old-school.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:21 AM   #6
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seems to me, a lot of people who buy close (less than 100miles) still have a lot of the same problems with thier dealer as those who buy a littler further....these people who are getting problem trailers (BIG PROBLEMS) are out the use of trailer regardless....and it seems a majority of the time the dealers are taking a long time to remedy the situations..

these "good ol boys" here where i live were really nice and helpful...but when it came to pricing, they had the "it is what it is" attitude.....so i chose to drive 400+ miles to tyler, tx and save a little over 4k on a BETTER trailer than i was being offered here...while i havent had to take mine in for any service (nor did i plan on it unless it was something MAJOR), i have had a few small issues that have been dealt with SUPER FAST by both my dealer (southern rv), AND Prime Time themselves, all by email and them sending me whatever parts i need to fix things myself...AND have the satisfaction of knowing that some tech that may or may not have known what he is doing was "learning" on my trailer....

if these guys local would have came down to within 2k for the unit i would have been ok with that....but no deal......they acted like thier "higher" price was doing ME a favor!

No....last time i checked i was the one with the checkbook, and i was the one who did the research and got 50 quotes and knew what a good deal was....when i bought my truck i told the dealer what i wanted and what i was willing to pay.....simple as that...i didnt low ball, or try and buy the truck at cost.....a couple of dealers flat out said no....we cannot do that.....i shook their hand and said thank you, i will find someone who can...and we BOTH knew i would. of course a few days later they called back and had my price "just right"....but it was too late....why play that stupid game to begin with??
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #7
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I saved several thousand dollars buying from RVWholesalers and having my camper delivered. I gave a local dealer the opportunity to earn my business and they wouldn't- not couldn't- come close. I would have paid a little extra to do business locally, but not thousands more. There are a lot of businesses out there that specialize in RV repair but don't sell RV's that I'm sure would be happy to do repairs for you. As for warranty issues, RVWholesalers has a network of businesses that they refer you to. Like others have said, it seems that no matter where you buy your trailer you can expect it to be in the shop for a while if repairs are needed. I'll also add, any RV dealer that refuses to repair my RV because I didn't buy it there isn't someone I want to do business with anyway. When you call a plumber or A/C guy to work on your house, does he refuse to work on it if he wasn't the original installer? That is a horrible way to do business- and those dealers that take that stance need to step back and realize that the RV you are in now will likely not be your last, and they just might earn your business in the future by being polite, courteous and helpful in taking care of you. Some people will pay what dealers want and believe their lines of bull; others won't. It's not that hard to identify which is which, and dealers would do well to learn that in my opinion and make every sale they can- even the ones that aren't as profitable(I'm not talking about losing money here). That gets them more name recognition and better word of mouth advertising. Just my .02.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone.
Guess I am not so worried now about not getting it fixed. Even if I bought locally, the nearest dealer is 140 miles away...far enough it isn't a simple drive to visit for repairs. It is at least an all day expedition.
Since we prefer to travel and live in our unit most of the time (not full timers but 85% or so), we could travel to purchase. I think that will be our choice...go where the deal seems straight and fair with good service.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Columbus 365RL on Order.

I currently have a Columbus 365RL on order through RV Wholesalers in Ohio. I live in Illinois. Once the unit arrives in Ohio I will go do the pre delivery inspection and than it is being transported by RVW to Florida where it will be set up on a campground lot for now. We did look at a couple dealers close to us, but for the same or similar units they were several thousand more. Being I don't have a truck for now, being close to to where I bought it doesn't really matter. I do have concerns about that, but RVW claims they have a large network of service providers that can come to me if I need them. I guess I'll find out when the time comes. I also have read the issues other Columbus owners have had. I plan to go to the manufacturing plant when it's ready, before it's shipped to RVW. It's really Forrest River (Palomino in this case) that hopefully builds a quality unit before it gets to any dealer. I'll let you know how it all works out in a few weeks.
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjshiflet View Post
We bought our Columbus from FunTown RV in Cleburne, Texas (near Fort Worth) and have been very satisfied with the purchase process and the follow-up visits. But that's quite a haul for you. Bear one thing in mind...for service, I strongly suspect you'll be taken care of much more promptly if you can return the unit to the dealer where it was purchased.

I'm not speaking from experience - just what I've read in these forums.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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Dustman STX, So did you buy from RV Wholesalers? I live in central Florida, checked a couple dealerships for a Columbus 365 RL. was given an offer of 50k on this unit. Which had everything on I was looking for except the 6 way auto leveling. Which I think I really would want to have. Contacting RVW they would sell the same unit with the leveling system for the same price. Just have to drive up and get it. If you bought from them, how was your experencince and would you recommend buying from them? I'm told to add on the leveling system is about 4K. I can save 2-3 K driving up and picking up at their price. Besides having a nice trip away. Just wondering about the experince in dealing with RVW. Thanks
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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I currently have the 365RL on order through RVW. The unit I ordered is pretty well loaded except for the Auto level system. I feel it may take a little longer to be certain it's level, but once it is you should't have to mess with it. My price is around $46,600.Than I'll pay an additional $1,700 to get it down to Florida(Palmetto).

Were having it set up on a camp ground lot for now. I may get a truck for it next year but if not they will store it for me. Not much to say for now about RVW except for a great price. I'll let you know when I go out there to inspect it and how that goes. I plan to have it delivered around Dec.1st and we will stay until April 1st.

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Old 09-24-2012, 03:08 PM   #13
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We have not ordered yet, but we are looking to order from a southern dealer and pick it up in Indiana. Not sure how that will work, but the price is right with all options we want.
The six point leveling should not cost more than $2700.
We never thought about buying something like this and not having a tow vehicle. Interesting idea.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty with details and waiting for real list and confirmation now.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by opschief View Post
Dustman STX, So did you buy from RV Wholesalers? I live in central Florida, checked a couple dealerships for a Columbus 365 RL. was given an offer of 50k on this unit. Which had everything on I was looking for except the 6 way auto leveling. Which I think I really would want to have. Contacting RVW they would sell the same unit with the leveling system for the same price. Just have to drive up and get it. If you bought from them, how was your experencince and would you recommend buying from them? I'm told to add on the leveling system is about 4K. I can save 2-3 K driving up and picking up at their price. Besides having a nice trip away. Just wondering about the experince in dealing with RVW. Thanks
I purchased my Palomino Puma from them in October of last year and my in-laws purchased theirs sometime in the Spring. Kelly Tussing was the salesman for each transaction. I have nothing but praise for them. My 30DBSS shipped with a 13.5 BTU A/C instead of the 15K. They shipped me a new unit that sustained some damage, and then turned around and sent me another new unit to replace that one. My in-laws had slight damage to one of the leveling jacks when theirs arrived. RVWholesalers sent them a new set of BAL leveling jacks to replace them- which are much nicer than stock, and a set of the leveling blocks for the trouble. I, too, was very leery of purchasing and having the unit delivered. I like to look things over with a fine tooth comb and then contemplate- so this was a huge leap for me to buy something this expensive over the phone. With that being said, I have nothing but praise for RVWholesalers as they really went above and beyond on everything. I'll throw this out, too: I really haggled Kelly on price and they still offered great service. Many times when I've haggled local dealers on items they offer sub-par service. I guess they feel they didn't make enough on something to mess with trying to help me.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for the information, it makes me feel a lot better about buying from a wholesale dealer. I just hope they will still be there for me in Florida with their network of service providers. Since I don't have a truck for now to haul it, and it,s going to be parked at a semi permanent spot for now, I'm leaning not to get the extended warranty at this time. RVW wanted $2,500 for a 5 year plan. I plan
on getting the 2nd year warranty offered by Forest River for about $150. Besides I don't think EX warranty's cover anything until the manufactures warranty is up, is that correct? On the subject of trucks, those with the 365RL, what are you towing with? I like both the GMC or Dodge ram in a 3/4 ton 6.6 diesel, but the 365RL has a empty weight of close to 12,000 lbs, would I be at or close to the limit on a truck like this?
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #16
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I assume you live in Kennewick, WA and not in Kennwick as it says in your profile. If so, there appear to be a number of independent RV repair places in your immediate vicinity. I found them using Yahoo Maps. One or more might be able to do FR, etc, warranty work. Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:43 PM   #17
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I'll put my .02 cents in on this. I probably saved over $6,000 by doing business with what I'll call the "internet" guys. While I am concerned about service, I plan to keep the unit over 300 miles from home and the internet guys have a nationwide service network. (I will have to pay travel charges for "on-site" warranty work, but I can take care of the smaller issues and if I do need the experts,,the $150-$200 travel expense should be well worth it.)
Who knows, maybe I can lure Christopher Columbus to SD with some wine, women, and song!
Good Luck!

PS - Not sure,,, may be urban myth,,,but I was told that prices may be headed upward by the end of the year,,,,anyone else hear that? (could be a sales pitch of sorts)
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:15 PM   #18
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We bought our Sandpiper from RV Wholesaler in Ohio. They were great I saved $10,000 from what a dealer wanted for a comparible trailer. If I had it delivered it would have added $875. We drove to get it. Just wanted to be there to hand over the check. I will buy ther again for sure.
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