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Old 05-03-2014, 08:25 PM   #1
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online purchase process?

Price and availability are leading me to consider a long-distance purchase. I have experience doing that with a new car but it was with CarMax, with a non-negotiation business model. There were zero surprises. Even if there were, I was only 90 miles from home and had no money in it.

I've also been in car purchase negotiations where the final price suddenly becomes not the final price when the salesman goes to talk to the manager. I walked out. RV negotiations seem much more likely to fall into the latter model but the travel imposes a high cost for doing that.

Can someone with experience share details? What's the process? Is everything done in advance? What do I have to clarify before driving 1000 miles to pick up a trailer that I haven't seen but already put some money (deposit, at least?) into?

Thanks in advance.

Chris
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:35 PM   #2
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:46 PM   #3
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??
Perhaps "online" is a poor description. I'm referring to buying a trailer found online, and all negotiations done remotely. Obviously it involves phone calls and possibly an overnight document service.

Chris
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chriscowles View Post
Perhaps "online" is a poor description. I'm referring to buying a trailer found online, and all negotiations done remotely. Obviously it involves phone calls and possibly an overnight document service.

Chris
Oh now I understand your question.
Biggest problem by buying a new rig online is when you get it you must try and find someone local to take care of warranty issues in the first year.
Many dealers will not service/repair your trailer under warranty if you didn't buy it from them.

If this is ok with you go ahead and buy online from a reputable seller like RVWholersalers.com. Hopefully you are picking it up there or having it delivered. Immediately you should check all systems out before you sign.

That is the best basic advice I can offer until you tell us who you are buying it from. A person or a dealer.

What I have read in your messages I wouldn't sign nothing until I see the trailer in front of me.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:27 PM   #5
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I just purchased my new trailer from RVWholesalers based on past parts purchases, and their online reputation here and at RV.net. They have their own repair network after getting fed up with local dealers not supporting their customers. They also sell a 5 year warranty. They knocked an extra percentage point off my financing for this....it was cheaper to take the lower rate and buy the warranty than to not buy it and pay the extra point.

I'll admit, I am a bit nervous about the PDI, but that is because of the local dealer that I have purchased from here, whose service department is wretched. The staff at RVW assures me they have tested everything, and there won't be any issues when I receive iit Tuesday.

I'll add more here about the delivery process when it is complete. Delivery driver Jim called me this morning to let me know he was on his way.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Oh now I understand your question.
Biggest problem by buying a new rig online is when you get it you must try and find someone local to take care of warranty issues in the first year.
I'm aware of that issue. We have a very close RV dealer that sells Forest River products but not Rockwood, nor any hybrid for that matter. Since I couldn't buy a hybrid from them if I wanted to, they're less inclined to "punish" me.

They have a good reputation for service. I had my old pop-up worked on there after it was out of warranty. I confirmed with them that they can work on Forest River products after getting approval from FR. They also told me I might be liable for the difference between their regular hourly rates, and FR's warranty rate. I'm guessing that, if they were doing warranty work on a trailer I bought from them, they'd just suck it up in the interest of future business.

I plan to confirm with FR that other FR dealers can do warranty work. Assuming so, my paying the labor rate difference is the cost of getting a MUCH cheaper trailer elsewhere. I'm also pretty self-sufficient at repairs and don't plan to sweat the small stuff.

With respect to money not changing hands until we're face-to-face, that's my plan. (Except maybe a modest deposit.) What I seek is advice on what I can do to avoid that meeting not being everything I expect. I really don't want to drive 1000 miles only for them to attempt to change something.

Thanks

Chris
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:49 PM   #7
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That is the best basic advice I can offer until you tell us who you are buying it from. A person or a dealer.
I would only buy new from a dealer. I've corresponded with sales staff from Tom Raper RV in Cincinatti; Wana RV in Shipshewana, IN; Tom Johnson RV in NC; and Colman's RV in Indianapolis.

Some do business as "internet sales" with delivery to me. I don't feel comfortable with that approach. Despite the cost in time I'd rather go to their site and do a thorough PDI before forking over money.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:58 PM   #8
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I just purchased my new trailer from RVWholesalers ...
Would you mind describing the purchase process? Is the sale already closed despite your never having laid eyes on the trailer? How do you exchange documents and money?

With respect to RVW (or RV Direct) I've read negative information from several correspondents on Popup Portal but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Most other descriptions are at least neutral if not positive.

The price quote I got from them is nowhere near the quote I got for a trailer on a lot in Indiana. $19K vs $16K for a $24K MSRP trailer. That's hard to understand. Transportation cost is in addition to that but is more than twice the cost of travel for me to go pick it up.

I don't mind going to get it because I have time. I'd be seriously disappointed if it wasn't what I was expecting, when I get there.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:03 PM   #9
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Found our 5th wheel floor plan on the internet. Cheyenne has the best and I do mean Living in Phoenix, AZ I purchased my 2011 Flagstaff 5er from Cheyenne Camping Center in Iowa. Then drove back to Az. Our intent was to go full time after the sell of the house in AZ. The purchase process went great. Cheyenne kept us well informed on the build time line and delivery date. I drove my
tundra up from AZ (visited family), drove into their shop where they installed the hitch in the truck, installed the brake assist, did the walk through, and paperwork all while the wife and I played inside the RV. It was top notch. I will always remember it and will go back to them.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by chriscowles View Post
Would you mind describing the purchase process? Is the sale already closed despite your never having laid eyes on the trailer? How do you exchange documents and money

First, we had our old trailer in at the local dealer for a repair estimate, and while it was there looked at the trailers the dealer had to offer. We really liked the 8280WS. They had a Diamond Package, and I felt the price was ok, but more than I wanted to pay. As is get ad emails from RVW regularly (I've bought numerous items from them in the past), I was intrigued when a sales email came in...they had the model we wanted, in the standard package.

So...we knew what we wanted. We didn't need any customization, it's a vanilla unit straight from the factory.

I clicked a link that requested a price, and it was much lower than the local dealer. I called, and the salesman agreed to knock even more off if I financed through them. I was already pre-approved from my insurance company USAA, so it didn't hurt to have RVW check for me. They actually got a better percentage rate.

All I had seen at this point was a floor plan. My salesman, Derek, pulled the trailer out and took about 25 pics and emailed them to me. Sure looks pretty. DW and I agreed...this is the one we want!

At this point, talking with Kendra in sales, we need to put $1000 down to secure the financing and commit to the purchase. I gave her my credit card over the phone. They sent me some electronic docs through a website, and put my digital signature on them through this site.

I cannot get to Ohio to pick it up, so I'm paying them $2000 to bring it to me. I also got the extended warranty they offer, and they dropped another percentage point off the loan.

I need to provide proof of insurance, a copy of my drivers license, and will need to sign the bank forms when I take possession. I've already added it to my USAA policy.

When Jim arrives Monday/Tuesday with the trailer, we will do a walk around, and I'll sign off. It's mine at that time.

It's somewhat a leap of faith, but they have a good rep. I've toured the same model locally, so we know it's the one we want. They assure me they tested all of the components. If something is wrong, their repair network will fix it. I have their extended warranty as well.

The local mega dealer who has screwed me time and again with service, and has insulted me when discussing the trade in value of my old trailer, which I had bought from them.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:57 AM   #11
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We went through Colerain RV in Indianapolis. We brought the Flagstaff Shamrock 21dk. Had a pretty easy time of it except when we got there they found a couple things wrong with it and it took about 3 hours to fix them.
Drove from Louisiana up to Indy.. Saved a ton of money to.
They were very nice about the down payment also. It was refundable if we did'nt like the trailer when we got there.
They did an awesome PDI with us and pulled our truck around and showed us how to hook it up etc.
I was afraid also but we took the plunge and we love our camper.
Just make sure you take an extra day while you are there to really check it out. It's irritating to have to wait to have it fixed but better than getting back home and have to take it in to shop for every little thing that they couldve done there.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:33 AM   #12
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I had to buy sight-unseen because I live in S. Korea. Needless to say, I would have done things a little differently based on what I know now.

Get a dealer that you KNOW is reputable because of others' experiences.

The warranty issue is a big one. Many dealers WILL NOT service trailers bought at other dealers, and a lot of them will put your trailer "at the back of the line" if they do agree to service it.
Most trailers have warranty issues when they are delivered.
The dealer makes all the difference, trust me. I found out the hard way.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:02 PM   #13
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We went through Colerain RV in Indianapolis. We brought the Flagstaff Shamrock 21dk.
As that's the exact model and one of the dealers I'm considering, your reply inspires confidence.

Whatever I buy and wherever I buy it, I plan to schedule the PDI for Monday AM and arrange to camp overnight on their lot or nearby. If something reveals itself during the PDI or while camping, I'd have a few days available to get it fixed before I'd have to return to Florida.

When I'm ready to leave I'll spend a night turtling in the trailer somewhere on the way back. Then I'll set it up in a state park near our home. My wife will join me Friday evening to spend the weekend testing the trailer and figuring out where to put our stuff. We'll consider that a work weekend, not a pleasure trip.

If we find warranted problems then, I'll make arrangements to drop it off at our nearby FR dealer. I plan to buy my WDH and some other pricey accessories from them before doing that, so we establish a relationship as a customer.
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:13 PM   #14
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We live in a rural area and have bought locally and in other areas due to product availability and price. I try to always check with local first and last with good and bad results.
If you are going to be responsible for extra charges from local dealer for warranty work I would look for another dealer who will want you for a customer.
Why not get hitch with trailer as they will need adjustment when you pick-up trailer.
Be certain of tax and title issues as they vary from state to state.
That being said, good luck and have a good trip.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:39 PM   #15
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chris, we bought our Roo from a Chicago dealer, 2000 miles away, that we found on the internet.

we did the process through faxes, emails and phone calls, we did the process.
we already had seen our model at local dealers so we knew we liked the brand and model.

sent a down payment to hold it and wrote a check for the balance, when we arrived to pick it up.

by the way, warranty work can be done by a non-FR dealer. when we brought our Roo back to Calif, FR found a number of dealers in our area to do the warranty work. one dealer didn't sell any FR products.
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Old 05-04-2014, 05:52 PM   #16
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... by the way, warranty work can be done by a non-FR dealer. when we brought our Roo back to Calif, FR found a number of dealers in our area to do the warranty work. one dealer didn't sell any FR products.
Interesting. I never thought about that but I guess it's just a matter of FR finding a (reputable?) dealer they're willing to do business with, and who is willing to accept their rate of reimbursement. RV parts are all pretty generic. The only difference is how manufacturers assemble them.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:57 PM   #17
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The Forest River dealer referred to in this thread is Dick Gore in Jacksonville, the FR hybrid dealer that's closest to my home. The service manager there doesn't care where you bought your trailer. They'll provide the same level of service which, apparently, is satisfactory.

That further reduces my concerns about warranty work. If my local FR dealer, who doesn't sell hybrids, doesn't provide satisfactory warranty service, the worst-case scenario is to drive 90 miles to the dealer where I would have bought it in the first place.

Chris
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:51 PM   #18
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I purchased a new 2013 Solaire 201SS from RVW and the transaction was seamless (very easy). I live in the foothills of California 2500 miles from the dealership and this is my first RV. The travel trailer was delivered by the dealer to my car mechanic, who is into RV's, and he gave me a walk through at no charge. I have not had a problem with the warranty network RVW as created. I had a major problem last summer with delamination on the sidewall and RVW arranged to have the trailer picked up at my house and delivered back to the factory for repairs at no cost to me. The dealer offers a 5 year warranty that is very pricey, Forest River offers an extended warranty at a very affordable cost. So far so good, I'm very pleased with RVW.
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