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Old 04-24-2016, 09:19 AM   #1
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Should we buy FRTT out of town?

Hello, I sure hope someone has some insight to a purchase problem we are experiencing. The wife and I really like the Forest River Salem Cruise Lite 261BHXL. In all of our online searches for the 2016 model, we keep finding a dealer that is 250 miles north of us has the best price at 13,500. All of the dealers close to us have the similar FR Wildwood 261BHXL camper for 16,500, and it seems to have less features? Has anyone had any luck it getting a dealer to "match" another non-local dealers pricing. Or, we could drive the 4 hours to the cheaper place, but what if we have issues that come up after the sale?
Any advice would be welcomed.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:24 AM   #2
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As long as you are aware that local dealers may not work on your unit because you did not buy it from them I see nothing wrong with going for what you want.

Just be prepared to drive it back in the event you need warranty work done.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:44 AM   #3
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I am sure you will get lots of opinions. The decision is very much dependent on what you expect for after market service. If you are someone who expects to return the unit to the dealer with a long "punch list" of minor things to correct then maybe buy local. If you are OK with fixing the small things and only using the warranty for major items, then long distance may work. The other factor here is the service quality of your local dealer. You are buying the TT to use and enjoy. You can't do that if it is sitting at the dealer awaiting repairs. If you are far away, some times FR will authorize a local shop to do major repairs ( replace AC etc). Also many of the appliances are actually covered under the appliance manufacturers warranty and can be returned to and authorized dealer or repair shop. Check local RV repair facilities and see of they have done warranty work for FR. Finally. Look at numbers. If you are saving $3000 on the unit, you can afford $3000 in out of pocket repairs during the first year and still break even. Good Luck.

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Old 04-24-2016, 10:42 AM   #4
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It never hurts to ask your local dealer to match the $ from the dealer further away from you. Like others have said service is a big factor to consider.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:30 AM   #5
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We purchased ours 3 hours away and saved around 15%, unfortunately it needed repair before the first outing so we contacted the local dealer. He asked where we bought the TT and promptly said we would have to get back to you. Two day later I contacted Forest River and explained the situation. The local dealer called that same day and scheduled an appointment. Luckily that worked for us as we are in for on our second service repair after 2 camping trips.

Some independent shops do warranty work for Forest River also, maybe worth checking around.
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:49 PM   #6
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I did

I did with no problems. Saved $3000 by driving 1300 miles round trip. The dealer prep was spot on. Then we drove 50 miles and camped for two days to test everything, couldn't fined any defects.
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:55 PM   #7
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Flybob said it best, and succinctly.

We are buying 680 miles from home, and saving $29,000!!!!
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Old 04-24-2016, 12:58 PM   #8
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I bought 800 miles away! Saved $7000+.
Fixed a few minor issues myself. Have enjoyed my unit for 3 years. Lots of help here is better than dealers/delays. Good luck.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:34 PM   #9
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A few years ago we shopped locally in south Florida and found a TT we liked. Salesman and Mgr wouldn't budge on price. Next day found same unit $7000 cheaper in Elkhart Indiana put down payment on it. Wrote a very nice letter to previous salesman and thanked him and told him we found same unit and were buying elsewhere. 2 days late got a phone call- he said "can we talk about the price"
Told him no because days earlier you were firm on price. He tried to convince me not to buy else where. Told him I gave he and mgr chance and they stood firm. No regrets in purchase. However others are right about servicing warranty issues
THEN AGAIN bought new unit from different dealer in town - buying it there made no difference in service promptness. They had the new unit for 2 months and never touched it, kept putting others in front on work list. I had to contact the CEO of this major outfit. Most of the work was then completed in 3 days. Hum mm?
I would tell your sales person or mgr that you found another and see if he will work with you. You must be happy with what you buy. That's first on list. If other issues arise you can deal with those.
Bought 2 units from a major dealer in Tampa area -issues with service. Once had one for 7 weeks went to pick up and nothing was done. Took it to Frog Rally, service there said they had see pictures before and had sent parts. In the Elkhart Fairgrounds working out of golf carts they made repairs and replacements plus MORE in 3 hours or less AND stopped back next day to see if all was OK. Susan Thornberg and crew were great.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:40 PM   #10
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The one potential fallacy I see in this ongoing discussion of whether to buy local or not, is the discussion of how good your local dealer is at service.........and not just whether he's higher or lower in initial price.

My local dealer is great at service, but literally awful at initial price. So, I know I can get service here. First year, I may have to be last in line. After that, I'm paying anyway, and he's good so he gets the business.

However, if your local dealer is awful at service, then finding it cheaper elsewhere would seem to be a no-brainer.

In other words, it would be a mistake to automatically assume that every local dealer is good at service and warranty simply because he lives close to you.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:19 PM   #11
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When we were shopping for our HTT, our 3 local Rockwood Roo dealers refused to even come within $1500 of the cheaper Midwest dealer's price.
They all also threatened us with the "we won't do warranty work on it", if we bought from the Midwest dealer.

Needless to say, we did a 4000 mile RT drive to pick it up. We saved $4000, on a $22000 MSRP trailer.
And FR found us other local dealers more than willing to do the warranty work.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:29 PM   #12
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I bought my Rockwood 2200 miles away (RVW) to save thousands, even after shipping cost. I like to fix the little things myself and also like to do upgrades and mods. I had one issue while still under warranty with the roof A/C and the water filter.

I called Forest River and was given several local independent RV service locations nearby and got everything fixed in a few days under warranty.

I think service by a local dealer is hit or miss and often overrated: long waits for appts, multiple visits to get items fixed, and some dealers won't service under warranty if you did not purchase from them. That is not the case with the independents.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:30 PM   #13
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Personally, we will not be held hostage by a local dealer. A $3,000 difference is significant and, if it has less features even more so. The concern here is, if the price is that much higher, will the dealer's service prices also be inflated. It so happens that our dealer is 90 miles away and some pretty rigorous driving conditions. But they are a good organization with a good service facility, so it is worth the distance.

However, if the local dealer has a good service record, you may want to give them a chance to match the price or beat the price because of fewer features.

When we purchased our TV, we shopped the area and found the best deal 40 miles away. We checked the local dealer and they only offered a fourth of the factory rebates. They were totally off the mark on trade and rebates on virtually the same vehicle. We had a previous TV into the local dealer for a window mechanism repair. They called us into the shop to show us that something should be done to clean the air ducting on the motor and had removed the complete air assembly from the motor. Another $300. We told them no, to fix the window. With these two experiences, it was worth the drive for price and customer service.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:45 PM   #14
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Buy local vs. On line

This question has been beat to death many times on there boards. Please understand that many people have trouble getting descent service from the local guy who cashed the big check. Shop for the best price on sites like RVDirect.com and find a reliable non-dealer for your repairs. Most big ticket items can be warrantied thru independent shops anyway. My experience was that I was still thousands ahead on the purchase of our motor home after paying an independant with a good reputation to fix what the dealer missed.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:00 AM   #15
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We purchased our TT at a dealer that was 3.5 hours away in New York. They were the only place that had the floorplan that we wanted. They were great to deal with and we were very happy with our purchase.

When it came to service nobody in the area would do our service. I called 5 dealerships that sell FR (near me) and they all said "no". So, we had to drive to NY for the warranty work. 7 hour round trip to drop it off. 7 hour round trip to pick it up. Fortunately, everything was fixed and we had no further problems. But the driving was a total pain.

We ended up trading it in on a 5th wheel back in August. We decided that we wanted something bigger. This time, we purchased local.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:05 AM   #16
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Have you made the dealer an offer of what the out of town dealer priced his for? I checked with a low ball dealer and the local dealer matched it. Almost 40% of list.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:14 AM   #17
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We purchased our Wildcat MAXX 1800 miles from home. The MAXX is only sold in the Western part of the US, and since we live in Iowa, we had little to no options. IMHO, $3,000 is well worth driving 300 miles now and then to get warranty repairs. You may even find a local FR dealer to work on your unit, you'll never know if you don't ask. I like working on my own trailer--that way I know it's done correctly. If you break down the systems on most RV's, they really are not very complex. If a person has basic skills in a few home building "disciplines", most RV issues can be fixed by the owner.
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:54 PM   #18
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I live in Ohio so some of the wholesalers are less than 2 hours away... However, dealers 10 minutes away often have sales that come within $1000 & will often include extras for free. For instance, my local dealer included a "free" pressurized leak test & re-caulking, Equalizer 4 1200 WDH & installation, $100 in store credit, and I had the ability to pick "the best of the litter" from 6-8 units on the lot vs. ordering one sight unseen...

When looking at 6-8 same brand/model units side-by-side I found that they vary in fit & finish quite a lot. For instance, I purposefully stopped after work during heavy rains & found one new unit leaking water badly although the salespeople had checked to make certain all skylights & windows were closed. Water was pouring down a center wall & flowing across the dinette until it exited somewhere under the dinette slide... Glad I didn't order that one sight unseen! That fault would not have shown up during a PDI at the wholesaler...

Because they were having a big sale on new units they dropped the price of a same brand/model used unit that arrived on trade-in that week. It was bone-dry during the heavy rain. I spent about 2 hours looking behind every access panel, crawling underneath, etc. before making an offer. The dealer then provided a 2.5 hour PDI fixing everything on my list (mostly cosmetic) plus things not on my list like adjusting the slide-out cables, awning alignment, replacing the battery & CO2 detector, etc.

We camped for the next 2 years without a single problem not caused by me (I bent a rim but found a replacement online for $65...) With the money saved buying used I figure I can replace every major appliance & still be money ahead. For instance, this year I am going to replace the cooling unit on my RV fridge for <$500 so it cools better in 90 weather... We also swapped-out the China Bombs for Maxxis & installed a comfy mattress - things we would have also done had we bought new...

Whoever you choose to buy from make sure you spend a LOT of time checking things over. Only the dealer benefits from rushing you along... This was our first RV but I knew enough to spend a lot of time in each unit we were considering before finalizing the deal. I treated it more like buying a house than a car. If I found too many issues I walked away. Not everything can be fixed in the PDI...
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:18 PM   #19
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Should we buy FRTT out of town?

I bought 8hours com home one way and saved 10,000. I had local dealer do warrantee work and they made it worse so buying for local service not always good if their service is bad.

I will drive out of state again to buy new TT to save money. Next time I'll budget 4 days close by and camp and see what may need work and take it back to have fixed before leaving town where dealer is.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:02 AM   #20
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Give the local dealer a chance. When I found the TT I wanted locally I could not come to any terms on price. I did extensive internet research and got two emailed offers that were $6,000 less than the same trailer the local dealer had. Same options, etc. Decided to try once more since I was in the area. I showed the local dealer both emails. The delivery charge from out of town was $1,200 (which I would have gladly paid) so I told the local dealer I would split the difference and add $600 to the base price. I told them I was going to bank transfer the funds in the next 10 minutes and if he wanted the deal he had that much time.

I didn't think for a second that he would meet the price (since his previous final offer was $6,000 higher) but, surprise surprise, he came back and said he would meet the out of state dealer offer. Finalized the deal and did PDI two days later and brought it home.
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