Saturday, February 16, 2013

Flaming the RV Fan

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I think I need a drink, but I am going to start with you. I just left a Camping World store in Texas. I think there is an old Country Western song called, “Happiness is Camping World in the Rear view Mirror.” I will be singing that for some time to come. Six months ago I had a Camping World store put a Fantastic Fan in my trailer. I also bought hitch bars from them. The fan motor (still under warranty) died and one day slowing to a toll booth all of a sudden my hitch bar dropped. Camping World told me they couldn’t honor another store's warranty. I finally made them call that store and they agreed to pay for a new motor for the fan. Not a new fan, just a motor. They refused to stand behind the hitch bar problem, accusing me of backing up improperly. In fact, a defective bolt had cracked and broke in two places. I was treated as if I were a pain, and they showed not a hint of customer service. Is this what RVer’s should expect from a company that pretends to be one of the big players in the industry? Are they setting an industry standard of sub par service? Have I set my sights too high in expecting decent service at a decent price? What is the use of a warranty if no one stands behind it?
--Flaming the Fan in the Lone Star State

Dear Flaming:
RV service is much like the Old Wild West. You never know when or where you might get rustled. Every service event should be a lesson added to your list of experiences. You have to let a bad experience go, but don’t ever forget it completely. I am always suggesting that people use the now convenient RV Service Review sites. Just google them. There are several. Find reviews for most any service center you are near. Read them all. It’s like buying product on Amazon. Read all the reviews and take a consensus. Some people will complain if they are hung with a new rope. You can also use these review sites to vent about your vent fan. Let others know how you were treated at the service centers you have used. You can’t put a lot of stock in the name Camping World. They have now franchised their brand and most stores are RV dealer franchises. You are going to get service consistent with what a particular dealer's management style is. You cannot expect service consistent with one company's policy unless you actually deal with a Camping World company store. There are plenty of great service people and companies out there, you just have to be careful, do your homework, if you have the option, and make the best decision with the info you have. Never, and I mean never, let them see you sweat.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

20 comments:

Richard & Lois said...

We're very glad to see Camping World in our rear view mirror.

When Dometic had a recall of their refrigerators having a defective flame mechanism, we took ours in. Sure enough the problem was so serious Camping World called Dometic and got permission to put a whole new cooling unit in our refrigerator -- about an $800 job for which we were grateful our RV didn't catch fire due to the defective part. However, when they installed the coils inside the refrigerator, they put them in up-side-down, even bore new screw holes because of the bad fit. The refrigerator didn't work for 3 summers of vacations, each year taking the RV back to Camping World and getting the run-around saying the new cooling unit is defective and it's our problem, not theirs or Dometic's. So we put in a new cooling unit and that is when the technician discovered the coils were up-side-down. A simple fix that cost $800. We stay away from Camping World. They don't stand behind their repairs.
Richard & Lois, Palm Springs CA

Anonymous said...

Raise the devil with Good Sam corporate office. Camping World is the name on the building and the receipt you get. Write Motorhome Magazine action line owned by the same. Don't let it rest until you get satisfaction.

luvglass said...

I also, won't go to another Camping World. We broke off our TV aerial and took it to a CW in TN for replacement. The tech came out and did the job right in front of me and it took 20 minutes. When I went to pay the bill they wanted to charge me for 90 minutes at $130 an hour. The justification was that is the "book" rate. We got it reduced somewhat, but not fairly. I would never go back to a Camping World.

Dick Wright said...

At what Camping World charges an hour just to "look" why would anyone go there?

will said...

I too have had a bad experience with camping world. I still remember breaking down on the road near detriot. I was towed to their place. When I got there they told me they could not help me and I had to go else where. Lucky for me there was a nearby truck dealer who could help me. The sad part I was a president's club member of the company. Needless to say I no longer do business with them.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, we have just gone off Camping World as well. We stopped in at the St. Augustine branch to get a Patty O Room installed. They said an hour and a half to two hours. The catalogue also said "Let us install it for $100." Six hours later it was eventually badly installed. Then they wanted to charge us for the extra time and for parts they didn't actually install.
The guys doing the installation had no idea what they were doing and eventually admitted they had never seen a Patty O Room before.
No more Camping World for us. We also find that their prices aren't very good either. Awnings two and three hundred dollars more expensive than elsewhere.
Donald
Titusville

Doug said...

Another option to consider is to contact the manufacturer directly. Fantastic Fans is a superior company and would have sent out a new fan motor for free.

Also consider independent repair shops for your service. Their continued existence depends on doing good work whereas repair shops associated with dealerships seem to rely on their RV sales for profit.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, about 10% of the RV service one gets ANYWHERE is sub-par AND overpriced.
Camping World is one of the 90%ers.
(IMO, if/when you ever do find good/great service, it will NOT be at Camping World)!
Mel
'96 Safari, 130k miles

Allen and Sherrie in Germantown,WI said...

My wife and I have had similar experiences at Camping World.We have friends that say the same.Without going into all the details(because they are not worth it)I will just say....with prices and services like they continue to show in this economy they will eventually fall on their face.

Barb said...

After reading all the comments why would anyone consider them a good option. We learned early on in our 10 years as full timers that Camping World is not a viable option for anything. Too pricey on all items that can be purchased many other places.

Bill the Web Guy said...

I find camping world way over priced. I use there catalog to find something and then go to Amazon and buy it for considerable less money. How are they staying in business with this reputation? Customer service is the place where business can make a difference and beat the competition....sounds like they clearly missed that in Marketing 101.

Sam Ferguson said...

We bought a 2012 Zinger in March of 2012, when we picked the camper up I told the dealer that one of the rear tires was not tracking the tire in front of it. I was told this was OK due to the wide stance axles. I argued but to no avail. We left in July for a month long trip. When we got to Cody Wyoming the out of align tire was wore to the bottom of the tread on the inside only. We went on to Phoenix to Camping World. They measured and said the axle was bent and that it needs replacing. They did not have one and since this was on a Friday it would be Mon. before any thing could be done. It was suggested we continue on our trip and plan on stopping in Houston and have the axle replaced. They would call us with a contact in Houston, we never heard a word from Phoenix so we just bypassed Houston. When we got back home we went back to Camping World in Spartanburg with proof that the axle was bent. It took them one month to just look at the camper and then another month to get the axles and to fix another warranty problem. We lost 2 months of camping. I do not believe we would have gotten it done this fast if I had not contacted Crossroads personally after waiting so long. We are considering buying a fifth wheel and will not even consider Camping World. I also called the manager of the store in Phoenix and told him my problem and his comment was thanks for telling us of the problem as we can't fix them if we don't know about them. So Long Camping World

DLW said...

I haven't and won't use Camping World for any kind of service since having my oil changed there 4 yrs. ago. They changed the oil, but that was it. No lube, nothing checked, etc. The merchandise in their stores are double what you can buy elsewhere. According to Lemonis (CEO): "Get them in, get the money and get them out". Well,I'm out for good.

Bob said...

I too am HAPPY to see Camping World in my rear view mirror. They mounted my Maxxair vent covers DIRECTLY to my roof...and no where near what the Manufacturer recommends...WHAT THE FOOL???? Now I have 12 holes in my roof I do not need. Am very concerned bout the 'integrity' of roof-rotting sooner, mildew, or be compromised in another way? Told them if I would've known they would mount them this way-I would've done it myself. Reason I do what I can myself-that way I KNOW exactly what was done and how it was done.

Tomharg said...

I have to throw in a positive word for CW. While I have not had repairs done by them, I have done a considerable amount of shopping. In the West and Northwest, I have found CW consistently to have the a far better selection than most of the RV dealers I have stopped at looking for specific items. In their spanking new store here in Spokane, they stock items that I have never seen in any RV parts store. I have also found the prices at CW stores from here to San Diego to be competitive. Maybe I have just been fortunate to have stopped at the good ones, but I will continue to shop at Camping World. And no, I don't have any connection with CW.
Tom

Bob Godfrey said...

RE: Camping World......read the fine print in their service areas.....10% will be added to your bill for "shop supplies" ..... always love that one. 10% for rags and such which are also covered in the "flat rate manual" as part of overhead. Think about a 1 or 2 thousand dollar bill and then add 10%. Great work CW!

Gordon McKee said...

I said goodbye to Camping World a few years ago when I discovered PPL Motorhomes.com in Houston,TX had began selling RV parts and accessories. In the last year I've purchased an AC unit(same model as CW) and saved $150 after paying freight(850 miles). I lately purchased a converter and saved $65Compare for yourself
Gordon McKee

Sunny One said...

I agree about Fantastic Fan, their customer service is out of sight. I backed into my garage, not realizeing my Fantastic Fan vent was raised until I heard that ominious CRACK! I just wanted the new cover, and it was all my fault, but they sent the cover for free. Love them!

Lee Ensminger said...

Chalk me up as being dissatisfied with their service as well, this example being from the Ft. Myers, FL store. We wanted an oil change on both the main engine and diesel generator, differential level checked, all fuel filter and water separators and DGA level checked in the coolant. My first clue should have been that they didn't have the faintest idea what DGA meant and no idea of how to perform that test. When the coach was restarted, the kid gunned the throttle twice, which I've been told is NEVER the way to run an engine while waiting for oil pressure to come up. When the coach was placed in the parking area [after I'd paid, of course] I did a quick inspection and found the oil cap was missing from the top of the engine! I really have no confidence the rest of the work was done peoperly [chassis lube, diff. check, etc.]. I should have known better, but they were enroute and convenient. Back to Cummins Coach Care or Spartan for me.

Anonymous said...

I'd bet if all of you would find a non commercial shop, maybe a family run organization, you'd quit going to CW and get screwed on every visit. I use a family run shop , the work is great, and attitude is human. They don't service rv'S THEY service owners of RV's. I'd never drive into a CW except to turn around and go the opposite direction on a highway.