Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I get real irritated when I feel like I’ve been scammed. Lately it’s happened when I spend time at commercial RV campgrounds. I use online website information to make my decision where to stay. Often they list all their amenities with enough creative writing to make the intent vague. Often “Wi-Fi Available” means just that. It’s available for an extra daily charge, or you need to sign up with a local service. We just paid for a month in Florida with the expressed understanding that the pool, hot tub, recreation hall, and wood shop would be available to us through the month of April. Mid-month they started mothballing these facilities for the season. It took a lot of complaining to convince them we had a verbal agreement plus advertising stating what we could expect these amenities to be available to us for the entire month. I’m starting to feel like an old curmudgeon, but if I don’t complain they take advantage.
My wife says I should just “go with the flow.” But I always seem to blow. What say you?
--Laid Back Screamin’ in the Sunshine State
It takes some time to see a pattern, but once you find it, make a simple call and ask the hard questions. Wi-Fi is very important in this day and age. Data is expensive, so park owners may opt to charge extra as they do electricity. Regardless, it should be clearly stated in their list of amenities. You need to perform due diligence when investigating charges before making your parking decisions. As far as getting cranky, it can sometimes become necessary. We just spent a month in a park with absentee management. The volunteers running the place were mathematically challenged. I first had to give them a lesson in prorating a monthly charge, and then in placing the decimal point in kilowatts on the electrical bill. Their math added $40 dollars to my monthly bill and $30 dollars to my electric bill. I was flabbergasted that they were running a park with hundreds of spaces and did not understand how to do sixth grade math. It could be good for the bottom line of the business if customers do not pay attention to their charges. I know they thought I was a jerk, but they probably didn’t like their math teacher in school either. Once you have an understanding on what the actual charges and amenities are you have every right to expect just that. I would suggest you start your questioning with a very understanding attitude. If all else fails sometimes a lively debate will begin to get results.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink