I thought I’d share another story of Camping World Service.
At the same time as our ordeal, my husband’s coworker went to Bartow Camping World. He’s an older man that doesn’t get around well. He took his unit in for a minor repair.
The technicians came to him in the waiting lounge with pictures of gaping holes in his roof. Camping World service said that his roof had been punctured and desperately needed to be replaced.
They warned him of impending damage and flooding in the case of rain. A $16,000 estimate was offered but refused.
He didn’t take the estimate or the pictures with him. Instead, he pulled his rig back to his RV park. Fortunately, his wife is fairly fit and able to climb an RV ladder. She scurried up to take a look and found nothing they reported; no gaping holes or tears; zero damage.
We implored them to request the estimate and pictures but they “didn’t want to deal with it.”
That, as I see it, is the problem. These huge companies are allowed to operate unethically because of their size. No one wants to deal with it. Although I understand, I’m fed up.
By sharing our experiences others may be forewarned. Consequently, Camping World and others may be forced to evaluate their business practices. We can only hope.
On Father’s Day 2018, we needed our complimentary roadside assistance. While headed home to Colorado we had a scare. We’d spent the night in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We got an early start north. When we got on the expressway ramp smoke began to billow from the back axle.
We spent the next six hours on the side of the road. I called Good Sam Roadside Assistance. One year of Roadside Assistance is included with any Camping World RV purchase. However, Good Sam had no record of our account. They only had a history of the account that had expired a year after we bought our first unit in Idaho.
Meanwhile, we did find help from a Santa Fe mobile mechanic. First, we found out that the wheel bearings had deteriorated and destroyed one axle. As a result, the tire was coming off. Likewise, the bearings were also deteriorating on the other axle. In other words, any of the four tires were in danger of flying off at any time. Fortunately, they had yet to do damage to the second axle.
The Badger Strikes Again
Driving home on Monday, with our unit in Santa Fe for repairs, I called Good Sam. They confirmed that we were not registered and they “couldn’t understand why.” The representative told me to call the Minnesota dealership.
The Minneapolis Camping World confirmed that our one-year roadside assistance was never registered. The Camping World staffer was perplexed. I knew exactly what happened. We didn’t bite at closing. Therefore, he didn’t sign us up.
The staff member said, “Oh, he wouldn’t do that.” Ergo, more BS. Moreover, I demanded one year of Good Sam Roadside Assistance starting that day, which I got.
In conclusion to this episode, the finance guy was supposed to register us for a year of Roadside Assistance. He didn’t. Just an oversight? I think not. In the end, I did get a full year of roadside.
The axle was warranty issue number one. That is to say, my next post, Camping World Inspection, will chronicle our ordeal when the roof fell apart. It happened just a month after the axle ordeal.
A few days after the nightmare with the finance department, I wrote a letter to Camping World corporate. I detailed our experience.
The previous post, Camping World Purchase, is the first in this series. Read that post first to help you understand why we contacted Camping World Corporate.
Contacting Camping World Corporate
A few days after the nightmare with the finance department, I wrote a letter to Camping World corporate. I detailed our experience in Minnesota (and another with Idaho) and e-mailed it to a few managers. A link to the letter is below.
After I sent the letter to corporate I did get a quick response. A regional manager contacted me to apologize. He said that this was not the way they do business. I was to expect a call from the Monticello manager for an apology. Another scene in the nightmare.
The next day I got a call from a Monticello, Minnesota Camping World Manager. First, he said that he just “couldn’t believe” that his finance guy would do such a thing. After that, he said that he’d been watching him work for years. He promised that he had “never” observed anything like I was describing. In other words, we were liars.
I’m not shy or introverted and this was more than I could take. Consequently, I responded that his response was BS. He had repeatedly seen him do exactly what he had done to us, often successfully. It was his MO and badgering worked for him. He was good at it and shoving that warranty down people’s throats was his normal.
In the end, I pretty much hung up on the manager and called the regional guy back. I left a voice mail and told him not to have that jerk call me ever again. This was our last Camping World purchase. We were glad to be finished with the company. So we thought.
Our Idaho Refunds
My letter also covered an experience I had with another department at Camping World. When we bought our first fifth wheel a year earlier, we purchased GAP insurance and an extended service agreement. We found out that we could get refunds on the remaining balances of both agreements. I attempted to contact Tiffany in Meridian, Idaho where we bought our first RV. Our sales force told us she would get us our refunds.
I started e-mailing after several calls were ignored. Finally, I got a response. She sent forms to fill out and asked for our receipts. After sending everything requested I asked if she needed anything else. Tiffany assured me that she had all she’d need.
After a few days, with more of my calls ignored, I e-mailed requesting the timeframe of the refunds. She replied that we had $700 coming from the GAP. I asked about the maintenance agreement and was told that she didn’t request a refund on that because she didn’t have all the paperwork necessary.
I asked her if she had everything she needed a week before. Instead of telling me what else was required, she just planned to keep our money. Needless to say, I searched for additional paperwork and got our maintenance refund. It shouldn’t be this difficult!
Let me preface by saying that our first Camping World experience wasn’t terrible. In Meridian, Idaho the purchase was pleasant. We’re from Colorado, but my husband was working in Idaho. While there we decided to experiment with our first RV. We bought a 2012 Keystone Cougar 278RKS. Our salesman, Brian, was patient and attentive. We made our deal without a hitch. We had that unit for one year and the only thing that ever broke was the toilet. Just wear and tear.
They offered us the extended warranty, but they did not shove it down our throats. We did buy the warranty, at a reasonable price, and a GAP plan because it was a used unit. These purchases didn’t turn into a problem until we sold the used RV and requested a prorated refund. More about that in the Camping World corporate post.
Monticello, Minnesota Camping World
We decided to upgrade. We’ve learned that vehicle negotiations are always better deals up north near the holidays. So, since we happened to be in Minnesota for a job, the timing was perfect.
As it was in Idaho, the saleswoman, Jackie, was wonderful. We had a list of must-haves and a few “it would be nice” items. In our search, we visited several times. She showed us every unit we requested with patience. She never acted like we were wasting her time. Once when she had a day off, they stuck us with a salesman who did treat us like a nuisance. I can’t remember his name.
and comparing we decided on another Keystone. The manufacturer is another sad
We didn’t want to buy new because of depreciation, but it was the only fifth wheel with everything on our list. A 2018 Keystone Cougar 338RLK won the day.
After deciding on the unit, we sat down with Jackie and the finance manager. Jackie was her usual, friendly self. The finance manager was also pleasant. We assumed we would be dealing with him throughout the process. However, that was not the case.
The Camping World Purchase
After agreeing on a price and a few terms, like keeping our mattress, the deal was made. Another stipulation was that they fix the island. Upon inspection, it was quite obviously dropped during installation. The bottom and sides were cracked. Several places had been painted over to hide the damage. The manager agreed to fix the damage to our satisfaction or replace the island completely.
A few days later we came in with our 2012 trade-in to pick up our new unit. My husband believes that the RV at final inspection was not the exact unit we’d chosen. I believe he’s right, but I didn’t care. The island was not damaged in this one, and it was the same model. After inspecting our new unit, we waited around for quite a while to sign papers.
The Closing Nightmare
After an exhausting day, we finally sat down with a finance specialist to sign the papers. It was a different man, not the manager. We were escorted to an office at the back of the store. At first, this finance guy seemed friendly. It didn’t take long to realize we were in the presence of a high-pressure badger.
To begin, he slapped down a few sheets of paper on his desk with some calculations. With no mention of the total dollar amounts, he focused only on monthly payments.
First, he showed us the monthly payment for the price we had agreed to, listing the APR we had been offered. Next, there were some taxes listed. After that was the payment for a three-year, extended warranty. We declined the warranty and he said he’d have to recalculate. He took his papers with him. Upon his return, he had a new deal that the bank “just” offered us contingent upon accepting the extended warranty. Again, we declined the warranty. He stepped back out, taking his papers with him.
Let me state here,
negotiations began at 6:00 p.m. in Minnesota on a Saturday night. The bank that
financed us is in Maryland. It was 7:00 p.m. on the east coast. There was no
one at the bank on Saturday night, so that was a blatant, repeated lie.
During the next approximately 90 minutes he used words like “value” and “security,” but never cost. After about 45 minutes, on one of his fictitious calls to the bank, I walked out to regain my composure. Our saleswoman was still around. I mentioned that I was about to punch this guy. She went to find him to tell him to stop chasing away her sale, to no avail. He would not give up on the extended warranty we had repeatedly refused.
At about the one-hour mark in our Camping World purchase experience, he rose to go “call the bank” again. This time, I quickly grabbed his calculations from the desk. He stopped dead in his tracks, not happy that I had his notes. I smiled and said, “I just want to crunch some numbers.”
Slowly he left the room. Using the calculator on my phone I made a startling discovery. The three-year extended warranty would cost $16,000 (yes, sixteen thousand).
In other words, we would be paying for the warranty for the 10-year life of the loan. Seven years of payments after the warranty expired. Value? After this ordeal, I got a quote for $29 per month for 72 months from the exact same company. Total: $2,088 for six years! Check actual prices here.
The badger returned to the room with a much less friendly demeanor. He had another paper with a new deal, still including the extended warranty. He was less enthusiastic when he presented his latest scam attempt. I stood up, leaned over the desk, took his pen, and proceeded to scrape the extended warranty line off his paper. I pointed to the unit’s monthly price and said, “We want this. That’s it! We want the deal we agreed to now or we walk.”
Finally, the Closing
He grabbed the ripped paper from his desk and stormed out. Upon his return, he slapped a form on the desk in front of my husband and said, “Sign it.” My husband asked, “What am I signing?” He said, “The deal you wanted.” My husband read the paper and it was not our deal. The numbers listed were at a higher interest rate for fewer years than requested. My husband pushed the paper back to him, “That’s not our deal.” Without a word he took the sheet and stomped back out.
We discussed walking out, again. If he had not come in with our deal, we would have been gone. The negotiations were complete days earlier in our eyes. Above all, this visit should have entailed just signing our agreement and driving off.
In the end, our end, he finally came back with the deal we’d made days earlier. We read every word before signing. He calmed down after a few minutes and apologized. “I just love my job,” he added. In other words, “You love ripping people off?” I asked. He shrugged.
So, at almost 8:00 p.m. our Camping World purchase was complete. Now we had to move our remaining belongings over to the new unit. We had to ask our poor, tired saleswoman to track down the only remaining service tech to help swap the mattresses. In the end, this was an ordeal we will never forget or repeat.
Undaunted by the axle fiasco, our next trip was to Florida. We arrived there in July. We parked and set up. Next, my husband said he was going to check the roof, just to be prudent. Tired and hungry we were planning to get some dinner and go to sleep.
The Nightmare Begins
After walking the roof he descended. Instead of going to eat, we were heading to Home Depot. The front of the roof, behind the nose cap, had snapped back causing several open holes.
I felt like I’d been hit by a truck!
The fight for our labor reimbursement for the axle had just ended in our favor. Above all else, I knew this would be another fight. We headed to the store and came right back to tarp the roof. Little did we know we’d be tarped, and stuck, for four months. Although we stayed in the RV, it was not travel-worthy.
On our model and several others, Keystone advertises a “one-piece, rubber roof.” In other words, the roof is seamless, preventing leaks. My husband concluded, and technicians confirmed, that the rubber was cut too short. Evidentally, the roof should have been replaced at the factory. Instead, they stretched the rubber and shoved it under the nose cap. After a few months, the rubber snapped back like a rubber band. Ergo, a gaping hole.
Camping World Again
First, I called Camping World of Bartow, Florida. They told us to come in for an inspection. So, we scheduled it as soon as possible, about two weeks later. The day of the inspection we took down the tarps and drove to the store.
After about an hour the front desk person brought out a hand-written, yet official, Camping World inspection. She said their computers were down and that she would type it and send it to me asap. I asked to see what the technician had written. She hesitated, repeating that she’d type it up for us. I insisted and she gave me the papers.
The technician wrote that the roof was “not installed correctly.” Additionally, he wrote “defective roof material.” Furthermore, the certified technician stated that the correction was to replace the roof.
I asked for copies and she refused. She said she had to type them up and then she would e-mail the inspection to me. I got out my phone and started making my own copies. I wanted the truth, out of the technician’s mouth. Not a copy after Camping World put their spin on it. The girl wasn’t happy. Obviously, I wasn’t taking any chances.
A few days later I got the e-mail with the typed inspection and it did match my copies. The e-mail stated that we had to sign the inspection before they would submit it to Keystone. Thankfully, I read every word of everything we sign. At the bottom of the page was an agreement.
“I/We confirm that the requested work has been completed to my/our satisfaction.”
The unit hadn’t been touched. No work was started, let alone completed. Consequently, I called Camping World and told my representative that we were not signing. After a moment of fumbling, she said that she had sent the wrong document. However, the work order listed “Warranty” work several times. She said she’d send the correct document in another e-mail.
The Second E-mail
At some time, I can’t remember when she told me that they had already submitted the warranty request. However, they still needed a signature. I was assured that the second disclaimer just said that they were not responsible for damage, like if we left food in the refrigerator.
When I got the next e-mail, I was ready to read “every, single word.” Thank God. This agreement did mention food in the refrigerator. In addition, the second inspection sent to us stated that:
“I do not wish to receive any further estimate, either written or oral, to which I may be entitled by law, before repairs are authorized.”
In other words, if Keystone says they won’t cover the roof, no one has to notify us. Camping World would just do the work and when we pick it up they can hand us a bill for $10,000, or more. Without a doubt, it’s happened to others.
Refusing to Sign
I called back and told her I was not signing away my rights. Consequently, her attitude changed. She put me on hold and when she returned to the phone her demeanor had completely changed. Similar to our financing experience she barked that if I didn’t sign, they would not submit our request to Keystone. I reminded her that she had already submitted it. Then that story changed.
I told her we would not sign away our rights and hung up. A friend had given me the number to Keystone’s Warranty Department. In the end, I thought the manufacturer would give us satisfaction. Thus began the next battle.
Read about our Keystone RV warranty experience. We share our warranty experience in detail, KeystoneRVsucks.net.
I encourage you to share your Camping World experiences here. Together we can warn others and, hopefully, cause change.