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Akin to lawyers…

September 27, 2011 by · 4 Comments 


Shopping for a new RV should be a very fun experience, shouldn’t it???  Not if the salesmen have anything to do with it…

I don’t know if it is because we fulltime, because we just experienced frame failure and are nervous about buying another 5er, or maybe it’s because we travel with 10 of our children… what ever the reason, RV shopping this time has not been fun.    Because we fulltime, we need an RV that will withstand the rigors of 20k+ miles a year.  Because we just had a 5th wheel totalled out (well, we are still working on paper work), we want an RV with some structural integrity.  Because we travel with 10 kids, only a few floor plans will work for us, narrowing down our choices excessively, so we are searching the entire country for just 4 models, 2 of which are discontinued!  All that makes it not so fun – besides the fact that we won’t even be able to see our final choice in person due to where we are currently at (traveling with 10 kids.  3 hotel rooms/night (+ bedbugs) + fuel = we can’t just drive all over the US to find them on the lots…) 

And how does one know if they are getting a quality RV???   Our first one, a new, entry level Puma bunkhouse travel trailer for $16,000, we were tickled with.  It was our very first rv; we didn’t know what to look for, the differences in quality and workmanship that go into the different rvs; in fact, we bought the first (and only trailer) we looked at (made true the saying, “ignorance is bliss”).   We may have been weekend warriors, but we USED that trailer – we were in it every second that we could get away (even if hubby couldn’t!), and we took it where 30′ trailers had never been before.  And despite it being an ‘entry level’ trailer, for the 4 years that we abused it, we never had an ounce of problems with it; it didn’t have to go back to the dealer once for a single problem!  Man we loved that travel trailer!!!  Our second trailer, the toy hauler, we were sure was a quality trailer – after all, it cost over 3xs as much (used), as our first one, but we have had quite a few problems with it.  The most recent (and obviously last problem we will have with this trailer) is frame failure; and all this after we baby-ed it because it was much more of an investment and we looked at it as more of an investment (in our family, not financial!LOL!)!

Now we find ourselves searching for a new trailer – we need to do it quickly because we are homeless (we fulltimed, remember?).  Well, we are kind of homeless – we are staying at my sister’s cabin, which is more along the lines of a lodge.  And while it is a beautiful (empty) home that sleeps our family of 12 (currently) with room to spare, we would like to vacate it before we have worn out our welcome.  Besides, if you are an RVer at heart, a house is highly over-rated with it’s 3500 sq. ft. of hardwood floors and 3 bathrooms to clean ;).

The past 2, maybe 3 weeks (it’s all a blur) have been like a crazy, bad dream.  Since we live in an area without many rv dealerships, and because we have found just a few floor plans that will work for our RVing tribe, we are spending a lot of time online.  I have been calling and writing to find out the ‘real’ price, which is not the advertised price (unless maybe you have a trade), nor is it generally the first ‘real price’ they quote you. We are working with our insurance company since Gulf Stream and Lippert refuse to discuss their frame issues like legitimate businesses, I have spent countless hours emailing and calling dealerships to find that they ‘sold that one 6 months ago’, and we have been dealing with salesmen. 

That last one is really getting to me.

Do you guys get all the lines when it comes to dealing with salesmen???

“Can you hold while I try to get a hold of my boss?” (after you tell them you talked to Mr. X this morning but really did NOT care for his pushy personality – you know they are just finding out what Mr. X told you so they can mimic it – why not just tell the truth then you don’t have to worry about stories matching…)

“This is my rock bottom cash price” (but am I the lowest offer you have?)

“Can I call you back since I couldn’t get a hold of my boss?” (after you tell them you can get the same model at x-place for $3k less)

or my fav - “when you find the best deal out there, call me back and I’ll beat it by $100 and we’ll just take off the service contract”(on a new model?) -I wanted to say, ‘do you really think that at $50k, 100 bucks does anything for me???’ -and WHY would I want to deal with a sales-person like that anyway???  

Give me your best deal and stick with it.  Money isn’t everything, I would rather pay more with someone that is working with and for me, than save a few dollars and have to deal with a jerk! 

And I really detest the talking down of other dealerships.  If a person/dealership is really on the level, working for the client, and looking out for your best interest, they won’t feel the need to talk down everyone else.  I’m so tired of the rhetoric of ‘if you don’t buy from us, you won’t get any warranty service after the deal’ or ‘I have the best price, you don’t need to shop around’ (RED FLAG!).  How about the emails that say that they can order it for you the exact one for $-price, but you can’t have the one on the lot (why??? – are they hoping that we won’t notice it when it doesn’t have a gene on delivery???).  

I’m sure that there are wonderful salesmen out there – ones that are truly vested in helping out the client – finding them the rig that fits at a fair price.  I’m sure they are out there, I just have yet to find one this go-round.  I realize that they have to feed their families too – but just because we are purchasing an RV, doesn’t mean that we have money to burn and can feed ours shrimp and steak every night.   To be honest, the Rvs that we would really like for fulltiming are out of our price range.  Models for families like the Excel Wild Cargo toy hauler, or the Carriage Cabo 381 (given that they could add an extra 3 feet on the end to mod for more bunks… :) – well built RVs in which we wouldn’t have to worry about whether they are really engineered to withstand the rigors of the open road and supporting the weight of their posted GVWs. 

 And speaking of money, how ’bout when you fill out an online form for a price request – you’ve gotta love the $4500 ‘mandatory options’ fee (because yes, we all like ‘options’ like cupboards!).  Really.   mandatory.options.  Oxymorons always make me laugh (tho in this case, I think that it was a little maniacal…); if it is mandatory, then it’s really not an option is it?  Would be kind of nice if they just included things like cupboards in your rv’s price, wouldn’t it?  Kinda makes me wonder what else is ‘optional’, only we won’t realize it until we recieve our paid-in-full, ordered rv, minus something like… (beds? carpet? fridge???…)

So what should be a very fun, very exciting experience for our family, has really been a bit of a nightmare.   I do know that once we get back on the road, it will all have been worth it, but in the meantime, I’m thinking that I’m just going to email these 4 not-so-great salesmen each others names, numbers, and email addresses, along with a note:

“I’m tired of playing the game – you guys duke it out, and the winner can email me, when it’s all said and done, with the best cash price…” because if I have to deal with Mr. Pushy anyway, I want a screaming deal for my trouble.

Think it’ll work??? 

I hope so because I think I’m becoming a little jaded, and real estate ads are beginning to call my name… ;)


4 Responses to “Akin to lawyers…”
  1. Patti Faustini says:

    Hang in there, Dana…although things do sound more than challenging. I bet you’ll be in a really cool RV in no time and these days will be a distant memory…and I hope soon!

    Happy tales,


  2. bob L says:

    try Bankstone Motor Homes in Huntsville, al. Just looking there last week and they have a Raptor toy Hauler used just traded in.
    I am shopping early for a new 5er for spring. Will retire in a couple of years. (full time ?? thinking)
    any dealings with having washer drier in the units? Are they worth while of ??? Please give feed back on them and may be on the gen sets also.

  3. Dana T. says:

    Patti – thanks for the encouragement :)

    and Thanks for the tip on the toy hauler Bob!
    We have not had a washer/dryer in ours. Yet. I really do not want a combo unit – from everything that I hear/read, you can’t wash much at a time, and you have to shake them out between washing and drying if you don’t want your clothes to be wrinkled something terrible. They may be fine for 2, but wouldn’t be much help for our tribe. I would love to have a stackable apartment set, but just haven’t wanted to give up the weight for them… There are quite a few threads on the w/d setups over at RV.NET – just do a search for them and you should get lots of info…
    As for the generators, we have only had experience with 2. We had 2 2000 watt Honda’s with our tt – since they weren’t built in, we had to load and unload, chain, refill with fuel…but they worked great and were quiet. Having an onboard 5 KW Onan in the toy hauler really spoiled us. We loved being able to push that button to start it from inside the coach, loved the power to run the air conditioners, and loved that we didn’t have to fill it with fuel very often (filled the tanks at the gas station); didn’t love that it went through a lot more fuel than the little Hondas did, was louder (and we couldn’t direct the exhaust/noise), or that if something went wrong it was a bigger investment out the window…
    I’m afraid that I’m not a very mechanically-minded person, so not a great one to give a review of generators. Now, if you have some baking in an RV questions… ;)

  4. ABrose says:

    As I indicated on a previous entry – check out the stats on any RV under consideration at Unfortunately there are too many manufacturers cutting corners to keep the price lower, no government safety/construction regulations which puts pressure on the few manufacturers who do build a good unit to lower their prices to compete. In this industry, it is obvious you get what you pay for!

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