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Parts Shortages and Gas Prices Hurt New RV Owners

The huge numbers of people who have bought RVs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are now facing defects, repair delays, and soaring gas prices.

Sales of RVs increased as Americans sought out travel options that avoided crowds or travel restrictions, and took advantage of remote work and schooling opportunities. RV manufacturers produced record numbers of RVs but now those RVs are on the roads and the cracks are showing … literally. RV owners are experiencing mechanical, electrical, and structural problems in their new RVs, and even more problems when they try to get repairs done. Parts and labor shortages are causing long wait times for repairs while defective RVs are sitting at the shop. For those lucky people that are able to get their RV out on the open road, high gas prices are making RV trips an expensive choice. Californians in particular are feeling the squeeze. They spend more than any other state on RVs and typically have some of the highest gas prices in the country. In California, and in other states, federal and state consumer protection laws help RV owners who are faced with defects and repair delays. Unfortunately, many people do not know they are protected.

What kinds of problems do RVs have?

An RV can have all the problems of a car or SUV, as well as issues that are unique to RVs. Some of the problems that we, as lemon lawyers, see are:

  • Leaks
  • Cabinetry falling apart
  • Holes in the roof
  • Siding falling off
  • Walls too short
  • Flooring defects
  • Broken slides
  • Gas tank will not fill
  • Battery does not hold charge

RV owners with these problems, and others, report that when they bring their RVs back to their dealer for repair, they face excuses and delays. Many RV owners are waiting months for their RV to be repaired, not realizing that they have legal rights which would give them compensation, a purchase price refund, or a replacement RV.

Why can I not get my RV repaired?

A shortage of repair parts combined with a shortage of trained technicians has led to major delays in RV production and repair. The problems began with COVID related shutdowns in early 2020. Closures of manufacturing plants globally caused delays in production of RV repair parts, and even when production began again, inventory was reduced. Some smaller suppliers were so badly affected that they went out of business, further reducing the supply of repair parts.

Transportation problems made the problems worse. US ports were backed up and labor shortages affected trucking deliveries. Across the country, all industries experienced parts shortages and the RV industry was no exception.

Labor shortages are also affecting repair times in the RV industry. Trained RV technicians who can complete repairs on defective RVs are in short supply. As a result, RV owners are suffering long wait times to get the parts needed for their RV repairs AND to get the repairs done.

What can RV owners do?

RV owners, like other vehicle owners, are protected in many states from being stuck with a problem RV. State lemon laws provide owners of recently purchased vehicles with legal rights and options when their vehicle is defective. These laws apply when the vehicle cannot be repaired OR when it is taking an unreasonable time to complete the repairs, and entitle the owner to a replacement vehicle or a refund of the RV purchase price.

The laws in each state are slightly different, and you should talk to an attorney about the laws that are applicable to you, but the basics of any lemon law claim are:

  1. Lemon law only applies to recently purchased (or sometimes leased) vehicles. Some state lemon laws apply to only new vehicles while some apply to both new and used. A recently purchased vehicle is one that was bought within a certain number of months or mileage of problem. The exact time or mileage limit is set out in state lemon law e.g. Pennsylvania lemon laws apply within one year or 12,000 miles of purchase while New Jersey lemon laws apply within 24 months or 24,000 miles.
  2. The problem with the RV must be substantial, affecting the use, value, or safety of the vehicle. A lemon lawyer can advise you on what this means in your state.
  3. The manufacturer must be given a chance to repair the vehicle. If they do not repair it in a reasonable number of attempts or days, the owner is entitled to a remedy by law. The manufacturer is typically given 3 attempts or 30 days to repair the vehicle but it varies by state. If it is taking longer than this to repair your RV, then you may be able to bring a lemon law claim.
  4. If your problem RV is not repaired, you are legally entitled to a refund of the purchase price or a replacement vehicle.
  5. The manufacturer must pay your legal fees in a successful lemon law claim.

If you have bought a new RV that is defective and your dealer cannot get the parts for repair, or is delaying repair for another reason, you may be able to bring a lemon law claim, at no cost to you.

Contact one of our experienced lemon law team at Timothy Abeel & Associates online or by calling 888-611-5481 to find out how we can help you. We offer a free case review and we guarantee that, win or lose, we will never send you a bill for our fees.

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