Problems with your RV and your dealer won’t fix it?
To some people, it’s allergy season, but to RV owners and lemon lawyers, it’s RV complaints season. A record high 11.2 million U.S. households now own an RV, and as the weather warms up and they get on the road, RV owners are discovering broken fixtures, leaks, chassis holes, and a host of other issues. To add to the problem, many RV dealers and manufacturers are ignoring complaints, or brushing off frustrated RV owners with delays and excuses. Lemon laws exist to protect consumers from such defects and delays.
What common RV defects do lemon lawyers see?
Almost every RV brand that we see has had problems with water leaks. Forest River, Heartland, Jayco, Keystone – we have received complaints about water leaks in all these RV brands IN THE PAST MONTH ALONE. Leaks can be both from rain coming in, usually due to leaking slides, and from defective water tanks in the RV. With leaks, the damage caused can be substantial. Rust damage caused by a water leak can affect the structural integrity of the RV, and be expensive to repair. Water leaking into the RV can cause mold and major water damage to interior fixtures and furnishings.
Holes in the roof and floor
It may seem obvious that a new RV should not have holes in the roof or floor but this is still a common problem in RVs, including Jayco, Keystone, and Forest River RVs. Owners are finding holes in new RVs due to poor construction, often made worse by rust that has set in because of water leaking at the hole.
Even when a client comes to us with a non-structural RV issue, there is usually a structural problem with the RV too. Here’s a sampling of the issues that we have seen recently in Keystone, Alpine, Airstream, Forest River, Heartland, and Jayco model RVs but that are commonly found across all RV brands:
- Loose screws
- Doors and cabinets loose and/or not properly installed
- Dryer vents incorrectly installed
- Inoperable awnings
- Flooring coming up
- Floor falling out
- Walls bowing
- Trim falling off
- Inadequate seals
Broken fixtures and appliances
The many additional fixtures and appliances in RVs cause a lot of problems. We have received complaints recently about defects with the refrigerator, toilet, awning, generator, water heater, radio, and speakers in models such as the Jayco, Airstream, and Forest River. These are the kind of problems that an RV manufacturer will often try to blame on a third party supplier, and you need an experienced lemon lawyer to protect you from their excuses.
How are RV manufacturers handling complaints?
RV owners face more problems when they try to get their faulty RV repaired. Many of the RV complaints that we receive are from RV owners who have tried to get their RV repaired but their dealer refuses to complete the repair or has kept the RV on their lot without repair for MONTHS. Calls to the manufacturer often go unanswered and the end result is that they are stuck with a very expensive, very defective RV.
Some of the common tactics that we have seen from RV manufacturers are:
- Ignore customer calls and complaints
- Deny any responsibility for the defect
- State that the defect is merely cosmetic
- Delay responses or repairs until the warranty period has expired
- Get the owner to take the RV back before repairs are complete
RV owners do not have to accept this behavior from their RV manufacturer. Lemon laws and other consumer protection laws protect RV owners, and often apply after just 2 or 3 failed repair attempts, or 30 days without your RV.
What can dissatisfied RV owners do?
The first thing to do when you discover a defect in your new RV is contact your dealer to get it repaired. If you are lucky, that will be the end of the problem. If you are like many RV owners, the dealer will be unable or unwilling to fix it, will try to charge you for the repair, or will start the clock on weeks or months of brush-offs and delays.
With any problems and/or repairs with your RV, keep a record of all problems and repair attempts. This means at the very least keeping the repair orders and invoices with details of the problem, the attempted repair, dates out of service, and any charges. Some people find it helpful to keep a diary to record what exactly happened and when. This blog article gives more detailed guidance on the type of documents that you should keep for a lemon law claim.
If your RV is not properly repaired by the dealer at no charge to you, or if repairs and delays are taking an unreasonable time (typically more than 30 days,) you may be able to bring a lemon law claim or breach of warranty claim against the RV manufacturer. You should contact an experienced lemon lawyer to find out more about your rights, and whether you are eligible to bring a lemon law claim. The laws are different in every state, particularly for RVs, so it is not advisable to rely on the legal advice of friends, family, or fellow RVers who may have been in a very different situation or state to you. Most lemon lawyers, like Timothy Abeel & Associates, will offer an initial consultation for free. And if you succeed with a lemon law claim, the manufacturer is required by law to pay all of your legal fees.
Sometimes the threat of a legal claim is enough to spur a dealer or manufacturer into action. More often, bringing a lemon law claim forces a manufacturer to deal with the complaint, and negotiate a settlement. If you proceed with a legal claim, a successful lemon law claim will entitle you to a replacement vehicle, reimbursement of your purchase price, and/or compensation with all your legal fees paid for you.
If you are experiencing problems with your new RV, the team at Timothy Abeel & Associates may be able to help. We have advised many RV owners on their rights and helped them to get the compensation, purchase price reimbursement, or replacement vehicle that they want and deserve, all at NO COST TO OUR CLIENTS. Contact us today for a free, no obligation case review.