Tuesday, July 19, 2011

King of the road deposed

Well my blogging friends, our long anticipated summer trip to Gettsysburg and the West Virginia mountains is not going to happen. Before I tell you our story, let me warn any of you thinking of purchasing a new RV to choose not only your model but your dealer very very carefully.

I fell in love with a pretty thirty-one foot Four Winds Serrano 'Fred' rig that seemed very reasonably priced for a 'Fred' at RVOne (Orlando RV) in Winter Park, where I live. I traded in my used Winnebago View for the Serrano, even though I was not familiar with the product. Once the dealer had me on the hook they reeled me in and things never went quite the way they should. The RV cost more than it I was told originally, the finance manager having danced a few really slippery dance steps. He tried to cheat me on my trade in , too. The repair department was never terribly efficient or caring about the problems that cropped up post delivery. The unit was in the shop more often and longer than it should have been for new RV, although the warranties were honored.

The cruise control never worked. We were told that was not a dealer issue and nobody in Orlando was certified to fix it under warranty. We could travel without it, so we just kept putting off dealing with it. We could not put off dealing with the broken shower head since we could not shower. We waited several weeks for the dealer to replace it and then Danny bought the right kind himself and installed it using the internet directions on his iPad! The roof leaked badly a few months later and the cab was flooded. Back to the dealer who said they couldn't be bothered with it for the better part of a month! Danny drove it to the lot and parked it in their driveway and they took care of it in two days.

There was other stuff like an air conditioner that leaked condensation over the bed soaking the mattress and a cabinet door that came apart from the wall. The radio antenna fell off in a windstorm. Another window began to leak badly with the summer rains, flooding the dash and floor in the cab. The battery compartment wouldn't lock and the weather stripping fell off the door. The leather seats in the cab began to crack and rip as if they were years instead of months old. But it was usable and we decided to make an appointment to have all fixed after our vacation.

Then a few days before scheduled departure, we had a seriously severe storm, went to the storage facility to check the window leak and discovered the steps were stuck in the down position and the instrument panel was non-functional. Went to the dealer who said, call the Workhorse chassis people. We called them and they said it was a Manufacturer issue. We called Thor who said 'is not our job, man'. They told us to call the dealer. The dealer said 'we can't see you for at least eight weeks'. Now, we have a warranty but nobody who takes responsibility for repairs. Nobody gives a rat's ass, we can't use it and more and more water damage as it sits unused outside in the storms will be a major issue.

I've been reading about Serranos online. Quality seems uneven. Some folks have had no problems, others have had experiences much like ours. Would I buy another Thor product. Uh uh. Not with the lack of customer service. Would I ever deal with RV One again? What do you think? If you said NEVER, you'd be right.

Well, we called Lazy Days in Seffner, Florida near Tampa and they said, 'sure we can fix it all if you can get it to us'. We made an appointment in two days. Danny figured out a way to detach the steps and how to monitor speed with his iPhone. We can fill it up and be sure there's enough fuel even if we have no way to check it via the dash gauge. The turn signals work and so do the break lights, so we will manage.

It's a three hour round trip drive. Even though I hate highway driving I will follow in my Volvo. If I decide to sell the rig and/or when I am ready for trade, you can bet your britches I will go to Lazy Days first before any other dealer. My advice to you again is to avoid RV One whether in Buffalo, Orlando or in the midwest. Its all one company. Management seems only to care about volume sales, not satisfied return customers.

That's my story. I guess my summer vacation will be spent at Universal Studios which is 45 minutes away and driving the hour to the beach for an afternoon in my car. Give my regards to the mountains. Next year, hopefully I'll be there.

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