This week we’re turning the tables on you. Instead of our typical “Trends and Buying Tips” article for RV buyers, we are requesting information from you. Many of you have recently purchased a new RV using one or both of our books (The Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide and The Motorhome Comparison Guide) and know that a significant amount of our data comes from existing owners. Over the past nine years we have found our best feedback comes from the people that actually own and use the RVs we rate. Dealers and manufacturers are great at supplying specs and construction data, but they rarely give us real objective information that new buyers really want. For this we poll our previous customers who are now owners -and pass it on to consumers still shopping for their RV. It’s a great system and enables us to provide a truly consumer-based product that people know they can trust. As many of you know by now we are an independent research company that works only for the consumer. We accept no kickbacks, monies, or any financial consideration from dealers or manufacturers. If we like a product and hear good things, we tell you, and, conversely, if we know of issues with a company or product, we also tell you.
A perfect example comes to mind. Recently we started receiving feedback on a very popular Fifth Wheel with a good track record that apparently has defective slideouts. One or two unhappy customers is not a trend but we started to hear from lots of unhappy customers and they all said the same thing: the slideouts worked okay for a couple of weeks but then started binding and sticking -in some situations leaving an unhappy camper far from home with a slideout that would not slide in. Some investigation on our end determined that there was a problem with the seals working loose and tying up the sliding process. One customer had to physically rip out his seals just to get his slideout closed (on a brand new Fifth Wheel!), while others had to manually re-mount their seals and close the slideout with another person’s assistance. These were all new Fifth Wheels -with a new and improved slide system. Previous year models with the old slideout system were not affected. Discussions with the manufacturer provided no helpful information. They were unaware of any issues, they claimed -even though we knew for a fact that a handful of owners had contacted them in the past few months. Additionally they said that no recalls were pending and even gave us a sales pitch on why the new slideouts were better than ever. Hmm. Not the response we wanted to hear from a manufacturer that we liked. In fairness, all cases of failed slideouts that we have heard of have been repaired under warranty, but this is usually after a very long and frustrating day by the new owner far from home. As of this writing we have not been able to ascertain if the repair provided a true fix or if the problematic seals were just replaced with the same type seals -that would be prone for future failure, possibly after the warranty has expired. We are continuing to look into this but all new customers requesting RV Reports from us on this model are being alerted -and will continue to be alerted until we hear of a satisfactory conclusion. A customer requesting information from us on this year’s unit three years from now will certainly be given a head’s up to check the slides carefully.
For many RV buyers our comparison guide is their first experience with the well known adage that RVers help RVers.
If you have already purchased our products -and your new RV- please consider staying in touch with us. Drop us an e-mail or give us a call after your first trip or two -you can even just reply to this e-mail. Tell us about your dealer experience and satisfaction level, as well as anything you wish you would have known prior to purchase. Everything and anything you share with us is incorporated into our database and may prove extremely useful to the next buyer. Keep in mind that we will not elevate or denigrate an RV or manufacturer based on singular feedback, but we will make note of it and adjust our reviews if a trend develops (as in our example of the defective slideouts).
If you are still in the shopping process, we here at RVReviews.net (with the assistance of our past customers) are here to help. Our informative RV Products: Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide, Motorhome Comparison Guide, and model specific RV Reports can help you find the perfect RV for you.