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Old 09-03-2008, 07:14 PM   #1
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We bought our Winnie from La Mesa in Davis, CA, which has since announced it's closing that location. So, we are searching for a new dealer for warranty work and service. Boris called JC's RV's in Livermore, CA, and they quickly informed him that they "don't do warranty work for units they didn't sell."

Say what?

Sounds like BS to us. But, we continued our search. Hansel RV in Petaluma said they welcomed our business and the opportunity to start a long-term relationship. It's actually a few miles closer so we're happy to go there. But, it begs the question: Can Winnie dealers pick and choose whether or not they take warranty work?

One of the reasons we chose a Winnie was on the strength of their reputation for service after the sale. With our dealer closing, we're having visions of having to drive halfway across the country to Iowa for service. Say it isn't so!!!!!!

Is JC's RV's pulling our leg, or what? We're calling Forest City tomorrow. But, we thought we'd check in here first.

Thanks,
Natasha
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:14 PM   #2
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We bought our Winnie from La Mesa in Davis, CA, which has since announced it's closing that location. So, we are searching for a new dealer for warranty work and service. Boris called JC's RV's in Livermore, CA, and they quickly informed him that they "don't do warranty work for units they didn't sell."

Say what?

Sounds like BS to us. But, we continued our search. Hansel RV in Petaluma said they welcomed our business and the opportunity to start a long-term relationship. It's actually a few miles closer so we're happy to go there. But, it begs the question: Can Winnie dealers pick and choose whether or not they take warranty work?

One of the reasons we chose a Winnie was on the strength of their reputation for service after the sale. With our dealer closing, we're having visions of having to drive halfway across the country to Iowa for service. Say it isn't so!!!!!!

Is JC's RV's pulling our leg, or what? We're calling Forest City tomorrow. But, we thought we'd check in here first.

Thanks,
Natasha
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:25 PM   #3
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You might try Village RV in Rosevile ca right off I80. Bought anew 2001 Horizon from them and they did a good job taking car of work needed.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:42 PM   #4
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The same thing happened to me. The dealer in Morgan Hill, CA told me that I could bring in my coach in eight weeks with a propane leak. Right! I had another chassis-related problem and the local Ford truck dealer gave me the same routine. They "chose" not to work on MHs. Apparently they can do what they want.

Good luck on your search for a dealer.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:37 PM   #5
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A lot of dealerships operate that way. Business must be good to be able to pick and choose. It's not only Winnebago but many others conduct their business that way too.
That's one reason I really like my local dealer (Barber RV), he will work on all makes regardless of the point of sale. I'll buy another unit from them just because of their attitude. I'm not always happy with the schedule but that's the way it is and it works.
They get the job done. I've been on the road with A/C problems and an Itasca dealer basically told me to go pound sand. A local Monaco dealer refused to work on my HR as I didn't buy it from him. Told him I couldn't because he didn't handle the HR line. I spoke to Monaco about it and it appears the dealers do whatever suits them.
It's their business so they run it to their benefit. That's life on the road so we just get use to it.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:02 AM   #6
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Or if they will do warranty work on a unit they didn't sell, you are going to be last in queue if some of their customers need work - Sun Coast RV in Ocala told me that.

Why RV dealers don't function more like auto dealerships vis-a-vis warranty work is a total puzzle to me. Winnie pays well for warranty work - go figure
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:44 AM   #7
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You might want to check out this web site which has reviews of RV repair shops:

http://www.rvservicereviews.com/
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:49 AM   #8
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I have a bit different story to tell. One month after I bought my Itasca the dealer went out of business. I called Winnebago, was told that dealer's contract was "cancelled", because he refused repeatedly to service any coach he did not sell. I ask Winnebago what I was supposed to do about warranty work. They called me back with in 24 hours and aligned me with Ben Davis Winnebago in Auburn Indiana, same distance as purchase dealer. Ben Davis happily took care of every warranty item and on the same basis as if I had purchased it there. So they must exercise some control. In bad times like right now, I think it may be a bit more dicey. Sales are the main emphasis.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:09 AM   #9
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RV dealers seem to have more latitude than automobile dealerships when it comes to where and when they perform warranty service.

Car dealers on one hand average several hundred new vehicle sales a year and are prepared to service far beyond what they sell. Given an average car is driven at least twice the mileage of the average RV there is enough non-warranty service work to offset the poor return from the manufacturers warranty reimbursement.

The average RV dealer on the other hand would be more than happy to sell a couple hundred units per year. The retail portion of the service work they perform is considerable smaller and not nearly enough to offset the lack of profit generated by warranty claims.

In some cases they choose to limit their potential losses by limiting their exposure to warranty work.

I don't like the policy of "only servicing what they sell", and would think that it would eventually come back to bite them in the form of fewer and fewer potential new customers.

When we bought our current coach we were negotiating with a local dealer. The best price they would give us was over $8,000.00 above another dealer about 200 miles away. When I asked if they could do better the answer was a resounding NO. I was informed the additional cost was for the "privilege of having it serviced locally". I was also informed that if I chose to buy elsewhere not to even think of trying to get it serviced (warranty or non-warranty) at their dealership.

Needless to say we didn't buy it there and wouldn't even consider going back when it's time for a new coach. Too bad, if they had just said the price was as low as they could go, without the "if we don't sell it, we don't service it" caveat we would have at least checked them out next time around.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:29 AM   #10
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As many have noticed - all too many dealers don't seem to have gotten the message. Buyers are their source of revenue - and if they drive off potential buyers, guess what happens . . . no revenue.

We are not the "average" motorhome family - in any manner. I can assure you that more than one dealership and more than one manufacturer has permanently lost our business. Ironically -at least one of the dealers and one of the manufacturers are no longer in business. I guess others felt the same way.

Which brings us to my philosophy of buying - and not just RV's. Find a dealer you can trust and feel comfortable with, and buy from him. If you have to travel a few miles, so what?? We're on the road all the time anyway, right!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:29 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Hikerdogs:
--snip--Car dealers on one hand average several hundred new vehicle sales a year and are prepared to service far beyond what they sell. Given an average car is driven at least twice the mileage of the average RV there is enough non-warranty service work to offset the poor return from the manufacturers warranty reimbursement.--snip-- </div></BLOCKQUOTE>I read somewhere that car dealerships actually make more money on the service side vs. the sales side of the business.

When we were shopping for our coach, the *primary* consideration was price and I really didn't care about the service aspect. However, and a big however, we are retired, flexible, and will drive literally hundreds of miles to get quality service performed.

If I was an RV shopper and still had a 9-5 job, then buying where I could expect quality service after the sale in the area where I lived would be a critical attribute.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:35 AM   #12
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Natasha, Just a thought.

Call Winnie service:

Service Administration
(800)-537-1885
For inquiries related to your current vehicle, service, or dealer inquires, please have the following information ready when making your call:
" Complete 12 digit serial number
" Date of purchase
" Selling dealers name

Ask them for a dealer near you who has been awarded Winnebago's Circle of Excellence Award. One of the criteria for that award is how many units "bought at other dearlers" they service in a year.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:09 PM   #13
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I've never lived anywhere long enough to expect to have my car always serviced where I bought it, much less my motorhome. Because of that, I don't even think serivce when I buy a vehicle -- perhaps a bad attitude for someone living in one place for years and years.

We've had our motorhome serviced under warranty by numerous dealerships in several states -- never once has anyone refused me service or even slow rolled me. I don't recall being asked if I had bought the RV from them when I called for a service appointment, unless maybe it was at the place I bought it when I returned there for service when the coach was 3 yr old...

...but then, I've not had the motorhome in CA !!
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:20 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for your valuable input!

I had a conversation with Joel at Winnebago Service this morning and he was quite sympathetic. He acknowledged that dealers have a contractual obligation to service all Winnebagos/Itascas and he didn't understand the business logic (or lack thereof) in refusing to do warranty work on units they didn't sell. But it seems Winnebago doesn't have much clout to enforce the agreements. He made it sound like this story is not unusual. He was very gracious and offered whatever help he could in finding a good dealer for us to have our service and warranty work done.

We will find a reputable dealer to do our service work and they will have first shot at all of our future business, sales and service. As for JC's RV in Livermore, CA, they have now dissapointed us on both the sales and service sides and we will go out of our way to dissuade others from doing business with them. That's just how a free market system works, folks!

Boris
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