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Old 06-15-2018, 06:35 AM   #1
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Winnebago Warranty Department Warning

Dear Colleagues,

There are some stark differences between RV warranty departments and automobile warranty/service departments that most new RV buyers do not understand. The sales teams will lead you to believe that you can take your unit to any "authorized Winnebago service center" for service. That is only a half truth.

Here are some facts every new consumer should understand:

1. Most dealerships prioritize service slots to those customers who purchased their rigs with that dealership ( you can't blame them). So if you purchased your rig elsewhere you will face delays in scheduling service that can be extended over months.

2. Unlike the automobile industry, the manufacturer does not reimburse the dealership adequately for the warranty work so the service centers parse out very carefully which jobs they can afford to accept.

3. RV manufacturer's, unlike automobile manufacturers, will not cover the unit as an entity but will refer consumers to individual component manufacturers instead. For example, if your water heater goes out, you may be asked to contact that company. If your slide motor dies, they may ask you to contact that company directly, etc.

4. Warranty service slots are usually weeks or months out and the turnaround time is extremely slow. Often, parts must be shipped and this process (unlike automobile parts processing) is extremely slow and often rife with errors ( in my case they shipped the wrong parts and/or the parts arrived broken because they were not packed properly by Winnebago). Expect long delays.

Unfortunately, after speaking to other RV owners and having candid conversations with authorized dealership service center technicians, this is a common practice (widespread) throughout the RV industry. The Sales people will not inform you of this at the time of the sale so buyer beware.

The best advice is to join a community such as this and find a local RV service center that does private repair work or learn how to service your unit yourself. In many cases you can use YouTube or this community to get great do it yourself advice.

I went without use of my RV for 4 months while waiting for the Winnebago Warranty department to make good on a service claim and then had to wait weeks to get the work done. It sure did teach me patience. Now I am on a mission to alert consumers of this practice BEFORE they buy so they can be prepared to face these challenges in the future.

RVs are great fun but they require a lot of care and maintenance and owners need to know how to navigate the systems.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 06-15-2018, 07:43 AM   #2
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You are absolutely correct in every point.

I've owned RVs for nearly 20-years. I'm on my 5th RV. Those of us that are long-term RVers do know this going in. We've learned it - usually the hard way - but with hundreds of thousands of 1st time RVers entering the market, and at all levels, from pop-up campers to $800,000 diesel pushers, this is brand new stuff.

Perhaps, with all the new RVers the level of complaints back to the manufacturers will rise so high that more will be done.

It could be improved very quickly if manufacturers simply paid RV dealers and repair shops better and faster for warranty work. And, if the manufacturers improved their parts departments and warranty administration depts.

Also, I think manufacturers need to hold their suppliers (and dealers) more accountable for quality and for responsiveness to problems.

But until any of that happens, your warning should be printed out and handed to every person looking to buy an RV.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:45 PM   #3
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We knew a lot of this going into a new RV in Oct '16...we live 2 hours from Forest City and that factored into our decision to go with Winnebago. We have had 2 occasions to visit Forest City. Go in with your eyes wide open, the service center in Forest City is a good option. Patience is a virtue. We went in without an appointment 2 weeks ago, they had our problem fixed (Fried transfer switch) in under an hour. We knew about all the pitfalls when we bought new, and we haven't been disappointed. Hopefully we are over the hump working out the bugs on a new RV. Don't expect a trouble free existence.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:50 AM   #4
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I don't know if I'm lucky but I have had good experiences with my dealer, Lichtsinn.


They have dealt with individual component manufacturers on my behalf at least three times that I can recall. I've been at the service writers desk while he spent over 1/2 hour for the first call to secure a new fridge - then spent another 1/2 hour to get one faster than the stated week to ship.


I have never heard a complaint that they weren't reimbursed well for the repairs. As I previously stated on another thread, I make appointments far in advance and "collect" issues to be taken care of. Most times I have had authorization from the component manufacturer or Winn and the parts are waiting for my appointment.


The last thing I had replaced was the cover for my Truma water heater. The part was waiting for me at my last appointment, already painted at the factory and ready to put on my rv. Yes, covered by warranty.



The day of appointments you have to be ready at 7:30, work gets done that day (and perhaps a second day if needed). No sitting in a parking lot for weeks on end.


Forward planning with appointments seems to be the way to go.
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYBobbo View Post
I don't know if I'm lucky but I have had good experiences with my dealer, Lichtsinn.
Well, yes, you are lucky. And it's lucky that Lichtsinn is in Forest City, Iowa the home of Winnebago. And, that Lichtsinn is the largest Winnebago dealer in the US. Their proximity and relationship with WBGO makes all the difference.

Of course, it helps that they are decent people running a good RV dealership. But it's the other things stated above that really matter.

The closest Winnebago dealership to me is 60 miles away. sells maybe one or two WBGO's a month and has only 4-service bays. The next closest is 300 miles away and sells 6 brands of RVs, and WBGO isn't the largest seller just one of a half dozen.
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:00 AM   #6
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Regarding dealer reimbursement for warranty repairs--there is a poster on iRV2 who works for a large dealership in Memphis. He has posted that the dealer is paid the exact same hourly rate for warranty work as they are for any other repairs, and I believe that is true.
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:03 AM   #7
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Humm, if that's the case why the reluctance to do warranty work? Is it too much bureaucracy or not enough service personnel or capacity? Waiting too long for parts to arrive or be approved???
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Humm, if that's the case why the reluctance to do warranty work? Is it too much bureaucracy or not enough service personnel or capacity? Waiting too long for parts to arrive or be approved???
As far as I know, the only irritation with warranty work is getting the manufacturer's approval for repairs. I'll ask him. (His dealership is not WGO, but I'd think they all operate in a similar fashion.)
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:29 AM   #9
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OK, I found the thread/post on iRV2. You all might find this interesting information. Brian is an RVer so he knows "both sides of the counter." http://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/dont...ml#post3637105
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:08 AM   #10
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I agree, WGO pays the folks at a fair rate otherwise it would be impossible to get warranty work completed. I drive about 70 miles one way to a really good service center, not perfect but very good. I have recommended them highly for folks in NW GA, Open Roads RV and I like the White, GA location. They are a WGO dealer but more importantly they listen to my case, take my research, listen to ME and do a good job of repair/replacement etc. So far I'm satisfied with their work, as good or better than any shop we have visited in all the years. When younger I did most stuff myself but now I don't even climb on the roof. Years do matter. RV components are different than autos once you leave the chassis side. Stocking those parts like A/C or refrigerator is done by the individual manufacturer and not the RV company normally so the process for parts can be painful or lengthy at best.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:32 PM   #11
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Kayak, the RV roof is a dangerous place. I’ve been up once in the last year. My collapsible ladder and Winnie’s 7.5 foot width make inspection and maintenance doable.
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Well, yes, you are lucky. And it's lucky that Lichtsinn is in Forest City, Iowa the home of Winnebago. And, that Lichtsinn is the largest Winnebago dealer in the US. Their proximity and relationship with WBGO makes all the difference.

Of course, it helps that they are decent people running a good RV dealership. But it's the other things stated above that really matter.
I did have the LP regulator changed at my local Winn dealer, 30 miles away. He does lots of commercial sales to insurance dealers and the like for mobile sales offices. He got me in less than a week. I just prefer not to go to his facility since he is so crowded with the commercial rigs and there is very limited parking. I didn't even know he was there since he is mostly a repair shop without a sales lot.


Forest City is only 1/2 day away from where I travel to three times a year at least. I just schedule it in and haven't found it a problem.



My View is now 2.5 yrs old so I'm on my own :( I sure wish there was a longer warranty period but I think I've gotten almost everything replaced
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:42 PM   #13
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It pays to know your dealer and the service department
Shop local
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:45 PM   #14
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Certainly shopping local is the goal, Vince, but in my case the local dealer wanted $2500 more than dealer in San Diego. That’s a bunch of repairs.
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Old 06-20-2018, 04:53 PM   #15
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I’m wondering if the fair and fast payment to dealers for warranty work just isn’t enforced since...”every manufacturer and distributor is required to fulfill its warranty obligations and to adequately and fairly compensate its franchisees for labor and parts used to perform warranty service.” Or is it “you’ll lose your franchise?” I’ll take that case!

See Warranty Claims - RV Dealers
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:26 PM   #16
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After reading all the different blogs on RVing, I am even more comfortable with my decision to sell. Only had the 07 Itasca Meridian for 2 years, did not have a lot of problems but did have a few - it was the ones that were coming down the road I did not want to deal with. Actually have many sleepless nights wondering what was next. I now know I was not the type to own and maintain an RV. Read all the problems people are having, and sit back and smile, not mine, not now.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:28 PM   #17
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Good luck, Chief.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcolang View Post
Dear Colleagues,

There are some stark differences between RV warranty departments and automobile warranty/service departments that most new RV buyers do not understand. The sales teams will lead you to believe that you can take your unit to any "authorized Winnebago service center" for service. That is only a half truth.

Here are some facts every new consumer should understand:

1. Most dealerships prioritize service slots to those customers who purchased their rigs with that dealership ( you can't blame them). So if you purchased your rig elsewhere you will face delays in scheduling service that can be extended over months.

2. Unlike the automobile industry, the manufacturer does not reimburse the dealership adequately for the warranty work so the service centers parse out very carefully which jobs they can afford to accept.

3. RV manufacturer's, unlike automobile manufacturers, will not cover the unit as an entity but will refer consumers to individual component manufacturers instead. For example, if your water heater goes out, you may be asked to contact that company. If your slide motor dies, they may ask you to contact that company directly, etc.

4. Warranty service slots are usually weeks or months out and the turnaround time is extremely slow. Often, parts must be shipped and this process (unlike automobile parts processing) is extremely slow and often rife with errors ( in my case they shipped the wrong parts and/or the parts arrived broken because they were not packed properly by Winnebago). Expect long delays.

Unfortunately, after speaking to other RV owners and having candid conversations with authorized dealership service center technicians, this is a common practice (widespread) throughout the RV industry. The Sales people will not inform you of this at the time of the sale so buyer beware.

The best advice is to join a community such as this and find a local RV service center that does private repair work or learn how to service your unit yourself. In many cases you can use YouTube or this community to get great do it yourself advice.

I went without use of my RV for 4 months while waiting for the Winnebago Warranty department to make good on a service claim and then had to wait weeks to get the work done. It sure did teach me patience. Now I am on a mission to alert consumers of this practice BEFORE they buy so they can be prepared to face these challenges in the future.

RVs are great fun but they require a lot of care and maintenance and owners need to know how to navigate the systems.

Thanks for listening.

Excellent post John! Informative and well written. You are doing prospective owners -- and people considering extended warranties -- a great service. Thank you!
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:33 PM   #19
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Not accurate in California. Vehicle Code sections 3065 and 3075. I don’t know about other states.

See Warranty Claims - RV Dealers
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:38 PM   #20
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Itís a little more competitive here in the Midwest
Prices between dealers are generally fairly close. Service makes the difference
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