During the first year of owning our new RV, I thought that any issue we would have ought to be covered under our original factory warranty — especially considering the problems we’ve had already. But the lessons I have learned while living the RV lifestyle (and continue to learn with each new occurrence) are very eye-opening.
I may have mentioned it in a past column, but we had an issue a few months back with the RV generator, which would not crank up. We take day trips often where we just dry-dock the RV and let it run on the genny, so this is pretty important for us. On this occasion, it took four tries before it turned over and started. I knew it had to be the batteries. I told my wife that once we got it running, we would be fine as long as we didn’t shut it off.
I set an appointment to have the batteries looked at. They were also going to get the RV wired for DirecTV, since they finally had that mess all worked out. It turned out the turret needed to be replaced, so I figured I might as well have them wire the boxes up for DirecTV as well.
After some time, I had not heard from them, so I called down to check on the status. Little did I know we were losing another service rep (that would make the fourth in 17 months) and someone new was taking over our account. When I finally got hold of someone that had information on the work needing to be done, they said the turret had arrived and they would look at the batteries. I took the RV and left it with them to have all of this done. I was told that, depending on what was up with the batteries, it may take them two weeks.
I got a call two weeks later — it was done and I could come and pick it up. But this is where it gets interesting. Now, at no time did they tell me that there was a charge for any of this. Our old rep had said in the notes that he informed me there would be a charge, which he did not. As they were handing me the keys, they asked me how I would like to pay for the work that had been done. Huh? This is within my original year and I expected it to be covered.
That was not the case. When I was told they would wire up the boxes for the DirecTV, I was never informed that there was a charge for that, and it was not covered under warranty because all RVs need some wiring to make them compatible with the service provider. The confusion there came with them having to do some wiring with the new turret that was not in place properly which they did cover that.
I thought about for a moment and decided I was good with that. If extra work needed to be done to be compatible with DirecTV, no problem.
But what shocked me was the batteries. Those were not covered, and apparently are never covered under warranty — not even if you buy this thing brand new and it spends more time in their shop than it does in your own driveway. Considering the price of the batteries, and the number of hours needed to find the issue and replace the batteries, the bill was a tad staggering.
Turns out that the batteries had bad cells in them — all of them. I had to eat that expense, on a unit that is less than one year from new. I fish a lot and own a bass boat. I know batteries. If you get one from Advance Auto, they have warranties on their batteries and are not over $400 apiece.
By the time I walked out of the shop, even with the discounts they applied, it was a hefty bill. I paid up and am now trying to reach our extended coverage folks to see if any of the work that was performed will be covered. I would be OK with this if it were an older model. You have to expect things to go wrong as mechanical devices age. But cosidering all the issues we have had, capping it off by the batteries was close to putting me over the edge.
As I drove home, I had to talk myself down a little bit. We did get a great deal on this unit. We’ve had it gone through and found hopefully everything that could go wrong and gotten them all fixed, mostly under warranty. And now can use it hassle-free for a while. If that’s where we’re at and I don’t have to take it into the dealer for more work, I’ll be happy. All we want is for the thing to work right.
While you’re reading this, I’m up in Bainbridge, Ga., for my last professional fishing tournament this year. If I can get through this trip and a few more trips early next year without anything breaking down, I’ll be thrilled that we are finally in a good place with our RV. We’ll know soon enough.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.