Breaking Up with Your RV Dealership and What to Do Next

Peggy Sue is a 2001 Jayco Qwest Pop Up Camper.  While she is a senior lady, we love her so much!  Since our purchase 18 months ago, we had relied on a local Jayco dealer to help us with simple repairs.  Their service and parts department had been amazing!  But this spring, we had to break up.  It all started with the request for a part and went downhill fast.  How do you know it is time to part ways?  And what should do when that happens?

Today, I'm sharing with how to know when it is time for a break up with your dealer and what you should do next.  As much as I felt like I had been slapped across the face, the sting was minimal and temporary.  And, it didn't take me long to move on to greener pastures.  Hopefully, you won't find yourself in this position.  But, if you do, maybe I can help you navigate a little more clearly.

Your Dealer Can't Say Those 4 Little Words

When there is a problem, you RV dealer should say "I'm sorry" and "Thank You" for your business.  These two things are free and relatively easy.  If your dealer is not willing to say these things when something goes wrong, you are in the wrong relationship.

I'm an organized person.  I provide the model, VIN and necessary information to order a part.  I am patient and have realistic expectations.  I communicate clearly.

After 6 weeks, much of which was dead air, I was told by the dealership that they no longer serviced models not purchased at that dealership and couldn't get my part.  This was after I had arranged to order the part and have some additional work done there.  When talking with the general manager, he explained that they simply had too much business to service me and couldn't accommodate campers not purchased from them.  Great.  Business.  Model.

Drastic Business Decisions Without Warning

If you have worked with a dealer for a period of time, regardless of where you purchased your camper, and they just switch lanes - move on!  Something is wrong with this picture.  Don't try and sort it out in your head.  Just walk away.

The lady that was handling my part request was no longer employed shortly after I ordered my part.  I have no way of knowing what happened there.  But, common sense would tell you that the dealership would either help finish up a project in process or help to find someone who would.  Nope.  That is a clear sign that it is time to go.

Ask for Recommendations from Other Campers

Just as you would recommend a dealer, others will do the same for you.  Poll your camping comrades on social media or in your camping circles.  I have found that people are quick to help you make good decisions in the camping world.

Be specific when you are seeking recommendations though.  Otherwise, you may get recommendations that don't fit your needs.  If you are looking for an excellent repair center that works on vintage model campers, ask for that exclusively.  Some RV places deal more with Class A's, some do not handle pop up campers at all.  Tell people what you are looking for so that they can help you.

And, not all recommendations are good ones.  The dealer that I had previously used told me to just call any auto mechanic to have the wheel bearing job done that we had scheduled to do there.  Bad advice.  If you are going outside of a dealership to have work like this done, find a mechanic that works on trailers or larger models.  It always helps to ask about experience and type of work.  One size does not fit all in the RV world, and that is terrible advice!

Call Or Visit a Dealership On Your Radar

Find out if the dealership you are eyeing handles campers not purchased from them.  Ask questions about wait times and how they handle these situations.  You can always date another dealership until you settle on the one that works for you.  Start by ordering a part or two or having a simple job done.  Don't turn over the major stuff until you are sure.

Ask about the rate of service per hour.  Find out about the technical staff and if they receive the proper training to work on your camper.  No one should be offended by you asking the questions to help you make the informed decisions.  And unless you are in a hurry, don't treat this process like speed dating.  Take your time.  There are great dealerships out there.  You just have to find them.

Tell the Dealership You Are Leaving and Why

If you leave to go elsewhere, be clear about next steps.  While I am writing about my experience here, I told the general manager of the dealership that it was unprofessional not to finish a job that was in progress.  I also explained that we would be upgrading in a couple of years and this business would not go to them.  If you have had a bad experience and are leaving, tell them what happened and why you are seeking other services.

Don't expect someone to beg for your business.  It doesn't matter at this point.  The whole point of doing this is just to make your previous dealer aware that something is wrong.  Maybe they will fix the problems before someone else gets burned.  Maybe not.  But, do yourself and everyone else a favor and just tell what happened.

And when you walk away, do it and mean it.  I don't mean putting it all on Facebook and tagging the dealership a hundred times about bad service.  Don't recommend them.  Tell your experience if others ask you.  And most importantly DON'T go back.  Don't buy a roll of RV TP or so much as window shop there.  Just go!

Call the Manufacturer

I called Jayco and asked for help and what to do.  The gentleman on the phone was helpful and even got the local dealership on the phone to find out what was going on.  While the manufacturer cannot force someone to sell me a part or provide service, he did email me the exact part number that I needed.  I was able to use this information to help me locate my part and move on with my life.  The manufacturer is always going to be a good resource.  Don't count them out!

Breakups are hard.  I am a creature of habit.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't sad about not having a local dealership to help me with my RV.  But, when I think about this and am sad, I'll also remember that I was not able to get my work done there because they had switched gears and turned into something completely different.  The problem here was them and not me.

This is why being able to do work on your own as an RV owner can be a big plus.  This is especially true if you own an older camper.  Older campers can be difficult to find service and parts.  But even with these facts, I have found great persons that have helped me from lots of different companies and states.  While I prefer to shop local, that doesn't always work out.  And that is okay.  It never hurts to go a little exotic on your hunt for what you need in RV land.

While on this hunt, I walked into a Camping World in Calera, AL.  It is a rather large store, so I thought they may have the part I needed.  No.  They didn't.  And they don't work on pop-ups.  BUT, the gentlemen behind the counter referred me to another dealership near them that deals with Jayco.  They also gave me the name of an online company that could help.  And, guess what?  I found the part because these guys were nice enough to help.  Camping World didn't make a dime off of their recommendation.  But they pointed me in the right direction.  This is what a reputable dealer will do every time if they cannot help you out.  So, kudos to you Camping World in Calera, AL.  Your guys in parts are amazing!

I still believe that having work done on your rig at a reputable dealership is wise.  I'm sure I'll find another dealer that can help me when those little things arise.  It will be a little farther and a little less convenient.  But, I'm hopeful that it will be worth the drive to get the service that we need.

Until next time...