Our 'Home' is home

Friday, the 25th, we picked up our 5th wheel. What a totally frustrating day it was!

Our appointment was at 11 am. We'd gotten Mike's youngest brother, who lives not far from us, to come stay with Mom & Dad for the day because we knew it was going to be a long day. 1-1/2 hour drive to the dealership, 2 to 3 hours work on the truck, walk-through of the 5th wheel, etc., etc. 1-1/2 hour drive back to the house with the 5th wheel.

We were 20 minutes late getting there. We left in plenty of time but there was a truck carrying a HUGE wide-load on one of the two-lane highways we had to take. It was so wide that there were 3 escort vehicles in the front and 3 in the back. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction had to pull completely off the highway onto the sloped shoulder and wait for this huge thing to pass. There was no possible way to pass. Finally, they pulled off onto another highway - which we should have taken as well but we opted to keep going.

We called our sales rep at the dealership and let him know what was going on and that we'd be a little late. He let the Service Department know. When we arrived, we had to wait 1/2 an hour while the people at the service desk figured out where our parts were. Finally, it came out they hadn't come in yet! What?!! They'd known we were coming in for the hitch work for 2 weeks and they knew we were coming from 1-1/2 hours away AND had to get someone to watch Mike's parents. They thought the parts would be in via UPS over the lunch hour so we got back in our truck and went out to lunch.

When we returned an hour later, the parts had arrived, thankfully. The mechanics took the truck to start the hitch work while one of the RV techs took us out to go through the 5th wheel. We went over it inch by inch and made notes of things we needed to repair - remember we bought it 'As-Is'. We discovered that all 3 slide-outs had pieces of the seals missing on both the interior and exterior parts of the slide - something we hadn't noticed when we bought it. Made a note that we'd have to get some 1" bubble gasket to fix those areas that were missing it; don't want the weather getting in.

It was also noted that the gray-water tank was half full and the black-water tank was completely full. The tech made a note to make sure those were dumped before we took possession and drove away.

We spent the rest of the afternoon signing papers and twiddling our thumbs. Did pick up a few things we knew we'd need in the 5th wheel but other than that we were just waiting.

Finally, around 4:30 we were shown how to hitch/unhitch the unit and at 5 were told we could leave, We were exhausted! We had expected the truck to ride differently with the 5th wheel attached but I think we were both surprised at what a huge difference there was!

After we got home and it was finally parked in the right spot of the driveway, I looked at Mike and said, "Don't forget to lock it up." He looked at me with a blank look on his face and said, "How? I don't have any keys." Joy.

Saturday morning he took his Dad out to show him things in the camper and discovered that the holding tanks had NOT been emptied. That was the last straw. I called and asked to speak to the General Manager, whom we had met when we signed the sales agreement 2 weeks earlier. He was at another of their facilities in Meetings so I asked for his email. I shot off a letter to him explaining our major problems and stating that although everyone had been very friendly, their service department was highly disorganized.

The GM wrote back almost instantly, apologizing and asking for a conference call on Monday between him, us, and the Service Department manager. I responded that Tuesday would be better because we hoped to be getting the parts we needed for repairs on Monday and would be running around. No response.

This morning Mike went out to do some measuring before he went out to buy the seals (we'd found a local source). The battery had gone dead and he couldn't operate the slides so couldn't measure everything to see how much of the seal he needed. He wanted to check the battery (which is new) but couldn't open any of the bay doors because we didn't have any keys. He was so disgusted! He called the GM but had to leave a voice mail. After an hour, I emailed the GM again. No response.

Finally, 2 hours later, Mike called the company directly. The GM had just left the receptionist's desk so she was able to get his attention. He said to transfer Mike to the Service Manager. That man had copies of all the emails and apologized profusely for all the problems on Friday. I knew he'd offered to replace the seals for us by the way Mike was responding and saying, "No, we bought it As-Is, we should do the work." I was across the room going "What is that man thinking?"

I spoke up and said, "You know, we could go there on Thursday on our way out of Florida and let them do the work." Light bulbs went off in Mike's head and he changed his response. We are now going to get Mike's brother to get Mom & Dad on their plane to New England while we head back to the dealer for the work. They're also going to dump and clean the tanks AND give us a free night at their connecting campground.

So, it pays to complain when things don't go right. You just have to be sure you do it right. State the facts and what you had expected without going into a tirade. 9 times out of 10 you will get a positive response. The GM was made aware of problems that they are working on to fix; the Service Department is going to try and stay on top of things better, and we get work done for free that we thought we'd be having to do ourselves. A win/win situation.

We will be leaving Florida one day later than planned which means we'll be a day later getting to our friends in Louisiana but, hey, we're retired now and can be more flexible! We still should be able to be in New England by April 14th which was the original plan.

On the plus side, we were pleased to see that when all the slides are in, we can still walk down the middle of the 5th wheel and get to the kitchen area without any problems. That means we can easily stop at rest areas and fix lunch or boondock for a night when traveling.

Anxious to get the bed set up. We love the 4" mattress topper I purchased last week. Just need to get the upholstery foam to make the extension for the head of the bed.

Stay tuned for phase 2 with the 5th wheel.

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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