What to Do If You've Made an RV Buying Mistake
The glow of the excitement you enjoyed when buying your RV has worn off, and now you realize that you have made a terrible mistake.
There may be a couple levels of regret. On one hand for instance, you may be sorry because you
- paid more than you could afford or wanted to pay,
- find that driving your new rig intimidates you or
- didn’t realize just how small the shower is.
Regrets like these are just buyer’s remorse. These and other situations like them are fairly easy to remedy.
But on the other hand, you may be feeling misgivings because what you thought was a quality coach has turned out to be a dud that has serious design and construction problems.
This kind of regret is more complicated, and could easily end up costing you thousands of dollars or worse!
Things You Need to Consider
Questions you most likely will ask yourself are:
- Should you just keep your coach and use it as is?
- Can you tolerate the RV’s flaws?
- Should you take an RV driving class?
- Can you refinance?
- Should you try to sell it?
- Can you return your coach to the seller?
- Will the manufacturer or dealer fix it for you?
- Can you file suit if things don't seem to be working out in your favor?
The answers to these questions depend largely on your personal situation, what was in the sales paperwork you signed at the time of purchase, the consumer protection laws of your state of residence, and the level of customer service your seller is willing to provide.
Options One Through Five: Live With It, Sell it, Refinance it
The good things about options one through three above is that you can pursue them simply by making a few sacrifices and learning to be more comfortable driving your RV. The longer you can get comfortable with your RV, the better it will be for you, because after a while you’ll be able to trade or sell your coach without losing too much money.
However, items four and five, refinancing and selling, are a bit more complicated because if things go wrong, you could end up losing a good deal of money.
Of the two, refinancing might be your best option, but only if you can find a financial institution that will give you a significantly lower interest rate and/or a longer period of time to pay.
- Selling will be expensive because you can expect to lose 20% of your purchase price during your first year of ownership (plus everything you have paid in sales tax).
- Trading isn’t a good option either, because to make a trade, you’ll have to purchase a coach that costs more than the one you own and will have to pay additional sales tax.
Options Six Through Eight: Return it, Get it Fixed, Sue
Sadly, these more aggressive remedies are very complicated to pursue.
The truth is that no matter how bad the problems are, you will never, ever, get a seller to let you return a problem motor home, trailer or camper to him, regardless of what your contracts and warranties say.
He is well aware of the laws and also knows ways of getting around them. He also will not be willing to take the huge financial losses that would go along with accepting a return.
Sometimes a manufacturer will help you out, but since each part of your coach is produced by different companies, you need to know who they are and what their warranties say before you can get them to make repairs.
If you try these options and become frustrated, you may want to file a lawsuit, but you'd likely be wasting your time, because tucked away in many of the legal papers RV buyers are asked to sign are clauses that
- make them agree to never file suit, not matter what,
- make them use binding arbitration in the event of problems and/or
- reduce the statutes of limitation on their warranties.
Furthermore, the protections offered by state Lemon Laws are spotty at best.
A great read that will help you to sidestep many of the problems that you will face when trying to purchase a recreational vehicle.
How to Buy an RV Without Regret
If you want to lower your RV risks, it is up to you to learn all you can before making a purchase, so that you do not have to deal with problems later.
How to Avoid RV Contract and Warranty Problems provides some sound advice that can help you to do this, as does the book above. There are things you need to know (or might forget) about buying recreational vehicles.
By nature, all RVs are flawed. This system is flawed because:
- Consumers don’t often understand the risks inherent in buying recreational vehicles.
- Sellers take advantage of buyers' lack of knowledge.
- There is very little government regulation when it comes to quality control in the manufacture of motor homes, trailers and campers.
- It is common for companies to fudge on components to save money, thus creating design flaws.
- New units have no history, so it is almost impossible for the average buyer (especially those who have never owned a travel unit before) to spot problem areas.
- Coaches that look good may be poorly constructed or even dangerous to drive.
- RV sales documents rarely are written to protect the consumer.
Understanding these things and educating yourself about them is the best way to make sure that you don’t get stuck in a regrettable situation.
If you’ve already made an RV buying mistake, learn from it and do what you can to deal with it so that next time you will be able to avoid problems.