Chuck Woodbury, editor and publisher of the RVTravel.com, the industry’s largest and most prestigious online publication, is a full-time RVer and an industry advocate. But Woodbury says RV buyers must beware.
The RV industry, with record sales in 2017, needs to better protect the best interests of buyers.
Woodbury, an author, internationally renowned RV industry expert and the host of the best-selling Better Business Bureau DVD, “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” is the guest on episode 25 of The Weekly Driver Podcast.
“There’s no international organization anymore that looks out for the interest of RVers,” says Woodury. “There’s nobody back in Washington, D.C., or in state legislatures lobbying for lemon laws for RVers. The only lobbying that’s going on is against lemon laws. The dealers and the manufacturers do not want lemon laws. It means they have to build better RVs pr take them back and they don’t want to do that.”
According to Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in Reston, Va., wholesale shipments increased 17.2 percent in 2017 from the previous year. Motorhome shipments increased 14.4 percent last year from 2016 totals.
But while industry sales highlight the industry’s boom, it’s also fostered growing concerns of decreasing manufacturing quality.
“To me, it’s a huge problem,” says Woodbury, who frequently receives letters from readers of his website and RV Travel Newsletter about catastrophic issues. “I am probably the only voice out there who is trying to get the companies to do something more to improve their products.”
Woodbury, who’s traveled throughout the world as an RVer for more than 30 years, believes manufacturers and dealers entice potential buyers with increasingly advanced equipment and furnishing and with low long-term financing. But it’s rarely in the best interests of customers.
“Many of manufacturers today do not even to do a final inspection before the RVs off to dealers,” Woodbury warns. “It’s up to the dealers to find problems. Some dealers will go and look through their inventory find problems. Other dealers just look the other way.”
Further troublesome is a lack of qualified assistance for RVers whose vehicles need repair.
“There’s a huge shortage of RV technicians, says Woodbury. “Generally, the dealers don’t pay very well, so it can be very difficult to get an RV fixed. We hear horror stories all the time about people buying RVs riddled with defects. It can take months to get an RV repaired. I feel sorry for people who have paid $100,000 or $200,000 or a new RV and they can’t use it.”
In addition to discussing the industry’s shortcomings, Woodbury also discusses new trends in RV industry, the increase of different groups buying RVs and other changes in the RV community.