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Old 11-14-2015, 11:40 AM   #1
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Fiamma Frustrations!

We just took delivery of another 9 passenger Interstate and are experiencing multiple problems with our Fiamma awning.

First, the awning began to self-extend (unfurl) while driving down the interstate. The beeping alarm in the cabin sounded, we pulled over at a rest area and tried to retract the unit once again.....with no success.

Next we decided to extend the awning 30% of its extension length and then try to retract it. The awning failed to retract - just a gear clicking noise was heard.

Next we fully extended the awning and "you guessed it" it was now fully extended at a highway rest stop without retracting. With the help of a passerby, my wife and I "assisted" the retraction of the awning while the retract switch was operated. The awning was still extended about 6" while we drive slowly to our first exit from the highway to a nearby RV dealer. The local dealer diagnosed the problem an a stripped gearbox, and indicated they don't want to deal with Fiamma. The dealer staff helped retract the awning fully, then secured the awning from passively extending (with duct tape). When I tried to pay for their time, they said "happy to help you get it secured."

My frustration with Fiamma is related to their poor customer service and archaic policies for field repairs/replacements such as ours. They're expecting me to drive 14 hours round trip and waste three days for this repair. Rigidly standing behind statements such as "well, this is our policy!" We have supplied video, with audio of the problem. They refuse to send parts to my dealer - prior to my dealer troubleshooting the problem. I have requested they review the video, send estimated/anticipated parts to my dealer for service appt scheduled this week (7 hour round trip where we arrive night before, depart 5pm after repair). Fiamma has indicated they are willing to send parts in advance, but the dealer will "own" the parts not related to the repair - Fiamma will not accept a return of unused and unopened parts.

My personal experience the past 20 years with private aircraft ownership and larger boat ownership is that field service has truly evolved. In this instance, it's as if we're still operating with a 1960's service policy here with Fiamma.

To waste the time, money, and energy for a 7 hour+ trip to the dealer seems pointless to me. This wasted may serve Fiamma's archaic service policy - but shows little concern for customer satisfaction.





Scott
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Old 11-14-2015, 11:53 AM   #2
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To waste the time, money, and energy for a 7 hour+ trip to the dealer seems pointless to me. This wasted may serve Fiamma's archaic service policy - but shows little concern for customer satisfaction.
I've not had problems with Fiamma USA— unless the parts I needed had to be imported from the head office in Italy because they're not stocked Stateside. Then it was a clusterf— excuse me, a mess.

Also, I've never had a problem with getting Fiamma parts shipped direct to me; never needed to have them shipped to a dealer. Then I carried the parts to the dealer to get them installed.

However, I've never had to return unused parts. Every part I ordered was installed.
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
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2015 and not covered under the Airstream Warranty?
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:17 PM   #4
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2015 and not covered under the Airstream Warranty?
It wouldn't be, because it's covered under a separate Fiamma warranty.
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:29 PM   #5
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It wouldn't be, because it's covered under a separate Fiamma warranty.
Which like a lot of other warranties out there, are only good for emergency number 2 paper.

IMHO Airstream should be the one to cover everything on their products and then go after the accessory manufacturer for compensation. That's how I would do things if I were Airstream, as the last thing you want is a pissed off customer because of another manufactures product.

Goodluck
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:23 PM   #6
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It wouldn't be, because it's covered under a separate Fiamma warranty.

Agree most accessories are covered by their own warranties, but if they fail within the warranty period, it's down to Airstream/the dealer to handle it.
My microwave has failed three times within its three year warranty and the dealer has replaced it each time, with a new one delivered from Airstream.
Airstream chose these accessories, some of which are pretty shoddy, so let Airstream deal with it.


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Old 11-14-2015, 10:24 PM   #7
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I'd press the dealer to get it fixed. They sold you a defective product that is still within the warranty.


- - Mike
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:46 AM   #8
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We had the gearbox failure on our awning in the backwoods of Arkansas a few years ago. It was the night before very severe weather was predicted for the N.W. Arkansas area, including tornadic winds. We were stowing the awing when, within 4 inches of being completely stowed, the pinion gear on the motor split, like plastic will, and down came the awning almost hitting my wife in the head. We were not prepared for this type of failure as the awning was not used that much and was relatively new. I had not made contingency plans for this failure. We utilized a plastic camp chair in an attempt to get up high enough to use the manual crank to attempt to stow the damaged awning. Well, that did not work well for three reasons, (1) the chair was not sturdy or tall enough to totally reach the awning itself, (2) the hand cranking of the awning is only strong enough to spool-up the fabric, but not mechanism, (3) when the mechanism is in the stowed position, there is no mechanical latching device to lock it in place. After realizing that I could not stow it, We secured it, extended, and lowered on the outer edge, secured with bungees. This stowing worked as there were high winds in the camping area and a tornado 2 miles away. The following morning we encountered some campground workers who had ladders and rope. We lashed the broken awning in the stowed position and had a sigh of relief and much gratitude to the guys who had helped us out. They also saved the awning from being cut-off the coach.
LESSONS LEARNED: We now carry a telesteps folding ladder with a closed cell foam cap to prevent coach denting. We carry velcro straps, large tie-wraps and nylon rope for other possible situations that can be anticipated (duct tape was always a back-up). On a recent visit to Tulsa, THE Lewster, master RV technician, informed me that another way to potentially get the awning close to stowed is to put a rope/strap midway between the arms and draw then together. This makes an awkward process more manageable.
We had an extended warranty that covered the repair at a local RV service center (not an Airstream center as we did not have one close by). After a telecom with the awning manufacturer, I decided to side step the horsepoop and just handle it myself.
We now do not use our awning unless the sun is unbearable. This has not been a problem as we traditionally avoid hot places in the summer and go to the mountains.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:51 PM   #9
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Update:

Customer satisfaction, Jackson Center has stepped up and pulled a gearbox from their inventory to send to my dealer in advance of our service visit. After seeing the video of the malfunction, AS JC seems pretty confident of gearbox malfunction.

Fiamma doesn't seem to really care very much at this point. After several email exchanges with video, and phone calls to attempt to find some common ground, Fiamma has simply said - "we are not deviating from our policy."

Thanks to the dealer Airstream Adventures Northwest in Portland, and to Airstream Jackson Center for being logical and customer focused.

Warranty coverage: Agree with Road Jager regarding gaps in coverage and customer support with AS components. In my mind, everything added to this vehicle should match up to the MB 3 year warranty plan. If the component manufacturers need to purchase "insurance" for their products warranty "gap" then that's the cost of doing business with AS.
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