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Old 04-23-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
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Buying from reputable dealer

importance of buying from a ‘knowledgeable’ dealer cannot be overstated

maybe I can save a potential buyer some real headaches

was lurking the forums the other day, happened upon a thread where a member was pointing out the obvious frame separation/damage on a ‘for sale’ A/S, and the subsequent correspondence with the dealer when he pointed it out

to sum up- dealer trying to pass-off ‘mint’ coach-- but then uses the “gee, I didn’t know there was a problem, I’m new here” excuse when he’s called on it. pathetic. This guy should not be selling new Airstreams.

(I’ll give you the overall of my new trailer purchase experience, without boring you on the details- if you’re interested feel free to ask... I’d be more than happy to give you the whole ball of wax...)

I consider myself pretty well-informed on the subject of RV’s
I did my research before purchasing
Shake-down items are typical with a new RV purchase, I understand this
but I should not have had to ‘discover’ these on my brand spanking new trailer:

-major slide leak during storage from november through april (we picked it up end of october, and didn’t experience any rain during shake-down trip prior to storing it). floor, carpet, sofa arm framing, wall fabric, base trim, floor substrate from galley forward completely saturated. red and black mold growing under entire slide... finding that was a nice surprise!

-batteries completely fried. If it were obvious like they wouldn’t hold a charge, I could have caught that during ‘shake-down’. They hold charge, just not under anything other than a very small load. (yeah, I know, batteries discharge under load, that’s how they work... again, I’ll spare you the tedious details)

-brake system not bled per actibrake/airstream specs.. after towing home, realized my suburban was doing all the work. spent the afternoon jacking/removing wheels/bleeding system


At the very least, extremely inconvenient, and completely avoidable had I purchased from a ‘knowledgeable’ dealer...
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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importance of buying from a ‘knowledgeable’ dealer cannot be overstated

maybe I can save a potential buyer some real headaches


to sum up- dealer trying to pass-off ‘mint’ coach-- but then uses the “gee, I didn’t know there was a problem, I’m new here” excuse when he’s called on it. pathetic.

This guy should not be selling new Airstreams.
A lot of them shouldn't be selling "used Airstreams" either.

We see all to many times, where a new owner of a used Airstream or Argosy, really got taken to the cleaners.

What some of the E-bay offers isn't much better either.

Exceptions?? Rarely.

Sad, at best.

Andy
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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That is precisely why I started reading the forum several months before buying my first AS, to try to avoid problems. As it is, I saved myself a lot of grief, thanks to the great wisdom shared on this forum. Yet even then, when I went to physically examine an AS that was billed as "primo, dent-free" the first thing i noticed when I saw the trailer were the small hail dings... Just a few, but... so after crawling over, under, around and thru, measuring from the top of the wheel (not tire) to the bottom of the wheel well, after jumping on the rear bumper, after trying all the appliances, we decided that for the price, a dozen light hail dings on a 32', 22 year old trailer, simply gives it some character.
There seem to be a lot of good used Airstreams out there, and they can be had at a fair price if you're a knowledgeable buyer. Research here first! Saves a lot of heartache and grief. Or, wait until "your" airstream shows up at a knowledgeable, reputable dealer. Isn't part of the fun in the chase, though?
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Steven
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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while i agree with the advantages of buying from a reputable dealer, i wonder if those dealers could offer a service to those trying to find 'the one' trailer. maybe they could offer a mobile inspection service or tow in inspection service if a buyer is interested in buying from an unknown dealer, hobbyist, or private owner. especially in the case of vintage trailers, because of their rarity, not many come up for sale.
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:28 PM   #5
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while i agree with the advantages of buying from a reputable dealer, i wonder if those dealers could offer a service to those trying to find 'the one' trailer. maybe they could offer a mobile inspection service or tow in inspection service if a buyer is interested in buying from an unknown dealer, hobbyist, or private owner. especially in the case of vintage trailers, because of their rarity, not many come up for sale.
Great idea, but it will never happen.

Individuals won't allow someone to tow their trailer off.

Inspections take time, and more time to come up with the repair dollars.

The owner is not interested in anything except a big price, as is, and is not interested in "what the repairs" would cost.

We offer and inspection program to the prospective buyer. In 43 years, no buyer has yet arranged to have a coach brought in.

They all say the same thing. The owner will not allow it, as is, where is.

In field inspections would take time. At whose expense?

Remember that a dealer carries liability when they get involved.

An individual can sell, as they see fit, good or bad, with zero liability.

Andy
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:15 PM   #6
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There is information on this forum, forgive me because i don't now know exactly where it is, that gave a price range of repairs for Airstreams. I copied that off, and took it with me when I went to look at my first trailer before the first of the year. The seller had planned to restore the '76 model, and in fact had begun the restoration when his life changed. I went over the trailer very carefully, and made a list of what was right, and what was wrong. Then I approached the seller in a very gracious tone, explaining what I was doing, and why, and what I had found out about repairs. The obvious repairs totalled about $2,000, and he lowered the price that much. We had a deal.

Fortunately he was a reasonable man, and probably had a couple of prospects walk away from the trailer. But I also did not approach him in a confrontational manner, just matter of fact, kind of regretful, but this is the way it is. So if you do your research, and can back it up, and are gracious, the seller MIGHT also be reasonable and come down in price. Then again, hell might freeze over this coming July too. One simply never knows.
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Steven
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:36 PM   #7
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I tried to be a knowledgeable buyer, but with only 2 dealers in the state, there were few options. Having had a bad experience with a truck camper a number of years before, we were skeptical, and we had read a lot, including the Forum. Unless you have another travel trailer, especially an Airstream, you have a tough time figuring it all out. Even then it's something of a task.

I didn't want to search for a used one and have to figure out things I knew nothing about. There are plenty of examples on the Forum of people who bought a used trailer and had many bad surprises. They post for a while and then disappear. For example, whatever happened to "Fat and lazy"?

At least with autos and trucks there are sources of information about reliability and what to look for when you buy a used one. There are lots of dealers and friends can advise you on which ones to avoid. Sorting through the Forum is daunting. I at least knew to look for corrosion. Since I knew—from the Forum—something about TV's—I watched to see if salesmen were lying about what would tow what. One salesman at one dealer was so far from reality plus his obvious disrespect for us, we walked out. The 2nd dealer was better, but after we bought the trailer, problems mounted up. If I were to do it again, I'd go far from here to buy a trailer relying on the opinions of Forum members about which are the best dealers.

But how many people interested in buying an Airstream are going to travel 1,000 or more miles to buy a new one? And then, what about warranty service? We are going more than 1,400 miles to have work done at the factory. That's crazy.

Gene
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:58 PM   #8
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But how many people interested in buying an Airstream are going to travel 1,000 or more miles to buy a new one? And then, what about warranty service? We are going more than 1,400 miles to have work done at the factory. That's crazy.

Gene
More than you can imagine. In the last 45 days we have sold 13 new Airstreams. Customers were from: Washington, California, Arizona, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia, Nebraska, Louisiana, ans South Carolina to name a few!

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:15 PM   #9
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pre purchase auto inspections happen everyday. those companies take responsibility/liability for their inspections and if they didnt, what kind of inspection would that be?. a huge red flag would go up for me if a seller would refuse to take the time for a requested inspection. and i would be willing to work with a 'reputable dealer' for a proper inspection if that dealer were not 'fear mongering' for business or over selling unnecessary upgrades.
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:28 PM   #10
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Gene, that's good for you, but is it good for Airstream? There may be lots of people who didn't buy one because they didn't want to go interstate (or Interstate [pun intended]).

You have one of the dealerships that has a good reputation and I commend you for that, but there don't seem to be many with that kind of reputation.

Why do I feel like I'm talking to myself?

Gene
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
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Gene, that's good for you, but is it good for Airstream?
Gene
Not so sure...it might be...I know there are a handful of what most of us would call "good dealers" out there. I think they are the ones that really care about and believe in the product.

I think if I owned a big company like that, I would rather have a few that did a great job representing my product, than several that did a mediocre job. That's just me. My wife and I do own a small business here in town, and I want my empoyees representing our company as if they were part owners, and they do.

Case in point: I just had some folks in here from far, far, away that had been to an RV dealer that handled Airstream. That dealer also carried several different brands of travel trailers and had 2 Airstreams on the lot. They did not know the product and even tried to move them to another brand of trailer that the sales person knew more about. I guess my question is, does it help Airstream to have a dealer on every corner, or would you rather have fewer dealers, ones that are passionate about the product AND as Rich Luhr puts it the "Airstream Life". Which one would do more to promote your product that best?

Just a thought Gene,

Gene

(Now I feel that I just responded to myself)
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:50 AM   #12
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shame on me, for not doing my homework on the dealer... did everything but

at the time, I couldn't justify paying more out the door, and accruing costs just getting to the dealer to pick it up...

if I knew then, what I know now...
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:02 AM   #13
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Not so sure...it might be...I know there are a handful of what most of us would call "good dealers" out there. I think they are the ones that really care about and believe in the product.

I think if I owned a big company like that, I would rather have a few that did a great job representing my product, than several that did a mediocre job. That's just me. My wife and I do own a small business here in town, and I want my empoyees representing our company as if they were part owners, and they do.

Case in point: I just had some folks in here from far, far, away that had been to an RV dealer that handled Airstream. That dealer also carried several different brands of travel trailers and had 2 Airstreams on the lot. They did not know the product and even tried to move them to another brand of trailer that the sales person knew more about. I guess my question is, does it help Airstream to have a dealer on every corner, or would you rather have fewer dealers, ones that are passionate about the product AND as Rich Luhr puts it the "Airstream Life". Which one would do more to promote your product that best?

Just a thought Gene,

Gene

(Now I feel that I just responded to myself)
Gene.

In 1970ish, Airstream had a national sales manager, that felt he was "KING" over every Airstream dealer.

At a national dealer meeting, he said "Airstreams are so popular, we don't need any dealers." "We could put the trailers in shopping center parking lots, and people would buy them."

He didn't last very long.

Dealers that really don't care, don't last very long.

The dealers that do care, and show it every day, usually are around for many many years.

But, as we all know, the bad economy can ruin many good things, sadly.

Andy
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:07 AM   #14
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More than you can imagine. In the last 45 days we have sold 13 new Airstreams. Customers were from: Washington, California, Arizona, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia, Nebraska, Louisiana, ans South Carolina to name a few!

G
Dear Airhog, I couldn't agree more. I think if you AREN'T "willing to go 1000 miles" why do you want an RV? Especially, why do you want an Airstream? My Airstream smiles (I swear I've seen it) whenever I wind up the stabilizer jacks and start to hook up. It is one of a very few RV's which is truly designed for the road.

Other dealers still don't seem able to connect the dots... people WILL buy where they are treated well. There is a survey I saw several years ago that says 66% of all customers change vendors (restaurants, plumbers, heating and air companies, etc, etc, etc) because they are treated as though their business doesn't matter to the company. Not because they are treated awfully, just indifferently. And 99% of those customers never say a word to the vendor about their discontent, they simply find someone else to satisfy them.

"If you don't take care of your customers, someone else WILL!" Should be engraved on the wallet of every business owner in this country.

Obviously it costs a bit more up front for companies like yours to do a whole "prep and pre-test" before the buyer takes delivery... but the word does get out and people do drive past three other Airstream dealers to buy from you.

Congratulations you've earned it.

Paula
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