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Old 08-04-2019, 05:22 PM   #1
Mitch
 
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Granite Bay , California
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Confirm that New Means New - Through Inspection

I want to share my recent experience with new buyers, since this knowledge would have saved me significant time, money, and stress: Check all the rivets on your new coach to ensure they are all of the factory type (depending on the location on the coach), replacement rivets can be difficult to detect. For example, on the aluminum body panels replacement Olympic or Pop rivets can be shaved, polished, and the included rubber seal not used to help them blend in, but you can tell the difference, and it could indicate a panel has been replaced and lead to clues of other replacements or challenges. Other a-typical rivets could be clues of other repairs (interior and exterior). For example, the coach could have been damaged in transport from JC, visiting RV shows, or just moving about the dealership, some dealers also allow their staff to take out certain rigs as an employment incentive on milestone dates.

Donít assume that new means new. Law requires that dealers declare repairs of over $500 or 1% of the price (whichever is greater), but some dealers may not have established processes and record keeping to capture these repairs in the files for each unit, in order to alert sales staff before deals are made. This means you should detect the repairs yourself. Also, dealers can account for parts, materials, and labor differently then we can. We pay retail for most repairs, but their direct costs, and on-hand parts, can make what seems like a major repair to us, be accounted as less than 1%.

I recently purchased a brand new 2019 30í Classic RB from the showroom floor. We spent a fair bit of time with it before pickup, and even had some very experienced friends check it over and flag items which they thought may be good to have done. We completed a very detailed, multi-page PDI checklist (Pre-Delivery Inspection), checking all systems, and spent time with the dealerís technicians reviewing our findings. We left a punch list for the dealer to complete, and in a few weeks they called us to let us know it was ready.

After pickup we went on several trips with it, and made a fairly major upgrade to the battery system which was customized to our needs. In the mean time I felt like the door maybe wasnít closing right, and received input from people on this forum. The dealer told me that the door closure was typical for an Airstream. I applied reasonably high standards to this new coach, but it was my first Airstream so I didnít have a great deal of experience with how the door should close and the breaking in of the weather stripping over time.

After extensive research, and effort, I ultimately identified a-typical rivets holding the aluminum sheeting of two separate aluminum panels (one was the full-length upper panel on the curb side, and the other was the lower panel on the street side at the front by the tongue not the removable one, but behind the removable steel protecting shield). Based on further investigation, and research on typical JC manufacturing techniques and factory repair processes, I surmised that both of these panels had been replaced after the trailer was manufactured. I became very confident of this as an engineer, although not having a lot of Airstream experience. I now had a brand-new airstream, that clearly had a story before I bought it, and I didnít know what it was. Avoiding this situation is one of the main reasons why we buy new.

What I learned through research was that the large, full-length panel, required that the door frame be removed and reset (further evidenced by the rivets), and that all the windows on that side and the awning be removed and replaced, including all interfaces with the roof and resealing. The complete upper shell and insulation on this side would have been exposed and many peripheral systems (including lighting and electrical components) would have needed to be removed and replaced to allow for this nearly 30í long panel to be completely replaced. I was later told by an experienced Airstream repair technician that this was a very major job, and that few shops even possessed the man-power and expertise to undertake it. Especially given the number of hands required to support such a large panel, and suspend it without bending or otherwise altering it during placement.

You can only imagine how upsetting this was. When I was confident, without doubt, I called the dealer and let them know my findings and asked them what the story was with this rig. The process ultimately resulted in us deciding on a 2020 instead of a 2019, mostly due to time elapsed in the process, and the 2020s were then available.
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:38 PM   #2
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Hi

I once had a dealer "disclose" that they had repainted the door on a truck I was about to buy because of a scratch .... While I considered that to be a "who cares" sort of thing, I would not say the same about major damage to the entire side of any vehicle.

Bob
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:08 PM   #3
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Wow. Just Wow
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:08 PM   #4
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So what did the dealer finally say about what happened?
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Old 08-05-2019, 06:37 AM   #5
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Hi

One interesting thing any time you buy a vehicle: The dealer who got it from the factory may well be an entirely different outfit in a different state than the dealer you are now buying it from. That's every bit as true with Airstream's as it is with cars or trucks. Each time I have bought a car / truck / trailer, that "chain of deliver" (or whatever it's called) actually was spelled out at some point. I very much doubt it is required by law. In the case of an AS, it might rise some red flags ....

Bob
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:18 AM   #6
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A friend recently went thru a similar case on a SOB sold as NEW great deal $$ nice rig but a few things didn't add up after spending time in the rig.

Research thru mfgr proved rig was previously sold, returned for major factory repairs. Turns out it was "reworked" by mfgr including floor replacement not sure if partial or total.

Later determined it was returned to retailer and 1st owner returned unit, not satisfied.

2nd owner after discovery of various issues lawyers got involved, rig is being bought back, owners bought elsewhere.

You could conclude that this sold/used rig was sold 2nd time and marketed and sold as NEW.

Nasty deal.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:21 AM   #7
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It was disclosed that it was damaged in transport from JC, and that upon arrival the dealership asked JC for authorization to make repairs. JC authorized the repairs.

Bob- That is a good point as well.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:57 AM   #8
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That’s just scary. I’ll admit, if that had happened to me I won’t have known it had been repaired. I wouldn’t have noticed the different rivets. That was not just a scratch or a bump, that was MAJOR. When they were finished did they do a leak test? Who knows? These coaches are built in a certain sequence and the repair you described compromise so many areas. Guess that since they weren’t forthcoming with that information that they were asking FULL price.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is the dishonesty of the dealer.
.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendrick.l.j View Post
......
I think the thing that bothers me the most is the dishonesty of the dealer.
.
Hi

Indeed I suspect the proper term for this is fraud on the dealer's part. Not being a lawyer ... I could be wrong.

Bob
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:21 AM   #10
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Curious if they sold to 2020 for the same price as the 2019. That would have been the least the dealership should've done for you... Would be hard to trust the dealership after this fiasco in any future dealings!! Good luck and safe travels!!
Jim
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Old 08-05-2019, 11:07 AM   #11
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My understanding of the relevant law is that a dealer is lawfully allowed to sell a vehicle as "New" if it has not been licensed. So, for example, if a dealer allows a sales person to use a car for a year using "dealer plates," the dealer may lawfully sell the car as "New" regardless of its mileage --- thus, for example, a car with 10K miles on it could be sold as a "new" car. I don't know but presume that the same situation applies to trailers and also covers work done before any retail sale.

Here, presumably, the trailer had not been licensed; therefore, I assume that the dealer could sell it as "new" trailer, as the buyer would have been the first person to have licensed it.

In my opinion, there is a very simply way to get around this problem, and that is for buyer to demand that the purchase and sale agreement expressly contain the dealer's representations that you desire. For example, here, something on the order of "Exhibit A describes the condition of the trailer as it was received from the manufacturer by the dealer as well as all of the work performed on the trailer thereafter." And then demand that the dealer prepare and attach an appropriate Exhibit A, describing that condition and all such work.

On the one hand, I hear that you are upset with having bought a trailer that you believe not to have been "new"; on the other hand, it's not clear to me that, while there may have been a misunderstanding and miscommunication, anyone was "at fault."

If you want to pursue the matter, I respectfully suggest that you consult with a "lemon law" attorney about the relevant laws in your jurisdiction and how they may affect you regarding your purchase.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that I am not expressly any personal opinion about what happened except to express my regret for what was clearly a misunderstanding/miscommunication between the parties. My purpose is only to look at the situation from a legal perspective and to suggest how the situation might have been avoided.
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:48 PM   #12
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Happens all the time with cars, some dealer repair and some factory repair. I had a Gold PT Cruiser that was repainted somewhere along the line and sold as brand new. Looked good -all PTs at that time had the same interior, save a plastic panel that matched the interior.

Then I went to the dealer to get a wee bit of paint to cover a small scratch, they looked the car up using the vin number and sold me silver paint. "Nope it is gold." "But the vin says it is silver". Then they looked up the invoice -it also said "silver". How that little silver car turned gold is anyone's guess...
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
. . .
. . . I suspect the proper term for this is fraud on the dealer's part. Not being a lawyer ... I could be wrong.
. . .
The possibility of this constituting fraud occurred to me as well. I would consult an attorney for advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAJORJDB View Post
Curious if they sold to 2020 for the same price as the 2019. That would have been the least the dealership should've done for you... Would be hard to trust the dealership after this fiasco in any future dealings!!
. . .
Well said IMO.

I would raise a ruckus, and seek a substantial monetary reward of some kind, especially for your efforts in uncovering the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In light of Airstream's complicity, in what appears to be some kind of cover-up, I would also seek compensation from the company, as well as the dealer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmitchell View Post
It was disclosed that it was damaged in transport from JC, and that upon arrival the dealership asked JC for authorization to make repairs. JC authorized the repairs.
. . .

Think of the negative publicity this could generate, if all the facts became public . . .


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Old 08-05-2019, 04:11 PM   #14
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Transportation Damage

I have worked in several new car dealerships (Oldsmobile, GMC, AMC, Volvo, Infinite, Ford) and you would be shocked at how many cars/trucks are damaged in transit and repaired by the dealer and sold as new.
I have seen cars/trucks come in with drivability issues, leaks, wrong wheels and tires, non working A/C (no Freon), and on and on. Just the way it is.

Back in the mid 70's General Motors produced a very nice line of motor homes. The Oldsmobile/GMC dealer I worked for at the time sold them. Lots and lots of issues with transport. Patch it up and ship it. Not much has changed.
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