Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-02-2014, 03:16 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
Basalt , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Seeking Advice on Airstream Repairs

In July of 2014 I took my 1965 Airstream in for repairs at Denver shop. They looked at the trailer and told me repairs would be 6-7 thousand dollars and it would take about 6 weeks. After about six weeks, I called to ask how it was going and was told they had some personnel problems and that they had to back-order some parts. They told me it would take another month. Four months passed with various phone calls between us, and promises of completion dates. Finally last week they called and said it was done and that the bill was 14 thousand dollars. I had a fairly unpleasant discussion with one of the managers on the charges and told them I could understand a 10-20% increase over original estimates but a doubling was unreasonable.

I asked to see an itemized list of parts and labors and they sent me the list. So my questions to forum members: 1) Recommendations on how to determine if the various charges are legitimate (I would pay an airstream expert to go over the list); 2)What is a reasonable settlement given the four months taken to repair the trailer and the over-budget invoice. I was thinking of meeting them half-way between the 7 and 14 K, if all the repair items are legitimate.

Appreciate your thoughts.

Markharv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 03:21 PM   #2
Rivet Master
AWCHIEF's Avatar
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 6,706
Images: 54
I do not believe it would be possible to answer your questions without knowing what you took it in for and what work was actually done. Airstream dealer labor rates run about $115 an hour.

WBCCI 10656 Southeastern Camping Unit
Associate European Unit
2006 Safari LS 23 ft
Formerly 1964 Bambi II

"I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell"
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 03:53 PM   #3
Dazed and Confused
Isuzusweet's Avatar

Currently Looking...
1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,461
This is one of those gray areas that any shop likes to get customers into.

You obviously received a "verbal" quote with quite possibly a disclaimer that the quote is based on a best case senario with everything going just right. Shops will allways low ball you with a verbal quote, if pressed for a written quote, the price will allways increase as the shop will have take into account possible unforseen complications.

The shop ran into personal problems and has obviously lost revenue due to lower output. Unfortunately the shop still has a fixed overhead and has charged you more to make up for lower production.

Unless you have a written quote, you're out of luck if the shop sticks to its guns and wants its $14,000.00.

That being said try to work a settlement with the shop and worse case prepared to walk away from the trailer. The shop won't want its reputation tarnished and your trailer to sell, so it may decide to settle.

You know now what to do next time.
Per Mare, Per Terram and may all your campaigns be successful.

Its a recession when your neighbor loses his job; its a depression when you lose your own. "Harry S Truman"
Isuzusweet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 03:56 PM   #4
1 Rivet Member
Basalt , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks for your thoughts, Tony!
Markharv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 04:03 PM   #5
1 Rivet Member
Basalt , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks Mike

Would it be appropriate on a forum like this to upload the invoice to get opinions on charges? The bill was divided into roughly 8.7K labor and 5.3K parts. Big ticket items were axle, water heater, elect. brakes. But there is also 5k listed as misc. electrical and plumbing. At $100 dollars per hour, that's 87 hours labor.
Markharv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 04:26 PM   #6
1 Rivet Member
2006 16' International CCD
some where , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 5
Would like to know the name of the place you took it, I want to avoid it. I hope you can come to an agreement with the price.
JWW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 04:32 PM   #7
Rivet Master
Belegedhel's Avatar
1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,903
It has been done before (ie., uploading an invoice). If you want to be polite, you might obscure the shop's identifying information.

So why did you take the trailer to the shop? What were the items they estimated would need to be addressed? Did you sign any kind of workorder/request for services (that might have some kind of verbage regarding substantial overages)?

It is hard to believe any business would offer you a quote of thousands of dollars, then provide a bill for double the cost at the end without so much as a phone call in between. Was there any discussion as time went by about the scope of the repairs increasing substantially?
Belegedhel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #8
Overland Adventurer
AtomicNo13's Avatar
1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,689
I believe In Colorado we have a law that protects consumers from runaway invoices. I believe a shop must provide a written invoice if the original quote or agreement is exceeded by a penny more than 10% over original. You might check with the AGs office for clarity.

WOW, hope this works out for you! Most people don't spend $5300 in parts for a whole return!
AtomicNo13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 05:14 PM   #9
Rivet Master
terryV's Avatar
2002 31' Classic
Currently Looking...
Monroe , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 649
I would talk to a GOOD lawyer. It might be that a letter from said lawyer would be enough to get the dealer to settle for a more reasonable price.

Reputable lawyers don't usually charge for a consultation. You could at least find out if you have a leg to stand on here.
terryV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 05:56 PM   #10
4 Rivet Member
1994 34' Excella
Warren , Manitoba
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 258
I would like to see the invoice of parts that were installed. You could call other shops to find out the cost of having an item installed by them for reference. Some of us on the forum should also be able to give you prices. Was this an Airstream shop, or were you paying for the "learning as you go" shop staff. Before talking to a lawyer, I would get comparable prices and talk to them. In your first post you indicated that there had been several calls to them. Did they indicate at any time the big price change? Chris
WBCCI #7394
2002 Chev 2500 HD Duramax
1976 31' Gone but fondly remembered
CBWELL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2014, 06:06 PM   #11
Rivet Master
Bruce B's Avatar

2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,273
Images: 1
Having spent most of my life in the automobile repair business I have a couple of thoughts.

Many states have consumer laws that protect people from exactly this situation. I would check with the state to see what the statutes dictate. Any good local attorney will be able to advise you.

Every state I have lived in requires a business to have the customers authorization before spending their money. We always called with "to the penny" quotes before starting any work and the customer was notified and authorized all repairs or work stopped. That is the law here.

Many business ignore this and customers bow to the pressure and pay bills. I see it all the time in boat yards. It is unethical, dishonest and deserving of bad press in my opinion.

One way to avoid this is to clearly establish the goals of the repair and to set spending limits with instructions to be called before any work is done to exceed those limits. You have to be realistic when it comes to a repair facilities ability to forecast "unknowns" like the rusted bolt that takes hours to remove or the unseen damage, hidden from a casual inspection. Life happens and these are daily occurrences in the repair world. You should be kept abreast of the situation though and make decisions about what can be spent. It is your money!

Good luck,
Bruce B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 04:45 AM   #12
3 Rivet Member
1977 27' Overlander
Carrollton , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 101
The three large items, brakes, axles, water heater could easily be over $5k at an
airstream repair shop.
KL's 77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:18 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
Basalt , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments and ideas. One of the forum members (an airstream veteran) here has kindly offered to look at my invoice and give me an opinion on the bill. Some good suggestions have been made here on how to proceed. A learning experience for me as I've never had an invoice doubled without it being clearly communicated...
Markharv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2014, 03:21 PM   #14
1 Rivet Member
Basalt , Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 5
There were some big ticket items such as fridge, plumbing, axles. My sense of the shop is that they are a little disorganized, not good at keeping customers up to date. But I'll work it out with them and next time be more careful about written estimates throughout the job. Thanks

Markharv is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Seeking advice on custom engine for 1965 Buick wagon to tow a vintage Airstream elagache Tow Vehicles 14 11-28-2014 03:04 PM
Seeking opinions on '66 seams / repairs from pics pearstream Leaks - Weatherstrips, Gaskets, Caulks & Sealants 4 11-14-2014 05:32 AM
Seeking Tire Advice for Single Axle (1964 Airstream 4000lbs) travelfables Tires 5 05-28-2014 05:40 PM
Desperately Seeking Hipster Fulltimers/Advice! iamsusanq 2002 - 2005 International 17 12-08-2004 08:50 PM
Seeking Advice.... jtshipp On The Road... 9 05-17-2004 04:42 PM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.