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Old 06-07-2012, 11:51 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Bruce B View Post
The OP made a bad decision in repair facilities. This is the issue.

I dont believe Airstream should be there to save us from ourselves. I do know they would have made it right given the chance. The time involved had everything to do with the repair facility.

I have received everything I've asked for immediately,

Im still sorry for the owner but they were part of the problem too.

Bruce
Bruce, I'm glad you get treated well. Shouldn't everyone? I have gotten treated better than Friday and Mojave and others, but just because some people are, doesn't mean those who aren't should be blamed for not getting treated well.

Read over Friday's post (# 39) and you'll see the same breakdown between customer and Airstream. Several people work in customer service and one name pops up at times as the one who is difficult to deal with, while the others are fine. So it may depend on who you talk to. When we picked up ours, 100 miles from the dealer, a window broke. The latch was maladjusted—factory and dealer are responsible for such things. I called the factory and went back and forth with someone (name escapes me) who claimed there was no warranty on glass even though the problem was the latch. Finally he gave in as a "courtesy" and sent a check for the window (I already had gotten a new one). I was glad they paid, but refusing to give an inch on the cause and basically telling me they would pay to get rid of me left a bad taste. But when other problems came up I dealt directly with the boss and everything went a lot easier.

Airstream authorized Triangle making Airstream jointly responsible. We do not know who picked Triangle, so blaming Mojave is inappropriate. It appears no one knew whether Triangle was competent or not, but Airstream, as the responsible party for warranty repairs, has the legal duty to select carefully and is assumed to have the knowledge and resources to do so. I do not know, but would assume, Mojave made some inquiries, but that would be difficult for a facility 6 hours from home. The dealer we bought from was 5 hours away and we knew nothing about them except they seemed better than the other one 5 hours away. After repeated problems with them we discovered they have a very bad reputation. After years on the Forum, I would select differently, but it takes a lot of time to know just who you are dealing with. As someone said earlier, you should not have to be an engineer to buy an RV.

Leaking is a frequent problem. Some is inevitable as with anything outside. But Airstream (and other RV companies) could do a lot better job—cars and trucks rarely leak. They use rubber* seals everywhere. The doors have weep holes at the bottom. They don't over torque screws on the roof. They do a neat job with sealants and seals. They change manufacturing processes when problems are discovered. Other RV companies use modern insulation rather than old style fiberglass (get it wet, it clumps and become useless; doesn't seal out air, fosters mold, and is a bad insulator unless installed perfectly). Leaks are really bad for fiberglass and now there are better products available. Fiberglass has no place in an RV—poor insulation plus worse once wet. The newest Airstreams have courtesy (running) lights with rubber seals underneath—but that only came after decades of complaints of leaks. Everyplace there is a penetration or overlapped panels there should be rubber seals + sealant. AIrstream could produce the most leakproof RV available, a great selling point, but it would cost more, so they won't do it.

I have come to believe Thor has decided Airstream is the flagship brand of a company known for mediocrity. Thor doesn't need to sell a tremendous amount of Airstreams, is content to suck money out of it, think short term for profits, and keep things as they are.

After the many complaints about QC subsided in the last few years, I had hoped that JC had figured it out, but lately more and more complaints are showing up, so maybe nothing has really changed. Before the Great Recession, Airstream was selling around 2,400/year, but after, 700. I think they had built far more than they could do responsibly and as a result QC went in the toilet. They may have fired the worst workers. QC would improve. But gradually production has increased and it seems they are once again over their heads. During this period a lot of RV shops closed and Airstream lost many dealers—at one point there no Airstream dealers in Ohio, the home state. Now there are more dealers, but how does a small company keep an eye on them, and does it? Some dealers do a bad job, year after year, and nothing changes.

Gene

*I don't know it is rubber. They may be vinyl, rubber, silly putty, but the point is they look like rubber and act like it, but other products may last longer.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:32 PM   #72
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Bruce, I think you are being to harsh. Your background leaves you well equipped to deal with these issues. Most people do not have your knowledge.

Regardless of the missteps Mohave and the other people have taken, AS knew about the problems either through their dealer, through direct communication, or through a non AS dealer seeking warranty approval.

Some of this is he said, she said I know, but if AS as Thor industries can run a significant business building and selling these coaches they certainly can create a better, more transparent model for service.

When you are kicking tires are any of your questions not answered? Are you questioned about the validity of your wanting to buy? Are you talked out of buying? I think there is a completely different culture when it comes tosales and service. When we were at one dealer I noticed that an entrance door on one of the coaches was sprung out about 1/4 of an inch on the bottom. I showed it to the salesman and instead of saying it could be fixed, he showed me another coach with the same problem. The conclusion I reached was that he had two coaches to repair, his conclusion was that I should accept things like this. Needless to say we left.

I see posts all the time about shoddy workmanship at dealers and I see posts about good treatment as well. I can't evaluate these posts statistically because people will complain about poor work and often not mention good work. Good work is expected.

AS and Thor industries has dropped the ball on service. They make different rules for different people and the dealerships seem to dictate what is and is not a warranty issue.

Lots of people either by tempermant or because of lack of knowledge get taken advantage of. This is not fair. You should get the same enthusiastic balls to the wall experience at the service counter that you get at the sales desk.

Bob Wheeler, are you listening. We have exactly the same credentials. I have a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. Lets have a functional confrontation about this and maybe include Bruce B and CrawfordGene. I know you have shareholders to please but don't forget about the people who are customers.

I have to add, my comments are gleaned from posts on this forum. My experience with build and customer service have been good. My point is why is there such a wide disparity between what I encountered and what other people are experiencing. AS should have better policies and checks in place to see this does not happen. They need to put as much effort and thought into service as they put into sales.

Dan
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:38 PM   #73
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There are a lot of untapped resources for dealing with warranty problems.

A couple that often seem to be overlooked are the Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce. If a problem crops up, get in touch with these two groups, and let them know about the problem. Just state the facts— leave emotions out of it, if you can— but don't forget to identify any consequences that go beyond the issue at hand (i.e. "This trailer is my home, and while they're not fixing it, I'm living in a tent," or whatever).

The repair shop in question may not belong to the BBB or the CoC, but complaints filed with those organizations still carry some weight with most vendors. Plus, the BBB in particular has investigators who will look into the matter for you, and by having official backing they may be able to get more or a response than you personally ever could, and may be able to get the problem solved whereas you would get the runaround.

And best of all, it doesn't cost you any more than a letter or e-mail. Not one dime out of your pocket to file a complaint.

By the way, before I bought my Interstate, I checked out the dealer with the BBB, and they had good reviews across the board. Did wonders for my level of trust.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:14 PM   #74
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Gene and Dan,
I hear you. I actually agree with much of what you are saying. Everyone should be treated well.....
I just can't imagine waiting that long for any warranty issue to be handled. I am a take the bull by the horns type!

As to Airstream customer service treating me well.... I have had my run in's too. When I don't get the answer I need I look elsewhere until I do. When I run into a rude person ( like I did at the Airstream store!) I speak my mind on the subject, with their supervisor if possible and I do my best to avoid them again.
I actually had a failing shore power socket while at Alumapalooza. I wanted to replace the socket myself and when I approached warranty on the subject I was told "we cant let you work on that!!!!" so I thanked them and called my dealer who sent me the part I wanted.

Remember the OP acknowledged that the repair facility chosen was a mistake!

The best that can happen from this is that others learn how to avoid this type of issue. There is always a way.....

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Old 06-07-2012, 01:21 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by SilverRanger
I suppose this thread is as good as any to put my take on the Mother Ship during our annual visit to Jackson Center during Alumapalooza. I think I did this last year, but I can't remember whose thread I invaded.This is my take of the "Airstream Product Feedback" seminar. Again, this is simply my opinion, based on my experiences. My perception, and hearing, may vary. It is what it is...

This seminar was headed by Justin Humphreys, VP of Sales, and other executive types whose names escape me. Dave Schumann, General Manager Customer Relations Group, was there too. They made it clear in the brochure, and at the beginning of the seminar, that the emphasis would be on current models and how to improve them, but I attended anyway and took some notes. Some of the highlights (or what I can remember) were:

Tires: Much of the discussion was about tires. Many suggestions were made about, what many considered to be, one the most important components of any trailer. Marathons were predictably criticized, and it was suggested that Airstream should use the best tire available, and that many in the audience would pay extra for them. I concur, along with many others present. A member of the Airstream panel said they did "extensive tests" on tires by driving at "elevated speed" in order to get the temperature of the tires up, and had no failures. It was suggested that the speed wasn't elevated enough. I concur with that, too. Someone opined that they had spent too much time on tires, so they changed the subject.

Suggestions: To me, this is always the most interesting part of the seminar. Some of the suggestions for improvement were:

-Better skylights. Many said theirs were prone to leaking and fogging up.
-USB outlets. Because of the prevalence of electrical devices that charge up from a USB port, it was suggested that these be incorporated into the AC fixtures in a couple places in a trailer. I think it would be nice, too. Airstream seemed to be very interested.
-Magnets to secure the venetian blinds, instead of those unwieldy brackets.
-Slide-out parts. One participant said problems were frequent, and parts availability was dismal. I have no reason to believe otherwise.
-Water Pumps. Need a light to indicate when it is on. Good idea.
-Disc Brakes. It was suggested that they be put on all trailers.
-Miscellaneous: Stoves should be leveled better. No tires made in China. Construction debris (this always comes up!) Airstream assured the audience that progress is being made.

Interesting Facts:
-Airstream executives were required to spend a week in one of their trailers. They said it seemed to be a "catalyst" for change. It was suggested that their factory staff do the same, and tow it to a campground.
-Airstream said they made approximately 240 design changes in the current models, and that most were based on suggestions from past seminars.
-Airstream mentioned the phrase "on the forums" more than once, so they are listening, but I'm not sure what they're hearing.

Sorry about the brevity. It was early, and there were many opportunities to socialize on the night before.
Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting, indeed!!
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:32 PM   #76
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My Airstream was pretty much within expectations. I knew going in that RV quality left a lot to be desired.

Airstream should take a lesson from Mercedes Benz. Cars with a lot of desirables but quality not up to the level of the industry best. They do provide great service, both during warranty and expensive great service after warranty has expired. I have a '99 Mercedes with 50K miles and a couple Toyotas. The Mercedes is much more service intensive, but at least its a hassle free experience as long as I'm willing to pay.

Airstream compared to something like a Casita or Escape is going to be service intensive. But at least the service should be painless. And obviously it isn't. Not everyone owning these trailers has the technical ability to maintain them. The Airstream is a premium product and should have premium quality warranty service.

Both warranty and after warranty service availability needs to improve. After reading this forum for years I have seen no indication of premium warranty service for many customers.
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:34 PM   #77
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So many people trying to fill in the blanks with most intent on blaming AS. Still would like to know the communications between AS a d the RV dealer. And then the dealer and the customer. I think the OP was done more wrong by the rv dealership than by AS. Sure AS should share in the blame but not as much as some seem to think. Each situation is unique. Jim
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:53 PM   #78
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Zig, they build the trailer, they support the dealer network and they stipulate the warranty. Do they let people fall through the cracks during the selling process?

Dan
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Old 06-07-2012, 01:58 PM   #79
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No dealer was involved! No AS dealer. Jim
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:13 PM   #80
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"Let's not make changes, let's make only improvements"

Airstream:
It is time to make those improvements!

It has been years since we owned our trailer yet people are still facing many of the same issues today as they were 10 years ago. Why not try something different like gaskets, drain holes between walls, no pink insulation and composite flooring?

This forum has come up with so many great ideas.

And yes, it is time for a standard in service. So that all customers are treated with the respect they expect and deserve. Some dealerships just don't make the grade and this needs to be addressed.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:27 PM   #81
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Jim, we clearly need more information on this specific issue involving Mohave. I was trying to make the broader point that the service model needs to be changed. There is to much opportunity for dealer (AS and non AS) to be involved in the repair process. Lots of people are experiencing poor treatment at the hands of the dealers.

While AS is not directly responsible for this treatment, in lots of ways they should be. The dealer network is the vehicle that we as customers are forced to deal with and AS seems to have little control over outcomes.

Policy changes need to made or changed to make the dealers more accountable and AS needs to hold their feet to the fire. If they cannot support a professional dealer network then they need to change their delivery system.

I could write a service plan that would require regular maintenance or inspection at specific intervals for all new trailers. A proactive model is always better than just being reactive. People shouldn't have to discover leaks by finding soft spots on their floors. AS could develop a checklist that dealer service departments could peform that would professionally find and solve these problems. Just thinking out loud here.

The reality is as long as people continue to purchase these trailers the company has little incentive to change.

I love my trailer, have had very few problems and would like to think that this is the rule rather than the exception. It's hard to do statistical research based on this forum as I've said before because people will complain quicker than they will praise.

Dan
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:27 PM   #82
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Bruce,

I prefer to act fairly quickly on a problem after the problem causer (dealer, repair shop, etc.) has failed a few times. Give them enough rope to make it easy to go to the top. But people leave trailers for repair over the winter because rates may be cheaper or time is less important during non-camping season. I'm not saying this was the issue here, but it is just another possibility.

It is hard to figure out who was responsible for what in Mojave's case. Triangle had a duty of care—bailment law, negligence law, maybe contract law, and they failed. Airstream may be liable for negligent selection and/or approval of a repair shop. The warranty claim is separate. I still don't see how Mojave is responsible; being slow is not illegal, even in Canada. Sounds like they kept calling everyone and kept getting the runaround. The does not require a consumer to be perfect, just reasonable. But we should ask Henderson Q. Fuddyduddy IV, Q.C., to provide us with a brief on BC and national law on this. Where are you HQ?

Jim, we'll never get the communications between all these parties, so we have to guess based on what we have and make reasonable posts based on possibilities, qualifying them as such.

Gene
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #83
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Airstream:
1.Improve warranty service.
2.Better quality plastics on roof, skylight, vent covers, etc. (my biggest gripe to date)
3. Up front disclosure the trailers are subject to filiform corrosion, and while there is no cure, some benefit can come from treatment.

4 Better flooring not subject to rot. Leaks happen with all the holes, but at least limit the damage.

I'm fully aware with more modern construction methods the trailer could be made less service intensive. I'm willing to sacrifice some of that for a distinctive icon. But jeez the above improvements sound like a no brainer, and not at a huge cost.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #84
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I have read each comment on this post and have to admit, it is making me a bit nervous! We are still in the "searching" stage and had no idea there are so many service issues. I am going to forge forward with my dream but, this to me is a scary thread!!!
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