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Old 07-26-2004, 01:24 PM   #1
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1994 25' Excella
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 28
Angry My Dealer Experience (so far)

We decided to buy a new airstream.. we just weren't sure if it would be a 16' or 19' CCD or Safari. So, we drove to Sacramento (we live in Reno) hoping we'd see some. Luckily, they had a 19' Safari and we decided that that was the right size for us. However, they didn't have a CCD to show us. We asked if they knew of another dealer that might and they replied that nobody around the Bay area had any. Somehow, we felt like we were not being told the truth. Sure enough, we got on our cell phone and within three minutes, found that the Manteca dealer had a 16" CCD on the lot. I guess they didn't want us to go anywhere else which is ironic. We had every intention to order from them being they are the closest dealer to us. We just wanted to see the CCD design to help us make the final decision.

About an hour or so later, we pulled into the dealership in Manteca and was greeted by a very polite salesperson. We told him that we were happy they had a CCD because the Sacramento dealership told us that no dealer around had one. You might imagine our surprise when he told us that both the Sacramanto and Manteca dealerships are owned by the same company! So much for synergy.

Regardless, we fell in love with the CCD interior and ordered it right away. The Sacramento dealer made their fears come true -- we ordered elsewhere. If they had just called around and told us the truth, we'd have ordered from them because they are closer to us. BTW -- they also said that they'd have a CCD in about a week or so and that they'd call us... we haven't heard from them since.

During the ordering process, it sure seemed as if we knew more about Airstreams than the salesperson. He kept having to go into the back room to get answers to our questions. We honestly think that this was his first Airstream sale but he told us otherwise. But, an hour or so later, we were done. They had our deposit and we we left happy knowing that our Bambi would be here sometime in September.

A few weeks have since passed and yesterday, I was passing through Manteca. So I stopped by the dealership to see if they had any updates on our order. I also wanted to see if any new Airstreams were in. It was about 10:30 pm when I pulled into the desalership and there were about 10 salespeople lined up on the patio waiting for customers.

Our salesperson greeted me and when I asked him if there were any new CCD's on the lot, he took me over to see a new 22'. But all the Airstreams were still locked up. I thought it odd... there's ten or so salespeople standing around and not one of them thought to unlock their trailers to show them to customers!! He found the keys for all but the new CCD and had no idea where they were. So I never saw it.

I also asked for a status on our order and he told me that they honestly waited for a week to place it w/ the factory and now I could expect a delay into maybe October or later. Not a very happy thing for me to hear. I asked for a copy of the order confirmation from the factory and he couldn't produce it either! He said that it was in the finance office and they are not allowed to enter it while they have another customer in there. So rather than wait around for god knows how much longer, I just asked him to fax me the information. He also gave me the phone number of their Airstream Rep. with whom they placed their order.

I got a fax from the salesman this am ... but it's just a copy of our handwritten order sheet -- not a factory confirmation. So I called the Airstream rep and he told me that our Bambi is actually scheduled for completion around the first week of Sept. This is good news but still, the dealer sat on my order for a week. The rep also explained that it's hard for salemen at dealerships to manage the keys because Airstreams don't have a master keyed lock. I replied that car dealerships seem to do just fine. I also told him that bottom line, I am disappointed in the way Airstream is represented by these two unprofessional dealerships and I wish I could just buy direct from the factory.

Am I expecting too much?

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Old 07-26-2004, 02:02 PM   #2
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2002 25' Classic
Oro Valley , Arizona
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No, I believe you could have been dealt with more honestly and with a more knowledgeable salesperson!

If you didn't REALLY want the product, it would have been easy to give the group the heave-ho....

Both Airstream dealers that I have had the pleasure of associating with are exclusive (Oasis in Tucson) or almost exclusively (Dillons in Apache Junction) Airstream dealers--both have some prior-owned RVs for sale of SOB.........

It is not a good time to complain -- like to the factory in OH -- but it seems to me they should be aware of how your experience went.

Where are you going to go for service? Like when a bolt falls out of the step... I guess Sacramento is not that far, but......

Kistler & Brenda

2002 Classic 25'
2003 Expedition EB 5.4L, AWD, AdvanceTrac Class IV hitch pkg. Reese dual cam/Prodigy
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Old 07-26-2004, 05:17 PM   #3
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Richmond , Virginia
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No, you are not expecting too much. Read my many posts about my experience with THAT New Jersey dealer. It is a wonder they stay in business. Do yourself a favor and get an owners manual now and read it before picking up your new trailer (PSYCH!). I downloaded mine from the AS site. When you pick your trailer up, make sure you have them go through everything, including starting up every appliance, etc. Ask questions. My salesman told me my Bambi did not have a bypass valve for the hot water heater and in the next breath told me he was trained at the AS factory. Hum....Also, if you have not trailered before, educate yourself on hitches and sway control before you pick your trailer up. I had a bad experience.

Finally, the good news. I have had several glitches with my trailer, but AS has been excellent in helping me resolve them. Also, the Virginia dealer did an excellent job handling my first service request.

Welcome to the club!! You are going to LOVE it!!

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2004 19' Bambi Safari LS
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Old 07-26-2004, 05:32 PM   #4
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There be not a plethora of Airstream dealers across the USA KS is just one "blighted" area.....

Personally, I would like Jackson Center to do a little better in -- at least providing "mixed" dealership service, if not sales.

As for the training....I give up...have the same brand of appliances, water pump, awning....etc. as the SOB's

Nearly as I can tell service just costs more when you have an Airstream out in the middle of nowhere.

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Old 07-27-2004, 02:10 PM   #5
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The north fort myers dealer in florida has been very good so far. My 25 ccd should be shipped out on the 20th of august, we can't wait to get it. Now towing it with my dodge ram 1500 might not be so much fun. I guess i can't go to far from home until i get a new truck, i would like to go to georgia mountains with it but i'm not sure how it will tow. Good luck with your ccd. George
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Old 07-27-2004, 02:28 PM   #6
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Louisville , Kentucky
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You are not expecting too much. After all you are dropping a large chunk of change on a high end TT. Unforetunately the industry still has a long way to go in terms of customer service and product knowledge.

I would suggest you provide some positive feedback to the owner of the dealership. Many times they are not aware that these problems occur and direct communications made as a suggestions for improvements (rather than here is what is wrong with you) are well received and will help the dealership improve for the next customer.
Steven Webster
1986 Airstream 345 Classic Motorhome
AIR 1760
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Old 07-27-2004, 02:43 PM   #7
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Don't get the "Bum's Rush" when you go to pick-up your new trailer. Most dealers will let you spend the night in the trailer on their lot so that you can become more familiar with it. Check the shower for leaks, I saw one that had not been caulked, use your cook stove, cut on the furnace, run the ac and hot water heater. Use the refrigerator on gas and on electric. Be comfortable that you understand the systems before you pull off the lot and if it isn't right get it fixed then and there. Its a real inconvience to have to come back even though you expect to have some small items taken care of that you will over look.
Keep the shiny side up.
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:02 PM   #8
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I ordered my CCD from a Los Angeles dealer (CA RV) and was thrilled. They got me a good price and delivered it to me in New Mexico without a glitch. I saved a bunch of time since my local dealer is small and couldn't order a 22' CCD until he delivered the one he had coming in to its new owner (full price deposit in-hand). I was looking at a July delivery versus April when I got mine. Everything was fine, insofar as the dealer was concerned. The second Fantastic Fan was missing but A/S took care of it, happily, since it was their mistake.

Anyway, the New Mexico dealer in Albuquerque, Holiday Travel Trailer at 505-294-8280, is wonderful and has treated me like a king even though I bought mine out of California. Can't recommend them enough. Andrew, their service guy, is immaculate. Just great people to work with.
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:23 PM   #9
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While shopping for our Airstream (over 1 yr., 5 states, & 9+ dealers) we found only a couple of 'good' ones (those we would do business with). I retired as a regional sales manager for a Fortune 50 (fifty) co., "been around" as they say! My general impression with the majority of sales people employed in the RV business is dim, yet unfortunately expected. The sales rep./dealer we did buy from was new to Airstream but competent and straight-forward. It was a 'chore' to locate a dealer we could feel comfortable with. They are there but the effort to locate an Airstream dealer & then one you can work with was more protracted than it should have been-IMHO.

We love our A/S & are having a great time using patient & diligent, contact A/S directly, & most of all enjoy the unit when it comes in!
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:44 PM   #10
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It's a crap shoot, good luck.
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Old 07-28-2004, 12:13 AM   #11
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During the ordering process, it sure seemed as if we knew more about Airstreams than the salesperson. He kept having to go into the back room to get answers to our questions. We honestly think that this was his first Airstream sale but he told us otherwise.
Excuse me for taking this out of your otherwise excellent post~
My take on this "factory trained" from what I witness first hand is:
The factory training consisted of the sales rep watching a "factory supplied" CD..
Go figure~!!
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Old 07-29-2004, 11:52 AM   #12
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1994 25' Excella
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 28
Smile Thanks to all of you!

This forum is so helpful and my sincere thanks to all of you for your tremendous advice. We had asked the dealer about available options when we ordered, and some of the ones in the thread were not even offered to us (such as the 13k btu a/c and the second fan -- both useful here in the desert)!!! So I'm going to call the factory directly and ask them to go over each detail with me. In fact, I may just fly out there and sit down with them if they'll let me. I really don't trust the dealer anymore.

As such, I'll be extremely focused and careful during our check-out. I'm going to surf the forum and see if anyone has but together a checklist or at least make my own based on the many items that are covered in the forums.

Thanks again!

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