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Old 01-24-2015, 11:57 PM   #21
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As you live in Montreal, you might schedule a trip to Can-Am in London, Ontario. They carry a variety of RVs, but they've been an Airstream dealer for a long time. We got our first AS from them, and found them extremely helpful. They advertise themselves as the "towing specialists," and I think this is justified.

We got our current AS from Airstream of Spokane, in Washington state. Probably too far for you to travel, but for anyone else in western Canada or the northwestern US reading this thread, we've found them very helpful and good to deal with.

Of course, as others have noted, buyers always have to do their homework in advance.

Too bad you had such a rotten experience.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:56 AM   #22
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They are geographically located very close to me. See my profile location to the left, do the math.

They make used car dealers look good. Seriously, made the mistake of giving them our contact info, they bugged us for months calling every other week to see if we're still interested. They also employed high pressure sales when we where there, trying to keep us from leaving the show room floor. Just trying to actually see Airstreams in person, and the sales rep was annoying, clueless and wouldn't leave us alone long enough to experience things on our own. This is our experience.

I imagine that since Airstream is a business owned by a larger business called Thor Industries, that being a dealer is like becoming a Ford Dealer and a matter of money and licensing fees and ability to sell X number of units. Not based on how nice and polite the dealer is.

That being said, whom ever owns or runs the business sets the atmosphere of the whole business and it's companies beliefs and standards it's employees follow. This is why some businesses are better than others.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:59 AM   #23
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I second the opinion on JD Sanders as being an excellent Florida dealer. Now there are only two to figure out which is the culprit.

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Old 01-25-2015, 11:00 AM   #24
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So do we need to go to NJ to get our new Airstream?
I wouldn't, I would go to Gulfport and get it from Foley RV. Best experience I've ever had making a large purchase like this.
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Old 01-25-2015, 11:52 AM   #25
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We have purchased three Airstreams, and I will name the dealers here for those interested and give a little insight.

We bought one from Colonial in NJ we found them to be fair and honest to deal with and a very good service department. We enjoyed the experience and they had the used unit we were looking for in stock with a complete open book history on the unit.

Our second and third Airstreams came from Airstream of Western PA. A small dealer located in Greensburg, PA. Our first purchase was a trade of the used we purchased from Colonial, they beat Colonials price on the net to trade and we too enjoyed the experience.

The third is complicated, but George their only sales person got the job done. We had sold our Airstream and purchased a new SOB 37' Gas Motothome by Newmar. Great coach great to luxury camp in but a pain to drive (we both have CDL licenses and have for years). While on a trip in the West I called the selling dealer of the Newmar and asked if they would consider selling it for us on consignment, they said yes and we got into a discussion as to what if anything we were going to go to. We told them a 30' FC and a new Diesel truck. They said sit tight, meanwhile I called WP Airstream and talked at length with George and worked out options etc. Two weeks later we had a deal where WP Airstream took the order for the AS, sold it to the Motorhome dealer and they in turn took our MH in on trade and sold us the AS. It cost us some to get all this done, but no where near what we thought and as the Motorhome dealer said we've never sold a unit and written a check to the buyers at the same time, a large check.
WP Airstream received the unit, spent a day and a half going through it in prep as they always do and we picked it up and they went through it with us. The three mechanics are great in my opinion, Alex, Carl and Tom. And the whole deal was done via, phone, email and text.

So, I recommend Colonial - a big place tons and tons of knowledge, nice people and they treated us very fairly. I also recommend Airstream of Western PA, George is very knowledgeable, gets back to every question and is very patient and their mechanics are excellent. You will not be impressed with the dealership, but having hired and fired a number of dealers over the years while in business I often referred to the book by it's cover rule.

Good luck - there are awful dealers, good dealers and great dealers but understand once a dealer relationship is established with a large manufacturer it is no simple matter to just close them down and open a new one it's a long and tedious legal path one must follow, been there done that.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:05 PM   #26
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:07 PM   #27
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Papa Smurf, as a Florida resident and Airstream owner I will share that dealers seem to be easy come easy go. Consider that three years ago when I bought my Airstream, there were three dealers just like BoldAdventure said. Now, as of Jan 2015, there are six dealers in Florida listed on the Airstream site. I can tell you that the one in my area, Fort Myers, is about a year old. They have been selling RVs for many years but are new to Airstream. They are a huge RV dealership- North Trail. I have visited and can tell them more about them than they know, at least in sales. They're nice but just getting started. I am sure that this would be true for the other two new ones. The one that has been on the list for a long time is JD Sanders in Alachua, FL near Gainesville. I took mine there to have a panel replaced as their panel guy has been doing it for about 30 years. Airstream even recommended that I go there for that kind of work rather than drive to Jackson Center- seriously. They are not a large dealer but they know Airstream.

I believe you have to go in with most of your questions answered other than sales stuff. Ask the people on here. They will also not have a dog in the race so you should get a bit more truth.

When I was shopping I had phone contact with Colonial and Bates. My sales person at Bates (no longer open) was very nice though there was dispute over who was to get the sale in front of me when I did buy- made me feel bad. One of the three talked against Airstreams for about a half hour with my father, "you should see em after a hail storm,etc." There is a story to how three sales people got involved which, wasn't my fault but regardless, they were good to me. My Colonial experience was based on two phone conversations. One good and one bad. I believe this forum can just about answer any technical question and even perhaps help you with pricing to an extent. Go in loaded with info- as a cousin of Wally Byam via Airforum!
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:20 PM   #28
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There are actually seven Airstream Dealers in Florida. There is one each in Dover, Winter Park, Alachua, Ft. Myers, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and DeFuniak Springs.

I have bought new Airstreams at two of them, a 2005 Safari at Sanders in Alachua and a 2015 Flying Cloud at Dixie in DeFuniak Springs. I also bought a one year old 2012 Flying Cloud at Foley in Gulfport, Mississippi.

All three provided a good buying experience. No one sold me an Airstream as I already knew what I wanted. I was shopping inventory, price, and distance.

It has been my experience that sales people at RV dealers are not super knowledgeable. Many have never towed anything or never spent a night in an RV. The folks at Sanders are probably the most competent that I have dealt with.

As far as service and repairs go, I try to have all my work done at the Airstream Factory Service Center in Jackson Center, Ohio. I have had some really bad service experiences at Airstream Dealers over the years. One dealer was doing some service work for me. I asked him if he had equipment to handle my Airstream with the Hensley Arrow installed. He assured me that he could. When I returned to pick up the Airstream, my Hensley had been removed from the trailer and was in a box next to the trailer. I had to reinstall it myself in their parking lot as they didn't have anyone who knew how to do it. When I balked at paying the full amount of the bill, he called the Police. I ended up paying the full amount of the bill. I wrote a long letter to Airstream about this. This company is no longer an Airstream dealer.

On another occasion, I stopped at an Airstream dealer on a trip to have the Safari's wheel hubs serviced. When they were done, the tailer brakes didn't work. I ended up having to readjust the brake shoes myself as they did not have anyone there who knew how to do it. This company was a brand new RV/Airstream dealer that was already a big Chevrolet Dealer. They were using car mechanics to work on my Airstream. All of these guys were too young to know anything about drum brakes. I realize that they were just setting up their RV business, but if they were not ready to take on service customers they should have sent me elsewhere.

I did have a good service experience at an Airstream dealer when I had brake failure on the Safari near Mount Shasta, California. We limped into Eugene, Oregon where Sutton Airstream took us right in and competently completed the necessary repairs. Sanders has also done some minor repairs for us and done a good job.

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Old 01-25-2015, 12:30 PM   #29
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The Jacksonville one is listed but does not carry Airstream now as far as I know. I recently checked as we are considering relocating to St. Augustine and wanted to check out the dealership.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:35 PM   #30
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When I returned to pick up the Airstream, my Hensley had been removed from the trailer and was in a box next to the trailer. I had to reinstall it myself in their parking lot as they didn't have anyone who knew how to do it. When I balked at paying the full amount of the bill, he called the Police.
That is awful. Good thing they are no longer.
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:10 PM   #31
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As you live in Montreal, you might schedule a trip to Can-Am in London, Ontario. They carry a variety of RVs, but they've been an Airstream dealer for a long time. We got our first AS from them, and found them extremely helpful. They advertise themselves as the "towing specialists," and I think this is justified.

We got our current AS from Airstream of Spokane, in Washington state. Probably too far for you to travel, but for anyone else in western Canada or the northwestern US reading this thread, we've found them very helpful and good to deal with.

Of course, as others have noted, buyers always have to do their homework in advance.

Too bad you had such a rotten experience.
We have an Airstream dealer in the Montreal area and I contacted them in December but they have a very limited inventory and since they did not have the model I was looking for I did not take the time to visit them. I know about Can Am and I will be attending their " beginner's guide to rving seminar " in March. I will also visit Jackson Center in May. I am sure this will provide me with enough information to make a good decision. I would love to give my business to a local dealer and I realise it might be easier to get service locally if needed but I plan to use my Airstream to get away from the winter and spend 6 months or so per year in the South so the point of buying locally becomes less important. I would not mind driving to Spokane or anywhere else for that matter if it made good business sense.
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Old 01-25-2015, 04:20 PM   #32
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"I imagine that since Airstream is a business owned by a larger business called Thor Industries, that being a dealer is like becoming a Ford Dealer and a matter of money and licensing fees and ability to sell X number of units. Not based on how nice and polite the dealer is.

That being said, whom ever owns or runs the business sets the atmosphere of the whole business and it's companies beliefs and standards it's employees follow. This is why some businesses are better than others."

One of the guys on Foreforums is the former owner of the Foretravel west coast store. Before Foretravel decided not to have stores anymore, and just sell from the factory, Bob built it into the largest store in the country. He said it took an average of 21 months from the first handshake to signing on the dotted line. Most of that time was spent listening to the customer and educating them on what they needed.

One of the largest RV dealers where we used to live sells Airstreams and other brands. We had visited the lot a couple of times while we were gathering information and were unimpressed with the sales people. The place is also a car dealership (new and used) and they would rotate the sales people from one area to another, with predictable results. They did have one salesman who was exclusively an Airstream salesman, though. He lived full-time in his coach and really knew Airstreams. We met him at the dealership's big open house where they had factory reps on site to answer questions. The last time I was there he had retired (again) and was gone.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:52 PM   #33
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We visited an Airstream dealer today. We were on the property for maybe five minutes total.

We walked in and an experienced salesman greeted us. We told him what we were there for (information about used high-end travel trailers). He said the only one to consider was an Airstream, he didn't have any used ones, and come back when we were ready to buy. I mentioned at least three times that we wanted to see the quality of the coaches. He didn't even offer to show us a new one.

Although it is unlikely that if/when we decide to switch to a TT we would buy from either dealer simply because we probably won't be around this area then, there is no way I'll go back to that place.

Now another question or two. Why don't Airstream dealers have any used Airstreams on their lots? Aren't they traded in - ever? They aren't here, either. There are 16 (I think) 1990-1999 Airstreams listed in the Classifieds here, and some of them are motor homes and vans.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:06 PM   #34
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My experience with used Airstreams on dealers lots is that they sell very quickly.
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:29 PM   #35
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Life is full of experiences that teach us "I never want do that again" or "that was nice, I'd like to have that experience again". As the years roll by, we expand on those initial experiences and remember the events leading up to that specific primary episode in our life. When the initial signals I perceive start to trigger that negative memory, I know it is time to move on.

In my life experience to date, there have been lots of sales operations where sales folks are there a few months and the next visit, there are no familiar faces and more importantly, no collective memory that I made a major purchase at that facility. The apparent attitude is "you did not buy it from me so I got no commission and unless you sign now for a new "fill in the blank" I have no time for you." That is usually coupled with zero knowledge of the product in question on the sales persons mental inventory.

Since an Airstream can cost more than a small modest home, most folks are full of questions and not a little fear of buying into something they could not master or cost far more than their operational budget might handle.

There is an old saying "burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me."

We have done lots of research since starting our Airstream adventure and determined from negative experiences that a really qualified third party who specializes in only Airstream for service and so called warranty work is a better option for us than the local choices we have here.

Damages from incompetent work wipe out the perceived savings of a low price because of added expense and aggravation. It really is cheaper to pay a little more to get "it" done right the first time.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:41 AM   #36
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I do and always have found it always cost a little more to get what you want or want done and done right. The DW and I have never stopped looking at multiple campers. For sure we can't pass up a show. I love researching manufacturers and then talk to a salesman. They haven't a frigging clue what in thier camper but do know what's in your wallet.
For instance...a dometic 300 commode had an issue with bad parts which in short, lead to trapped liquids and the subsequent smell. The issue was on just about every forum on the web. A simple call to dometic with the serial number and they sent you a replacement commode with in days. It took literally 10 minutes to install in our brand new camper (never used).
I spoke to the dealer, a rather large dealership here in town, and they did not know anything about it and still have not educated themselves on it. Their maintenance people did not know about it and it was a simple problem.
There are salesman and then there are salesman and the same goes for repair and maintenance. The warrantee they sold me requires a yearly check of the roof, slide, undercarriage etc. When I brought it in for another small issue I asked for this to be completed. Twice! It never was completed. If you bitch too much, you get paid back with mud, scratches dings and bangs. Personally I would drive across the country to buy the next TT. Find a local repair person who cares about his work and don't worry about the dealer. Big stuff goes to JC.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:25 PM   #37
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I do think that used Airstreams turn around quickly on dealers' lots-- but these days, don't most RV dealers post all their inventory on websites? That would be the first place to look. I suspect that a salesman greeting prospective customers who didn't already know if there were a used AS on the lot would understandably think they weren't serious.

I don't know for a fact, but I would also be surprised if Airstream dealers get more than their share of "Lookie Lous" who really aren't serious, but just want a look-see.

It's a good idea to phone ahead for an appointment with a salesperson, explain your situation, and then arrange a time and date when they're not busy and can spend lots of time with you.

RV shows can be good places for window shoppers to check out different models. Can-Am in London, Ontario runs weekend events for prospective first-time RVers, called "Beginners' Seminars." Can-Am RV :: Events & Seminars Maybe other dealers do this, also

But I agree that some sales people do themselves more hard than good by being high-handed with potential customers. Because it's not just you. Word-of-mouth can be either free positive advertising or a negative for any friends/relatives you've told about your experience with a particular dealer.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:34 PM   #38
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"Can-Am in London, Ontario runs weekend events for prospective first-time RVers, called "Beginners' Seminars." Can-Am RV :: Events & Seminars Maybe other dealers do this, also "

What a great idea, other Airstream dealerships could learn something from this.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:31 PM   #39
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Not impressed

Airstream also calls on Andrew Thomson (of Can Am) to present seminars.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:08 PM   #40
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Smile Airstream dealers

I am fairly new to the "world of Airstream"!! But I would like to add my TWO-CENTS. After years of owning various SOB's , and seeing the quality of many formally good SOB's deteriorate after the great recession we went to numerous RV shows and dealers and decided that an Airstream is what we would like to move to. We went to a number of Airstream dealers in our part of the USA, and were treated poorly to say the least.

Then my son, purchased an Airstream from Colonial in New Jersey and told us how well they were treated, and how helpful and knowledgable they were. We subsequently called Colonial, visited Colonial, and bought our FC from Colonial. We then traveled from Colorado to NJ, to pick it up. Colonial sales and service have been great. We did have a few issues, and Colonial even called Jackson Center, who arranged to for trouble free service in out home town from a former Airstream dealer. We are very happy with our FC and the support and help we have received from Colonial and from Airstream corporate.

So there are great Airstream dealers out there, and Colonial is one of them.
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