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Warranty Problems On Caravan Forums


RogerL
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Firstly, this isn't aimed at any particular caravan manufacturer - but why do so many owners seem to have problems with their caravans that they can't resolve with their dealer but as soon as they complain on a caravan forum, the manufacturer steps in, investigates and resolves the issue ?

 

Is it, in no particular order:-

 

a) because the dealers have little concept of customer care

 

B) because manufacturers won't pay a proper rate for the rectification work

 

c) because component suppliers won't pay for component defects

 

d) because of a conspiracy between dealers and manufacturers to minimise warranty costs by only doing rectification when the customer shouts really loud

 

e) because customers fire off on a forum without giving their dealer a proper chance to rectify the fault first

 

f) because of some other reason

 

 

 

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed that manufacturers have started maintaining a (varying) presence on caravan forums and resolving a significant number of customer's issues - this is excellent news - but should it be necessary, other than as last resort ?

 

The reason I'm raising this issue now is that I'm starting to think seriously about buying a new caravan and the prospect of having the same lack of initial dealer response to the inevitable "snagging list" bothers me intensely. Fortunately the dealer, who gave me such grief while our Bailey was under warranty, has gone out of business but they weren't responsible for all the complaints seen on caravan forums.

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I think there is a degree of "comfort" in the shared experience.

 

The caravanning forums are, almost without exception, a good source of free, friendly and experienced advice.

 

I think I would like to sound out members about a problem I was having just to see if others had had the same advice/resolution that was being offered to me.

That said, I think I would raise a warranty issue with my supplying dealer first before hitting the boards.

 

Surely it is to the manufacturers credit that they monitor the boards to see what the "word on the pitch" is about their products. They supply to the dealers, if the dealers choose not to feed back problems or fob off users (for whatever reason), then the manufacturers don't get included in the loop until contacted direct by an incandescent buyer.

 

I'm sure the likes of Landrover & Ford monitor boards that are dedicated th their products, but I have never seen direct manufacturer participation on those boards in the way it happens on the caravan forums. Not only do the makers get involved, but their component suppliers too.

 

I don't think it is sinister, just refreshing :D

 

Cheers

 

Keith

Edited by rslsys
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It would be nice if Lunar would join in but they seem to be silent.

 

As a Lunar customer, 5 times now, I have been impressed with Swift, Baileys and others on the forum recently and would be attracted to them now in preference.

 

In fact with reflection I now realise I buy Chichester Caravans not Luner as my loyalty is with the dealer rather than the manufacturer whom seem like a ghost in the fog.

 

Good brand building in my view; whilst Lunars absence disappoints me greatly.

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It would be nice if Lunar would join in but they seem to be silent.

 

As a Lunar customer, 5 times now, I have been impressed with Swift, Baileys and others on the forum recently and would be attracted to them now in preference.

 

In fact with reflection I now realise I buy Chichester Caravans not Luner as my loyalty is with the dealer rather than the manufacturer whom seem like a ghost in the fog.

 

Good brand building in my view; whilst Lunars absence disappoints me greatly.

 

Hi fenester,

I don't know why Lunar have not contributed to this Forum but I see them losing a few custimers because of it,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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Re Manufacturers contributing to forums such as this. It seems to me that nothing but good has come from those that participate, however I am not sure that other manufacturers should feel forced to join just to be in the club. I also think it would be unfair to come to the conclusion that manufacturers who don't contribute care less about customer service.

 

It must make solving warranty problems easier if you have a good relationship with a good dealer. We had that for 11 years but unfortunately they have now closed. Interestingly they were a rather small dealership and perhaps that was one of the reasons they failed. The caravan industry seems to be moving towards larger and larger dealers which makes it a bit more difficult to have that sort of relationship. Given some of the posts we have had on here in the past about warranty issues I would also question the style of approach on these matters with many seeming to want to go in 'all guns blazing'!

 

David

David - Milton Keynes

Bailey Alliance 66-2 Motorhome for holidays and a Kia Venga for home.

 

Caravan Travels

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We found problems with our Lunar, when I contacted the delership they didn't want to know. I had to phone the service department on at least 5 occasions. When Lunar got involved they got the van sorted, without too much fuss. The dealer wont be seeing me again.

Regards
Ian

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Hi fenester,

I don't know why Lunar have not contributed to this Forum but I see them losing a few custimers because of it,

Regards,

Ian.

 

Interesting thread and interesting comment, Ian.

 

Some time ago, when Bailey joined the forum, I posed the question 'Would a Manufacturers involvement in our forum sway your buying decision?'. Most said that it wouldn't as I recall. Perhaps Customers thoughts & expectations have shifted?

 

I do agree with David. No Maker should feel forced to join, however, in this internet age it still feels strange to me, that they wouldn't want to become involved with their buying public in this way.

 

Martin

2011 S Max Titanium Powershift

2011 Citroen C3 Picasso Exclusive

2011 Swift Conqueror 570 Special Equipment

'If I'd Been Born Thirty Years Later They Would Call It ADHD'

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Given some of the posts we have had on here in the past about warranty issues I would also question the style of approach on these matters with many seeming to want to go in 'all guns blazing'!

 

David

 

Hi David,

I really don't see the point as that attitude is destructive and can get the Dealer's back up. I much prefer a reasoned, firm but fair approach as I have found it to be successful in the past,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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Interesting thread and interesting comment, Ian.

 

Some time ago, when Bailey joined the forum, I posed the question 'Would a Manufacturers involvement in our forum sway your buying decision?'. Most said that it wouldn't as I recall. Perhaps Customers thoughts & expectations have shifted?

 

I do agree with David. No Maker should feel forced to join, however, in this internet age it still feels strange to me, that they wouldn't want to become involved with their buying public in this way.

 

Martin

 

Hi Martin,

It probably wouldn't have swayed my decision before others contributed but I think that now that some companies are involved then I would need to think about it. I'm not particularly picking on any one company, and I agree that David is right in saying that no company should be forced to contribute, as the non contributors may have their own reasons for absence,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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When a dealer tells you all that make of caravans are like this

and the manufacturer rep tell you it was built to spec you think

Are all caravan built this way ?????

I have not seen any caravan built like mine

yours

Ken

Edited by kenles
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An interesting topic, Roger. I'm not sure there's an easy answer but I think it may be to do with having three "agencies" in the loop:

 

1. The manufacturer makes the base caravan and assembles in many bought out items. The manufacturer offers a definitive (so you would think) warranty on this finished product.

 

2. Component manufacturers give guarantees on the items they make, and these seem to be bundled into the warranty of the complete 'van.

 

3. The dealer (with whom you have a contract subject to the sale of goods act) flogs you the 'van and who is your first claim in the warranty chain.

 

Now, my bet is that the dealer would often like to help but has his hands tied by the commercial relationship he has with the caravan manufacturer. If he makes a decision that something is faulty and fixes it then the caravan manufacturer won't pay him for his work if procedures have been by-passed. I suspect this also applies to some extent to the straightforward replacement of faulty components.

 

Basically (and this is my personal view) a lot of components fitted to caravans are rubbish. They are built to a price. They do a job, but are not particularly durable - and they get used/abused, according to the ability of the customer.

 

. .. and finally, we have the intrinsic constructional "quality" of the 'van. Here I'm very surprised at the stance taken by some manufacturers to "wriggle out of a claim" for what is often shoddy factory build. There's no excuse for this. It's the fundamental thing that the manufacturer is in business for - to design and construct a caravan that is of reasonable merchantable quality, and fit for purpose.

 

I've just put my hard hat on - and I await the brickbats :mellow:

The older I get, the better I used to be

 

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I should also have said, that I wouldn't be in a rush to buy Lunar again. But that is mainly because of the dealer. As Wingco pointed out the first port of call for warranty work is the dealer who sold you the van.

When I rang my dealer to get the van booked in they just were not interested. A big difference from when they wanted my custom.

I would be far more likely to buy from a manufacturer who contributes to this forum, it shows they take an interest in their customers.

Regards
Ian

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I think manufacturers involvement in web forums has to be a good thing.

 

I believe it shows;

 

1- They actually have a customer service dept not just a dealer one.

2- The customer service dept is proactive not just re-active.

3- A forward thinking management/marketing team who are likely to survive the downturn, as good service publicly shown definitely generates new customers for their brand, and can be some of the cheapest advertising they don't have to do.

4- In the internet age no presence almost suggests you have something to hide, or you just can't be ar**d to enter into real world discussions with real customers.

 

My 2p

 

Edited to add;

Maybe also shows these manufacturers realise 'some' of their dealers don't/can't always get things right all the time.

Edited by Mickyblueyes
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I personally WOULDN'T be swayed into buying a particular 'van purely because they contribute here.

 

I would buy from a dealership that is highly recommended by other caravanners.

 

Personally we have a great dealer and are likely to stick with them, due to excellent service in good times and bad. This does limit us to which 'vans we can buy, but we are happy with this choice.

2010 Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux (2012 V60 D5 All Wheel Drive R Design after March 12!)

2012 Swift Conqueror 480, with Omnivent, Mini Heki in Loo, Mudflaps and ALKO Mammut Mover

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I personally WOULDN'T be swayed into buying a particular 'van purely because they contribute here.

 

I would buy from a dealership that is highly recommended by other caravanners.

 

Personally we have a great dealer and are likely to stick with them, due to excellent service in good times and bad. This does limit us to which 'vans we can buy, but we are happy with this choice.

 

I agree with you - in fact we probably buy from the same dealer, certainly affects our decision on which brand to buy. I think the most important factor in caravan quality and service is the dealer - we have been lucky in our caravanning life to have some very good dealers in various parts of the country. Funnily enough the worst or least helpful dealer was one in Germany - not everything is golden on the other side of the fence!!!!

 

Think we are lucky in this part of the world to have a few very good dealers (and a couple of not so good!).

NE Scotland

 

Unicorn Valencia pulled by Merc E280 cdi sport

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I agree with you - in fact we probably buy from the same dealer, certainly affects our decision on which brand to buy. I think the most important factor in caravan quality and service is the dealer - we have been lucky in our caravanning life to have some very good dealers in various parts of the country. Funnily enough the worst or least helpful dealer was one in Germany - not everything is golden on the other side of the fence!!!!

 

Think we are lucky in this part of the world to have a few very good dealers (and a couple of not so good!).

 

Yes I'm sure it is the same dealer Jan . ... Dyce???

 

I would also happily buy from Hitch-On Caravans at Ardallie, as friends have had good service from them too . .. and it would be much closer!

2010 Volvo XC70 D5 SE Lux (2012 V60 D5 All Wheel Drive R Design after March 12!)

2012 Swift Conqueror 480, with Omnivent, Mini Heki in Loo, Mudflaps and ALKO Mammut Mover

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I personally WOULDN'T be swayed into buying a particular 'van purely because they contribute here.

 

I would buy from a dealership that is highly recommended by other caravanners.

 

Personally we have a great dealer and are likely to stick with them, due to excellent service in good times and bad. This does limit us to which 'vans we can buy, but we are happy with this choice.

You haven't met the dealer we bought from :blink:

Regards
Ian

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This is an issue that has been exercising me. I agree that aftersales service from both Bailey and Swift is at least pretty good,if not excellent. But. .the IMPRESSION I gain is that far too many new caravans SEEM to have serious problems upon delivery. We talk of dealing with snagging problems which are easily sortedbut, given the prices we pay now, should we having such problems?I am not on a "knocking" exercise per se as I genuinely have no idea as to the extent of problems experienced on delivery,but it does SEEM that far too many owners of brand new caravans have problems that;

a)should never have left the factory.

b)should have been sorted by the dealer.

Inevitably,my perspective can only be impressionistic but I do wonder whether manufacturers have the sort of QA processes that are necessary. Should there be a need to praise aftersale support rather than quality,LARGELY fault free products?

. .............or am I just a miserable old s. d?(courteous replies only please!)

Edited by paulthomas
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I have been buying Swift vans - Challengers then Abbeys - for nearly 20 years . .. based on the experience with the early ones, and the relationship with my local dealer . . and yes . . for 20 odd years we've used the same dealer, and for 10 of those years we have been lucky enough to be in the postition to have a new van every 2 years. So I think I speak from experience.

 

Whilst I applaud and welcome Swift's involvement on the site, I didn't buy any of my vans from them . .. I bought Swift made vans from my dealer, and my dealer has a legal responsibilty to sort any problems. .. they know that, I know that, and so the very few problems have been quickly sorted.

 

IMHO a good relationship with your dealer, backed up by excellent Swift involvement is the best of both worlds.

 

Most of the problems Swift have had to deal with, via the forum, have - as far as I can see - actually been making the dealers do the job they should have done first of all. Now the forum has facilitated those solutions, but I'll bet they would still have happened if the forum didn't exist and Swift had been contacted about the problem.

 

Buying a van simply because the manufacturer partakes in a forum would not, IMHO, be sensible, but it might be a consideration in choosing between 2 vans from the same dealer . ... :)

 

edited for smelling pistakes :(

Edited by Entwood
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I certainly wasn't knocking the idea of manufacturer participation in forums - but should it be necessary in the numbers that we see?

 

Several contributors have good long-standing relationships with their dealers - some of us aren't that fortunate through no fault of ours, but in any case if a dealer takes £10-20,000 from us, shouldn't we get a reasonable response from them on warranty problems - after all they can involve the manufacturer whenever they chose!

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Hi,

I suppose that Dealers should do their job in the first place and, from experience most of them do, then customers wouldn't need to contact the Manufacturer. I think that the time to be contacting a Manufacturer is when there is an 'out of Warranty' issue where the Dealer's hands are tied. Again. from experience, Bailey have been most helpful when I have contacted them (which has fostered a feeling of brand loyalty) so I don't have anything negative to post.

I may be wrong, in my thoughts, but I think that if the manufacturers address concerns on here then there's a degree of care shown,

Regards,

Ian.

Bailey Unicorn Vigo and a 2017 Ford S Max and a Mercedes SLK AMG Sport 9 speed, my mid life crisis solver.

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Firstly, this isn't aimed at any particular caravan manufacturer - but why do so many owners seem to have problems with their caravans that they can't resolve with their dealer but as soon as they complain on a caravan forum, the manufacturer steps in, investigates and resolves the issue ?

 

Is it, in no particular order:-

 

a) because the dealers have little concept of customer care

 

B) because manufacturers won't pay a proper rate for the rectification work

 

c) because component suppliers won't pay for component defects

 

d) because of a conspiracy between dealers and manufacturers to minimise warranty costs by only doing rectification when the customer shouts really loud

 

e) because customers fire off on a forum without giving their dealer a proper chance to rectify the fault first

 

f) because of some other reason

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed that manufacturers have started maintaining a (varying) presence on caravan forums and resolving a significant number of customer's issues - this is excellent news - but should it be necessary, other than as last resort ?

 

The reason I'm raising this issue now is that I'm starting to think seriously about buying a new caravan and the prospect of having the same lack of initial dealer response to the inevitable "snagging list" bothers me intensely. Fortunately the dealer, who gave me such grief while our Bailey was under warranty, has gone out of business but they weren't responsible for all the complaints seen on caravan forums.

 

Roger

 

You certainly get the view, from reading forums, that the dealer is as important if not more important than the manufacturer.

 

We bought 5 new caravans from the same dealer in about a 10 year period. Absolutely first class service despite having some problems with the vans and the only reason we moved on was to change manufacturer - big mistake.

 

I know it's wrong to generalise but most of the dealers in my neck of the woods, Norfolk, were father to son family businesses and business was done at a very personal level. I think that the industry in general, in an attempt to modernise itself, did lots of improvements and overlooked one of the most important factors customer service.

 

I know we usually 'knock' all things American but I used to work for a company with a head office in the States and customer service and satisfaction were always top of their training agenda.

 

Bill

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would still have happened if the forum didn't exist and Swift had been contacted about the problem.

 

Buying a van simply because the manufacturer partakes in a forum would not, IMHO, be sensible, but it might be a consideration in choosing between 2 vans from the same dealer . ... :)

It is not just participation it is seeing the positive way Swift and Bailey seem to deal with the issues that come up. When you see them act like this it gives confidence that they are not a faceless corporate. When we have a senior manager from Swift posting in a down to earth and open way it says a tremendous amount for the company's customer focus. ....

 

In observing this development it has strengthened, with me, the brands mentioned as opposed to the one I have bought from, Lunar that I have spent 10,s of thousands with over the last twenty years or so. In fact I am thinking of geting a motor home some time and Swift is now well ahead of Lunar despite years of brand loyalty.

 

I am disappointed with Lunar and think they are missing a trick here.

 

I wonder whether they are completely ignorant of this thread, probably they are?

Edited by Fenester
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My expereince with the dealer on a whole has been very good. There has been on occasion the odd thing that they claim "swift will not cover" or "its just like that" and they do not even check with swift what the situation is, which is frustrating but quickly resolved through this forum.

 

In my opinion the dealer in question has 6 brands under their roof and they treat all manufacturers the same in some cases, which isnt neccesarily the case. I try through the dealer first most times it is sorted but swift are there as backup, I would also say my dealer now knows there is a "hotline" to swift and im hoping this is being reflected with other customers too.

 

I have also passed feedback back to swift regarding the Van in positive reflection that would never probably filter through the dealer.

 

It is the true power of the internet: information sharing (not porn or youtube)

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It is not just participation it is seeing the positive way Swift and Bailey seem to deal with the issues that come up. When you see them act like this it gives confidence that they are not a faceless corporate. When we have a senior manager from Swift posting in a down to earth and open way it says a tremendous amount for the company's customer focus. ....

 

In observing this development it has strengthened, with me, the brands mentioned as opposed to the one I have bought from, Lunar that I have spent 10,s of thousands with over the last twenty years or so. In fact I am thinking of geting a motor home some time and Swift is now well ahead of Lunar despite years of brand loyalty.

 

I am disappointed with Lunar and think they are missing a trick here.

 

I wonder whether they are completely ignorant of this thread, probably they are?

 

Fenester

 

I fully agree that it is fantastic that Swift and Bailey participate in this and other forums. It was through this forum that I learnt of Swift's open days and thoroughly enjoyed it when I attended.

 

If you look, however, at when they get involved with a customer it is nearly always as a direct result of a problem or lack of satisfaction from a dealer and I would guess that they have little confidence in some of their dealerships. Swift, via Kath Powell, have certainly sorted out a couple of problems for me that my dealer was really unhelpful about and I should have never had to contact Swift about. .

 

Bill

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