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(1) Buying From Airstream; (2) Eriba Proof Of Warranty


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Hi, it's quite a while since I posted on CT but we are now proud owners of a brand new Troll 530 purchased from Airstream and Company at Tebay; we collected it last October. We bought from Airstream because they are a mere 40 minutes drive from our home. We were also impressed by the workshop facilities and by John, the shop manager. In fact the workshop is in some ways more of a factory as, with the Airstreams, shells are imported from the US and substantially the internal fit is done at Tebay using local / European sourcing. In other respects though the sales operation is unusual as there is no accessory shop and no secondhand van sales; it's quite unlike a "normal" dealer. But when we approached them in late August 2013 they had a Troll 530 that substantially met our preferred spec. It was a new 2013 model but had been in their sales stock pound since the Spring. We were downsizing from a 7. 2m Bailey Pegasus. We negotiated a deal that was not attractive to us financially. We discovered that new Eribas are expensive especially when all the "options" (many of which are almost essential and more of which are highly desirable) are added into the price. As Airstream don't sell used caravans the Bailey was traded through a channel and we could not obtain a better trade-in figure. Many would have walked away but we had set our hearts on a new Eriba; they had what we wanted in stock and for various reasons we wanted to move fairly quickly. So we signed!

 

The fulfilment of the transaction involved some interesting experiences relating to such things as price confusion and ambiguity, the options fitted and (by agreement) to be dealer-fitted and difficulties / delay in obtaining parts from Hymer. Indeed the parts relating to battery charging arrangements were sourced by Airstream directly from Hymer's German supplier (Schaut). As a result it took 5 weeks from order to be able to collect the van. Even then the electrical fit did not represent what we had ordered and paid for and we agreed with Airstream to bring the van back to them 1st week of December for this to be sorted. I must say that in mitigation of the inevitable stresses and annoyances of all this, Airstream behaved correctly to us on all the points and they readily admitted that they are still "on a learning curve" with Hymer. We took the van back to them 1st week December and they had by then obtained all the required parts to do the agreed work. They estimated less than a week to complete the job and for us to collect our van.

 

Unfortunately one of the parts (a small control panel) proved faulty and had to be re-ordered. By Christmas it had still not arrived. But it arrived by the time Airstream re-opened on 6 January and the work is now in progress as I write. I am at a loss to understand why the two required part procurements (in September and December) took so long. Although I do know that, for the first of these, Airstream had no invoicing arrangements with Schaut and parts could not be dispatched until clearance of Euro funds from Airstream to Schaut; this certainly caused some of the delay.

 

One further minor irritation was the fact that we ourselves had to do the transfer of CRiS registration from Airstream to us (it had been registered to them since its arrival at Tebay), pay the associated fees and etch our own windows as no-one at Airstream seemed to know what to do!

 

But hopefully our Eriba will very soon be in the state specified on our order!

 

We have been unable to obtain from Airstream any documentation on the Mechanical/Electrical 2-year warranty on the Eriba. The water ingress warranty is well-specified (terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions) in the Instruction Manual supplied to us for the caravan and that also contains stamps for the required annual damp checks. There was (is) nothing anywhere about the M/E warranty! Airstream's position is that nothing exists and that it is impossible to obtain anything from Hymer. However we did learn, from our own research, that a Hymer "Warranty Stamp" exists and also a process whereby this should be requested by the dealer from Hymer when a new caravan is sold. This is then to be pasted (by dealer or customer) into a space provided in the Manual, constituting proof of warranty. In our Manual that space is still blank. Airstream claimed not to know of any of this but after a bit of pressure from us, the administrative lady at Tebay "found" our stamp and is keeping it for us until we collect our van so we can then paste it in and show it to any Hymer dealer if we have a problem (in the wilds of Slovenia perhaps?). But Airstream continues to insist that no other warranty documentation exists anywhere and cannot be provided. Please can anyone comment on this?

 

Finally I would echo the point, already made elsewhere on this forum, that Airstream's Technical Director (Anthony Slocock) is good. He is competent and has been unfailingly helpful to us (actually in some non-technical aspects as well), always "doing the right thing". I would also say that John, the workshop manager at Tebay, inspires a lot of confidence. The jobs completed on our caravan in September (not just the electrics, but also fitting a Gaslow system) were done thoroughly well.

 

So anyone thinking of buying an Eriba from Airstream should not be deterred by my experience as there is much to be said for a good workshop side. The part procurement situation may be of some concern though. And just be careful on the administrative and commercial aspects of buying from them. If anyone can comment on warranty documentation from their own experience, I'd be grateful. Sorry for a long post. Roger.

 

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I know airstream don't retail second hand caravans (quite rightly, stick to your knitting) so I presume they trade them to caravan dealers. Michael Hold ran a big dealership (Dave Barrons) so i am sure he has plenty of contacts, but I wonder if he can achieve Glass's Guide bottom book for his buyers or if the price is below that? When part exing the true transaction price is usually bottom book but if you sell without buying you would expect to get one to two thousand less than bottom book.

 

The part ex price is normally boosted by using the "over allowance" (equal to the discount you would get if no part ex) so I wonder what Airstream's policy is on that.

Isuzu D Max pulling Bailey Unicorn 2 Valencia

Bailey Autograph 740 MH: Isuzu for sale LOL

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As Roger says I suspect Airstream are still finding their way with Eriba/Hymer and I presume his 530 is one of the original stock order they rec'd from Hymer early in 2013. I've not heard of them selling many new vans, so they won't have had much chance to learn the ropes. I know from previous experience that Hymer generally supply spares in a weekly or possibly fortnightly cycle, quite often packed inside any new vans they're delivering at the same time.

 

When I looked at their new website earlier in 2013 I too was confused at some of their pricing/specs which I think was down to lack of experience with the brand.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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I've no idea what Airstream's pricing policy is for part-exchange, but I can tell you that the best we could achieve with them was a trade-in price approximately equal to 70% of the (again approximately) average caravan dealer asking retail price at the time for the same model and age. The trade-in, which we accepted with reluctance, was also roughly equal to 80% of the average private sale asking price for the same model and age. In both cases assuming very good to excellent condition (after all we are talking about vans only 3 years old). Our market price data was based on our own research - there were a fair number of these vans (Pegasus 554) for sale last September. We did not consult any guide source. I consider that had we sold privately we would have realised between £1500 and £2000 more on the sale of the Bailey. That sounds a lot to give up but as I explained we wanted to proceed fairly quickly and had in mind the fact that September is hardly the best time of year to sell a caravan. On the buying side the pricing reflected the (small) UK market for Eribas (we researched this quite thoroughly) - of course that's as far as dealer published pricelists are concerned (i. e. starting prices for any negotiation). We did benefit somewhat from the confusion and ambiguity around option specifications (what exactly is included) and Airstream, I must say, gave us the benefit of any doubt in these cases. So they should of course as the ambiguity was in their data, but they did do the right thing in every case (and there were several). In the case of a subcontract accessory fitting, when we found a more competitive price they matched it. And they offered a £960 awning f. o. c. BTW the Walker awning they supplied is absolutely excellent and I've not seen it on sale anywhere else in the UK. So we did feel in the end that we had received some compensation for the poor trade-in value.

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Generally the dealer margin on a PX is £2000, though selling without PX they'll usually make it £3000 unless they have a readymade deal to shift it on. A sensible private sale price is halfway between the PX valuation and the forecourt price as a private buyer loses some rights and a private seller makes a bit more for their trouble. It sounds like you got a pretty fair deal, though it would've been interesting and maybe profitable if you'd asked AL to quote on the same deal.

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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TBH it sounds to me as though you did get bottom book which is the norm, though that is usually boosted with a discount on the new van you are buying. If you see a van at ten grand on a forecourt the dealer should have paid about seven for it. That sounds a lot but factor in VAT on the profit margin, cost of providing a warranty, the cost of funding it while it stands unsold plus the massive overheads dealers have: then it looks pretty reasonable.

 

In my experience private asking price is meaningless. Most people ask far too much for their vans, often five hundred quid less than a dealer, crazy. To sell a van that a dealer is offering second hand for ten grand you should ask eight to start with and be prepared to knock something off. Anyway, the private sale market is tiny, most people have a trade in and the rest will only buy if it is an absolute bargain.

 

It sounds as though Airstream have been pretty good with you and I don't see that what you did was a mistake in any way. I think you'd have found it a lot harder to sell the Pegasus privately, esp. in September and as you say there were plenty of them on offer. And you got the van you wanted without hassle or headache.

Edited by henrypartridge

Isuzu D Max pulling Bailey Unicorn 2 Valencia

Bailey Autograph 740 MH: Isuzu for sale LOL

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Yes I think you're both right about my trade-in. My initial reaction was probably due to over-optimistic expectations on my part! When I'd thought about it, it certainly didn't seem so bad. And on the purchase side while I didn't get a discount on the van, I got £960 worth of very nice awning for nothing which for me was as good as a discount on the caravan price. Basically we're happy with the outcome (or will be when we get our Eriba back after the electrical work). So for that reason we have not regretted buying from Airstream. We didn't give AL serious consideration simply because of the distance from North Cumbria to Poole. The only downside has been the occasional stress resulting from Airstream's "learning curve" with Hymer. I also fear a bit for their future commitment to the Eriba line of business but that's conjecture on my part. I would say again that I think the workshop side at Tebay is excellent.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just to complete the story of our experience buying a new Troll 530 from Airstream & Co at Tebay. We got our Eriba back as agreed at the end of January. Airstream had fitted the correct "Autonomy Pack" electrics together with a very neat small control panel providing battery voltage indication and isolation switches for the water pump and for the whole 12v DC side; also an indicator light for the 240v AC supply. The work was completed very neatly indeed and everything functions as it should. They also fitted an additional 12v socket outlet at my request. The high standard of the work supports my view that the workshop side at Tebay is very good indeed.

 

As I (and they) suspected, the job of obtaining correct parts from Germany for a retrofit was perhaps best described as "interesting". This was entirely the fault of Hymer who really need to up their game. Airstream persisted until they got the job done. As they had promised they did the right thing by me!

 

On the basis of my experience I'd have no hesitation in recommending Airstream as an Eriba supplier.

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thats really good to know for possible future purchases, thank you for sharing your experiences with Airstream. .

Hymer Eriba Nova 541 2014

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Hi, it's quite a while since I posted on CT but we are now proud owners of a brand new Troll 530 purchased from Airstream and Company at Tebay; we collected it last October. We bought from Airstream because they are a mere 40 minutes drive from our home. We were also impressed by the workshop facilities and by John, the shop manager. In fact the workshop is in some ways more of a factory as, with the Airstreams, shells are imported from the US and substantially the internal fit is done at Tebay using local / European sourcing. In other respects though the sales operation is unusual as there is no accessory shop and no secondhand van sales; it's quite unlike a "normal" dealer. But when we approached them in late August 2013 they had a Troll 530 that substantially met our preferred spec. It was a new 2013 model but had been in their sales stock pound since the Spring. We were downsizing from a 7. 2m Bailey Pegasus. We negotiated a deal that was not attractive to us financially. We discovered that new Eribas are expensive especially when all the "options" (many of which are almost essential and more of which are highly desirable) are added into the price. As Airstream don't sell used caravans the Bailey was traded through a channel and we could not obtain a better trade-in figure. Many would have walked away but we had set our hearts on a new Eriba; they had what we wanted in stock and for various reasons we wanted to move fairly quickly. So we signed!

 

The fulfilment of the transaction involved some interesting experiences relating to such things as price confusion and ambiguity, the options fitted and (by agreement) to be dealer-fitted and difficulties / delay in obtaining parts from Hymer. Indeed the parts relating to battery charging arrangements were sourced by Airstream directly from Hymer's German supplier (Schaut). As a result it took 5 weeks from order to be able to collect the van. Even then the electrical fit did not represent what we had ordered and paid for and we agreed with Airstream to bring the van back to them 1st week of December for this to be sorted. I must say that in mitigation of the inevitable stresses and annoyances of all this, Airstream behaved correctly to us on all the points and they readily admitted that they are still "on a learning curve" with Hymer. We took the van back to them 1st week December and they had by then obtained all the required parts to do the agreed work. They estimated less than a week to complete the job and for us to collect our van.

 

Unfortunately one of the parts (a small control panel) proved faulty and had to be re-ordered. By Christmas it had still not arrived. But it arrived by the time Airstream re-opened on 6 January and the work is now in progress as I write. I am at a loss to understand why the two required part procurements (in September and December) took so long. Although I do know that, for the first of these, Airstream had no invoicing arrangements with Schaut and parts could not be dispatched until clearance of Euro funds from Airstream to Schaut; this certainly caused some of the delay.

 

One further minor irritation was the fact that we ourselves had to do the transfer of CRiS registration from Airstream to us (it had been registered to them since its arrival at Tebay), pay the associated fees and etch our own windows as no-one at Airstream seemed to know what to do!

 

But hopefully our Eriba will very soon be in the state specified on our order!

 

We have been unable to obtain from Airstream any documentation on the Mechanical/Electrical 2-year warranty on the Eriba. The water ingress warranty is well-specified (terms, conditions, coverage, exclusions) in the Instruction Manual supplied to us for the caravan and that also contains stamps for the required annual damp checks. There was (is) nothing anywhere about the M/E warranty! Airstream's position is that nothing exists and that it is impossible to obtain anything from Hymer. However we did learn, from our own research, that a Hymer "Warranty Stamp" exists and also a process whereby this should be requested by the dealer from Hymer when a new caravan is sold. This is then to be pasted (by dealer or customer) into a space provided in the Manual, constituting proof of warranty. In our Manual that space is still blank. Airstream claimed not to know of any of this but after a bit of pressure from us, the administrative lady at Tebay "found" our stamp and is keeping it for us until we collect our van so we can then paste it in and show it to any Hymer dealer if we have a problem (in the wilds of Slovenia perhaps?). But Airstream continues to insist that no other warranty documentation exists anywhere and cannot be provided. Please can anyone comment on this?

 

Finally I would echo the point, already made elsewhere on this forum, that Airstream's Technical Director (Anthony Slocock) is good. He is competent and has been unfailingly helpful to us (actually in some non-technical aspects as well), always "doing the right thing". I would also say that John, the workshop manager at Tebay, inspires a lot of confidence. The jobs completed on our caravan in September (not just the electrics, but also fitting a Gaslow system) were done thoroughly well.

 

So anyone thinking of buying an Eriba from Airstream should not be deterred by my experience as there is much to be said for a good workshop side. The part procurement situation may be of some concern though. And just be careful on the administrative and commercial aspects of buying from them. If anyone can comment on warranty documentation from their own experience, I'd be grateful. Sorry for a long post. Roger.

 

I bought a Familia 320 from AL, the only warranty documentation is the manual where the stickers for the water ingress/service go. There is a separate service booklet in German but they seem to ignore this and use the large manual. My first sticker that comes when you buy the van took a few weeks to turn up after we bought it. It has a two year M/E and the six year water ingress as long as you have it serviced by a Hymer dealer and it has the accompanying stickers and stamps.

When I go on holiday I like to pop my top!

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