May 4, 2021 • By Dennis Beaver
“I run a photography business with my wife and adult son, travelling around the country taking photos of school kids and teachers for yearbooks. We are considering the purchase of a large motor home where we can live and have a set up to take portraits and process the photos.
What do you think of this idea? Have you had clients who regretted buying their RV or motor home?
Years ago I had a client, “Jim,” who purchased a top-of-the-line Revcon, at that time the most advanced and expensive motor home on the market. But it had one major problem after another. Twice we took it to the factory near San Diego for repairs.
He was never able to drive it as he had dreamt, but this evil motor home nearly drove him crazy. Now, Jim stuttered, badly. The last time we spoke on the phone, he was angry, hurt, sobbing and could hardly say one sentence that I could understand. I never forgot the name Revcon.
Word to the wise
Live Zero 264 posted this comment on Jan. 23, 2021:
“RVs are money pits that need constant fixing of the flimsy, trashy construction. The RV industry gets away with churning out a product that starts falling apart on the dealer’s lot and gets worse from there. There will be a flood of used RVs on the market in a few years. Rentals are a wise choice.”
Michigan Lemon Law attorney Steve Lehto agrees, and says, “While RV, Motor Home/Coach sales are soaring across the country, I don’t recommend buying one. It could be the most costly mistake a family or a business could make. You’ve got to know what you are getting into and the legal protections that might not exist.”
I asked him to list those areas where most RV buyers find themselves in the dark:
1. Lemon laws do not generally cover RVs.
Lemon laws say that if you buy a new auto and the manufacturer can’t fix it, they must buy it back or replace it. But most states have no lemon law protection for RVs.
Just see what happens when your $250,000 motor home turns out to be a disaster. In most states getting the manufacturer to buy it back is next to impossible.
2. Dealerships are designed to sell RVs and not to fix them.
Except in states which offer lemon law protections for RV’, dealers are often poorly equipped to accomplish repairs. Often, you will have to wait months for a technician from the manufacturer to come to the selling dealer to do the repair.
Or, you may be told to drive, or tow, your new RV halfway across the country to the manufacturer to have repairs done!
3. Owning an RV is hard work!
They are difficult to drive on the freeway, to park, to store, and move around in an RV park. You have to load and unload before and after trips, hook and unhook at campsites, deal with maintenance and repair issues, on an on.
4. Are you in poor health? Forget It!
Every year there are stories of people with serious health issues who decided to live in an RV and wind up near death’s door, having traveled to remote areas where little, if any immediate access to health care is possible. Consider the reality of almost constant road vibration and the impact on back pain and other issues.
5. Recognize the inconveniences you must accept:
There are things you will have to live with, such as limited showers, hideously high gasoline expense, and the need for someone in your family to be a handy person who can fix small things that act up. Lacking this ability, forget the RV!
Lehto feels that it is “extraordinarily important to be informed about the pros and cons of RV ownership before buying. So, visit RV parks, speak with the community and discuss the pros and cons of RV ownership as well as makes and models owners prefer.”
He draws a parallel between buying an RV and moving to a foreign country:
“To test whether the RV lifestyle is for you, your family or business, rent one first. If you were considering moving to a foreign country, you would visit, first, and spend time there. Dealers are generally happy to rent an RV for a couple of weeks. By so doing, you might discover that it isn’t for you.”
Concluding our chat, Lehto strongly recommends “Buying a fairly new, used RV. You will save yourself thousands of dollars.”
And the next time you are online, go to “Lehto’s Law” on YouTube. You’ll be glad you did.
Watch Steve Lehto’s video – “Do You Still Want to Buy an RV?”
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.