My experience with Camping World of Denver:
My wife and I purchased a brand new 2013 Jayco J-Series 1206 tent trailer on December 19, 2013. The intent was to give the kids a surprise on Christmas morning. We arranged to pick up the trailer the evening of December 19th. Camping World agreed to stay open late just for us, so that, we could finalize the deal and take home our camper that night. Of note, the store is located 85 miles from my house. There is a closer store in Fountain, CO. However, Camping World of Denver had the camper we wanted and the most expeditious way to get it during the Christmas time period was to go through the Denver Store.
The night we picked the camper up, we were informed by the Service Manager that he was going home for the night and that he was leaving us with, in his words, “the B team technician.” At the time, my wife and I did not see an issue with this. We have owned a tent trailer, a class C motorhome, and a fifth wheel over the past several years, so we were not new to the RV/trailer world and were confident everything would go fine, after all this is Camping World. After several awkward minutes with the technician it was clear that he did not understand our trailer and was unable to answer some basic questions. This brought more technicians to our trailer to try to help him, but by the end of the walk through no one could explain the emergency lift/retract mechanism for the pop-up and no one could tell me what 2 of the 5 keys on the key ring they were handing me did. When it was time to put the trailer away, the three “B team technicians” had a lot of difficulty packing the trailer up and showing my wife and I how to do it right. There was a moment when the forward bed became stuck and crooked. The technician continued to pull it out and push it in harder and harder until one of the other technicians stopped him and they figured out how to slide it in and pack it down. We also had an issue with our refrigerator not working right and discussed not taking the camper home, but Camping World said to take it home since it was a Christmas gift for my family. They said to check it once we got it home, since it might be air in the line, and if not, they would get it fixed “ASAP” for me. At the time, my wife and I raised an eyebrow to each other, took, our camper home, and figured we knew enough to figure out the rest…this apparently is where in the eyes of Camping World of Denver this whole experience becomes “our problem.”
On Christmas morning, after opening the gifts under the tree, we told our three kids (10, 7, 4) that we had one more present outside. We led them out of the house with their eyes closed and gave them the big surprise of their new camper. We had good weather that day and decided to open the camper up to show them the inside. We raised the roof, and then went to slide the beds out. Unfortunately, we were unable to slide the front bed out. It wouldn’t move. Obviously, something was seriously wrong, so we stopped. I looked through the door and noticed the bed rails were lying on the mattress and clearly twisted and broken. "Merry Christmas kids," We then had to wait until the next day to call and see how to proceed.
I called the Service Manager the morning after Christmas and explained the situation. I asked how to proceed and stated that the Fountain, CO store was more convenient for me since it was only 10 miles from my house on Peterson AFB. He apologized and said that he really wanted the trailer back at the Denver store, so that they could “make it right." I reluctantly agreed to drive it back 85 miles to their store on the day after Christmas, but I wanted to get the camper fixed, so that my family could see it.
I dropped it off at the service department after speaking with the service manager. I went through it with a technician and provided the following list: torn decal, bed rails broken, and refrigerator not operating properly. Two weeks came and went and I had not heard anything about the trailer, so I called to get an update. I was informed that the bedrails had to be ordered and would be in the following week. The following week came and went and I heard nothing from Camping World of Denver, so I again called on Friday (my day off) and was told the camper was ready. “Sorry we didn’t call you," they said. Of note, the service manager had agreed to deliver the camper to Colorado Springs for me, since he didn’t want me driving all the way back up there. He said he would work on some compensation and a toy camper for my kids (more on that later). The delivery didn’t work out; I was informed that they would only deliver it half way for me. I didn’t want to risk something being wrong and doing a walk through in a parking lot with no support from the store, so I loaded up my 4 year old and set out on the 85 mile drive. I was just over an hour into the drive when the service manager called and told me to go back home. I was informed that they had just noticed a hole in the canvas. He said that they would get it fixed and he would personally deliver it to me in Colorado Springs, CO.
Obviously, I was not happy when I was told that they had found a hole in what was my brand new canvas and it had been caused by the bed rail issue. I was upset that it had just been found after they had already had our camper for a month. The service manager said that he would call me on Monday and give me an idea of where they were going next.
Monday came and went and I received no phone call from Camping World. I called them myself on Tuesday. I was unable to reach the service manager, so a technician looked up my file and informed me that they were going to have to order a new canvas from Jayco and that it would be about 3 weeks before it would be in. I was now extremely upset. Camping World of Denver has now been paid in full for the camper, I am making payments to the bank, paying insurance, and paying for storage for a camper that I have had in my possession for less than week and have never had the experience of operating for my family.
I decided to call the Camping World of Denver’s store manager. I informed him of my situation. He asked for a day to figure it out, but that I should now deal directly with him and he would work to make me a “happy customer.” The store manager said that he would personally quality check my camper and that he would personally deliver the camper to me in Colorado Springs and walk through it with me himself. After another week of no communication, I called for an update. I was informed that Camping World is working with Jayco to overnight my canvas back-and-forth, so that I can get my camper as soon as possible. Another week came and went, and I had zero phone calls. I once again call for an update and I was told that Jayco had been closed for an entire week due to snow. I have personally spoken to two Jayco representatives that have informed me that statement is simply not true, they were only closed for one day during the snow storms in January and February.
Eight weeks from the day of purchase, I was informed that my camper was ready and that a technician would bring it to me in Colorado Springs when it was convenient for my family. A technician, not the store manager or the service manager, as both of them had assured me. Either way, I was ready to be done with this and to have my camper. I told them to bring it to me in the evening Thursday night or on Friday morning. I told them that Friday was Valentine’s day and that my wife was going to work on Saturday and Sunday night, so we had plans that Friday afternoon and I needed the camper delivered and walkthrough complete no later than 12:00 P.M. on Friday. The technician called me at 11:00 A.M on Friday to tell me that he was just getting hooked up and about to leave the Denver store, 85 miles from my house. My wife and I discussed canceling the delivery, but decided we wanted the camper, so we cancelled our plans. The technician got to my house at 12:45 PM. Clearly, my family’s time is of no importance to Camping World of Denver.
Once the technician arrived, he began to open it up to show me what Camping World of Denver had fixed. That is when things got worse. I noticed a one inch crack in the molding on the forward storage compartment, two identical dents on the left and right sides on the bottom of the front portion of the trailer box approximately 1 inch tall and 2 inches wide to include scuffed decals, the roof did not appear to go down properly, and metal on metal contact that removed a ½ inch section of aluminum from the frame, and the worse of all there were now three holes in a different section of the canvas. The door was also misaligned, but the technician was the one who noticed that. The camper was also as dirty as they come; it had clearly been stored outside for two months and was not washed prior to delivery. Of note, when I dropped it off, the tires were still sparkling from the detailing it had received the night of purchase when I picked it up. I have since been informed by the store manager of Camping World of Denver that they never wash the campers for service department repairs. At this point, this was no longer a normal service repair. The least they could do was wash it, but I have realized that we will not be given any extra treatment because as the general manager made clear to me, I now own a used camper and that I fully accepted all responsibility for the camper when I drove it off the lot. The lesson learned here is that once Camping World was paid for the camper, we no longer mattered to them. It makes zero difference to them that I have only had my new camper in my possession for six of the 69 days (and counting) that I have technically owned my new camper. I need to settle down and not expect any extra treatment. Basically, “get in line and wait; we have other things to do and you sir need to learn and understand the process better.”
I told the technician to pack it up and take it back. I was not going to accept it in its current condition. He notified the store manager. He also asked the store manager if he would like to speak to me. Twice the store manager said that he did not want to speak to me.
I went into my house and called Camping World Corporate Office to file a complaint. I also called Jayco to inform them how I was being treated by one of their vendors. The date of these calls was February 15, 2014. Camping World Corporate ensured me a follow-up phone call within 72 hours. I am typing this on February 27, 2014. I still have not received a follow-up phone call from Camping World Corporate. I have received two follow-up phone calls from Jayco.
I had to calm down for a few hours, but I called the store manager and said that I would be at Camping World of Denver in the morning, the day after they tried to drop it off to me. I got up early on Saturday, loaded two of my kids into the truck and set out once again on the 85 mile journey to Camping World of Denver.
Upon arrival at the store, it was apparent that the service manager and the general manager had prepared their argument prior to my arrival. I never spoke to the service manager and have not spoken to him since January 18, 2014. If I leave a voice mail for him, a technician may or may not return my call, but I no longer receive phone calls from the service manager with regard to this issue.
The general manager and I went straight to my camper in the service department’s garage. He then informed me that everything that I refused to accept was cosmetic and the camper was fully functional, was in a new condition, and met the standard for what Camping World of Denver considered adequate repair and in a condition ready for sale and that he would be perfectly happy if I took home right then. Of note, he was not willing to have this discussion on the sales floor in front of potential buyers. I asked how the three holes in the canvas could be construed as “functional”. I was then told that all of the damage was an insurance issue for me to figure out with my insurance company. When I informed the general manager that Camping World of Denver would be covering my deductible or using their insurance the conversation shifted. I was then informed that I was being “taken care of” by having the $15 per day storage fee waived and that he did not have room on his lot for my tent trailer. I could not believe his audacity even mentioning this seeing as they had our trailer to fix a problem they had caused in the first place!I was told that they move over 30 campers a month through there and that if I now wanted my camper fixed under Jayco’s warranty that I would have to wait my turn in line and deal with “the process”. The general manager said that I was welcome to have my camper fixed at another store and that they would happily hitch me up right then to help that decision out. I informed him that it was his service department manager that said they wanted to fix my camper and that I had originally wanted to take it to a closer store. He then explained to me how hard it is to keep track of what technicians are doing, take responsibility for manufacturer defects, and deal with the process of keeping the customer happy while filling out warranty paper work and ordering parts from manufacturers. Mind you, I am a Commander in the United States Navy, have flown worldwide combat operations for over 15 years, and have been in charge of an over 245 man maintenance department servicing over 13 national asset airplanes flying around-the-globe operations on a 24/7 basis among other things. I know a thing or two about how difficult maintenance and logistics can be, but I was never asked about my experience by the store manager. I don’t appreciate being talked down too, and I don’t think any customer deserves it, especially in this case. I was lectured on how I didn’t understand the “process” and that I now had to get in line and wait my turn because I had signed for the camper and taken it home, so it was a warranty job and I was not going to get any extra treatment. I was then informed that Camping World of Denver would be happy to fix my “manufacture warranty” issues, but I needed to understand that it would be six to eight weeks, most likely, before my camper would be fixed, again. I was informed that they are not liable for any damage to a camper being stored on their lot waiting for “manufacture warranty” repairs. Again, remember, the only reason it was there, was for them to repair things broken while they were "fixing" the rails that they broke, not a simple warranty repair!
I agreed for Camping World of Denver to repair the damage, and he agreed to have a technician give me weekly updates until it is fixed. What else was I to do at this point? I bought the camper at Camping World of Denver, they wanted to fix the damaged bed rails, it was delivered with more damage than when I originally dropped it off to them, Camping World of Denver should make the repairs. Once it is finally repaired and my wife and I receive our camper without damage; it will never see Camping World of Denver again!
I was also informed that this is the same process that I would be dealing with if I purchased a new car from a car dealership. The funny thing about that is that all of the reputable dealerships send you a customer satisfaction survey from their corporate office. The dealership and the staff are personally evaluated on the comments you provide to the survey. Every car dealership goes out of their way to ensure you are happy with your purchase and your purchase experience. They also don’t send the survey until you have had the vehicle for several weeks. I have noticed that Camping World of Denver and Camping World Corporate do not have a similar policy. The perception that my wife and I have is that they do not hold their people accountable for customer service. It seems that sales numbers are the only thing considered.
I asked about the integrity the service manager had and the general manager had when they promised to personally deliver the trailer to me. I personally believe that you are only as good as your word. I was informed that they were both too busy and that they had said that to me in the heat of the moment and were only trying to make me happy at that moment. I was told by the store manager that I needed to understand their position and that they did not have time to do that for me given the distance of the drive and how much of their day that would take. The message I took away from that discussion was that my time does not matter to them, they already have my money.
Personally, we feel that Camping World of Denver owes us a camper in the same new condition as we purchased and dropped off to them 6 days after purchase. However, we did drive it off the lot on December 19, 2013. As I told the store manager, I could understand waiting my turn in line for the warranty repairs, if it was my wife and I who had the camper or were using the camper when the damages occurred. However, the reality is that the damages occurred while the camper was in the care of Camping World of Denver. We also feel that two months should be more than enough time to get it right and two months more is an absurd amount of time for them to have our camper.
Oh, I said that I would mention the “compensation” that the service manager and general manager had promised for our inconveniences. They absolutely tried to compensate me and my family. Their idea of compensation turned out to be a $50 gift card to the store. We would prefer to have our “new” camper back. I have also not received my weekly update from a technician as promised by the store manager for Camping World of Denver. This is another broken promise by Camping World of Denver, so much for “you are only as good as your word.”