Saturday, September 4, 2010
A Cautionary RV Tale
Wrong Diesel Breath!
While driving back and forth to San Antonio, I noted that my transmission was intermittently failing to change gears while in Automatic Mode. At first, I thought it was operator error and I had mistakenly put in in Manual. So I paid close attention and discovered that it was a true mechanical problem after several subsequent failures.
So, I made an appointment for Warranty Service at the same Shop that had received my towed vehicle after a sudden power failure--later presumed to be a vapor lock since there was no mechanical problem discovered.
I then emailed my Dealer and explained why the old battery would not be tested for Warranty replacement and they offered to pay the entire cost anyway. $173 Mobile Service + $114.00 truck battery. Fine.
Next task: find a Freightliner facility authorized for Warranty service. Easier said than done! Freightliner had recently been purchased by Mercedes Benz and the entire system of franchises was discontinued, put on hold or changed to "service only". A new policy was enacted that Mercedes required any Warranty Service to be performed by Sprinter-certified technicians. So the technicians had a field day, offering their suddenly-valuable services to the highest bidders! Consequently, many facilities could/would not do Warranty work because there was no affordable (read "cheap) labor.
I finally found a facility in Tampa and tried to get an appointment. They routinely checked my VIN number and regretfully informed me that my service had expired over a year ago. It was registered to me but it had an In-Service Date of June 2006. (I bought it 10/09.)
I phoned the Dealer and explained the situation as I understood it (which was very little). They re-submitted the New Registration Paperwork and ...no go. I spoke with the Operations Manager and he spoke with the manufacturer, Gulf Stream Coach. According to him, the sale was erroneously documented as a retail sale (rather than a wholesale transaction) from Gulf Stream to RV World back in '06 and that triggered the Warranty Start Date.
I then called Gulf Stream Coach and extracted their promise to fax the necessary paperwork that very day to the Dealer. The Dealer faxed the completed paperwork back to Mercedes and....there it sat. Nothing happened from that point on except to assign me as an "Open Case".
She had patiently checked each time I called to see if my warranty status had changed and offered me information and insights. She kindly intervened with Mercedes Benz on my behalf and discovered the that my open case was just sitting on someone's desk. She phoned to say they wanted the Bill of Sale which I immediately emailed to her. When it failed to fax properly, she copied the email and sent a hard copy via snail mail to a Real Person.
Two weeks later--TODAY--Nicole called me to say that the Warranty was now correctly registered to me and I could bring my rig in for service. I was relieved and overjoyed and effusively thanked her for all she did for me, which most certainly was not in her job description.
I have received my check from the RV Dealer for the new battery and Mobile Service.
This was an confusing problem with several unusual elements beginning with someone supposedly checking the wrong box back in Jun 2006, complicated by lack of followup to the initial rejected Registration by the RV Dealer last fall, confounded by the sale of Freightliner to an another company and the failure of the corporate databases to play nicely together.
Add the customary corporate incompetence to the mix and you have...a cautionary RV tale.
I must add, with some regret, that not a single person in the triad of corporates involved--the RV manufacturer, the RV selling Dealer and the owner of the Warranty obligation--ever offered an apology or even validated my distress at not having a warranty available to me and having to do ALL the work to fix the problem not caused, nor even understood, by me. Except Nicole.
My heroine of the moment is-- Nicole!