RV Manufacturer Warranty, Part 2: RV repair shop owner explains, “Why I refuse to honor your warranty!”

In my last post, I shared multiple reasons why offering an RV manufacturer warranty would benefit my independent RV repair shop. These aren’t just thoughts and feelings. What I didn’t share is the fact that I’ve had extensive experience. I’ve done it not only within my business but also during my days of working at dealerships.

Here’s why I refuse to do it

The history

If I am being honest, RV manufacturer warranties left a bitter taste in my mouth. In 2007, before the economy collapsed, my business did RV manufacturer warranties for multiple manufacturers. As I mentioned before, it was so easy for me to obtain new customers. So much so, that about 75 percent of my shop’s workload consisted of RV manufacturer warranties.

Payment for this type of work comes several weeks to several months later; but at the time, I was able to float the business with the amount of constant work. Once the economy started to crumble, RV manufacturers started closing their doors, and I went unpaid on completed work. At the time, it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $150K. I did my best to pivot and restructure the business, but the damage was done. I had to close the business for some time and file for bankruptcy.


Like a cat with nine lives, it didn’t take me long to reopen. I knew I had to operate differently this time, and it would be without an RV manufacturer warranty. I did just that for multiple years. But as the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” RV manufacturers claimed they’d changed their ways and consumers continued to be desperate for assistance. So I gave it another shot. And this is where I need to pass the keyboard on to my wife, Ashley…

Ashley’s response

I wasn’t in Dustin’s picture during his 2007/2008 saga, so I didn’t live that nightmare. When I married into the industry six years ago, I truthfully didn’t understand this hot topic in its entirety. I listened to all of Dustin’s reasons for wanting to offer it again and I acquiesced. This is when I learned one of Dustin’s best qualities is he forgives and forgets. I’m like a jaded cat. I remember what you did to my favorite catnip-laced toy in the spring of 1992.

I’ve now been married to Dustin for six years and have learned to simply choose my battles. But this is one I will choose every time.


One of the biggest reasons why we currently don’t offer an RV manufacturer warranty is for the simple fact that it takes too long to get paid. In 2021, we got brave and offered an RV manufacturer warranty for two different manufacturers with the caveat that we’d only do 1-2 units per month. This was to protect the business from what happened in 2007/2008. For the units that had just a handful of basic repairs and the stars aligned perfectly with no hiccups, we would receive payment within 1-2 months of the repairs being completed. For the units that required a bit more hand-holding, on average it took eight months to one year to be paid.

As it stands right now, we still have one open invoice that has aged to 13 months old, and we are still pending payment from the manufacturer. What kills my soul is the fact that this invoice totals a “whopping” $335.41 due. By the time I paid my staff to make the appointment, check in the customer, battle to get authorization and parts from the manufacturer, do the repairs, and all the follow-up required to track down this payment for over a year, it cost us money to do this customer’s warranty work. It’s because of jobs like this that I often ask my husband, “Are we running a business or a charity?” whenever he starts to re-entertain the idea of offering RV manufacturer warranties again.


Time is money!

We often find that offering an RV manufacturer warranty turns the check-in process into a therapy session. As Dustin explained in Part 1, we do care. But, without trying to sound cold or callous, we didn’t build the unit and we didn’t sell it to you. We are simply here to fix it. To date, we have yet to do a single RV manufacturer warranty repair where we didn’t have to hear the drama.

We spend more time going through the play-by-play of what happened when you bought the unit, how quickly something broke and it ruined your trip, the runaround you got from the service department at the dealership, and then the back-and-forth when dealing with the manufacturer rather than actually doing the repairs. A dealership makes its money by selling units; as a repair facility, we make our money by selling our time. At the end of the day, the RV manufacturer does not pay us to hear the horror stories. They only pay us to fix it.

Double the trouble!

When I compare the amount of time spent on RV manufacturer warranty repairs compared to regular customer-pay repairs, the difference is staggering. Once a customer-pay work order has been dispatched to one of my technicians, the unit is moved to a spot where the unit can be plugged in to power and/or water depending on what type of repair is required. Most likely that technician will need to open the unit’s slide out(s) to access the issue at hand. He will diagnose it, make some notes and snap a few pictures. The service writer can now make contact with the customer to gain authorization for any additional time and parts required.


Typically, the unit remains in that spot, powered on and slide out(s) opened because the service writer will gain authorization the same business day. Depending on parts, the repairs will be completed the same day or the next day. The unit is then closed up, powered down and parked in a designated pickup area.

In comparison, RV manufacturer warranty repairs are dispatched out to a technician, they’ll park the unit and plug it into power/water and open required slide outs. They’ll diagnose the issue, take multiple pictures at every possible angle for the manufacturer and make detailed notes on the point of failure and time requested to fix the issue. Between the time it takes for the service writer to gain authorization and obtain the parts required for repair, we are forced to close the slide out(s), unplug the unit, and park the unit out of the way. The process is so long that, in most cases, we have the customer pick up their unit and return at a later date when all required parts are received.

This alone doubles all of our time spent with the customer, which includes:

  • Appointments
  • Check-in procedures
  • Porter’s time parking the unit at drop-off and pick-up
  • Technician’s time gathering his tools along with opening and closing the unit

All of that extra time goes unaccounted for with the manufacturer—they only pay us to fix it. I’m also sure the customer doesn’t look forward to bringing their unit in twice for the same repairs.


To fix it, or fix it the right way?

The lag time in obtaining authorization for repairs is not only dependent on how far behind the RV manufacturer warranty department is at the time, but it’s the “dance” we do with the warranty department in order to get items covered. We certainly aren’t here to “bite the hands that feed us.” But time and time again we ran into scenarios where not all of our requested time was approved.

It would sure be easy to throw a screw and some sealant on a repair to get it quickly out the door, but we like to sleep at night. There have been plenty of times where we know in 1-2 months the item will be broken again. We know there is something extra we can do on the repair to prevent that from happening (tear something apart, inject something to prevent water damage, beef up support, etc.). This additional time is often declined because “production can do it in X time.”

The RV manufacturer leans on whatever their book time allows for repairs. If our requested time is above their book time, we have to do that “dance.” This dance includes anything from providing several additional pictures, phone calls and an endless amount of emails back and forth. In the end, there is no guarantee we will have this additional time approved once the music stops. We simply don’t have an assurance that the manufacturer has our back. We are taking care of the customer 100%. It’s our name and our reputation on the line. And if something goes wrong, we now have the liability of being sued, yet the manufacturer doesn’t want to pay us to do the job the right way.

So why are you getting the runaround from your dealership?

There is more I could have added here. But, then again, those reasons also play into why you are receiving the runaround from your dealership. There are so many layers that play into the runaround you receive from the service department at your dealership.

RV Warranty Inspection

Your RV is broken and warranty about to run out! Now what? Who will do your RV warranty work for you? California RV Specialists is an independent RV repair shop. Please note due to the different procedures with the manufacturers, this is a very laborious task for our repair shop to handle, so we only accept extended warranties at this time.

However you do have rights as a consumer, maybe it’s not too late to have your RV warranty inspection performed! Most manufacturers require dealerships that carry their brand to complete warranty work.

We try to do our best to help the consumer, So we started offering a RV warranty inspection, this can help you determine if you have any issues.

Make sure you subscribe to RVtravelcom so you don’t miss Dustin and Ashley’s additional knowledge on this topic in next Saturday’s issue.

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