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Old 05-30-2016, 08:23 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: ACE 29.3 (2016)
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THOR #4032
Non refundable (large) deposits - Really?

We are on our second motorhome purchase, and both times we were required to make a $5,000 nonrefundable deposit. We made them insert a clause that if we didn't get financing with a payment of no more that $XXX and an APR of no more than XX% it was refundable.

So the question for you is this: Is this normal in the RV business? Why? I have purchased a lot of autos in my life and never experienced anything like this. Even when buying a home you can get your deposit back in most cases.

Why are the RV dealers so afraid of people changing their minds? Also, when we purchased our motorhomes, we had to wait several days before we could pick up our new RV. When you purchase a car, it is ready to go in almost every case .... especially if it is a new car.

I guess I just question how the RV business works.... Mind you I am not complaining about my dealer .... I just don't understand why they do business they way they do.

I welcome any and all comments.
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:36 PM   #2
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Was your unit already on the lot or did you order it?

Our Axis was in stock and we traded in our 5th wheel and pickup for it. At the show I believe I put some token amount down to hold the camper (like $100) until we could get there and finish the paper work. We then scheduled a time to pick it up (much like I do with a car dealer). On that day--it took a bit because it was February and we had a quick thaw followed by a quick freeze thus the 5th wheel was frozen in ice--I had to call and cancel, and then call back to see if they could still do the purchase. Thus we started our purchase process several hours late and they still took the time to walk through everything. (As a side note it is really funny looking at a F-350 4x4 hooked to a 5th wheel spinning all 4 wheels trying to free the 5er from the ice that is holding it prisoner.)

In short: It took us a complete day to purchase our Axis; we really didn't care how soon the appointment was to pick it up as it was February and we weren't going to go camping with it for a few months. In contrast, for the last car I picked up (the C-Max in my signature), it took about 45 minutes from the time I walked in the door to the time I drove the car home (granted I've purchased all of our cars for the last 20 years or so from this one dealership).
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Old 05-30-2016, 08:40 PM   #3
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Yup, both times the unit was on the lot - a large dealer too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Was your unit already on the lot or did you order it?

Our Axis was in stock and we traded in our 5th wheel and pickup for it. At the show I believe I put some token amount down to hold the camper (like $100) until we could get there and finish the paper work. We then scheduled a time to pick it up (much like I do with a car dealer). On that day--it took a bit because it was February and we had a quick thaw followed by a quick freeze thus the 5th wheel was frozen in ice--I had to call and cancel, and then call back to see if they could still do the purchase. Thus we started our purchase process several hours late and they still took the time to walk through everything. (As a side note it is really funny looking at a F-350 4x4 hooked to a 5th wheel spinning all 4 wheels trying to free the 5er from the ice that is holding it prisoner.)

In short: It took us a complete day to purchase our Axis; we really didn't care how soon the appointment was to pick it up as it was February and we weren't going to go camping with it for a few months. In contrast, for the last car I picked up (the C-Max in my signature), it took about 45 minutes from the time I walked in the door to the time I drove the car home (granted I've purchased all of our cars for the last 20 years or so from this one dealership).
Both times we purchased units that were on the lot. Both times we had to come back (read more than 100 miles each way) several days later to take delivery. Is this a normal way to do business? If so, one would wonder why.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:02 PM   #4
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Bob,

The amount and refund ability of the deposit may vary by state with each having their own laws on what is allowable.

Yes, you normally have to come back a few days later. I have seen some coaches sitting on lots that folks have walked through and they needed a very good cleaning. The dealer should also make sure all systems are functional before you take delivery.

Isome states one reason for the delay is the cooling off period where you get 72 hours to change your mind.

My last two purchases were with 500.00 deposit and one week for delivery. I had contingencies in the contract related to terms of financing, condition of the unit upon delivery, date and time of delivery etc... With the contingencies I put in the contract everything had to be right or I walked with my deposit in hand.

I have found through the years that RV buying is more like buying a house than buying a car. Think about it, when buying a car do you submit a formal purchase offer with deposit? You do when you buy a house.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
Bob,

The amount and refund ability of the deposit may vary by state with each having their own laws on what is allowable.

Yes, you normally have to come back a few days later. I have seen some coaches sitting on lots that folks have walked through and they needed a very good cleaning. The dealer should also make sure all systems are functional before you take delivery.

Isome states one reason for the delay is the cooling off period where you get 72 hours to change your mind.

My last two purchases were with 500.00 deposit and one week for delivery. I had contingencies in the contract related to terms of financing, condition of the unit upon delivery, date and time of delivery etc... With the contingencies I put in the contract everything had to be right or I walked with my deposit in hand.

I have found through the years that RV buying is more like buying a house than buying a car. Think about it, when buying a car do you submit a formal purchase offer with deposit? You do when you buy a house.
In Montana (where I purchased the unit) there is NO cooling off period and it is so stated in their one sided contract. They also require a $5,000 non-refundable deposit.... We have purchased many homes in our lives and there have always been ways you could change your mind if you wanted to and get your deposit (usually $1,000) back. We sold an inherited cabin in the CA mountains a year ago and on the day of closing, after everything was signed the buyer changed her mind. Because everything had been done and signed she didn't get her small $1,000 deposit back but it didn't cover the expenses we had to make the sale. Thanks for your input.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:08 PM   #6
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I guess I am different in my buying habits. I make an offer. If they accept it (normally do not!), we then play the cat & mouse game. Once we agree on a price I tell them when I will pick it up, if not at that time. When they ask for a deposit I give $100.00. If they say they require more I ask why. I have heard various reasons, but accept none of them. I state if they don't trust me then I don't trust them and tell them to forget it. I have never failed to purchase a vehicle following that scenario.

Before retiring I bought quite a number of company vehicles for our sales force. Before the internet I typed (yes, on a typewriter!) a list of options I required on said vehicle. I really didn't care what make vehicle. I then went to every car dealer in about a hundred mile radius. I told them what I wanted, left them the list of options required, and asked them to get back to me within a given amount of time. I told them I was giving this to every dealer in said area, and whoever had the best price would get the cash sale. It was amazing how low the prices were and how much money I saved. When the internet came along it made it sooooo much easier!!
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Marine By Choice View Post
I guess I am different in my buying habits. I make an offer. If they accept it (normally do not!), we then play the cat & mouse game. Once we agree on a price I tell them when I will pick it up, if not at that time. When they ask for a deposit I give $100.00. If they say they require more I ask why. I have heard various reasons, but accept none of them. I state if they don't trust me then I don't trust them and tell them to forget it. I have never failed to purchase a vehicle following that scenario.

Before retiring I bought quite a number of company vehicles for our sales force. Before the internet I typed (yes, on a typewriter!) a list of options I required on said vehicle. I really didn't care what make vehicle. I then went to every car dealer in about a hundred mile radius. I told them what I wanted, left them the list of options required, and asked them to get back to me within a given amount of time. I told them I was giving this to every dealer in said area, and whoever had the best price would get the cash sale. It was amazing how low the prices were and how much money I saved. When the internet came along it made it sooooo much easier!!
Thanks for your input.... I like it. Not sure it works in Montana.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:15 PM   #8
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Maybe not in Montana. It worked in the Seattle area, Albany Oregon area , various areas in California and Southern Michigan (bought a pickup in Jackson, MI last May for my son).
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:47 PM   #9
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How did you put your contingencies in?
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:57 PM   #10
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How did you put your contingencies in?
I just made them put it into the contract. Still, such a one sided contract makes me a little nervous.
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:07 PM   #11
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I just purchased a new unit from the dealer's lot and gave a $1,000 refundable deposit through my credit card. They are holding the deposit and will not run it when I pay for the unit.

Phil
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:10 PM   #12
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When we bought our 2015 Vegas 24.1 it was on the lot in dealer stock. When we finished negotiating a price, my dealer gave me the total out the door price so that I could send the invoice to USAA Bank who was doing my financing. The dealer only required me to put down $100.

I sent USAA the invoice and they FedEx'd me a check. I went back to the dealer three days later to complete the financials, but the dealer said he would not take the check until we signed the paperwork at delivery.

The dealer did want a week for delivery. That was for their "get ready" time to clean up the coach, inspect it, correct the myriad things the factory forgot or did wrong. The clean up included the dealer taking out all the drawers and removing the covers under the mattresses to vacuum out all the sawdust, extra screws and construction debris.

When we did the pdi at delivery there were only 3 minor trim discrepancies that they missed in their "make ready." They repaired these on the spot and when I was satisfied we went in the office, signed the paperwork & I gave them the check.
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Old 05-30-2016, 10:28 PM   #13
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Sounds like your dealer did things the right way for you. Too far away for me to do business though.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:32 PM   #14
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In countless threads on this forum I have said the same thing. The single most important decision you make when you buy an RV is what is the quality of your dealer's service. I know lots of folks drive lots of miles to get a "good" deal; however, they should weigh whether they want to drive hundreds of miles for service -- especially if they have to leave the coach.

I would venture a completely unscientific opinion (in the AF we called that a WAG) that well more than 50% of the problems people have with their RVs is the service and maintenance their dealer performs on their RVs. There are countless stories in this forum of dealer technicians who do not know how systems operate, repairs incorrectly made, or as in Ron & Kay's story, a part removed from their RV without telling anyone.

In addition there are countless stories of owners accepting a new RV with an A/C that was inoperative, a furnace that doesn't work, dead batteries, etc. A good dealer PDI and walkthrough should include them showing you how every system works -- on shore power, battery, and generator. The dealer should also show you where everything is located -- like the remote for the radio, the heater bypass valves, the low point drains, how the sewer connection swivels down, etc

1 -- How many times should you go to the dealer to fix a problem? Once, they should have technicians that will troubleshoot and fix a problem correctly the first time.

2 -- How long should your RV sit in a dealership waiting for parts? It shouldn't. There is no reason an RV should be sitting in the dealer's lot waiting for parts. It can be at your home or you can be using it if the repair does not affect use.

3 -- Do you need an appointment for service? Good dealership has a limited first come - first serve drive in capability.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:59 PM   #15
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I could not agree with you more. My dealer has been quite good with the service part....
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:31 AM   #16
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One more rant -- I find it amazing that someone will buy an RV for well over $100,000 and then spend 4 or 5,000 dollars more on steering dampers, bushings, sway bars, heavy duty shocks etc. to make it safe to drive. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of that? In my view there is nothing any of should have to do to an RV's suspension to make it safe to drive.
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:39 AM   #17
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No, find another dealer. I bought my last rig over the internet and drove to TX to get it. I did put $1000 for a deposit, but it was refundable. Non refundable 5k? No way!!
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevedfelker View Post
One more rant -- I find it amazing that someone will buy an RV for well over $100,000 and then spend 4 or 5,000 dollars more on steering dampers, bushings, sway bars, heavy duty shocks etc. to make it safe to drive. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of that? In my view there is nothing any of should have to do to an RV's suspension to make it safe to drive.
I could not agree more! But what can we do? I wish there was a solution. Can you imagine spending $90K to $100K for a nice SUV and then having to spend another $5K to make it work right? No way but that is how it is with RVs. Thank you for your input.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevedfelker View Post
One more rant -- I find it amazing that someone will buy an RV for well over $100,000 and then spend 4 or 5,000 dollars more on steering dampers, bushings, sway bars, heavy duty shocks etc. to make it safe to drive. Am I the only one who sees the ridiculousness of that? In my view there is nothing any of should have to do to an RV's suspension to make it safe to drive.
No, you are not the only one.

I don't even buy the idea that motorhomes have to be loaded down by the owner before the steering can be aligned. Sounds like a good theory, but I personally think it's mostly BS in order to shift the work to the owner. They should be aligned at time of delivery in my opinion.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:42 AM   #20
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I could not agree more with Ed and Chance as far as having to spend so much more money for safety and handling.... The manufacturers should spend the money on these issues before anything else.
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