Thursday, November 17, 2011

RV Dealers Drive Me Crazy

My neighbors and I went to another RV dealership yesterday.  They pulled the bait and switch with us so the lady we started with was not the sales person we ended up with.  We’d been there the day before and I drove a couple diesel pushers.  The first one was awful…the gas pedal was too far to the right to be comfortable and the placement of the mirrors was a nightmare.  It had turn signal cameras but the steering wheel was in the way of the screen so they were worthless.  Our sales lady didn’t understand what the problem was. 

One of the diesel pushers she showed us was an Alpha Gold See Ya and I really liked the interior.  Well, except for the TV in the bedroom.  I don’t watch TV in bed so it’s worthless to me, but the way this one was mounted was overkill.  It’s hard to explain so I won’t get into it…just trust me, it was pretty awful. 

We’d decided that I was going to test drive it because I really did like it but they couldn’t get it started.  Hmmm.  Then my neighbor, Lloyd, did some checking on the outside and called me to the back to show me a problem.  The back section was full of silicone and parts of it were loose, etc., etc.  After showing me that I went back inside and noticed that there had been a leak in the ceiling of the bedroom and red flags started going up all over the place. 

They agreed that they were going to charge the batteries overnight and Merisa, our sales lady, would bring it to the Voyager for me to test drive.  However, that’s not how things worked out.  She called me asking me to come to the dealership because she had an appointment she’d forgotten about. 

They’d gotten the Alpha charged, although it was still hooked up to a battery charger.  Merisa proceeded to open the slides which confused me because I thought I was going to test drive it.  Then she put her hard sell hat on and the camaraderie changed.  She excused herself to get some info and that’s when the sales person switch took place. 

I met the owner of the dealership the day before and commented on the back of the Alpha.  He admitted that an employee backed it into a tree and so they damaged it.  Turns out that up to that point it had been a consignment RV, but they had to buy it from the owner because of the damage. 

I have a question about Alpha’s.  One sales person at a different dealership said that they were a piece of junk and that’s why the company went out of business.  Merisa said that the reason they went out of business is because of a five year warranty they offered.  The company honoring the warranty went out of business, forcing Alpha to take over the warranties, which caused them to go out of business.  Does anyone know the real story?  Are they good RVs???

I think the thing I liked most about the Alpha was the size of the slide outs.  The first salesman also warned about difficulty driving it in wind because of they’re so much taller.  Any comments?

The second salesman yesterday was a non-stop talker and he just wore me out.  I felt verbally assaulted by the time we left and we quit looking even though we had planned on going to another dealer.  I think it’s going to take me some time to recover before I go looking again.

I solved a huge problem in Olivia.  I got a small portable heater that doesn’t make any noise and it worked great last night.  I’m so used to the temperature going down to the 50s inside that it was almost too warm.  I’ll set it a bit lower tonight but I like the quiet warmth it provided. 

I’m sitting outside right now and it’s in the mid 70s!!!  There isn’t a cloud in the sky and it’s lovely.  There’s a slight breeze.

I started my day with an hour of Zumba and I’m going to end it at a flute circle tonight.  I’ve never been to a flute circle and I’d like to see what it’s about. 

Life is good today.

Loving the sunshine,



  1. Merikay has an Alpha, doesn't she?

    Any kind of hard sell shuts me down.

  2. What's a flute circle?

    I'd be leery of that particular Alpha.

  3. Shopping for RVs is stressful and tiring. Even shopping online tired me out after awhile. Stick with it. You'll find "The One" soon.

  4. An RV is such a big purchase. I wouldn't even consider one that has been backed into a tree and has had ceiling leaks. Especially, when the dealer wasn't up front with you about that while showing the RV to you. I'd find another dealer. Don't let them push you around. Tell them you are just looking and you need time alone to check out the features.

    When we bought our RV we ended up in the salesmans office. He got up and excused himself, leaving us alone. We found out later that he most likely called another phone in the building and put his phone in speaker mode. This way he could hear our private conversation about how serious we were regarding buying the RV and what we were willing to pay.

    Anytime a salesman leaves you alone in their office ALWAYS assume that you are being listened to. They use baby monitors too. Crafty people these salesmen!

  5. Yup, Merikay has an Alfa. Note: it is not an Alpha.

    I really don't know the real reason Alfa went out of business. I have not heard either of the stories you have given, and I will be interested to ask around in January when we go to an Alfa Owners Rally.

    The height? I don't see a big difference between 11' and 13' when it comes to wind resistance. They both are probably hard to drive in bad weather.

    We feel our 35LS is a wonderful machine and it handles so much better on the highway than the Winnebago Meridian or the Monaco we test drove.
    We choose it because of the generous storage space, and the extra height inside gives it a more spacious feeling. We have lived in a home with high ceilings for so long that some of the other Class A's seemed claustrophobic.

    As far as worries about service because the Alfa company is gone, there are at least four service places that are recommended by the Alfa Owners forums. Of course other places can do work as well.

    I read two Alfa email groups every day. I have asked questions and have had them answered quickly. My observations have been that problems being discussed have been about parts of the Alfas that are made by others such as the Norcold refrigerators (doesn't everyone have problems with these?)

    Watch out for those leaks though. Don't buy a leaky rig no mater who makes it!

  6. What alot of neat things that park is offering!

  7. I have 2 friends who own Alfa's they love them and have owned them for a few years already. No big problems.
    That one you looked at... I'd leave it there it sounds like a money pit.

  8. sure sounds like the sales people were very pushy!..I don't like that either!..we wish you luck as you continue your quest to find a new home on wheels!!

  9. Lots of people write Alpha instead of Alfa. I did at first too.

    We had some signs of a leak and the salesman blew over it and we did not follow thru. After the fact, when it rained and the floor got wet I reread our sales contract. The 30 day warranty specifically excluded water leaks. It was day 29 and we just didn't feel like fighting with LaMesa.

    BUT there was also a bit of a stain around the TV antenna. We checked and saw it has been re-caulked, and when it did rain there was no leak.

    We have an appointment at the Alfateers repair center after Christmas to get the seals redone and the slide adjusted. We think this should take care of it.

    There are a lot of great used rigs out there. Be smart, don't let the sales people push you.

  10. If you are looking for a full-timing rig and need the storage space, the alfa is for you! I second everything Merikay said. We had an alfa see ya for about 6 years and we loved it. You'll never look at another floor plan the same way after you've lived in an alfa. There are some models now that do not have that same overhead bedroom tv, so keep looking. By the way, many rv manufacturer's went out of business when the recession hit full force and oil prices went so high. If you've been looking at full size rigs, you'll find many brands that are no longer being made.
    A good web search for used alfas will produce good results.
    good luck,

  11. I honestly don't know why people go through dealers...especially if you have cash or can get the financng yourself. In Arizona there are so many beautiful motorhomes for sale by owners...not because they have problems but because they no longer are able to drive them..don't want to pay for the diesel etc. We live by an Rv park and there are two beautiful rigs for sale by is a large one and one a smaller one. Plus we live by an escapee Rv park and just driving around I see 2 or 3 or 4 for sale ...the main reason they go to consignment is because they have problems in my opinion...

  12. I agree with Ms. Ain't above. The "warranty" from a dealer doesn't merit the extra hassle and higher sticker price. I also think private owners will be more likely to level with you about the coach's problems than a salesman will be.

  13. We walked into a local furniture store just to look at a couple of recliners and the sales lady followed us around and pestered us to the point that we walked out. I mean, talk about OVERKILL! Good luck with your search...I can't even imagine how stressful it must be for you. Enjoy the weather in Tucson! People don't realize how cold the desert can get...once the sun goes down, because there is so little moisture in the air, yes, it gets COLD!!!!!

  14. I joined your blog today, as I don't care much for those sneaky, long winded RV sales folks either...!!! Check out my blog at: and drop me a line! I am in southwest NM workamping at the moment. Plan to head to Q-zite in mid January.

  15. Hey Jeana,

    Thanks for the invite to come to Tucson and visit and tour the area with you. I ended up heading to Yuma and then Quartzsite, so I was going in the opposite direction. Sandy wanted to know, too, if I would be in their area, Apache Junction, but that was in another direction. Too many places to go and see. We'll meet up down the road, but I appreciated your invitation - hopefully next time! :)