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RV dealer won’t allow a third-party RV inspection

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WHAT TO DO WHEN THE RV DEALERSHIP SAYS NO TO AN INDEPENDENT RV INSPECTION

Whether you’ve been researching RV floorplans for months or walk onto an RV dealer lot and fall in love immediately, you know how important it is to hire a third-party RV inspector. Unlike RV dealerships, qualified RV inspectors are working for you and can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about such a large purchase.

Jason and I have performed close to 600 RV inspections over the last five years so we feel strongly that RV inspections should be completed AFTER the dealership’s pre-delivery inspection (PDI) and BEFORE the final paperwork is signed AND before the recreational vehicle is driven off the lot.

Waiting until after you’ve taken delivery of the motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer can cause major headaches because RV service departments are so backed up. It is not uncommon to be told that an appointment is not available for 2 to 3 months. MONTHS!

And that date is simply when you deliver the RV to the dealership. It definitely doesn’t mean your home on wheels will be put in an RV service bay that day. It’s simply going through an intake process that could last a few days to a few weeks.

Once your RV makes it through that process, it’ll be evaluated by an RV technician. That dealership RV technician will make recommendations about fixes and ask that the dealership orders RV parts.

The RV parts supply chain is very unstable post-pandemic, so getting the appropriate RV parts or RV appliances may take several weeks to several months. There’s nothing more frustrating than calling the RV dealership daily or weekly only to find out that no progress has been made.

INDEPENDENT PRE-PURCHASE RV INSPECTIONS ARE VITAL

With all of that knowledge, you inform your RV salesperson that your deposit is contingent upon a third-party RV inspection. This can go one of two ways:

  • The salesperson and the RV dealership understand the importance of a happy customer, so they agree and accommodate the certified RV inspector on the RV inspection date.
  • The RV seller informs you that they don’t allow third-party RV inspection companies to perform unbiased RV inspections on their RV property.

HOW DO I HANDLE RV DEALERSHIPS THAT DON’T ALLOW RV INSPECTIONS?

Please (and I beg you!) understand that this should be the first of many red flags when dealing with an RV seller. If they don’t allow independent RV inspections, what are they trying to hide? Why don’t they want a qualified RV inspector on the premises?

Remember, YOU are holding the ball! (metaphorically, of course) In reality, you are holding the checkbook, the signature and/or the financing.

IN OTHER WORDS, YOU HOLD ALL THE POWER!!

This is what RV dreamers and RVers everywhere forget sometimes. And this is what boggles our minds the most.

Would you buy a house without a home inspection? No, most people wouldn’t. So why would anyone not insist on an RV inspection? An RV is a HOME on wheels. Don’t treat it as a vehicle purchase. Treat it like a home purchase. After all, the price is much closer to the price of a house than the price of a car (which is still a substantial purchase).

SO STAND FIRM! USE YOUR POWER!

Tell the salesperson that you’ll be happy to take your money to the next dealership that allows RV inspection companies to do their job – for you, the buyer.

I know, I know. RVs are selling like hotcakes right now. Chances are, there’s no time to haggle. There’s no other dealership with this floorplan. There’s no other option because you’ve already sold the house. Trust me, we’ve heard EVERY. SINGLE. EXCUSE.

We’ve also heard TOO. MANY. HORROR. STORIES…

“I drove away and the RV black tank fell out onto the road.”

“I drove away and the first time it rained, water flowed in through the RV roof or the misaligned RV slideout room.”

“I drove away and my RV brakes failed.”

“I drove away and now I smell propane.”

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE TO A FULL RV INSPECTION?

We’ve done plenty of RV inspections that don’t have the appropriate hookups – even at dealerships. If they tell you they won’t provide water or sewer hookups, tell them that’s fine but you still intend to hire an RV inspector.

If they tell you they won’t perform their PDI prior to a third party RV inspection, tell them that’s fine but you still intend to hire an RV inspector.

If they tell you that they won’t provide batteries, propane or fuel for the generator, tell them that’s fine but you still intend to hire an RV inspector.

As long as you stay in charge, your qualified RV inspection company will inspect as much as they can BEFORE you drive off the lot.

Any information you can gather prior to RV delivery is better than none. And most likely, when the RV inspector shows up, he or she will be able to discuss hookups professionally. That’s what we’ve been trained to do. We’ve been trained to act on your behalf, as your representative.

You know an RV inspection is important and now you are better equipped to handle whatever the RV dealer throws at you.

Don’t let them rush you. The ball is in your court. You hold the power!!

DISCLAIMER: I can’t speak for every RV inspector so the opinions expressed in all my RV inspection articles are solely based on mine and Jason’s experiences in performing hundreds of RV inspections since 2017. 

Every RV inspection company has their own policies, procedures and pricing. The only way to know is to ask – and become the most informed RV customer possible.  It’s much better to do that prior to hiring an RV inspection company rather than after.

Lisa Carletti

Lisa Carletti

Lisa and Jason are NRVIA certified Level 2 inspectors and RVDA/RVIA registered technicians who run My RV Inspection based in Tampa, FL. They also built My RV Resource which is a map based directory as a resource to help consumers find RV related services like RV inspections, RV repair shops and mobile technicians, RV towing and transport companies as well as RV storage lots.
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