ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Camping season is almost here, meaning it’s time to get those RV’s tucked away all winter out for some seasonal maintenance. Yet, some customers have reached out to 8News with serious complaints about a big name in the industry.
Delays, damage, poor customer service and faulty repairs are just some of the complaints 8News has been fielding about McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV Camping World in Ashland. McGeorge’s was once a family owned business. It was sold last year to Camping World, the nation’s largest supplier of RV parts and supplies. Some customers say since Camping World took over service has gone downhill.
“It’s just kind of become this situation where I have no faith in them,” says Polly White Cordle. She bought a brand new camper at McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV Camping World last June.”When we purchased it, we had a fabulous experience,” said Cordle. Her Henrico family took it on all kinds of adventures. “We love the camper,” she explained.
After the summer trips, it needed some repairs. Some parts had to be ordered but there was nothing really major to be done.
“There was a recall on the grill. We had a handle that had fallen off one of the tanks and a tail light that never really worked and then we wanted brackets put up for a TV,” Cordle told 8News.
The family dropped the camper off Oct. 7 and their parking spot sat empty until late April after 8News started to investigate. The ride to repairs took more than six months and left Cordle annoyed. She says after dropping it off in October, communication stopped.
“I never heard from them, so I called them in January,” said Cordle. She learned it had just been sitting on the lot all that time. “Our camper was not assigned to anyone for anything to be done to it,” she explained. From then on she says for months it was only a chain of emails back and forth but no answers.
“I think I actually said ‘did my camper burn to the ground and no one wants to tell me?’ I mean it was just that ridiculous that nobody was contacting us,” said Cordle.
By March, the list of repairs had still been untouched and a manager called with bad news. “She let me know at that point that they had damaged the camper, they damaged the awning and they would have to replace that,” Cordle said.
Cordle then decided to visit in person and learned she’s not the only angry RV owner.
“I said, you know, one of the things on there is a tail light, don’t you think in six months you should have been able to fix that? When I was there in person the woman next to me said ‘I am sorry to eavesdrop but we’re in the same position,’” she told 8News.
Online, 8News has found dozens of complaints warning of poor service. The State Attorney General’s office told 8News they’ve recently received nine complaints about the Ashland shop, most of the complaints about alleged faulty goods or repairs. Frustrated customer Bruce Guthrie took McGeorge’s Camping World to court.
“As soon as we got it home it home we had discovered one of the safety lights was out,” said Guthrie. The Kilmarnock resident bought a 2-year-old RV and paid $1000 extra for prep work he says was never done.
“We had leaking in the dog window, we didn’t have water pressure, it turned out the awning was broken,” Guthrie explained. He took it in for repairs, he had an extended warranty.
“They were saying that they were waiting on approval,” he said. Guthrie says he was lied to. “I checked with the extended warranty and found out that they had approvals for these things,” he explained.
When he got the RV back, Guthrie told 8News, “they had had it for two and half months and it turns out they didn’t do any of the work they had said they would do.” McGeorge’s Camping World settled with Guthrie and refunded that $1000 for the so-called prep work.
Another couple told 8News they scheduled minor work for their brand-new Mercedes motorhome and returned to a mess. After having it for weeks, the shop admitted that it hadn’t even done an initial diagnostic but cut off battery power causing food in the RV to spoil and attract maggots. So what does McGeorge’s RV Camping World have to say about all these complaints? Camping World declined to do an interview with 8News but we spoke at length with executives. They admit they’ve got issues and they told 8News it’s not just with the Ashland shop. The BBB or Better Business Bureau reports more than 800 complaints nationwide about Camping World in the past three years.
Camping World told 8News some parts have to be ordered from the manufacturer and can take months to come in. Yet, they told 8News the bigger problem is there’s a shortage of technicians and the service side can’t keep up.
For instance, at McGeorge’s Camping World in Ashland, 8News was told they may sell 140 RV’s a month, all will need some work or installation. However, there are just 22 technicians on staff.8News was told it takes specialized skills to work on RV’s. Camping World is trying to fill the void, the company has started a technical institute to train talent.
Camping World said they’re offering starting technicians $21 an hour with tools included if new hires stick around. Executives told 8News they would like to double up on staff at the service center in Ashland. Camping World also adds they’re now sending corporate staff to some shops to help with repairs.