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RVs & Inadequate Consumer Protection

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Lemon laws protect consumers by enabling them to pursue compensation after buying a defective vehicle or one that is below industry standards. Recreational vehicles are unique and come with a series of potential complications that put a consumer in a precarious situation. Unlike cars, RVs are both vehicles and live able spaces. Although both the motor vehicle and the coach are considered consumer goods, the motor vehicle component has additional layers of provisions and laws to consider. When we refer to “lemon law,” we are referring to the consumer protections outlined in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. In 1995, the court determined specific elements of the Act apply to different parts of the RV.

This is one of the challenges associated with purchasing a recreational vehicle: several manufacturers are responsible for creating its parts. Each component of the coach comes with its own warranties. The companies that gave the warranties are responsible for repairing them. The “motor vehicle” element of the RV presents similar challenges. Vehicle manufacturers such as Ford or Freightliner supply this portion of the RV, and thus you would have to go to one of their dealers for repairs.

The Challenges That This Creates

Previously, we published a piece about the RV Trap. Before we discuss why consumers get trapped by RV purchases, it is important to highlight two specific details about lemon laws:

  • The manufacturer’s warranty
  • The dealer is given a “reasonable number of attempts” to repair the issue

These two points are pivotal in understanding why the RV industry needs to reform to offer more consumer protection. People who buy RVs are only given a one-year warranty. At San Diego Lemon Law, we believe this is insufficient. Suppose an RV owner is experiencing an issue with the slide-out component after three months of purchasing it. (The slide-out portion of the RV extends to increase the amount of living space when the vehicle is not moving.) The vehicle is still under warranty by the RV’s manufacturer, but slide-outs are challenging to diagnose and repair. Imagine being in a position where it takes months to get your RV back only to discover that the problem with the slide-out persists.

RV owners like this one may encounter delays of up to six months just to get an appointment. When this person gets their appointment, their warranty is only three months from expiration. Other people may not get appointments until after their warranty lapses. What happens if the dealer returns the vehicle and it continues to have the same problem? This could create the need to bring the vehicle back to the manufacturer because they are given a “reasonable number of attempts” to resolve it.

It is important to note that the law extends the warranty until the repairs are completed. However, many RV dealers may be unaware of this provision and will treat you as if the warranty has expired—which is unacceptable. Either the manufacturer’s warranty needs to be extended, or RV dealerships must make timely repairs. We can no longer sit idle while RV owners are left to make payments on a vehicle that doesn’t function properly and are left without any form of legal recourse.

Contact San Diego Lemon Law Today

We have been practicing law for more than four decades and are researching a class action to help RV owners trapped in this situation. We aim to help clients like you and force the RV industry to make necessary reforms. If you have an RV and are facing this problem, contact San Diego Lemon Law by emailing us at:

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