Buying an RV is a decision with lots of factors to consider. Increasingly, RV buyers are turning to RV inspectors to act on their behalf and provide a professional written report to guide them through the purchasing process. But are RV inspections necessary? If you listen to chatter on the Internet or social media, you will find varying opinions. Asking your RV dealer about the benefits of having an inspection may yield the response that inspections are not needed. So, if your RV dealer tells you inspections are not needed, or they will not allow you to have an inspection what should you do? Should you forget about having an inspection and go ahead and purchase the RV, or should you walk away from the deal and find a different dealer to work with? Let’s talk about what to do when your dealer says inspections are not needed or worse, they refuse to allow you to have an inspection.
Common Objections to Inspections
- We do our own Inspection, hiring an independent inspector is a waste of money
Often you will hear you don’t need to waste your time or money hiring an independent inspector because the dealer does their own inspection. But who does the dealer perform the inspection for? Do they do it for you because they genuinely want you to understand and know everything that is good and bad about the RV you are purchasing? Or do they perform the inspection to protect themselves? How long is the dealer going to spend on the inspection process and is the technician specially trained in all aspects of inspecting a recreational vehicle? Will the dealer provide a thoroughly written report with pictures and videos detailing the findings and recommendations? Further, a recent trend among some dealers is to charge you an extra fee for the inspection they do, often at prices way above what an independent certified RV inspector would charge.
- Not all RV inspectors are qualified to inspect a recreational vehicle
Sadly, this is true. Not all RV inspectors are qualified to inspect recreational vehicles. At a minimum, anyone claiming to be an RV inspector should be able to show they have been trained and certified in all aspects of RV inspections. RV dealers have shared with me stories about “inspectors” who show up for less than one hour, take a few pictures and are gone. Do you think the customer got a report with any useful information? Recently, one of the large websites where owners can list their RVs for sale started offering RV inspections. In the press release the company proudly proclaimed their inspectors were “ASE Certified.” The problem with this is that the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, “ASE,” does not offer any certification for RV inspectors.
- RV inspectors are not needed
One RV dealer told me there was no need for RV inspectors and it was a waste of time. His demeanor demonstrated a closed off person who was resistant to innovative ideas and change. This dealer was not even willing to listen to the benefits of having an RV inspection. It is interesting that at one time home inspections were unheard of. Now they are standard practice when buying a home and often required as part of the lending process. Most people would not consider purchasing a home without having an inspection. Buying an RV should not be any different.
- Take the RV camping and make a list of things that are wrong and then call us
I have heard this excuse given as a reason clients do not need an inspection. Does this make any sense though? I don’t want to purchase an RV and then set out on my own to discover what works and what does not work. Even with new RVs there can be major things wrong. I recently wrote about one new fifth wheel we inspected that had a cracked sidewall in the slideout. Imagine the owners surprise if the dealer had told him to just go ahead and take the RV and make a list of things that were wrong. Also, once you take delivery of the RV it belongs to you, and you are just another customer needing service. Before you take delivery of the RV the dealer is more motivated to get things done. Every day the RV sits on the dealer lot they are paying interest on it. So, they want to do whatever they can to move the unit. If that means moving you to the head of the line to get things fixed, well guess what, they are going to fix it.
Why Dealers Object to Inspections
Why are some RV dealers against having an independent RV inspector come to their dealership and inspect their RVs? I cannot give a definitive answer. Each dealer is free to set their own policies and practices. What I can offer are some observations based on my time as an independent RV inspector.
Some dealers have had bad experiences with inspectors. One sales manager at a dealership told me about an experience with an RV inspector from a national inspection company. The “inspector” did not know how to even operate anything on the RV and had to keep asking for help. This inspector was at the dealership less than two hours, and only took a few pictures. The sales manager further told me that they almost lost the sale because of the report the RV inspector wrote.
RV sales personnel are often paid commission only. Often, they receive no money until the RV is delivered to the customer and rolls off the dealership lot. Anything that delays the delivery of the RV will in turn delay the sales personnel getting paid. Additionally, many dealerships do not own RVs on the lot. They have financed the RVs and are paying interest on the loan. So, every day the RV is on the lot the more interest they are paying.
When you encounter dealer objections just remember you are in charge and control the outcome. The dealer wants to complete the deal and sell an RV. If you are not able to work with one dealer this will be another dealer with the model and floor plan you are looking for.