Encountering difficulties in getting reimbursed for a manufacturing mistake, a reader turned to RV Action Line for help:
In January 2011, my wife and I became the second owners of a 2007 Forest River Cardinal fifth-wheel. We upgraded from a 2004 model and are very pleased with our choice of product.
Over the last several months, we have encountered several maintenance issues that we did not expect to encounter in a unit this new. However, we accepted the responsibility and went on.
In June we went on a four-day trip with several friends. On the last day, we were breaking camp to get ready to leave. I emptied and rinsed the three holding tanks, but then found that I couldn’t close the knife valve on the gray tank. Nothing major, as the tank(s) were already emptied.
Upon arrival at home, I brought the rig into my maintenance facility, and they found the original wooden plug that Forest River had cut to install the drain pipe in the drain pipe. It had taken several years to work its way down the system, but it had finally reached the knife valve and jammed it.
I called the warranty administrator at Forest River. He asked that I drop him a note about the problem. I not only sent him a letter, but also a copy of the bill, the actual plug, photos of the plug and where on the underside of my rig it had to be cut to gain access to the problem.
That photo showed the patch and additional foam that had to be shot in. In all my correspondence, I was not trying to claim this as a warranty problem, rather, a problem or defect in its manufacture that manifested. Nowhere in the correspondence from Mr. Milarczyk does he acknowledge this as a manufacturing defect.
We feel that Forest River should have reimbursed me for this expense, and I would appreciate any assistance you could offer in this situation.
Bill Schmidt, Roseburg, Oregon
Failure due to manufacturer debris is actually more common than it should be. RVs are built by people, and people sometimes make mistakes. But it’s how the manufacturer reacts when one of these cases surfaces that means the most.
Regardless of whether the trailer is under warranty, if something as described by the Schmidts occurs, we believe it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to stand be- hind its installers and fix the problem.
We didn’t hear back from Forest River, though Schmidt did copy us on his letter to the manufacturer:
This is to acknowledge receipt of your check in the amount of $87.50, representing the agreed upon 50 percent of the costs I incurred. RV Action Line wrote to you July 27; we spoke shortly after that. I waited all through the month of August for your check; it was never received. On September 1 we departed on a three-week RV trip; we just got home yesterday. The mail was delivered today, and your check, dated September 1, 2011, was received.
My only regret is that it took the intercession of RV Action Line to accomplish exactly what I had tried to do through corresponding with you.
My hat is off, in gratitude, to Trailer Life, and RV Action Line specifically.
After exhausting all other resources without success, please forward information (typewritten only) with copies of appropriate bills and correspondence to RV Action Line, 3300 Fernbrook Lane N, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55447. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. No phone calls.