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Old 08-05-2011, 08:54 PM   #1
Mike Young
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2
Lawsuit against Carriage for workmanship and quality issues

Dear fellow Carriage Owners:

I need your help. I purchased a new 2009 Royal Monarch for full-time use. I am a knowledgeable user with years of RV experience. The Royal is my primary dwelling. From the first day after delivery, I began to experience many problems. For example: Major plumbing leaks, roof leaks, numerous electrical problems, including a smoldering fire from an improper installation of the fireplace. Electrical shorts, burned wires in the 110v outlets and boxes, causing multiple GFI failures, invertor failures (more burned wires), appliance failures, overhead lights that were non-functional, others that flickered and burned bulbs out constantly, an air leak from a puncture in the select comfort mattress (small screws and sawdust discovered under the mattress), paint overspray, improperly cut slide seals with paint overspray, multiple sewer system failures, including burst holding tanks, sawdust in hidden cracks and cabinets everywhere, satellite dish failure, tv/stereo mis-wiring, etc. I have a list of more than 45 defects related to poor workmanship and quality, including finding a crushed beer can under my toilet when I discovered a floor seal ring had not been installed and was causing sewage leaks and smells from under the toilet.

I contacted "Roger Stickle" – Customer Service/Warranty Manager, and his assistant "Sandi Troupe" on numerous occasions regarding these problems. Roger was rude and obstinate (he would consistently interrupt me and never completly listen to my complaints and request for help), although I give credit to Sandi, who seemed as frustrated by Rogers attitude as I was. My dealers warranty manger told me one time in conversation, Roger stated that "someone has to be the bad guy in customer problem resolution." This shocked me. Why does ANYONE have to be the bad guy! I thought good customer service was all about being helpful, considerate, and GOOD to the customer. Now don’t take me wrong, I realize that some customers can be unreasonable or have unrealistic expectations. But in my case this was NOT the situation. I clearly have major problems, too numerous to be normal. Couple this with Roger's arrogant and demeaning attitude, and I felt he took the meaning out of "goodwill."

I live more than 100 miles from my dealer. I asked Roger for authorization to use a mobile repair service and with a couple of exceptions, was denied continuously, being told my only option was to tow the vehicle to the selling dealer. My dealer told me IF repairs could be done at the dealer level (and that was a big IF because the cause of the electrical shorting problems were no doubt from inside the walls), any repairs could take 3-4 weeks, probably longer if parts were required. Since I live fulltime in the RV, and work as well, I would be forced to stay in a motel and commute long distance to work each day while awaiting repairs. I would also have to abandon my RV park space, or, continue paying it’s rent while also paying $50- $60 day for a cheap motel. Then there’s the additional gas, food, time and inconvenience of driving more than 200 miles a day to work.

These defects occurred progressively, not all at one time. This means I would have had to make many futile trips to the dealership to get repairs that maybe or maybe not could be remedied by the dealer. A mobile service was a much more convenient and cost savings option, which Carriage (Roger), denied me, even though I was willing to pay a mobile service company a service charge to do this. When I asked, Roger would not let me speak with his manager, or, any other manager in order to work out a compromise or other solution. I left messages for Kent Roberts but was denied access to him as well. I sent a letter to Don Emahiser along with a few pictures and video clips. No call back what-so-ever. Eventually, Roger approved use of a mobile service (after the fires and roof leaks got unbearable). However, the mobile service company did not solve all the problems, and new issues began to occur almost weekly. In frustration, I sent a copy of my previous letter to Don Emahiser, to Glen Cushman, but never got the courtesy of a response from him either. By this time I had been ignored or denied by every level of Carriage management.

I then attempted to mitigate a solution through my dealer without success. The dealer made direct contact with Glen Cushman and acted as an intermediary because Glen would not give me the courtesy of direct communication. Nor would his VP of Sales, who I understand is the number two authority. I asked for and got permission from Glen Cushman (through my dealer General Manager), to have the dealers service/warranty manager come on-site to examine, detail and confirm my many problems. I even offered to pay for this trip charge. Glen agreed to this, but after he was forwarded this very negative report from his own dealer reprresentative, he refused to take action or accept responsibility for my damages. At this point, communication ceased and I was forced to seek legal counsel.

In retrospect, I think the Carriage construction team made a rush to complete the build of my customized order and cut a lot of corners. If true, it's a shame this occured. It's even more shameful that
I'm forced to sue in order to get satisfaction. I'm not suing to profit or to punish Carriage for poor customer service and quality workmanship. I'm suing because I’ve been forced into this corner without any other reasonable option. I sincerely want to give Carriage an opportunity to make me a satisfied customer, knowing that most times a highly thought of company makes good products. But even the best of companies really blow it every once and a while. (However with greater than 16% Carriage users having various levels of dissatisfaction, it makes me think twice). In my case, Carraige was obviously NOT VERY CAREFUL in the construction of my coach.

When first shopping for my coach, the sales brochure said the Warranty was from "Hitch to Bumper." The dealer made a very big deal out of this warranty, furthering The Royal Monarch was the best built and best warrantied 5th wheel on the market. I also was told it was the only coach designed for full-time, luxury living, and built like a house rather than a trailer. This was confirmed by the literature I was given and the warranty statement printed in the copy. If you go to the Carriage website, there are "YouTube" video clips that make these same statements. Glen Cushman is prominently featured bragging about the Carriage superior construction and superior customer service. I was left with the impression I would have many years of trouble free enjoyment and use. Now Carriage claims that nearly every problem I've had, I caused myself and that their Limited Warranty is expired. I was told they have no further obligation to service and support me.

Suing should not be necessary. However, Carriage customer support has been outrageous. Roger even referred to me as an "ASS" in one conversation, and in an email told me to “quit wasting my time writing him about my problems and tow my RV down to the dealer.”

My attorney has asked me to research if any other Carriage users had similar experiences or problems. This is how I found the forum. If any of you would be so kind as share your experiences and results, so that I can establish a pattern of poor service, I would appreciate your comments.

Carriage has decided to fight my request to have my trailer replaced under warranty, thus leaving me no other options. This is going to cost them thousands of dollars in needless legal fees, but I guess they feel motivated to defend their reputation rather their customer service interests. From my perspective, these are both one and the same. They have no idea or appreciation that I would be a willing and happy advocate for them if they would just do the right thing.

I can provide more details if more clarity is needed. And again, please understand, I want to love Carriage products. I went to numerous trade shows before committing to buy. I looked at many brands. The Carriage MSRP was more than $214K. I thought for this amount of money I would get trouble free, high quality, superior workmanship value. I also thought I would get outstanding customer service since Carriage was approximate 25 -50 % higher in cost than all the other brands I looked at. I wanted the best and was willing to pay for it.

Now all I want is for Carriage to stand behind their products. This is why I'm willing to let them replace my RV rather than just get my money back. Instead, they are denying everything and place the responsibility directly on me. Their attorney served papers that claims I failed to properly service and maintain my coach. This is ridiculous, and if true, how would they even know this? This is pure intimidation!

I have tried to remain calm and well mannered during this ordeal, but my patience is sorely tested. I do not understand why Carriage has taken this stance, or tolerates this kind of outrageous behavior from their managers. Even with that said, I want to work something out, avoid being unreasonable, and directly communicate with someone who will take the time to listen. A little empathy would go a long way. Yet, from Roger all the way up to top management I have been ignored or abused.

By contrast, my dealer has been very supportive, but told me that in his conversations with Glen Cushman and his VP I might have to tow my vehicle from California back to Indiana to get repairs because the Royal might have to be dissected with the walls opened up and the slides removed to examine and repair. This would not only leave me homeless, but disrupt my life for perhaps many months, and at a huge cost to me in lost work and inconvenience.

B-T-W ... The fire was caused by the fireplace being installed on top of carpeting in the fireplace cutout. This was done despite clear warning from the manufacturer (contained in the documentation package I was given), NOT to install on top of carpeting. If you have a fireplace, check your installation. It should NOT be installed on top of carpeting. A fire can break out very easily if this was done, and you could lose your life or property.

Please help me with a description of your experiences. You can post them on this forum, or email me directly. I will also take phone calls as well. I'm suing under several articles of California Law, including the "Lemon Law" statutes and “Merchantability Tort (not able to use the purchase for the purpose it was intended).” Again, Carriage's many video clips on their web site brag about their superior quality and customer service. If you haven't viewed these, I suggest you do. I bought into this idea. It was the primary reason I chose Carriage over other brands. I have since discovered these advertisements are over-hyped and not at all akin to my horrible experiences.

The more responses and/or comments of support I can get from you, the better. I don’t want biased comments, just objective, honest and truthful responses. It is not my intent to cause harm or sully the reputation of Carriage. I only seek justice, and if this forum can help me obtain justice, then I will be very grateful. Hopefully this will get Carriage to take a closer look at the financial harm and aggravating turmoil they have caused me, and perhaps you, and try to reach a reasonable and fair settlement decision. I also hope Carriage's top Management reads this post and has a change of heart. I hope they reconsider their position and work something out with me. If any of you has some influence and can forward this post along to them, so much the better. I have not slandered anyone. I have told the truth, and nothing but the truth.

There are more than 3700 reads on this subject over at the Carriage Owners Website. More than any other subject in the history of this site. Please feel free to read what other Carraige owners have had to say about this subject. Here is a link:

http://carriageowners.net/forum/index.php?topic=1304.0
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
hitchup
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Currently: working on the road
Posts: 770
Sorry to hear about your problems with your full-time unit. That is the biggest problem with still working and being a full-timer. Just because our units have wheels, it doesn't make it any easier to move it to a dealer or take it to the factory for repairs. Would this same person enjoy being evicted a weeks every time his home needed work on it?

We looked seriously at the Carriage Royals' as a replacement for our leaker, an Elite Suite. But in 2008, after touring the Carriage factory on a Monday and the DRV factory on a Tuesday, we decided to stick with another Suite. We ordered our 2009 as soon as we got to our next project.

It's had minor problems, but nothing as bad as the 2006 or yours for that matter. And DRV has always been very good with assisting us if we needed on issues.

Good Luck, because these things take a very long time to resolve.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
Mike Young
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2
Thank you Vicki & David. I thought I had taken all the right steps prior to my purchase. My failure was in trusting the advertsing hype that Carriage used to secure my confidence. After notifying them of my problems, they backed off from their warranty promises and left me abandoned. Even going so far as to claim the problems I was continously having was somehow my fault. The workmanship and quality of Carriage leaves much to be desired. But adding insult to injury is the atrocious denial of responsiblity. It is unfortunate they have left me with no other alternative but to sue.

Apparently I am not alone. I have found many other owners who have likewise been treated very grieviously by Customer Service. Their problems have varied from minor to major, although I have only found a few who have ended up with true lemons.

I like your comparitve analogy of being "evicted" eveytime one has problems. This is exactly correct. These evictions can last from a few days to a few months, depending on parts needed and ordered. But the most outrageous expectation of all, is the request that I tow my coach back to the factory for examination and repairs.

Carriage has been a huge disappointment. I will not tolerate the deception they have applied to get my purchase dollars any longer. I hope to aggressively use the law to my advantage to get justice.

I posted this thread for two reasons:

1. To get help from other Carriage onwers who have had similar problems and will speak up on my behalf.

2. To voice a warning to potential Carriage product buyers about the pitfalls of doing business with this poorly run and deceptive company.

Carriage advertises a "Bumper to Bumper Warranty" that is not worth the paper it is written on. They advertise buildling the "Best 5th Wheel in the Business." Also "Superior Customer Service." None of this is true.

Thank you for listening. If any forum members would be so kind as to add their comments to this thread, it would be greatly appreciated.

Mike
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