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Can I sue?

As many unwitting RV owners discover the warranty and repair process for RVs is not always easy or satisfactory.

Recently it was reported that two RV owners in Louisiana filed suit against Forest River over their allegedly defective Forester model RV. You can read that story by clicking here.

The plaintiffs are alleging violation of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. The law passed in the 1970’s was established to address widespread consumer complaints regarding deceptive warranty practices. Under the law, “sellers of consumer products who make service contracts on their products are prohibited under the act from disclaiming or limiting implied warranties.”

Why, in this case, are the plaintiffs citing the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act? Likely because there are no lemon laws in Louisiana applicable to RVs.

Depending upon the language in the laws jurisdiction, purchase location, buyer location, service location or the plain language of the law RVs, travel trailers, and fifth wheel owners often find that Lemon Laws do not apply. In the case above, Louisiana lemon laws specifically do not cover RVs.

Can you sue?

In short, yes, you can sue anybody for anything. The real question RV owners need to ask “is it worth suing?”

The legal process is a long and expensive route. Finding an experienced and competent attorney willing to take this type of case can be difficult. In the case referenced above, the plaintiffs are claiming over $80,000 in damages but how much will the attorney cost if they lose?

Seeking an attorney and filing a lawsuit should be the last item on your to-do list. Before filing suit consider these other avenues of action provided by RV Daily Report. For the full story, you can click here.

  1. Call or visit the business and calmly explain the problem and ask to speak to someone who could render assistance.
  2. When that person arrives on the scene, again calmly explain the problem and provide as many details as possible, but don’t ramble on and on and on. If you have called before, remind the person of that and politely point out you’re just trying to get the problem fixed
  3. DOCUMENT EVERY INTERACTION. Get the date, time, person’s name and title and write down the response that was offered and, if possible, get the company to put the resolution in writing, too. Even if you have to call again and again, get the name of every person you talk to. If the business owner has to get involved, he or she will want to know where the weak link is in the process.
  4. If that didn’t work and the problem still exists or the company failed to follow through on a call back, then escalate the problem to the manager or owner. Again, calmly explain the problem and the desired solution. Chances are good this person has the power to ensure that a problem can be corrected to your satisfaction. In fact, you may be offered a perk for your patience.
  5. If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, go public with the issue. Now is the time to vent on social media or go to the local media with your story – armed with the volume of documentation you’ve been collecting. You may learn others had similar experiences with the same problem. That gives you even more ammunition to push your case forward.
  6. If the company still won’t back its product or deliver on promises, then it’s time to bring out the heavy artillery. The RV industry is, for the most part, self regulating and it wants to stay that way. Complaining to government regulators and consumer protection bureaus and by showing every documented step you have done to seek a proper resolution will be helpful. Many times the regulators can apply pressure on the business to force a particular resolution.
  7. If that doesn’t work and you get caught up in a barrage of red tape, then take the complaint to state AND federal elected officials. RV transactions may take place at the local level, but the products cross state lines to become a federal issue. Elected officials are the key holders to the law books. Too many complaints will invite regulation the industry desperately wants to avoid. Farmers know that if the pig gets its snout in the door, it’s only a matter of time before the whole hog is in the room.
  8. If all you get is a form letter reply or referral back to one of the agencies you’ve already contacted, then it’s time to go nuclear and hire an attorney. If the industry refuses to voluntarily change and do what’s right in standing behind the products it sells, then it will be forced to do so by the courts through monetary judgments.

Take it to Class

Class action cases make big headlines. Have you ever stopped and asked why? Why do we hear over and over about class action suits, but not a lot about everyday lawsuits? It comes down to money and class action generates huge awards and settlements — just not for you.

In the average everyday class action case, a large chunk of the proceeds end up in attorney fees and costs. The “class,” or the people actually impacted by the case, will get some share of an award fund. The successful attorneys will use PR companies to advertise the settlement and create the news as a marketing tool to receive leads on future cases.

On the flipside if you are suing based on a principled approach of ensuring this does not happen to others and is “made right” then the class action suit is a viable option. The settlements and awards in class action cases can be significant and cause real financial pain for companies.

In the end a lawsuit is never fun, but it is an available course of action to try and fix your problem and make things right. At LetsRV.com we want to hear from you regarding your problems with a RV. Contact us using the comment form below with a brief statement of your issues.

About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is the editor of Let's RV and the editor of RV Daily Report. A Wisconsin native and father of three grown daughters, he is now based out of Arizona and travels the country in his Winnebago Adventurer motorhome interviewing industry professionals and interesting RVers alike. He can be reached at editor@letsrv.com

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