Our experience at Camping World in Benson North Carolina was far less than a pleasure. We were told story after story, and unfortunately fell victim to poor management.
We went to Camping World in Benson North Carolina on February 28th. We had found a camper online, I believe it was a Coleman Lantern, which was in another Camping World in another state.
It was last year's model and slightly cheaper than the 2023.
As first time owners of an RV, we wanted to take a look at a few models so we thought Camping World would be good to do that.
We advised the front desk and our salesperson that we were newbies and were met with smiles and a feeling that we would be taken care of.
Our salesperson kept telling us she was "new" and fumbled through papers trying to help us out as best as she could.
She insisted, that per her manager, there was no possible way for them to bring the camper we were wanting in for us as that camper was selling fast so it was not worth it for them to pay to bring it in.
We looked at a few campers but we did not like the floor plans with bunk beds. We are empty nesters with 2 dogs so we just wanted a small space.
Our salesperson directed us to the 2017 K-Z Escape as it did not have bunk beds. Our salesperson kept pushing it as "our manager is looking to make a deal on this".
So we went inside and spoke more with our salesperson and the manager. They did a price comparison between the new Lantern and the used Escape.
We went back out and looked at them both again. Our salesperson went and got her manager who then had a better deal for us for the Escape. We were advised they "re-did" the roof on the Escape and they were putting on new tires. Nothing else needed to be done, they said.
We liked the model and the price so we made a deal.
The only thing we wanted was for them to patch the linoleum back down on the floor by the door and to fix the seal on the front window, because my husband could see it was not properly sealed.
We trusted the people we were dealing with at their word because of the Camping World name.
As we did not have a place to park the camper, the manager said they would even hold the camper until the end of the month if we needed it. Perfect!
While they were working on the paperwork for us to sign we were told to call Good Sam's for an insurance quote. I advised the salesperson and manager that I was intending on staying with our insurance company. That seemed to fall on deaf ears and we were pushed still to just call. Fine, we wasted the time of the Good Sam's rep.
Afterwards, we signed the papers for the Escape, including a 90 day service checkup paper. Which our salesperson told us if anything was wrong we could come back for them to service it.
We left happy and excited.
We were advised the day after, via email, from our salesperson that she was leaving.
We went back the following week, on March 7th, to make payment and have a walk through with the technician.
Our new salesperson was very helpful, but knew nothing of what transpired the evening of February 28th with the other salesperson (who was now gone) and manager.
The floor and the window were not done (as promised) and no one seemed to be aware that this had to be done. We were however told this would be done before we picked up.
We were also again told the tires were going to be replaced.
We had no idea what to dig into on our walk through as this was our first time. We did however feel like our technician was trustworthy and listened to what he had to tell us.
Later we realized there was a lot left out of that walk through, including items we had to purchase in order to even travel with it. Such as the special 30 Amp twist dogbone plug that was required to even supply shore power. This we found out was missing when we got it home and went to plug it in!
We also were told on the 7th by the Parts department that it was required for us to get a stabilizing hitch and brake controller installed on our truck.
They quoted us $129 for the brake controller, with $86 installation fee, total $215.
We had our own brake controller, which was actually a better model, and they said no problem to install it. They didn't mention to us there was now a NEW charge for installation until after it was installed.
The new charge was $220 for installation ALONE of our own unit. So they basically got more money than they wanted anyway.
They quoted us $500 for the EZ Hitch 8, but online there was a sale on the EZ Hitch 10 for $450. Parts said this was not a problem and charged us $450.
The technicians who came out to install said the EZ Hitch 10 was "overkill" for the trailer and "you are never going to need that". They convinced us we had to go down 2 sizes, charging us now $500. So again we were talked into paying more.
On the same day, March 7th, our finance person took the 90 day check up paper we had signed on February 28th stating it did not apply to used, only new. We should have fought this as it was part of what we had made a deal on. Again, we figured we were buying from a reputable source and still were talking ourselves into how they knew what they were doing and were taking care of us.
We completed the sale and arranged to pick up the camper on March 21st.
On March 21st, we arrived to yet another salesperson who knew nothing about anything that transpired the last two times we had been there.
We noticed the floor was not done and this time we told the salesperson that we were really upset that this had not been done. Over and over we were promised that the very few things we asked for were no problem at all. Yet here we are asking yet again.
He ran inside to get a technician who fixed it saying it was such an easy fix. Then why was it impossible to do before we had to ask 3 times.
Since the window had already been done we assumed we were good to go.
My husband went to get the truck to attach the hitch and the power on the hitch didn't work. Our salesperson said "oh this happens with these units that the battery drains", supposedly because of a master kill switch that wasn't there. This sounded whacky but again what did we know!
Once we hooked it up to the truck for hitch power, he gave us the key to the camper. We opened the door and all of the lights were on!!
Whoever at Camping World was last in it left all the power on which was the real reason the battery was dead and we were left with half a tank of propane.
So we got it home that day. While putting some stuff inside and realized there were a few things we had missed in our initial walk through. Such as, there was water damage which was never pointed out to us by Camping World. This being under the window that we had asked them to reseal.
We figured it was something we could fix ourselves later on.
The camper stayed parked in our driveway for 2 days until we left the morning of March 24th to travel 3 hours to Myrtle Beach for the weekend.
Before leaving, we wanted to be sure the tires had the correct amount of air. We noticed at this point that all three tires (the 2 on the camper and the spare) were different brands and 2 had different PSI ratings.
Again, we are new to this and didn't think Camping World would have sent us out with tires that were not road ready.
2 hours into our trip and we had a tire blow out which left us on the side of I-95 for 3 hours waiting for someone at Good Sam's to get a tow truck and send it somewhere to be held for us.
The tire blow out ripped through the wheel well and into the floor under the dinette.
The Good Sam's rep was as helpful as she could be and the trailer was towed to a shop not far from where we were.
It has taken 2 weeks for our insurance company to move the camper and in all of this time Camping World has been sitting in the corner eating their popcorn and not caring.
Thankfully there is a local RV shop who has given us the polar opposite treatment from Camping World.
We sent pictures to our 2nd salesperson, which was the only email we had handy at the time, and simply stated that we guess Camping World decided NOT to change the tires afterall.
The email was responded to quickly by the salesperson who stated she would advise management of the email.
The manager called us back and left a message asking us to call her directly.
We wanted everything in writing at this point, so we asked to please email.
The response was that they were sending my email to service who would respond.
We also sent an email (with all of the above detail) to the corporate email address. That was responded to with a blanket response. We had a response from some random customer service person days later who told us they were attempting to get more information, particularly from the service department, but they were not responding.
Luckily our camper is being fixed by someone else and with a little TLC we should be able to keep it.
FIRST TIME CAMPERS BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!
Name: Jennifer Vallee