“YOU’RE NOT MY F*****G CUSTOMER!” -Scott’s RV, Vancouver, WA
Everyone has bad days. Some people have bad weeks. Their cat just died. Their spouse left them. Their boss yelled at them… but there’s no excuse to repeatedly F-bomb a customer over a lost sale. Sadly, that’s what happened to me at Scott’s RV in Vancouver, WA yesterday.
I’ve been researching RVs for several years, trying to understand storage, maintenance, RV park costs, tires, shower sizes, water tanks, and all the things you need to know about driving an RV across the Country. For the past 6 months, I’ve been studying specific RVs, trying to find a year, brand, make, and even a model I might like to buy. But as the saying goes, it’s all about where the rubber meets the road. Which, in RV buying terms (specifically USED RVs,) it’s all about finding what you want, in good condition, and for the price you’re willing to pay.
I finally found a 2005 Fleetwood Expedition 37U (VIN: 4UZAAHDCX5CU93093) with 27,000 miles through RVTrader.com. Scott’s RV had it listed for $54,900 (let’s call it $55k) with a fair number of photos, but NO details or other important information about what was included in that coach (all RVs, even the same year, make, and model are not built the same – they are built to order when new.) No details on the listing also meant that there were no information about the age or installation of the tires, the engine, or batteries – just a few of the items that can cost big-bucks as soon as you drive away. So it’s important to know if you’ll need to spend $4,000 on tires ON TOP of the sale price. There was nothing about the size of the A/C units, no maintenance records, and no model details for the 300HP Caterpillar Diesel. The low-resolution photos made it look great. The paint looked good… but without more details, it’s hard to compare against other RVs of the same model, or even against other similar RVs. That said, having few details isn’t the end of the world, but most reputable dealerships will have a build sheet and/or maintenance records available so you know what you’re buying. And so, I called Scott’s RV and was connected with Dan, a friendly guy who sounded in his 60s, who clearly knew RVs.
I told Dan which coach I was interested in, and he said it had just been released from a deal that didn’t go through, so I was lucky. Great for me… but, since I was living in Las Vegas, and Scott’s RV is in Vancouver, WA, I’d need to fly up there to see it (as anyone with half-a-brain, and less than unlimited money would do.) As most dealers would do, they asked me to put down some (refundable) good-faith money, to keep them from selling it before I got there for a test drive, and see it in person. I happily gave him my credit card and put $1,000 down. Then, I submitted Scott’s RV’s online financing form to start the loan process.
Scott’s RV connected me with a 3rd party bank they deal with for financing, and I got that part done the same day I talked to them. As of July 2020, it’s a sellers market, so dealers are slammed, and so are the banks doing the RV loans, so it took a few days for the bank to process everything, but by the end of day on Thursday, they came back to me with good numbers. So, I called Scott’s RV back and let them know my plan – I wanted to test drive it, check for oil and coolant leaks, check the transmission fluid, and just get a feel for it before buying it. All good so far. I asked Dan if I should come on the weekend, or if there was a better day for him. He said Tuesday around 11am would be better, so I booked my airline ticket and made plans for where I was going to stay for a day or two, and was ready to be in Vancouver, WA by Tuesday.
On Tuesday at 11am I was at Scott’s RV in Vancouver, WA. The coach looked better in person than in the bad photos on their website. I met Dan, he took me to the coach, and we looked around for a few minutes, and I asked if I could just sit and absorb it all, and check it out for a bit, so he left. I spent over an hour in the coach, watching the technician fix the little here-and-there things that needed to be done. Dan joined me in the coach and we chatted for 20 minutes or so, talking about RV sales, his life, my life, and a little about the Fleetwood we were enjoying. He told me he’d been getting calls for the past week from potential buyers, but told them it wasn’t available, as I had already put down the good faith money to come look at it.
Dan said they were working on getting all the details fixed so that I could get out of there that day, but I stopped him and said that I still had to do the test drive, then do paperwork with Scott’s RV, then I’d head to the bank the next day to sign the paperwork and get the check. Dan said, oh, we’ll just do the paperwork tomorrow. To which I said that we still needed to settle on a price. BBBZZZZZZ! Dan was surprised and asked what I meant. I told him that I had found comps and other data on the 2005 Fleetwood 37U, so wanted to talk numbers. He said something like “Um… are you thinking like, $1,000 or $2,000 lower?” I told him, there’s currently the *exact same* RV at another dealership, and I had some printouts of the other info as well.
The same 2005 Fleetwood Expedition 37U on eBay with a ‘Buy-It-Now’ price of $46,500 has the *exact* same floor plan, but the paint was green (instead of brown,) the interior was a redwood (instead of pine,) the mileage was 39,000 (instead of 28,000,) the tires, the generator, the electronics, the brakes, the engine – everything was the same… except it was $8,500 less. PLUS, the NADA low book is $33,300 (the average NADA book is $40,150.) AND, a friend who sold RVs for 10+ years (but retired two years ago,) told me that RV dealerships very rarely pay anymore than 10% BELOW the LOW NADA book value (without add-ons!) So they likely paid around $30k for this unit. Of course, I didn’t let on that I had this info.
Dan was bothered, and excused himself to ‘help another customer.’ About an hour later, he came back and said he didn’t think they could go any lower on the price. I told him I understood, but I’d like to talk through the numbers anyway… but if they didn’t want to negotiate in good faith, I’d eat the cost of the trip from Vegas to Portland and they could refund my $1,000 good faith money – but I’d still like him to talk to the boss… unless he had the power to say no (or yes.) So, we left the coach and walked to the office, where I sat down at a table near the front door, while Dan went to the back. While I waited, a kid around 17 was sitting on a couch and chatting with other employees. It was obvious from the conversation that he was the owner’s son.
About 5 minutes later Dan came up to me and asked what price I was thinking. I handed him the printed sheets from NADA (showing the low and average price for that exact coach,) the other listing (for $46,500,) and the feature list of the other listing (which Scott’s RV did not have on their listing.) I said “we should start at the $46,500 number, and work through it to see where we end up.” Dan immediately suggested that the other coach was probably ‘water damaged’ or had some other issues that the dealer wasn’t sharing. I suggested he take the pages back to the boss to lookup the listing online, and check the NADA prices. He said he didn’t need them, and headed back to the office.
About 15 minutes later, he walked up to the table and put down a receipt for my $1,000 credit card refund, and kept walking. Apparently, they didn’t want to negotiate in good faith. That was it. I said “Sorry we couldn’t come to an agreement.” And that’s when poor Dan LOST HIS MIND!
He turned around and started yelling at me: “B******T! YOU F******G WASTED MY TIME! YOU F******G TIED UP A COACH, KNOWING YOU WEREN’T GOING TO BUY IT! YOU’RE A F******G TIME WASTER! YOU COME WITH THIS B******T COACH ON EBAY THAT’S PROBABLY BEEN UNDER WATER AND IS DAMAGED TRYING TO GET A LOWER PRICE! YOU F*****G WASTED MY TIME!”
I didn’t raise my voice or get angry. I said “Dan, I’m sorry. I want to make a deal here.” He walked out the front door a few steps, then came back in and continue berating me “NOW I HAVE TO F*****G SPEND ALL DAY ON THE PHONE CALLING PEOPLE BACK TO F*****G SELL THIS THING!” This time, I raised my voice and said “Dan, calm down. This is how it works. This is terrible customer service. Calm down.”
His response was this: “YOU’RE NOT MY F*****G CUSTOMER! YOU DIDN’T BUY ANYTHING FROM ME! WHY SHOULD I CARE WHAT YOU THINK?!” To which I said, “Dan, I can still write reviews about this experience. This isn’t good customer service.”
Again, bellowing at me, Dan says “WRITE ALL THE F*****G REVIEWS YOU WANT. WRITE A HUNDRED OF THEM, I DON’T F*****G CARE!”
At that same time, the son of the owner of Scott’s RV, who had been sitting on the couch nearby, laughed out loud and said “Yeah, write all you want.”
I wasn’t the slightest bit offended, or personally bothered – but I was shocked that Scott’s RV wasn’t even willing to negotiate in good faith. No conversation. No discussion. Just a credit refund, even though I traveled from Vegas to Vancouver with financing in place and ready to go.
So, I called an Uber and left.
I’ve done customer service at Disneyland. I love people. I’ve always been crazy about customer service. I also understand that salesmen (and companies) are trying to make as much as they can, and that everyone has bad days… but this was insane. What Scott’s RV didn’t know, was that my ceiling was $50,000… just $5,000 below what they listed. The $46,500 number from the other dealer was just a starting number. $5,000 would have been almost automatic from a reputable dealership. Instead, Scott’s RV chose to verbally abuse a potential customer -and- kill the deal. Their loss. I’ve already left a message for the other dealership listing the same RV. Hopefully they’ll have a better attitude towards customers.
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