Coachmen RV - Brookstone 378RE and Mid-State RV in Byron, GA
After purchasing a 2016 Coachmen 378RE, the following quality concerns with the manufacturer and the dealer were discovered.
• Coachmen RV has an ineffective quality program.
• Coachmen RV warranty resolution process has not kept pace with technology.
• Coachmen RV workforce does not embrace or exhibit pride, quality workmanship, or job ownership.
• Mid-State RV has no quality improvement program.
• Mid-State RV does not value customer satisfaction.
• Mid-State RV does not provide a quality customer experience.
• Mid-State RV Customer Delivery staff are not adequately trained to demonstrate the proper operation the latest electronic devices.
• Mid-State RV Body Works & Design Center maintains a backlog of work that negatively affects customer quality.
• Mid-State RV Body Works & Design Center does not effectively coordinate work schedules between the body shop and the warranty shop.
• Mid-State RV Body Works & Design Center does not accurately or truthfully communicate progress of repair work.
If you are interested in learning why we can make these assertions, please continue reading to learn of our experience.
My wife and I purchased a 2016 Coachmen Brookstone 378RE on June 30, 2016 from Mid-State RV in Byron, Georgia. We selected this model because of the floorplan and the perceived reputation of the Coachmen brand.
After having the 5th wheel for more than a month, we became disappointed with the quality of the craftsmanship displayed in the manufacturing of our trailer. The level of quality displays a lack of worker pride, attention to detail, and ownership. To start off with sticker placement may seem petty and insignificant but it is usually one of the first items the consumer sees and can play a big role in that first impression. The stickers on the front left side that contain axel and tire information are not straight and parallel to the trailer’s frame. Several of the informational stickers inside the trailer were applied in the hap hazardous way. Next, the trailer’s central service box where I found two screws that had not been fully seated to secure the rear panel in the pass-through storage area. The slide out seals were cut in a way that left a very ragged edge; a display of the lack of pride, ownership, and quality by the Coachmen employees. On the interior I found that the fresh water tank level indicator reads full with no water in it. Part of the backsplash behind the stove was installed crooked and is overlapping the adjacent piece. The header trim over the dining table was not properly nailed to the frame allowing it to hang.
I emailed Coachman RV asking for contact information of the CEO. The next day I received a call from Jason Brewer, Vice President of Coachman RV. We had a long conversation about the quality issues that were discovered. I asked him what metrics the company used to measure their quality to know if they were getting better or not. I was shocked to hear Jason tell me that they do not collect quality information. He said they used to collect the data in the past but did nothing with it so they stopped to save money. He also said that the quality inspector at the end of the assembly line looks at 30+ trailers per day and they focus on the major items because they are trying to deliver as many RVs to their dealers as they can because of demand. Jason also indicated that since many of the components used to build a RV are supplied by other vendors, collecting quality data would benefit those vendors and not Coachmen. I told Jason that we had purchased a 2016 Ford F250 to pull our new 5th wheel and that it came off an assembly line where a quality person inspected the final product. Also, that it was assembled from 100’s if not 1,000’s of parts supplied by outside vendors and I have not found any reason to take that truck back to the dealer for warranty work of operational or cosmetic reasons. Jason’s comment on quality directly contradict Coachmen’s quality program which states “Our Quality Program is second to none in the RV Industry and we pride ourselves on the care, focus and precision that our Team Members apply to every stage of our manufacturing process.”
As for the performance of Mid-State RV; nothing to boast about there either. Keith Kittle, our salesman, was quick to take us to the trailer to see it and then rush off to work with another potential sale. Our salesman boasted that the dealership’s wife, Tina Pickard, ran the service department and nothing got past her because she went through each RV before it was turned over to the customer. Well, we found that to be untrue because of the multiple issues we discovered when we took delivery on June 30. When we took delivery of our 5th wheel, we were introduced to Kenny who was to conduct a walk-through orientation of the trailer. His first action was to dump the contents of the cabinet drawer on the island countertop. The drawer was filled with empty plastic bags, unused screws, operator’s manual, registration cards, remote controls, etc. For the new owners of an $80K RV to be handed a pile of trash shows an extreme lack of customer care. During the walkthrough of the trailer’s interior, we noted that the LED readout on the electric fireplace does not function, the bathroom vanity door has several blemished on the surface and needs to be replaced. The right-hand cabinet of the buffet appears to have been dropped causing damage to the left, lower corner. Furthermore, Kenny could not explain what the DSI/FLT indicator was for. During the introduction of the exterior, I pointed out to Kenny that the PowerSmart Voltage Indicator on the exterior electrical receptacle was not illuminated. Kenny’s reply was to shrug his shoulder and say “oh well”. They did wash the exterior of the trailer but failed to note the chip in the paint on the cap. I assumed that the battery was serviced at some point before we left because I found that the battery box cover was not installed. Five issues were brought to Kenny’s attention so they could be recorded as warranty needs.
Since taking delivery, we have used the trailer 2 times. On the second outing on July 18, I damaged the left rear of the coach during a turn. Upon returning home, I called Mid-State’s Body Works & Design Center on July 26 to make an appointment to get it repaired and the warranty work taken care of. I talked to Vicki and she indicated that they were two weeks behind and I could bring it in on August 9.
The trailer was dropped off on August 9. During the in processing of the trailer, it was discovered that Kenny had only recorded one warranty issue of the five noted during the walk-through acceptance of the trailer on June 30. Vicki asked me to give her a few days to work up an estimate of the damage.
I called Vicki once again on August 16 for an update. She had just finished listing all of the parts needed to fix the damage to the left rear corner. She said she was going to get with Coachmen to get the total repair cost. She also indicated that she was going to call Al to get the trailer so he could begin working on the warranty issues.
Vicki called me on August 17 to inform me of the cost. I gave her the go ahead to order the parts and begin repairs.
On August 30, I called Vicki to get an update on the progress. She indicated that Al was snowed under and no warranty work had been completed. She also indicated that one of the parts needed to repair the trailer had not arrived but it was due in on September 5 or 6.
On August 30, I received a call from Melena, Mid-State RV Customer Care; she left a voice mail. I attempted to call Melena back and the call was picked up by the Mid-State receptionist.
August 31, 10:29 AM, I called Melena once again but the receptionist, Holly, answered. I gave her my name and number and asked her to have Melena to call me back. At 10:30 Mid-State called me asking if they can help. The individual did not know if I could call Melena back. He put me through to Rex but it went to his voice mail. At 12:04 Rex called me and indicated he would have Melena call me back. At 4:25 I called Rex because I had not heard back from Melena; she finally called and left another voice mail.
On September 1, 1:07 PM, I called Lee Pickard, Owner of Mid-State RV to discuss customer service quality that I was experiencing. The receptionist, Holly, answered and said he was in a meeting and that she would let him know to call me back. At 4:07, I called Mid-State RV since Lee had not called me back. I was told he had stepped out so I was put through to his voice mail.
Lee Pickard called me at 8:30 AM on September 2 to discuss my concerns. Lee seems grateful for making him aware of the issues that I had. I made him aware that his employee, Royce, does not have the personality to interact with his customers. She had treated my wife the same as me; very short, condescending, and snotty. Lee said he had received reports about Royce before and he needed to put her in a place that she did not have to talk to the customers since she was an accountant and did that job very well. Also, I made note that I had received one letter of thanks from Mid-State that asked me to send a survey back to them indicating the kind service I had received. I told Lee that the letter had two issues with it; my first and last name was spelled wrong and that the survey was not included in the envelope. In contrast, I had received a personal note from the salesman who sold me my new truck to pull the trailer, the dealership I went through to purchase the truck, and from Ford. This happened in less than three weeks from the date of purchase. Lee was made aware that the customer service received from Kenny was substandard but I also made him aware that Kyle, who works in their Retail Sales department, is a superb employee and that he provided great service. Lee did say it was taking an average of ~20 days to get parts. He said that warranty authorizations are not like the auto industry, they had to be submitted to the manufacturer to get approval for parts and the amount of time they will pay to correct the problem. He indicated that he would look into our repairs to make sure it was progressing as quickly as possible.
On September 17, I called to get an update on the repairs. Royce, at the body shop, said that it was in the shop but she didn’t know when it would be done; that I would have to call back on Monday.
On September 20, I called the body shop at Mid-State and was told by Vicky that the damage repair work would be done by the end of the week but it may be another two weeks on the warranty parts. So, I called Coachmen RV factory and talked to Valerie; she put my through to Mel Williams. After telling him the issues that I have experienced with Mid-State, he asked me to get the order numbers from Mid-State so he could see what had been ordered. When Mid-State emailed me to information I called Mel and he said that the warranty parts were ordered that day; six weeks after dropping the trailer off at Mid-State. Next, I called Lee Pickard to discuss this issue with him and was told he is out a trade show. I left a voice mail expressing my disapproval with the service I am receiving. Also, keep in mind that during the conversation I had with Lee Pickard on September 2, he said he would look into our repair and warranty work to see what could be done. It is apparent that Lee did not do as he told me because if he had, it would have been discovered that none of the warranty work had been submitted to Coachmen.
Tina Pickard called me later in the day after Lee had informed her of my voice mail. Tina said she would look into the situation the next day and would call me back once she understood what was going on. What she found out was that none of the warranty authorization requests had been sent to Coachmen until September 15. She said it normally takes three days for the authorizations to be turned around so that the dealer know that it was authorized or not and how much labor the company will pay to repair the issue. Essentially our trailer had sat in their lot from August 16 to September 15 without anyone touching it or making any effort to get parts on order.
I talked to Vicki at the Mid-State RV Body Shop on September 27. She said all of the warranty parts are in and “Al” is working on it. I asked her if it would be done on Wednesday or Thursday. She hollered back to Al to get his feel on when he would be done; he replied Thursday or Friday. I reminded Vicki that I have campsite reservations at West Point Lake from Thursday through Sunday. When I dropped the trailer off, Vicki asked about my next outing so Mid-State has known about this all along. Since Mid-State allowed the trailer to sit on their lot for a month without moving forward with getting the warranty parts on order, they need to put in overtime to get my trailer back so I can enjoy my long-planned weekend away. I could not accept this response since our trailer had sat on their lot for a month without being touched and now they were telling me I would not get my trailer back in time to make my camping reservation at the end of the week. I contacted Jason Brewer, Coachmen RV Vice President, and Lee Pickard to register my disapproval of this customer service. Later in the day, Chad called my wife to inform us that the electric fireplace was being shipped in from Forest River; it was to arrive on Wednesday. Once it was replaced, he would call us so we would know when we could pick up our trailer. Keep in mind that Vicki said all of the parts were in, but Chad told a different story when he said the electric fireplace would be in on Wednesday.
We picked up our trailer on September 29 and found the quality of the repairs to be without question. There is no visible evidence that the left rear corner had ever been damaged with exception for the ladder. Chad and I have agreed that I will drop the trailer by one day in the future to get the new ladder installed because it was not discovered until later on that it could not be straightened.
As for the warranty work, nine of the 11 items were repaired. Vicki and I are going to coordinate a time to take the trailer back in to get the front cap repaired from rock damage that occurred during its delivery to Mid-State. Tentatively, we are looking at scheduling it to be worked right after Thanksgiving. The lone warranty item that was not corrected is the fresh water level indicator; it still reads fill even when it is empty.
More Review Details
|Value for money|
|Product or Service Quality|
|Diversity of Products or Services|
What I liked
What I disliked
- Construction quality
- Customer service
- Customer experience
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