My family and I decided to drive to Tampa, Florida as we were embarking on a cruise. We rented a C-Class RV from Cruise America out of their East Dundee office. We took possession of the RV, drove back to my house and loaded up.
We started our trip around 9pm, Friday. Soon into our trip, we noticed that the drivers-side mirror would swivel closer to the drivers-side window while following the speed limit of 55-65 mpg in and around Chicago. As the mirror would get closer to the window, I would readjust the angle of the mirror with the electronic controls. However, as we passed the toll ways, I would lower the window and readjust the bar holding the mirror, setting it perpendicular to the vehicle. Soon after entering Indiana, 3 or 4 hours after we started, and following the posted speed limit of 65 mpg, the mirror was pushed by the wind such that mirror made contact with the window. [continued below]....
..... Immediately, we made an unscheduled stop at the next exit to see what happened. Upon inspection, we noticed that the mirror assembly had no resistance when setting the bar to the proper angle. Also, the assembly was completely loose at the base, held only by the electrical wires controlling the mirror motor and turn signal. The problem was clearly an internal failure to a metal gear which had all its teeth broken off. My wife called their travel assistance line around 1:30am but no resolution could be made because their service centers were closed. We were told by one of their representatives that we could stay where we were and call after 9am or try to provisionally repair the mirror and take the RV to the nearest Cruise America office during normal business hours. After some consideration, we decide to provisionally repair the mirror and continue with our trip as we had a scheduled embarkation timeframe with the cruise line that was prepaid. We duct-taped the mirror to hold it in place horizontally and tied bungee cords to keep it in place vertically.
Around 9:30am, we looked up and called the local office near where we were at. After explaining our situation and the details of the mirror failure, the agent in the Nashville office surmised that the whole assembly would need to be replaced. However, the replacement assembly would have to be special ordered which could take a week to receive. After explaining our time constraint and our success at securing the mirror, the agent and I decided it was okay to continue with our trip.
We arrived in Tampa around 1am Sunday. Later that morning, we parked the RV in a dedicated RV area of the parking lot and embarked on our cruise.
Upon arrival to back to port, we went back to the RV and drove back to Chicago. We drove all night and made it back home around 9:30am and after cleaning the RV, we took it back to the office around 11am. When we arrived at the East Dundee office, I spoke with Lance whom already knew of the issue with the mirror assembly. While speaking with Lance, Ryan, the office manager walked to the RV to assess the failure to the mirror assembly. While doing our walk-around, Ryan, without saying a word, motioned to Lance that there were several minor scratches to the mirror at which time Lance responded that those scratches were already there and were noted on our initial walk-around. Without saying anything to me or Lance, Ryan then went back to the office while Lance and I continued with the walk-around. Once we finished, Lance and I walked back to the office to discuss the details of the rental and mirror assembly. Immediately, Lance went into Ryans office and had a private discussion. Once Lance came back, he advised me that per Cruise America Customer Relations, my $500 deposit would be held and I was going to be charged another $500. I was completely taken aback with what Lance had to say.
I asked Lance if we could take this by steps. I asked if there was anything else wrong with the RV after doing the walk-around. He said, No, I did not see anything else wrong with the RV except for the mirror. I said, Fine. I then said, Lets talk about the mirror assembly. Why am I responsible? Lance said it was because Ryan spoke with their claims department and they arbitrarily made the decision that I was responsible for the assembly. I told Lance that I disagree completely because the failure to the mirror assembly is clearly internal, there is absolutely no signs of physical damage to the mirror or housing. I was clearly upset and asked Lance for a phone number to reach their claims department by phone. He said there was no public number for them. I told him I would try to look up a number for that department so I can explain what happened.
I went outside and started researching. While I was on the phone with Cruise America customer service, Lance came back out and asked if I can come back to finish off the return paper work. I told him I was busy. He then started to get sarcastic with me. I called him out on his sarcasm and told him I didnt appreciate it. After about 10 minutes, I went to my car to continue to hold while one of their agents researched something. Then, Lance knocked on my window and motioned for me to follow him. I got out of my car and he said there was damaged to the screen door and that I would have to pay for that too. After that I just walked away from him as I was getting more upset and he clearly was enjoying it.
Issue 1:How is it that I am getting charged for a screen door after Lance and I did our walk-around and did not see any damage to the screen door? In the last picture below, the whole is obvious; so again, how is it we both didnt see it during the walk-around. He happened to find the issue when he was alone and after he told me there was nothing else wrong with the RV. Bottom line, Lance, and to a certain extent that office, was purposely trying to insight me; finding any defects with the RV and so long as it wasnt added to the rental form.
Issue 2: Common sense must prevail! How can I be charged for a defect to a component on the RV? I have pictures of the failure. As can be seen, there is a metal ring/gear that should have teeth that encompass a ring on a metal bolt. A piece of the ring on the bolt and all of the teeth on the ring/gear are broken. There is absolutely no damaged to the housing of the mirror. And yet a decision was made by an off-site department based on the testimony of the office manager who never even looked passed the duct tape holding the mirror assembly. The white around the housing of the assembly is just duct tape residue; it can be removed with Goo Gone.
Up until the return of the RV, my family and I had a good time. The RV wasnt in perfect condition, but ultimately, I got to spend time with my parents and brother and his wife. It was only upon return that I had to go through all this. We did a great job of maintaining the RV. We were adult passengers taking very good care of it.
Bottom line everyone, you may look a little silly and over protective but you MUST take video or at least pictures of the RV while the agent is with you. In this case, it was an RV which is literally a mobile home. If you get a jerk like Lance and Ryan, they will find a problem if you give them time and you dare to protect your rights. The kicker, I was even charged a 6% tax on the $1000.