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A Trip Starts With a Misstep



After five weeks at home we packed the motor home and set out to touch base with our families. The motor home fix-it list needs some attention so we'll try to get some of those items taken care of on this trip as well.

Ten years of sun and wind have taken their toll on the awnings on the windows. The fabric is fraying and seams are disintegrating. My plan was to have them replaced locally on our way out of town. I contacted our local RV repair shop, listed as a dealer on the Carefree of Colorado web site. I gave them the appropriate information but never got to talk to the parts department. After several days expecting a return call, I called again. This time I talked to the parts department and they said that our awnings had been discontinued. I asked some questions about alternates and prices. When the information wasn't forthcoming I decided to stop by the shop and talk to them personally.

When I arrived the parts man was off taking care of personal business. I talked to the office assistant that I had called the first time. In the course of our discussion I found that the part number I gave them didn't match the part number the parts department had researched with Carefree of Colorado. The office assistant had the correct numbers but the transfer to the parts department had been fumbled somehow. She called Carefree of Colorado and gave them the correct part number. Viola! They did have that item in the inventory. I could get exact replacements. So they were ordered. I told them I wanted the shop to do the replacement and I also needed a state inspection. Both were scheduled for the day we were leaving town.

A week passed and I called to find out the status of the replacement awning fabric. After checking with Carfree, the assistant called me back to tell me they hadn't been shipped yet. She said they wouldn't arrive in time to be installed before we had to leave. I gave her my daughters address as a shipping address. My daughter e-mailed me that they arrived there the day we left town. I guess I'll install them myself. By the way, the motor home passed the Texas State Vehicle Inspection.

I've dealt with this repair shop before and had positive experiences. The shop foreman retired last year, the office assistant moved up to manager and a new assistant was hired. It is summer in the Rio Grande Valley and the shop was looking pretty idle, a few RV's in the shop but not the time of year when they are usually busy. Most RV's flee north in the spring, taking their owners with them. I didn't see the new manager until I came in for the inspection. I never saw the parts man. The office assistant seemed to be doing most of the work. Will I continue to count on this shop for parts and repair work? Maybe once more just to see if it really is that bad or was this just a fluke?


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