News & True RV Stories

Vendor Warranty

Published September 25, 2009

Category: News


Warranty after bankruptcy... 

With the recent events in the RV industry several manufacturers have filed for chapter 11 or 7 bankruptcy protection and many owners driving new coaches that would have had a warranty typically lose it, well almost.  Several of the vendors who supply parts and warranty to the manufacturers are still healthy  and obviously "well managed" companies that are stepping up and honoring the warranty such as Dometic, Carefree, Fantastic Vent, Power Gear, Thetford & Norcold, & Dimensions on their inverters and converters.  I am sure I am missing a few; it is certainly nice and refreshing to see these companies taking the "High Road".

On the flip side of the coin I also hear about lousy warranty coverage, Se-Gi window comes to mind first and takes top honors in my professional opinion.  I receive a tremendous amount of e-mails and phone calls on this subject, fogged windows, creeping seals, etc.  so I grabbed a notepad and called Se-Gi myself  back in May of 2009.  I wanted to learn firsthand if what the customer had told me was remotely possible, unfortunately it was.  We were both told that this 2009 Country Coach Affinity, purchased on 2-2-09, has no Se-Gi window warranty because it was built prior to Country Coach filing chapter 11 bankruptcy, therefore Se-Gi "may" not have been paid for those windows....  Where is John Stossel when you need him!   I then asked if Se-Gi was in bankruptcy and was told "no" which lead me to my next question; then please explain how Se-Gi can be "selective" in whom they will and will not warranty?  Certainly they were paid for their windows in 2005, 2006, 2007, and part of 2008.  How do they know which windows they paid for?  Is it the customers' responsibility to manage Se-Gi's accounting?  Leslie was not sure.

We hung the phone up and the customer had his cab window replaced to the tune of $737.00.  During this time I tried to locate a copy of the Se-Gi warranty.  I called Se-Gi and spoke to Leslie, she said the warranty offered is strictly between Se-Gi and the manufacturer (Country Coach) and would not forward me anything.  I called several customers, looked in the warranty boxes of everything new and used in stock with Se-Gi windows, nothing.  Now this is getting interesting, why is Se-Gi not supplying a copy of their warranty to customers I thought? A short time after having the window replaced  in this 2009 Affinity the customer happen to locate the fabled Se-Gi warranty card stuffed in his think Affinity owner's manual.  He called me and faxed over a copy which I have on file.  It is a very interesting document to say the least.  There is no effective date or expiration date anywhere on this document.  The warranty states it will guaranty to be free of defects and workmanship for a period of one year from the "original owner's date of purchase", not the manufacturer as was stated by Leslie.  In fact nowhere on this "Warranty Policy and Coverage" document does it say anything about the manufacturer or what happens should the manufacturer enter bankruptcy protection.  It goes on to say "Insulated Glass Panes produced by Se-Gi Products are guaranteed to be free of moisture for a period of three (3) years from the original owner's date of purchase".  Wow, we were only 3 months after the date of purchase and were told no.  It breaks down labor rates, freight, packaging, allotted time, it's pretty comprehensive.

So now, armed with this warranty card my customer claims he called Se-Gi once again and this time requested to speak with the owners, he was told no by Jose.  He left several messages with Jose for the owners or Leslie and did not receive a return phone call.  Next he faxed over a letter along with a copy of the warranty card and guess what, Leslie called.  She asked him if he noticed there was no date on the letter.  He said yes, no expiration date too.  Leslie said that was an "old" warranty card so my customer requested she fax him a new warranty card, which never happened.  Leslie hemmed and hawed then asked him to fax over proof of purchase as well as the invoice of the repair.  He did both right away and Leslie did call him back acknowledging that she had received them and was surprised to learn he already had the repairs made (in September 09).  He said yes the repairs have been made which he paid for because Leslie previously stated there was no warranty and he no longer felt safe driving his new motor home with a fogged up cab window.  These are 45' long, 50, plus vehicles.  Leslie then offered to sell him a new window at dealer cost? A little late for that and why would he pay anything armed with this warranty card?  Last, Leslie said maybe we can send you partial payment and faxed over a window order form requesting it be completed and faxed back so she could calculate an amount.  This was again done right away and the following 2 days he never received a call so he called in several times and were back to ignoring the customer again.  The customer has filed complaints with NHTSA and BBB and initiated contact with the fraud division of the attorney general's office in Oregon where he lives and made his purchase) and in California, home of Se-Gi.

It seems like this precious little warranty card is purposely left out of the warranty box to avoid honring the warranty to the stated "original owner". If anyone needs a copy of this warranty please feel free to contact me.  And if Se-Gi would like to respond to me I will gladly post their response as well.