Monday, April 29, 2013

Feeling Cheated? How to Get Your Money Back

Didn't get what you paid for? Lured into something for a certain price on the phone and then switched to a different price in person? Bought something that doesn't work?
We have become experts in getting our money back on things that weren't what they promised. It seems like it's across the board right now in all aspects of being a consumer. Leases, RV inspections, goods that you purchase at any store, dental procedures, etc.

We had called an RV Center in Silverdale Washington to do an RV inspection on the Pleasureway before we came up to buy it. The service manager promised a complete rv related inspection and that they would spend several hours going through all of the systems and making sure everything worked as it should and that there were no safety related issues. We paid over the phone with a credit card and he told us there were only a few things wrong like an old battery and the generator was surging from old gas. The rv had been sitting for awhile.

SO when we drove the Pleasureway home and began inspecting it we were a little ticked to find that they had put propane in the tank and then left it on and did not bother to note that the fuse for the LP/CO detector was missing. They also did not do a pressure test or even a visual inspection of the water system. The system was primed with antifreeze and the exterior shower wand had a major crack that spews water all over when you turn it on. The tire pressure was low and different in every tire. The toilet seat was loose to the point of hanging off with the fittings rolling around on the floor, the toilet caulking was loose and not sealed and there were a few other little things that weren't mentioned. However after finding all of these things we were not certain that anything was checked correctly and had little confidence in the inpsection.

We decided to put the screws to them and demand our money back. I, (Jerani) called up the center and asked to speak with the manager of the center. He came on the line and I asked him for his email address and that I had a complaint that I needed to send him. First rule-get it in writing! Explain the situation, be precise, don't use profanity or act like a lunatic, be nice and polite but very direct.
Letter I wrote-
Dear -------,

This letter is to inform you of our experience with K the Service Manager at -------- RV in Silverdale Washington. I originally called ------RV and spoke to K about doing an inspection on a 2011 Pleasure-Way RV that we were interested in purchasing from a private owner. I asked him to do an inspection and he informed me that his tech would go through it thoroughly and look over all the systems and make sure everything was working properly. We were out of state and he knew that we were relying on his expertise to inform us of anything that needed attention. He made it sound like the tech was going to go over everything RV related and not do anything having to do with the engine. I had the owner drop off the RV on March 29, 2013 and leave it for the day. At the end of the day K called me and said they had found only a couple of things wrong like the battery and generator running rough from old gas.

We travelled up to Silverdale a couple of weeks later and picked up the Rv and drove it home to Portland Oregon. We have been going over the RV and have been shocked at what we've found. When the CC tech put propane in the Pleasure-Way to test it, he left it turned on. The owner of the RV drove it home in that condition which, as you know is very unsafe. Not only did he leave the propane on and flowing to a coach, he neglected to note on the inspection form that the CO/Propane detector was not working due to a fuse being missing from the very obvious fuse panel in the interior of the RV.

He was supposed to pressure test the water lines and obviously did not do it as there was antifreeze in all of the water lines. He passed the tire pressure on the inspection form even though the tire pressures were extremely low and different in all of the tires. Extremely low! Dangerous to drive. The exterior shower wand had a cracked fitting which was obvious just by opening the exterior bay. Nothing was noted on the inspection. The toilet seat was completely loose and one plastic fitting was off and rolling around in the bathroom area. The caulking around the base of the toilet is gapped and moving around obviously not making any kind of seal.

We can go on and on but the point has been made. We paid $257 for an RV inspection that we obviously did not get. Not only did we not get one, but we were delivered an RV that was in an extremely dangerous condition to drive. We feel our lives and the owner's life were in danger and are upset about it. We, at the least, would like our money refunded. And we thought you would want to know about your service manager's performance in his position. He is putting the business at risk and we are sure that is not how you want to operate the business. If you could let us know you received this letter and what your remediation will be we would be appreciative.

Thank you for your time!
From Manager-Thanks. I will discuss this with the service manager and get back to you.

Here are the followup letters-
From D & J after receiving a phone call from the service manager.
K called yesterday and had a lot of excuses about why things were not caught on the RV inspection but received a pass instead of a fail on the form. He said he was authorized to refund $50 to us. We don't really think that's fair. K misrepresented the RV inspection we thought we were going to get as thorough and going through everything RV related. Instead he failed to perform even a basic inspection correctly. That's bait and switch and not appropriate sales tactics. We don't have confidence that anything was checked properly and would like our money refunded. If you do not refund the money, we can and will file a complaint with the Wa State Attorney General and also the BBB. We will also contest the credit card charge and sort it out that way. We hope that you will do what's fair and in the future not oversell your RV inspections.
Thank you,
(Even though K called and tried to mitigate things on the phone I refused to negotiate or agree to anything with him on the phone. You don't know what the actual manager has told him and he has everything to lose here and is trying his best to smooth things over and keep our money. And you want to keep everything in writing to help you if you have to file a complaint.)

From the Manager-
David and Jerani We run the best RV center in the area. I don't like having unhappy customers so I will return the total amount even though I had people on the unit for at least 3 hours checking out the RV as you requested. I am sorry you feel slighted by our actions. We will learn from this and not have a problem from now on. Will mail the check out in the morning.

From D & J
Thanks! We are sorry things worked out this way.

(Keep it short and pleasant and don't gloat even though the temptation is to restate your case because the manager is a little ticked at refunding the money and is getting a few digs in, just let it ride. You've won! He can be mad and snarly but you still get your money. You never want to say or write anything that isn't professional that could be used as a way for him to justify not giving you your money back. It's hard to do because you're so pissed but believe me, to win is all the glory you need!)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage
Just what the hell is it with us and the damn wind?!

Plan a maiden voyage. This trip will help to prepare you for future trips allowing you to anticipate problems before they arise, fine tune your rig and more or less give you a dress rehearsal to the next year of your life.
Plan that maiden voyage for a late April jaunt up the twisty narrow old highway which runs above the Columbia River on the Washington State side to the Columbia Gorge. For an added bonus there are numerous tight tunnels you get to negotiate.
Push yourself a little. Don't just drive your RV around in circles in a Walmart Parking lot. Get out there and test the capabilities a little, driving in variable conditions to get used to the handling.
Choose the windiest day EVER on one of the narrowest 60 mph speed limit roads ever built that clings to cliffs a thousand feet above the beautiful river you don't dare glance at.

Get used to driving your new RV around big rigs. This will give you added confidence when you take to the road for good.
Find yourself driving 45 on a 65mph road, with a forty mile an hour head wind and a semi three feet off your rear bumper while you try to navigate past the one screaming down on you in the oncoming lane just inches from the side mirror.
Take LOTS of pictures!
Forget your extra battery, battery charger or anything else that may extend your picture taking capabilities past four photos. (In case you're wondering; we forgot our extra battery, battery charger, or anything else that could have extended our picture taking capabilities past four photos.)
Purchase plenty of maps, road atlas's and GPS units. Obviously you want to know where you are going, especially on your first overnight excursion.
Forget them ALL. Really, don't forget's tough to navigate without anything but the stars to guide you.
Cook your first meal in your new RV. I mean, how cozy does it make you feel to prepare a wonderful meal far removed from the closest fancy restaurant?
Forget all your pans except your fancy new $120.00 stacking MSR microlite pot set. So you use the largest lid as a pan (they said you could...), and you heat the bottom to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and then you add butter and it like burns immediately, and you have smoke all over the RV, and you're scared the smoke alarm will go off and you start to panic, but then you think AHA, the FANTASTIC FAN, and you reach up and turn it on, and the smoke dissipates and the crisis is averted! Yeah, don't do that...
Oh, and by the way, once we hit the road we are going to write a new blog on gourmet RV dining (really, we are), so be sure to check it out! It will be based on doing as few dishes as possible while using the least amount of ingredients.

Find a nice full hook-up RV site in a beautiful river side State Park.

(We spent a great deal of time and effort driving down the Columbia Gorge, and then we had no sooner paid for our camp site than we were discussing where we were going to go the next day. We had to slow our roll and reconsider. 
One night in a beautiful locale with plenty of things to do is just not enough when you're planning a 365 day road trip. We kinda woke up and realized we are WAY to conditioned to be looking for the next best thing instead of being happy with where we are right this minute. It's just not easy to slow down. We ended up spending a second night in the same site and it was great. We drove up and saw the Maryhill Museum,
the Stone Henge replica
and then stopped off at the award winning Maryhill Winery where we purchased a couple of great bottles of Merlot and Cabernet. We then had a really relaxing rest of the day walking with our dog, drinking wine, cooking a great dinner in our RV, and for the most part just settled in and actually enjoyed where we were.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Odd, Quirky, Eccentric
While traveling one of the things that always brings a smile to your face is when you run into an oddity. By oddity I'm talking about something unexpected, something, well...odd. So we are always on the lookout for things that stand out amongst the mundane.
Door Knocker, Florence Italy
Giant Bronze Head, Amsterdam
Water Fountain, Italy
Weird Grotto, Florence Italy
Handmade miniature stone building set beside road in central France
Stone monoliths, Carnac France
Ice Cream Man, Dinan France
Gargoyle, Sarlat France
Phallic Post, Coast of Brittany, France
Door handle, Paris
Fountain, Italy
Metal along pathway, Priano Italy
Someone made a little shelter for this homeless kitty in Venice, Italy
Bronze and blown glass umbrella light, Venice Italy
Homemade bottle icon, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Screaming Medusa, Venice
Metal hand rail, Bruge Belgium
Horse studying bronze horse watering trough, Bonn Germany
Small man trapped in bronze doorknob, Bruge Belgium
Bronze Fountain, Bruge Belgium
Big stone head, Bonn Germany
Water Fountain, Zurich Switzerland

Friday, April 19, 2013

What's this knob for?

Suffice it to say we are not experts when it comes to RV maintenance. We are so new to this that the old saying “you don't even know what you don't know” comes to mind. Add to this the fact that neither of us are what you'd call motor-heads and you start to get the picture. It's amazing just how much we still have to figure out before we take off, but we are willing learners, and we will get this all figured out.
Galley area in our Pleasure Way RV
Jerani and I have had quite a week. She has gotten up (before) the break of dawn with me and then has driven me to work, so that at the end of the work day she can pick me up so that we are that much closer to our RV storage site. 
Just about every day this week we have worked on getting to know our RV. It's very intimate. Each time you have to actually learn a procedure to one of the many devices or mechanisms you feel a little more “at one” with the vehicle. The learning is in the doing. Sometimes that means a lot of trial and error. Like getting the wrong male end for our 30 amp plug, not once, but twice. 
Or spending close to an hour to figure out our entertainment center, and we are not audio-visual newbies. Then there was the first time fresh, grey, and black water tanks. Filling, sanitizing, emptying, etc. Hands on (or should we say, gloves on) to say the least. We haven't even started to take on the propane system. It's next on our list. 
I'm not going to lie, we have had a our share of disagreements during this learning phase. We had quite a little fallout while trying to determine the proper bleach to water ratio to properly disinfect our holding tanks without causing irreversible damage to our bodies
Jerani had moved on to working out the details of our television, and I thought we should stick to task instead of multi-tasking. Jerani on the other hand thought that maybe I should man up and do something on my own, instead of making her look up everything on her Kindle.  
See what I mean? This learning stuff is hard. Whew! But it's a labor of love to say the least. Each step taken is a step closer to our goal of breaking away on the open road, so what's a speed bump or two? 
Starting to feel comfortable in our RV skins gets us even more excited to get going. We are a little less than six weeks out and itching to go!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Erley's feeling a little left out

Our kitty Erley is starting to get the feeling that things are going on that he's not privy to. For one thing, he was uprooted from a house and a yard in which he had spent his entire life, and unceremoniously deposited in an icky little apartment with little or no access to grass or for that matter, sunlight. (Gad, that sounds just awful!) One day he was running gayly through our backyard in search of something to pretend to kill (he has never been a very skilled hunter), and the next moment he finds himself longingly staring out a window facing a dingy cement wall. (Geez, forget Erley, what have we done to ourselves!) Add to that the fact that Jerani and I leave from time to time with Max our dog in tow to unknown destinations. (Moving, trips to the storage unit, work, picking up the RV, etc.) Anyway, Erleys starting to suspect that we have plans, and he may not be a part of them. Exotic Shorthair cats are known to suffer greatly from paranoia. He watches us pack suit cases, stuff unknown items in boxes, leash up the dog, and disappear.
Erley with his new tag which will help us to reunite with him if he ever gets (GASP) lost on the road.
He's starting to protest. We have a walking jacket ( for him which we have hooked to the back of a chair near the front door.
For the first two weeks we had hesitated taking him for walks here at the apartment building for fear that he would be frightened by all of the barking dogs and screaming kids, but lately Erley has taken to jumping up on the chair and crying while rubbing his face against the harness.
Only true moron pet owners would fail to see the obvious correlation between his actions and a need to explore. Well we are not morons. We have taken to walking him at least once a day for short stints
He purrs while you strap the walking jacket on, and then purrs for about a half hour after his leisurely jaunt. He just seems happy to be in the mix. This will be invaluable leash training for when we hit the road, so it's a win/win for everyone involved.
 Erley actually entwined himself in our duffel bag after we returned from our most recent trip to pick up our RV. Think he doesn't want to get left behind or what?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's like planning an assault on the north face of Everest

Well now that we've actually purchased our dream RV we must now figure out how in the hell the damn thing works. To be honest, there does seems to be a LOT of things you kinda need to know before you actually hit the road.
Stuff like "what is this funny hose used for, and why does it smell so funny?", and "what happens if you fail to turn off the main valve to the propane...ever?"

Suffice it to say we are both a tad bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of material we need to pour over. RV-ID remote vehicle identification, convection microwave, Whisper Quiet generator, self leveling air shocks, grey and black water valves, 16,000 BTU furnace, 2 burner LP flush mount cook-top, etc., etc. ad-nausea.
It's like outfitting a bathyscaphe (which is a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible)
Or planning an assault on the North Face of Everest
Seriously, it's going to take a lot of time and effort on our part to make sure we are up to speed on everything that goes into running a modern Recreation Vehicle.
We weren't naive going into this, but even with our eyes wide open we have to admit that some of these devices are going to test our knowledge base. The neat thing is, we want to learn. The more you look into everything this RV has to offer the more exciting it becomes. This is one sophisticated mobile device. If we can start to master the intricacies of all that this vehicle has to offer then life should be pretty darn nice out on the road. 
So we are tackling this head on, one device at a time. By the time we leave in just a little over six weeks we should be pretty darn proficient at RV maintenance and all the in's and outs of set-up and break down.