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RV buyer sues, but defends RV dealership

(Nov. 29, 2016) -- "We were required to list Coopers RV in the suit because my attorney said we had to include the selling dealership, but Coopers didn't have the RV long enough to justify being named in the lawsuit," Ronald Golden explained.

MURRAYSVILLE, Pa. — Ronald Golden, the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed recently against Coopers RV Center and Keystone RV Company, told RV Daily Report today he regrets that the dealership had to be named in the suit.

“We were required to list Coopers RV in the suit because my attorney said we had to include the selling dealership, but Coopers didn’t have the RV long enough to justify being named in the lawsuit,” Ronald Golden explained.

Golden and his wife, Kari, bought a 2016 Keystone Alpine fifth wheel from Coopers RV for a price of $63,995. At the time of purchase, it was subject to a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

“Keystone delivered it to Coopers RV, and we picked it up the following day,” he added. “The RV spent the night on Cooper’s lot before we picked it up.”

According to a copy of the complaint filed in federal court, the Goldens took control of the RV Nov. 21, 2015, after it was shipped directly to Coopers from the manufacturer Keystone. Within a short time of taking possession of the RV, the Goldens began to notice some moisture in the RV.

By February 2016, within about three months of taking control of the RV, the Goldens were experiencing water pouring in from the roof of the RV. After reaching out to the defendants, the Goldens received a phone call from Ben Fischer, of Keystone RV, who indicated that a razorblade may have cut the seals on the roof when removing painting tape.

The Goldens returned the RV to Cooper’s for repair April 3 and provided a list of items needing repair to get the RV up to a satisfactory condition and habitable state, the complaint noted. Those items included:

  • The control panel had a cover panel which was not functional
  • The bedroom carpet was wet from leaking roof
  • The living room linoleum was peeling up
  • The screws in registers were falling out
  • The screws in the kitchen lights were falling out
  • The stove light were not functioning
  • The kitchen wall lights were not functioning
  • The control panel switches for individual lights were malfunctioning
  • The light strip in front door was falling off
  • There were dents and scratches on air conditioning units on roof
  • The dryer vent was falling off
  • The trim on the kitchen cabinets was inconsistent and showed signs of some prior wear and tear
  • The screen door and main door were sticking and not opening properly
  • The storage door on the front underbelly would not open.

The complaint noted the Goldens’ RV was sent to Camping World in Harrisburg, Pa., for a series of repairs and that the couple was without an RV from April 3 to July 11.

“Coopers RV didn’t have the ability to handle the paint problems because they didn’t have a paint booth, so Keystone subcontracted with Camping World to complete the repairs,” Golden told RV Daily Report. “We could not include Camping World in our suit because the repairs were covered by Keystone. It would be up to Keystone to sue Camping World to recover the costs.”

Keystone, promised that a whole new roof membrane would be placed on the vehicle to remediate the leakage issues. However, instead of totally replacing the roof, an awful caulking job was done to all seams in the roof, the complaint indicated.

Upon return from Camping World, Golden said there were several problems with the repair job performed at the defendants’ direction, including:

  • Noticeable water damage in the vehicle
  • A bent roof-access ladder
  • Scratches and dings throughout the RV
  • Unsightly seam caulking all along the roof
  • Continue leakage problems
  • A faulty control panel

The Goldens used the RV for recreational purposes and at campsites near Mr. Golden’s out-of-town work locations, the suit explained. However, due to the failures of the defendants to repair the RV, the complaint alleges Mr. Golden was forced to forego significant occupational opportunities resulting in losses of more than $59,000 plus an additional $3,500 in travel and lodging costs incurred during jobs he was able to take that were out of town.

Ironically, when Golden told Keystone he used the RV occasionally for work, he was told they are designed only for recreation purposes and any use for business would void the warranty. In fact, Keystone insisted that full-time and business use of an RV is expressly prohibited in the owners manual.

“People who buy a Keystone RV don’t get a copy of the owners manual until after they buy a unit, so how are they to know this exclusion exists until the deal is completed?” Golden asked.

“We just want Keystone to either take the camper back and pay it off, or get us a new or replacement camper,” Golden told RV Daily Report. “Why should we have to continue making payments on an RV we can’t use. There is black mildew all over the ceiling.”

Golden claims a different technician who looked at the RV confirmed that the hole in the roof is so big it cannot be patched. In fact, there are bubbles forming on the roof.

Golden said his beef is really with Keystone RV Company and not Coopers RV Center.

“Coopers has been very good to us, but we can’t get Keystone RV to even return our phone calls,” he added, noting that he’s been trying to reach Rick Deisler, director of customer service who has yet to reach out to the couple.

He also took issue with the quality of Camping World’s repair that resulted in multiple scratches on the vehicle.

“Camping World picked up the RV at Coopers and their driver signed off on the condition report that did not note any scratches on our RV,” Golden explained. “But, when they delivered it to our driveway, the delivery report noted the existence of scratches on the RV. Yet, Camping World says we caused that problem.”

The lawsuit specifically notes, “Both parties (Coopers RV and Keystone RV) were responsible for repairs, improvements or replacements on the RV which were of a nature or quality inferior to or below the standard of that agreed to in writing. Both defendants engaged in a representation that the RV was new when in fact it was deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used or secondhand.”

“The defects contained in the RV were known, or should have been known, to both defendants prior to sale. The RV was sold to the Goldens with no disclosure of the material defects therein,” the complaint read.

The complaint further charges Keystone with violations of Pennsylvania law for breach of warranty and failure to comply with the federal Magunson-Moss Warranty Act as well as violation of Pennsylvania unfair trade practices and consumer protection law.

Both Coopers RV and Keystone RV were accused of fraudulent inducement for failing to provide a copy of the Keystone warranty and for failing to inform the couple that there were material deficiencies with the RV. The complaint charges the defendants had reason to know, or should have known, that the RV was unusable as provided to the Goldens.

RV Daily Report aggregated a portion of the original story from the Pennsylvania Record yesterday, and linked back to it. Both publications printed a headline suggesting that the buyers blame Coopers RV Center for vehicle problems, a charge Keith Conard, owner of Coopers RV, vehemently denies.

In an email response to John O’Brien, managing editor of the Pennsylvania Record, which brought the lawsuit to light yesterday, Conard wrote:

“I ask that you to retract and remove the article about Cooper’s RV Center.  Mr. Golden’s problem is not with Cooper’s RV Center.  I just spoke with Mr. Golden last week in reference to his remaining issues in which Cooper’s RV was not even aware of.  

“In my conversation with Mr. Golden he made it perfectly clear that he was not blaming us for the manufacturing issues that he was having and in fact did not want to involve us with the lawsuit at all.  His attorney made him include us because we were the selling dealer.  

“His problem is with the the way the coach was constructed and built in which Cooper’s did not build his unit.  He had some scratches that needed repaired (sic) and the roof had a major issue and at my old facility I did not have the ability to do paint.  

“Keystone decided that a Camping World store that was closer to him would be where the repairs would be done.  According to Mr. Golden, Camping World did not do the repair correctly at all and when he contacted Keystone to tell them that he was displeased, Keystone told him that it was not their problem to talk to Camping World about it, according to Mr. Golden.  

“He also informed me that the Keystone service representative told him to do what he had to do when Mr. Golden said he was going to sue, according to Mr. Golden.”

“I pride myself on how I take care of customers,” Conard added. “I have informed Mr. Golden that even though we did not do the repair on the roof, to bring it out to my brand new 16 acre facility and we will take a look at his coach and see what we can do.

“He has agreed to do this as soon as he can break himself free long enough to bring it out,” Conard wrote. “In addition, I told him once it got to my facility that I would arrange to have a representative from Keystone come out and take a look at his unit as long as Keystone will do this.  I am on the customer’s side 100% of time when it comes to situations like this and always will be.”

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report and can be reached at greg@rvdailyreport.com.

11 comments

  1. When you receive an new unit one day and send it out the very next, just how much PDI did Coopers RV give this coach? Not very much. And most of those items in the first list should have been caught by a good PDI.

    Coopers cashed the customers check. Quite fairly they should stand at the head of the liability line.

  2. Amen, an roof Jobs are not rocket science. Sublet the paint work

  3. Always have an Attorney Review Major Purchase Contracts and Warranties before you hand over the check.

    Handing out an RV without Leak Testing or Quality check is negligence. The Dealer should be included.

    You should always knock an Extra $300-$500 off the Price so you can have an Independent Inspector Go over and catch initial problems.

    Google Pissed Consumer, Keystone RV Complaints. Glad I didn’t buy one!

  4. Keystone would have been smart to just give this buyer a like / kind unit and insured their satisfaction instead of dragging it out through a suit. Its obviously a lack of QC at the factory door and a lack of PDI at the dealer . Far too many dealers across all lines have the solo mentality of getting your signature just before giving you the boot out the door.

    I give the selling dealer a 50% responsibility here for letting the unit off the lot. John hit the ball out of the park with his “dealer cashed the check” comment, I agree. He is the manufacturers representative here and enjoyed the net off the sale.

    Keystone gets the butt head award for challenging the consumer to bring a suit in the first place. Really guys? “Do what you have to do?” Did you think the buyer was just going to forfeit 64k and say ” ok, I understand?”

    Coopers, be the hero here. Get the POS back on the lot and get the buyer into a new one. Get him satisfied THEN go after Keystone and salvage what you can from the deal. Show some goodwill here. Do not try and fix the POS for the buyer either, the buyer will never be happy with this unit.

  5. Keystone has been appearing in the news lately on poor quality of their units and how they’ve responded to correct the problems which appear not to be to the satisfaction of the customer . Conclusion, will not buy a Keystone product.

  6. Sounds like the same crap I have heard from Keystone on some factory damage on the front cap they refuse to repair. Also I just had a major manufacture flaw repaired that is a known flaw, but was not brought to my attention until the wall broke. This should have been an immediate recall! I will never own another Keystone product & will go so far as to say it is highly unlikely I will ever own a product build by any of the companies owned by THOR!

  7. For all that may still be wondering, my camper went in for repairs in April 2016 got it back in July 2016 and still isn’t right, after ignoring me over and over it went back in Feb 2017 which they had 30 days to make the repairs after 2 and a half month got it back and once again overlooked problems again. Now here it is July and it went back again suppose to be back here in another 30 days. But mind you, it went in April 2016 and here it is July 2017 and I have yet been able to use it and I have been paying on something I am unable to use! I will not trash talk anyone but I’m sure all of you know what I’m thinking.

  8. Disappointed Raptor Owner

    I am having the exact same problem. We bought our Raptor in NJ in March 2017 from a Camping World dealer. I have owned the RV for 17 weeks (and paid payments on it) and it has been at Camping World for repairs for 13 of those weeks. We got to use it for 2 weekends. I’ve appealed to Keystone in every professional way possible and they just keep pushing me off to others, denying the service requests and speaking to me like I am in third grade. It’s really too bad because our issues are easy and cheap for them to fix. We have now hired an attorney and are going to have to go the legal route, which is going to cost them way more than the $1200 fix we originally asked for. We are now going to Hershey, PA in September to the RV show and going to trade this in on a quality product from a reputable manufacturer and see where we get financially with the courts. At this point I just can’t keep this unit and put my family in it knowing that there are severe quality issues.

    • Why would you buy another new one? Nothing has changed. The quality and workmanship in the RV industry is a joke.

      • John, you are right on. Quality and service…non existent in the RV industry. In response to “The Disappointed Raptor Owner” regarding Camping World. I bought a new travel trailer from Camping World 8 years ago. Had nothing buy trouble trying to get some warranty issues fixed. Service department failed to get them correct so I decided to fix myself. They were small ones yet defects in the unit. Kept the travel trailer until 2016, traded it in on a 33 ft. Class C Motor Home and did not even consider Camping World in the search for the new Motor Home. Ended up going to another RV dealer, family owned company and have got excellent service. Yes, those dealerships are still out there if you just look for them and do your research.

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