STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — Response to the announcement last week about the launch of RV Warranty Forever™ exceeded expectations, President Kelly Price told RV Daily Report today, but it also generated plenty of questions from RV dealers about the program.
Price agreed to do a question and answer interview over the weekend.
RV Daily Report — How was the initial response?
Kelly Price — Well, Greg, as you may have guessed, we have been approached by many dealers who are excited, yet some are skeptical and others are thinking it is too good to be true. The same exact thing happened when we launched our Warranty Forever® program in the auto industry in 2006. We got over 100 phone calls the first day we announced the program in 2006 and the results were similar with the article you wrote last week.
Of course with any new program, there are skeptics. The dealers that choose to market the program with an exclusive territory obviously disrupts their market and forces their competition to start questioning the validity of the program. Again, that is no different than what our auto dealers went through. When you are at a disadvantage as the competing dealer, there is nothing you can do but try to find holes in the program.
RV Daily Report — Is the dealer required to offer all of your company’s products in order to represent the RV Warranty Forever program?
Kelly Price — Although we are a full product line administrator, we certainly don’t require the dealer to utilize our other products. We have been proud to say that we have a “non-displacing, non-competing” product to what they are currently offering. But, it doesn’t require that the dealer change anything they are currently doing to offer the program.
RV Daily Report — Is there a minimum volume requirement or start-up fee?
Kelly Price — There is no upfront start-up fee. We only ask for an upfront four-month commitment to the program for those who qualify. The dealer must meet a minimum sales requirement to gain exclusivity to the program. Most dealers we are speaking with will far surpass those requirements.
RV Daily Report — Must the customer complete the required annual maintenance at the selling dealership?
Kelly Price — No. According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA), when a dealer issues a warranty, the dealer cannot require that any maintenance that the customer is paying for be done at the issuing dealer in order to keep the warranty in effect. The customer can have their maintenance performed with any professional service facility. However, we feel that the RV Warranty Forever program is a wonderful opportunity for dealers to encourage their customers to come in for annual inspections and repairs to keep the warranty in place.
RV Daily Report — Is the customer required to return to the selling dealer for repairs?
Kelly Price — Although we certainly recommend they call their selling dealer because their dealer has the most competent staff to complete the repair, we realize that RV owners are often not near their selling dealer when a repair needs to be completed. The warranty will pay retail parts and labor — with no deductible — at any professional repair facility. We also cover mobile on-site repair visits in the event the unit isn’t in a position to be transported.
RV Daily Report — How many dealers will you put on the RV Warranty Forever program?
Kelly Price — We aren’t looking to sign hundreds of dealers. We have established about 75 to 90 territories across the United States. We are looking for good dealer partners who want to provide a product to their customers that will create a customer for life. We work very closely with the dealers on a regular basis to ensure the program is being represented and marketed with the end customer in mind. Quality customer satisfaction and earning repeat customers are our No. 1 goal. This is not a program for a “weekend sale.” It is a program that becomes part of the dealer’s philosophy, culture and branding for many years ahead. We know what a tremendous impact it has had on our auto dealers, and we believe it will have the same revolutionary impact in the RV industry.
RV Daily Report — How many territories have you assigned to-date?
Kelly Price — That is a moving target at this point. We have assigned about 20 territories as of today. We have quite a few dealers that will be appointed territories prior to the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. It is really an interview process for both the dealer and our company. We need to make sure the dealer has the right attitude about taking care of the customer for many years to come and are willing to make a dramatic change in the way they market and advertise their products. This really isn’t a program for a dealer who is content with their annual unit sales and service retention numbers. The dealers who choose us, as we choose them, want to be the leader in their market.
RV Daily Report — Is this insurance or a warranty?
Kelly Price: The agreement is a warranty. It is provided by the dealer to the customer.
RV Daily Report — Is there a limit to the dealer’s liability?
Kelly Price: The dealer’s obligations are insured by an A-rated carrier, thus protecting the dealer’s long-term interests, especially in the event the dealer chooses to sell their dealership in the future.
RV Daily Report — Who owns the consumer leads gathered through the program, RV Warranty Forever, or the RV dealer? In other words, will your company sell the dealership’s customer information to other firms?
Kelly Price: That is a great question! We NEVER provide customer or dealer information to anyone other than those required through the course of registering and activating a customer’s agreement. We also have confidentiality clauses in all of our agreements with our vendors and insurers, which would not allow them to share the information either.
RV Daily Report — What happens if RV Warranty Forever exits the industry? Are the dealers still covered?
Kelly Price: Yes! Again, the dealer’s and our obligations are fully insured. This allows true peace-of-mind for both the dealer and the customer.
RV Daily Report — There appears to be a lot of inaccurate information flying around about some of the program details, especially that the warranty really doesn’t cover anything beyond basic, routine maintenance. Can you elaborate on what it covers?
Kelly Price — No doubt, this is coming from our competitors and dealers that are now competing against the RV Warranty Forever program. This is very much anticipated. Let’s be clear on this, the program is designed and built to pay claims and to take care of the customer. When a dealer really understands the program structure, protection, limits, coverage, claims payment, customer responsibilities, how we continuously communicate with the customer to educate and remind them of their requirements and our commitment to regular follow up training – then a well-educated business decision can be made.
Our experience thus far, which is very similar to our experience in the auto industry, is the right dealer, when properly educated, is making a decision to set themselves apart in their market with a program that is exclusive to them. We set out, 18 months ago, to truly revolutionize the RV industry. The results thus far have been according to plan. We are doing our best to only make presentations to dealers that we believe, through a short interview, to be someone that we will be great partners with for many years to come. Once the presentation is made, and both we and the dealer feel it is a good fit, the dealer has the right to secure their territory and no other presentations will be made in their market.
I am more than willing to speak to any dealer who has specific questions about our program, what it covers and how it works. They can call me directly at 877.222.1645.