Camping World / loan not paid off
Camping World Fredericksburg/ Thornburg has stolen my trailer!
In August 2018, my wife and I decided to consign our trailer with Camping World. Between graduate school and work, we just did not have enough time to enjoy camping anymore. After a few months of research, the consignment option appeared to be the best option. For a small fee, a respectable agent would prepare the trailer, take professional photos, and list it nationwide across multiple used RV sites.
We settled on Camping World's Fredericksburg/ Thornburg, Virginia store to sell our trailer for us. They were conveniently located about an hour south of us and all of our previous experience with the retail side of Camping World had been positive. I drove the trailer down and we settled on a consignment price of $12, 300. I was informed that we would have to write a check to cover the difference from the sales price and what we still owed so that they could settle the loan for us. We had expected to take a small loss, as we still owed around $15, 000, but we did not expect to lose that much since the book value of the trailer was around $18, 000. However, we trusted the salesman when he reassured us that this was the best they could do and he had full confidence that the trailer would be sold in 90-120 days. A few days later they listed the trailer on-line for ~$18, 000 and the waiting began.
The first indicator that things were going awry occurred on October 11, when I received a phone call from Gavin, the Camping World sales representative. He wanted to give me an update my trailer, and talk through some options. He told me that because the nose-cap was faded the trailer would not sell without repair. I was confused; Camping World had already inspected the trailer when we dropped it off and their expert opinion was that it should sell as is, allowing them to pay me the $12, 300 we had negotiated. We had even discussed how they would list it near book price so they could leave room for negotiations on their end, but that I would be guaranteed my price. Gavin told me that he "was new there, " and that he had taken over as sales manager shortly after my consignment and that the store should have never agreed to pay me such a high price. But my wife distinctly remembers meeting Gavin on the day we signed over the trailer, because she was distressed about the low price we were offered, so that felt like a lie. At that time, Gavin had presented himself as the supervisor managing the representative I had been working with, which I have since discovered to be at least partially untrue. Gavin informed me that my options were for them to reduce the price which would also reduce my profit allotment, or to have the nose-cap replaced for $5, 000. I tried to question him about why the cost of repair was so high, and why we would need to drop the price so low for it to sell, but he became irritated with me on the phone. I felt like I'd been lied to. I was shocked that Camping World had made such a grave error in their assessment of its value, and their response to that error was to either charge me 1/3 of what I still owed on the trailer to "improve" it, or to reduce the price and by extension, my take home price. I could not afford to take either loss and asked him to leave it listed as-is and we would revisit at the end of the consignment period. Gavin then told me that I could come pick it up at the 90 day mark when it did not sell.
The weekend before Thanksgiving was the 90 day mark and the trailer still had not sold. We asked to leave it a few more days til that Tuesday, November 20th, and then my wife and I drove down to retrieve it. We had coordinated with Camping World the day prior and confirmed again at 2:00 pm the day of so that the trailer would be ready for pick up at 4:00 pm. When we arrived, the trailer had not been prepared and the staff seemed confused as to why we were picking up our trailer. Gavin made excuses as to why the trailer was not ready for pick up, but said they would begin to pull it around while he drafted the paperwork to pull it out of consignment… except he didn't know how to do that paperwork, and leaned over to ask the gentleman sitting next to him what to do. That gentleman turned out to be the Statewide Manager, whose name was either Donny or Bob, who happened to be on site that day. The Statewide Manager asked my wife why we were pulling the trailer out of consignment, saying "don't you want to sell it?" She relayed the story above about the shady bid to lower our take-home price and the excessive cost to replace the nose-cap. She said we could not afford to take such a loss and would keep the trailer. The regional manager talked to the local staff and questioned why they had listed the trailer at such a high price, and why they would need to replace the nose-cap, when a simple repainting would suffice. This interaction only reinforced the sleazy used car salesman vibe I felt when talking over the phone to Gavin about my options. The Statewide Manager asked us to leave the trailer in consignment and assured us they could sell it, even if the store only broke even, saying that our take home price would not change. At this point we decided to give them a second chance.
We finally received an offer on December 15th, but the buyer was only willing to pay a little over $10, 000. At that point, we just wanted to get rid of it, so we settled on a price that was lower than our original agreement. Gavin told us to come down the following weekend, December 22nd, to settle the account. At that time, we wrote Camping World a check for $4, 756.22 for the difference between the sale price and what we owed on the trailer. Sherry, the very friendly financial specialist, prepared our paperwork, took our check, had us sign over a power of attorney for Camping World to request the trailer title, and told us the loan should be settled by January 10th, on account of the holidays delaying processing.
Fast forward five weeks. It is now January 22nd; Camping World still has my trailer in their possession, yet they processed my check removing the money from my bank account on December 26th, but they still have not paid off my loan. Normally, I would not belabor the slow processing time; however, I am unfortunately one of the families affected by our government's shut down. My wife and I are both government employees and she is furloughed. My wife has been calling repeatedly for updates, working with Cam, Gavin's manager. My wife's experience with Cam is that he is cordial, but it's very clear that when he says that he'll look into something and call you back, he has zero intention of doing so. Since January 6th, my wife has called 16 times and stopped into the location twice asking for updates on the transaction and looking for some parts of the tow package that Gavin was supposed to return to us. The majority of those calls went to Cam or his voicemail. On January 9th she was in the area and talked to Cam about picking up the missing towing parts. She said she would be right in to pick them up. When she arrived 20 minutes later, Gavin had no idea she was coming, didn't have the parts on hand from their spare parts pile, and said they would have to order replacements. He also told my wife that the buyer had an emergency, but would be in that coming Friday (1/11) to complete the transaction and it would be settled by Monday (1/14).
On Tuesday, January 15th, the account was still open in our names and it had debited another payment for the month of January. My wife called twice that morning and was told that Cam would call her back… after several hours, she called back and demanded to speak to someone higher up the chain than Cam or Gavin. Cam told her that the buyer still has not paid them for the trailer and until he does they will not pay off my loan; but they reassured us that the customer is a regular and always buys the trailers he selects. Cam told her that the buyer had never intended to come in December or by January 10th; the deal was always planned for late January, and he didn't know why Gavin had told her that "wrong information." She asked why Camping World had cashed our check immediately if the transaction was not due for completion until more than a month later? He had no answer, and she again demanded to speak to someone higher.
The fact that we are furloughed is not Camping World's problem, nor is the fact that we will end up under on the loan, but the fact that I'm still making monthly payments on a trailer I no longer possess nor have legal rights to, and I don't have a $4, 756.22 cushion to make those and other payments because Camping World prematurely cashed my check IS my problem, and I'm upset about it. Most of all, I'm upset about the repeated misinformation, shady underhandedness, and terrible customer service.
On January 15th, my wife did finally get to speak to Store Manager Darren Nichols, who said he would send her a $200 check to reimburse for the monthly payment, which we have not yet received. We did finally receive replacements in the mail for the towing parts that went missing.
As of today, January 22nd, we still hold the account with a balance of $14, 745.32. My wife called Darren Nichols today for an update, and he told her he was unfamiliar with her situation, that he "was new here, had only been doing this for a few weeks, " but that he would look into it and call her back. He never did.
I am extremely disappointed with the customer service and professionalism of Camping World of Fredericksburg. While I still have faith in the parent company, from now on I will actively discourage this location to anyone interested in purchasing a RV or trailer.
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