Posts Tagged With: lci

Heartland Stands by Ludicrous Lippert Report

There is a famous quote by Mark Twain that says something like “Tragedy + Time = Humor”. Now that 6 months have passed since our Heartland RV fell apart (The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless), we are finally able to find some humor in the whole thing, thanks to a silly inspection report we received from Heartland and Lippert (the frame manufacturer).

We found this report so ridiculous that it gave us something to laugh about in this otherwise sad situation. It doesn’t seem like Lippert was able to find a root cause for the RV frame failure, so instead they pointed out ways in which they think we didn’t maintain it very well. Considering we spent a lot of money every year having the annual maintenance and inspections performed I was surprised to hear we didn’t maintain it. It sort of seemed like they were just looking for a reason to blame us like the previous Heartland inspector did.

What do you think? Are these valid reasons for an RV to fall apart?

  • Lippert pointed out that the surface of the couch fabric was worn. Well, we do have a cat who has left scratches on it at times, and we also like to sit on it. We didn’t realize the couch is only for show and we shouldn’t sit on it. By the way, what does that have to do with the RV frame falling apart?
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Don’t let your cat sit on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

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Don’t let kids lounge around on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

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Don’t let cats or people use the couch — the RV might fall apart.

Hopefully using the couch in our new RV won’t lead to a disaster like this, but unfortunately Lippert made that frame as well! Sadly, RVers have very little choice when it comes to the frame manufacturer of RVs we purchase. Most are made by Lippert.

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Who knew using the couch could lead to this?

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  • Lippert noticed that the driver’s side fender had evidence of being taped at one time. One day while driving down the road Chris noticed the fender coming loose. Instead of taping it back on until we could have it repaired, I guess we should have let it fly off and hit the car next to us? And what does that have to do with the RV falling apart? By the way, they also mentioned there was evidence that the large hole in the wall had been taped and re-taped repeatedly. That would be because this unit has been inspected several times and every time someone needs to take pictures, the tape has to be removed. But since we didn’t want water to get inside, it was necessary to re-tape it. Not sure why I need to explain that piece of information, but I guess it’s not obvious to the folks at Lippert.
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Taping the fender led to this hole in the wall by the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned that some of the interior trim had been glued back on. I think most RVers can relate to this — trim and molding tends to come loose on travel days since they don’t build these things well enough to stay together driving down the road. What else are we supposed to do with these loose pieces besides glue them back on? Again, what does that have to do with the whole RV falling apart?
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Re-attaching the interior trim led to this crack near the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned they were unable to climb the ladder due to safety concerns. Really? Chris and I as well as other inspectors climbed the ladder to take pictures. We didn’t know we weren’t supposed to climb the ladder. Is that just there for show?
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Don’t climb the ladder — that’s just for show.

  • Lippert mentioned that we used the RV to travel back and forth across the country. Isn’t that what RVs are for… Traveling? We didn’t know this RV was intended to remain stationary. Why does it have wheels?
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Lots of RVers have these sticker maps — just don’t use this if you have a Heartland. That shows proof that you traveled in the RV and you’re not supposed to do that.

  • Lippert mentioned the RV looks worn. The pictures below were taken the last day we were at the RV before we left it in Maine. My definition of “worn” must be different from theirs because I honestly thought it still looked beautiful (except for the holes and cracks in the walls of course).
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Maybe I’m biased since this was my home, but I always thought it looked really nice.

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Living and Kitchen 1

So, in summary if you buy a Heartland RV make sure you don’t sit on the couch, don’t travel with a cat that might scratch the couch, don’t tape or glue anything that falls off, don’t climb the ladder and don’t travel across the country. Heartland RVs are not made for that sort of thing.

Chris sent an email to the folks at Heartland to let them know just how ridiculous we found this Lippert report. We didn’t expect a reply but we did receive one from Heartland’s General Counsel. She said: “I would like to discuss with you potential resolutions to this situation. As Heartland’s general counsel, I am in a position to assist resolving this matter amicably.”

Based on that, I naively got my hopes up that finally Heartland was going to do something to rectify this. Once again I was wrong, but I shouldn’t have been surprised because this is so typical of how Heartland has treated us from the beginning. Telling us one thing only to turn around and disappoint us time and again. We were told that Heartland has decided to stand behind this Lippert report and the Heartland report that claimed we hit a tree.

You know, this all could have had a much better ending if Heartland had only cared about a customer needing help. I’ve said before how I used to speak highly of our experience with them. Early in 2018 we had discussed upgrading to a toy hauler by the end of the year, and we were seriously considering a Heartland Cyclone. However, when our Heartland Gateway fell apart and we reached out to them for help, all we got were lies and excuses. Instead of maintaining good customer relations with us and keeping us in the Heartland family, they showed us why we should never own another Heartland. They have also turned us into consumer advocates who will let others know why they should never own a Heartland.

Based on the hundreds of comments and emails I have received in response to our story, I can say for certain that we have spared others from purchasing from this heartless company. Those responses have also opened my eyes to the fact that we are not the only ones to have such a terrible experience with Heartland. Many who reached out to me mentioned how they also have had major issues such as frames cracking, and their rigs are newer than ours. Since Heartland won’t help them, why would I think they would help us?

Remember when American automobile manufacturers had to step up their game once consumers started purchasing Japanese-made vehicles because they were selling a higher quality product? Maybe it’s time someone from Japan started building RVs. Perhaps that would convince American RV manufacturers to step up and build a better quality product. We can only hope!

 

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Heartless Heartland RVs

I thought it was time to write an update on our RV resolution, or lack thereof. I think Heartland RVs should change their name to Heartless.

If you missed our interview on the RV Show USA you can watch a commercial-free version here:

After listening to that you might think that Heartland would have finally decided to step up and do the right thing. Well, you would be wrong. They absolutely refuse to do anything to help us and for that reason I think they are the most Heartless company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

Since my initial post about our Heartland woes: The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless I was quite overwhelmed by the response and number of comments and emails I received from people expressing their support, encouragement and also their own stories of Heartland’s lack of customer service. I want to thank all of you that took the time to comment and/or share our story as well as sending emails to Heartland on our behalf. We are so appreciative of all of you!

I am sorry I was not able to respond to every comment, but I’d like to highlight some here. I was just appalled at all of the people that let me know how they have experienced similar issues with Heartland.

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Another one where Heartland wants an RV towed to Indiana which is unsafe to tow.

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Yes I posted on their Facebook page until they blocked me from posting further.

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We tried contacting Thor and received no response.

Side note: Thor owns Heartland as well as several other RV companies. My advice would be to stay away from any company owned by Thor.

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I’m seeing a trend here.

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Ditto to my last comment.

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Another who agrees that they are Heartless.

This is just a small sampling and does not even include comments from all the Facebook shares. There seems to be more than just a few unhappy Heartland Heartless customers.

Since my initial post our insurance company re-opened our claim and sent a forensic engineer to inspect the unit. He proved it was not the road but was frame failure due to a broken weld and mis-aligned slide. I can’t elaborate on that at this time in case we take legal action.

Incidentally, Heartland still blames us. Just the other day I received a letter from Trailer Life Magazine. I took some of your advice that I should send them our story. They received a response from Anthony Roberts at Heartland explaining why this is not their problem. By the way, Anthony Roberts (anthony.roberts@heartlandrvs.com) was the guy I mentioned in my first blog post who lied to us about sending an inspector from Lippert. His letter was quite long so I won’t quote the whole thing, but he did say this: “It was determined that this was related to impact damage causing the twisting of the frame. One conclusion we gave was possible the unit went off the road twisting the frame and in conjunction impacting a tree limb causing the damage to the side of the unit.

Wow! Still blaming us… sad.

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Heartland’s inspector didn’t even notice the issue that the forensic engineer discovered. Could it be because he was sent there for the sole purpose of coming up with a conclusion as to why this is not Heartland’s responsibility? All he could come up with is that we went off the road and hit a tree?

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I agree, what kind of business sense is there in letting this get so public?

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Believe me, I wish we had hit a tree! What possible motive would we have to deny that? An insurance claim would have been much simpler if we had had an actual incident on the road that caused this. We are honest people though and are not about to lie to an insurance company and claim we hit a tree when we didn’t.

But the good news is that on 9/20/2018 Heartland said they’re launching an initiative to boost quality and service. You can read all about it here: Heartland RV launches initiatives to boost quality, service. When I read that I thought “oh good, they can start by helping us, right?” Wrong!

Here is a snippet of some of the quotes from the article:

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Isn’t that nice? Heartland President Chris Hermon says he recognizes the need to be accessible to customers. I wonder why he hasn’t bothered to respond to any of my countless emails to him. If you feel like sending him a note here is his email, but don’t expect an answer: chris.hermon@heartlandrvs.com.

And Jim Fenner was quoted in the article about having an obligation to stand out and be leaders in the areas of customer service. Hmm, we haven’t noticed any of that “customer service”. His email is fennerj@heartlandrvs.com if you feel like reaching out.

They posted that article on their Facebook page and I decided to comment on it, but guess what? My comment was deleted and I was blocked from posting anymore on their page. A friend of mine who also owns a Heartland did the same thing and her comments were also deleted and she was blocked. We decided to let some friends know how we had been blocked from Heartland’s Facebook page, so several of them decided to comment on our behalf. I’m sure you see where this is headed… yup their comments were also deleted.

So if you are relying on Heartland’s Facebook page to find out if their customers are happy, you’re only getting one side of the story. Negative comments are deleted.

In addition to their article claiming quality and customer service, their website advertises this:

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Their definition of “longevity” must differ from mine because an RV that only lasts 3.5 years does not meet that standard.

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Several people commented to say we should contact Lippert since they make the frame. Below is the response we got.

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Email reply from Lippert.

We have no idea what is meant by “the course of action that is to take place”, but notice who is in the Cc: line? Our good friend Anthony Roberts is at it again!

Some have asked if we have an extended warranty. The answer is yes we do. Our dealer in Jacksonville, FL, Dick Gore’s RV World sold it to us. However, we regret purchasing that because it has been useless. They don’t cover much of anything, and especially not something like frame failure.

Thank you to everyone who offered other pieces of advice like hire a lawyer, file complaints with the attorney general, BBB, NHTSA, Trailer Life, etc. We did all of that so far except hire a lawyer. We have consulted with a couple of lawyers and are still undecided about whether or not to move forward with that. There would be a lot of time and expense involved which is probably why so many people don’t bother. That means the big companies such as this one get away with this nonsense because it’s so difficult for the little guys to fight them.

These past 3+ months have been so stressful and have really taken a toll on our family. I have had so many sleepless nights and felt sick over this for too long. There is a huge part of me that just wants to “let it go” and move on with our lives. I’m so tired of the emotional energy this is taking.

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If we choose not to pursue legal action this RV will most likely be hauled off to a junk yard in the near future. If any of you would like to go pick it up and put it on a lowboy trailer as suggested in the comments above, please feel free. While you’re at it, please take it to the Tampa RV Show in January. It would be an effective advertisement on the shoddy workmanship of Heartless RVs at one of the biggest RV shows in the country.

If we do decide to just let this go and move on, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep sharing our story. We want to warn as many people as possible against purchasing from this Heartless company or anything made by their parent company Thor. My first blog post was seen by well over 30K viewers. Please do me a favor and share this one too. Let’s get the word out to stay away from this company.

In closing, I don’t want all of my blog posts to be about this negative experience we are having with Heartland. Recently the 4 of us watched our Nomadiversary videos from our 3 years on the road and reminisced about why we live this way. We love the RV lifestyle and we love seeing this beautiful country we live in. We have had a temporary setback. This video right here shows the good stuff. This right here is why we do this, why it’s worth it and why we’re anxious to continue on with this incredible lifestyle. I also love the song If Today Was Your Last Day. I got to thinking, if today was my last day I certainly wouldn’t be wasting any more time on this Heartless company. I hope you enjoy this video of our 3rd year on the road and let it be a reminder that the RV lifestyle really is good in spite of bad companies.

Thank you for watching and listening. I hope to resume posts about our travels again very soon. 🙂

UPDATE: an update to this post can be viewed here: Heartland Stands by Ludicrous Lippert Report

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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