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?
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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).
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!