Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I have titled this article the UFO because that is the closest analogy that I can make to when a automobile service center near me sees a Roadtrek. They maybe have heard about them - but they have never seen one - much less worked on one. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to call it a UDO - unidentified driving object...

I left off the last article with the new Roadtrek needing an alignment. When we picked it up it pulled to the right. We went back to the dealer the next day after delivery and told the dealer's service center about the problem. They looked (we think) at the van and they told us that arrangements would be made through them to Roadtrek corporate to get an authorization for us to take the van to an alignment shop local to us to have the alignment done. Great! We were to contact the service center in a few days about the authorization for reimbursement.

This all happened on a Thursday. We waited until the next Tuesday and sent an email to the dealer service center. The answer that we received was not as we expected. We were told that the alignment of the van was not a problem covered under the Roadtrek warranty but rather had to be done under the Chevy warranty. I really did not care who did the job or was responsible as long as it would be paid for.

A few days later we went to the Chevy dealer service department where we have purchased two cars over the years. Rather than bring the huge Roadtrek into their small service lot, I photocopied the brochure cover and the spec sheet to be able to explain to them exactly what type of vehicle we were talking about. I was sure that they had never seen one before and I was right.

We got to the service counter and explained what we needed to have done and to what it needed to be done to. I took out the photos. The counter man had a puzzled look on his face and he went right away for the service manager. The first thing that he told me was that they do not do wheel alignments in their service shop but rather send them out. We talked some more and established that any other service that the Roadtrek Chevy components would need would not be a problem. They do have a truck lift and they can lift the 8000 pounds and accommodate the almost nine feet in height - without hitting the ceiling. But the alignment was another story. Despite my asking several times he never really said that the alignment was covered under the Chevy warranty. Other owners had told me that it would be - at least for the first time and under 1200 miles. We had not driven the Roadtrek since getting it home as it already had over 900 miles on it. The service manager suggested that we go down the road to the alignment shop that he sends his alignment work out to and talk with them to see if they could accommodate the height and weight.

We went to the alignment shop and at least the manager there knew about RVs - not Roadtreks but he knew what we were talking about. He had no problem with the height of the Roadtrek in his shop but his alignment lift had a capacity of 7000 pounds and the Roadtrek weighs almost 8000 pounds. He suggested a local truck alignment shop that does alignments from a pit which would be the best way to do the Roadtrek alignment - but this left Chevy now out of the picture. He also suggested that we check the air pressure in all of the tires because that could also result in the van pulling one way or the other. Disappointed, we left.

So now we have a problem with no warranty coverage to resolve. Our next step was to call Chevrolet Corporate Customer Service to find out what dealer we could take the Roadtrek to that could do the alignment.

Outsourcing customer service telephone response is common today, but when the people that you are talking to have no idea about what is where in the United States you wind up with less than satisfactory results. I can only guess where the person we were talking to was located, but it was definitely not here. I must say that she was diligent and tried hard. In fact the contact went on back and forth for three days. In the process she recommended two local Chevy dealers who have been out of business for several years - and she did locate a Chevy dealer service center that could do the alignment - IN BOSTON - only eight hours away. It took a bit to explain the proximity of Boston. When she was ready to give up, we suggested that we speak to a supervisor and that we needed to get authorization to take the van to a truck shop that could do the job - and for Chevy to pay for that. With that suggestion we got the reply- "I am sorry, alignments are a maintenance issue and are not covered under Chevy warranty." So what had we spent the past three days talking about? They said that the conversion outfitter (Roadtrek) was responsible for the alignment.

An alignment is not a very expensive adjustment but after spending the amount of money that was just spent to purchase the Roadtrek one should not drive out of the lot and need to pay anything more for it to drive properly. I then contacted Roadtrek who insisted that the driver who delivered Roadtrek from Ontario to the dealer in Pennsylvania reports on any unusual driving phenomena of the vehicle and his report was clean. And - it is not a Roadtrek issue but one that needs to be dealt with by Chevy.

We had come full circle - buck passed from hand to hand. Looking like we were paying for this, I communicated the situation to the owner of the Roadtrek dealership. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while he did say that this really should be handled by Chevy and that he was stuck in the middle between Chevy and Roadtrek, just as we were, he did not want any customer to be less than satisfied and he would cover the reimbursement of the alignment. That is good customer service!

Things should be easier than this - but, of course, they never are.

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