Can You Return an RV?

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View of an RV dealership

If you spend time in any large online RV community, you’ll eventually see an angry post from an upset RVer. These rants typically have some common themes, especially regarding the construction and quality of campers. 

Many upset individuals will have a mile-long list of disappointments and broken items on their rig. Some will state they feel deceived by their dealer and want to throw in the towel for RVing. 

However, can you simply return an RV? How long do you need to hold onto the receipt? Let’s dig in and see what we found!

New RV Owners Experience Buyer’s Remorse

RVing has become incredibly trendy in recent years. This has led many people to spend hours mindlessly scrolling through #rvlife posts.

These posts make the lifestyle seem so easy and carefree. However, while it is a fantastic lifestyle, Instagram doesn’t typically paint the whole picture. 

Many people jump into making a significant decision quickly. However, they’re basing their decision on a picture that’s not quite reality. 

As a result, once many of these new RVers hit the road, they quickly experience buyer’s remorse. This is because they didn’t take the time to realize that things will break, travel days won’t go as planned, and that hauling a massive RV around the country isn’t exactly easy.

Can You Return an RV?

While these individuals may want to throw in the towel, it’s not always that easy. Just like many other types of vehicles, RVs depreciate incredibly fast.

The second you leave the lot with the rig, it loses a tremendous amount of its value. Unless you pay in cash or put a considerable amount down, you’ll likely owe more than the RV is worth.

If you’re unhappy with the camper, the dealership may offer to buy it back. However, don’t expect the offer to be anywhere near what you paid for it.

Dealerships will attempt to get your RV for as cheap as possible. If you go this route, you’ll be at their mercy regarding what they’ll pay.

Unfortunately, many RVers owe more than their camper is worth, especially if they’ve owned it for a short time. The only way out of the mess is to write a check to the bank for the difference once the RV sells.

Trust us; this can be a costly mistake. In some situations, we’ve heard of RVers losing tens of thousands of dollars.

Is Buyer’s Remorse Common With RVs?

Buyer’s remorse is relatively common among RV owners, especially first-time buyers. Knowing your needs or wants in an RV is incredibly hard if you’ve never spent time in one.

We encourage anyone looking to buy an RV to take their time with the process. Do not buy the first RV you walk into, no matter how good of a feeling you get about it.

While it may be costly, we’ve seen some RVers rent campers for weekend trips to test them out. There are popular services like RVezy, Outdoorsy, and RVshare, where you can rent campers from nearby owners. This is a great way to help shoppers discover what they want or need in a camper and avoid buyer’s remorse.

Want to avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse? If so, we’ve got some tips that you should use when buying an RV.

How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse When Buying an RV

If you follow our tips, you may not love everything about your rig, but you’ll lower the chances of absolutely hating it. Let’s get started!

Research RVs

You can’t do too much research when shopping for an RV. There are so many things to consider, and it can feel overwhelming. Rushing the process can cause you to overlook important features that will help you to enjoy your camper.

Expect to measure the time you’re researching RVs in months, not days or weeks. Attend RV shows and walk through as many RVs as you possibly can. The more units you see, the more you can make an informed decision.

We created our RV Shopping Checklists to help you stay organized during the entire process. Print them out and take them with you while shopping.

The more units you see, the more they’ll blur together. Take detailed notes about what you liked and didn’t like so you accurately reflect on them later.

A couple inside their RV researching rigs

Choose Your Dealer Wisely

Very few RVers have positive stories about their RV dealer. Many will say anything to get you to sign your name on the dotted line. However, they’ll disappear once they close the deal. So not only do you need to research RVs, but also RV dealers.

Chat with other RVers about where they purchased their rigs and their experience at their particular dealer. They may guide you toward a local dealership with a positive reputation.

However, just remember that every experience is different, and just because someone else had a good or bad experience doesn’t mean you will too.

Keep in Mind: Have you ever had a dealership deny access to your inspector? Click the link to see why this is a red flag!

Lower Your Expectations

Many shoppers make the mistake of having too high expectations for their RV or the dealership.

No matter how much money you spend, something will eventually break on your camper. It doesn’t matter whether you’re spending $20,000 or $200,000; there’s no such thing as a perfect RV.

Many hear “four-season package” and think it means something it doesn’t. Just because you have an RV rated for four seasons doesn’t mean staying warm when it’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside will be easy. Having too high of expectations for your camper may cause you to experience buyer’s remorse.

A woman walking her dog at an RV dealership looking to return her RV

Have an Emergency Fund

One of the biggest mistakes that many RV owners make is not having a healthy emergency fund.

As we’ve said numerous times, things will break on your camper. When they do, you will want the cash on hand to fix your rig as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, many people put off creating their RV emergency fund. When something goes wrong, they may not have the money to fix it quickly or correctly. This can cause a very stressful situation for everyone and lead to feelings of regret.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a few ways to make money while on the road, check out these 15 Ways RVers make money!

Follow the Maintenance Schedule

If you want your RV to last and avoid experiencing issues, you must follow the maintenance schedule.

Manufacturers recommend how often you should perform certain maintenance items on your rig. While these may be recommendations, we suggest you treat them as requirements.

Some maintenance tasks you should do every 30 to 90 days, and others yearly. However, no matter how frequent or infrequent the task, you can’t afford to ignore them if you want to enjoy your rig as long as possible.

A man doing maintenance on his RV outside in the summer

Should You Save the Receipt for Your RV?

Unfortunately, saving the receipt won’t do you any good if you want to return your RV. Dealerships aren’t like Walmart or other popular retailers with very liberal return policies. 

You must take your time when shopping and deciding to purchase a camper. If not, you could make a disastrous financial decision.

You may get the dealer to buy it back from you but expect to take a loss. We hope these tips will help you make a good decision and avoid buyer’s remorse right out of the gate.

Are you unhappy with your recent RV purchase?

1 comment
  1. Owning a motorhome for retirement has been our dream since retirement and we took our time selecting the right one in 2020, with delivery in Jan 2021. Then came Covid. We call ours, which we love, WHEN we can actually enjoy it, our Covid lemon. It has been in either the RV shop or the Ford shop about as much as we’ve had it for use. With barely 2000 miles on it, we needed a new fuel pump and shortly thereafter, a new water pump. This surely is not “normal repairs.” Its been towed four times already for not starting! Our Lippert Jacks have never worked and we’ve had them worked on numerous times. Many of the Ford repair have not been covered under warranty because they claim its caused by the Jayco manufacturing process, not the Ford manufacturing process. We did not get the RV until July 2021 (instead of Jan) because of Covid protocols in the factory and supply chain issues where they kept shutting down the factory during the manufacturing process. Does anyone else have similar Covid stories?

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