If you're shopping for your first RV, here's a little advice from industry insider. Don't pretend to know something that you don't know. Why would a prospective RV buyer become a "pretender"? It may be they're afraid that if they present themselves as a "newbie," that unscrupulous salesmen will take advantage of them. But you can turn the tables and sniff out the bad guys, because just like any other industry, there are bad sellers, and there are good ones. If you do pretend, be prepared to be detected – and probably taken advantage of.
A little bit of knowledge can help you. Before you hit the RV sales lots, learn a little something before you go. For example, if you're out shopping for a motorhome, take the time to do a little bit of research and learn the differences of gasoline versus diesel motorhomes. When you get to the dealership, ask your salesman the question you've already researched. Based on what he or she tells you, you'll know whether to walk away or not. Looking for a towable unit? Ask what your truck (or SUV) can pull. If you're told, "It'll pull anything I can sell you," run, don't walk.
Our insider tells us that when it comes to being a new RVer, you'll probably be best treated at a small dealership – and don't be afraid to 'fess up that you are new. The little guy is far more likely to take the time to truly help you make the right choice – he needs your business, and figures if he treats you right the first time, you'll more likely come back for your next rig, too.
What should you do if your sales rep starts to put the pressure on? A good salesman isn't going to push you into a sale you're not ready for. Don't panic, don't get mad. Just walk out. Whatever happens, don't be pressured into making a deal or forking over any money until you're firmly comfortable with what you're getting. Ask to take the sales contract with you, and get help looking it over. An experienced RVer, your attorney, or a banker – or all of the above, may be the right folks to have eyeball your paperwork before you sign.
photo: vagawi on flickr.com