Good Sam Club RV Owners’ Advisory Council Identifies Major Concerns for RVers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Affinity Group, Inc.
Tuesday April 10, 2007
First Report To Members Includes Member Survey Results
(Ventura, Calif.) - The Good Sam Club’s RV Owners’ Advisory Council (RVOAC) was appointed earlier this year for the purpose of identifying RV-related issues of major concern to the membership of the Good Sam Club, an RV owners club of more than a million members. RVOAC is also charged with analyzing those issues and making recommendations to the Good Sam Club management on matters of policy and legislative priorities.
RVOAC has already completed a detailed member survey to determine what issues Good Sam Club members deemed most important to them. The survey presented nine specific questions on issues thought to be of interest to RVers. It included an opportunity for “write-in comments” to catch other issues of major concern not addressed in the specific questions used in the survey.
The tabulated results of the survey showed the following results listing members’ concerns, starting with the highest ranked issues first.
1. Quality of RV manufacturing 98%
2. Availability of competent RV service 93%
3. Existence of adequate Lemon Law protection 87%
4. High fuel costs 86%
5. Protection from local parking ordinances 79%
6. Availability of suitable commercial RV parks 65%
7. Federal access user fees (80% retained by federal facility) 63%
8. Decreased Availability/high cost of RV storage yards 52%
9. Uniform state special RV drivers licensing 33%
Unlike the tabulated questions in which fuel costs came in as the fourth “most important” issue, comments about high fuel costs clearly ranked first in the “write in” portion of the survey. Complaints about high costs of everything (including fuel cost), from campground fees to RV repair costs clearly attracted the greatest number of comments.
RVers are increasingly concerned about local restrictions about where they can park their RVs. There are a number of issues relating to “big rigs”, including campgrounds that do not adequately provide for them, fuel stations that don’t have adequate room to maneuver (or have steep curbs), and a general desire for RV-friendly highway signage. Interest was also expressed in “no frills” campground options, and in having federal state and local parks provide an adequate percentage of non-reservable sites.
“Most notably, the rather startling result is the 1-2-3 place finish of RV quality, RV service, and Lemon Laws,” said Tom Gonser, chairman of RVOAC. “As the Council said in its report, it's as if RVers were saying ‘build it right’ and if you don't, get it fixed the first time. And if you fail on the first two I want Lemon Law protection.”
According to Gonser, "RVers would not be at all surprised at the high rankings of these three items. The real surprise is that RV owners now have a forum through the Good Sam Club to express their concerns, and potentially have them represented in meaningful discussions with industry leaders. RVOAC members intend to use the survey as a means to bring constructive focus on the issues pertaining to RV quality and service.”
Neither the Council nor the Good Sam Club can have any major influence on pricing. However, other issues, including concerns about RV quality, RV service, and even the availability of suitable Lemon Law protection have the Council’s attention as matters of priority, and the Council is studying possible courses of action to deal with these key issues.
The issues pertaining to Lemon Laws are to some extent an emotional reaction to the frustration so many RVers have to the quality and service issues. There are substantive issues here as well, as the state laws are a very confusing patchwork that offers some protection in some states, but virtually none in others. Moreover there is confusion about which state laws govern which transactions. The real need here is for reasonable protection that is consistent among states. “What constitutes ‘reasonable’ will require balancing the interests of the industry and RV owners to come up with a fair and balanced solution,” said Gonser.
All Good Sam members, the Council’s four members were appointed late last year. Chairman Tom Gonser founded the popular website, www.rversonline.org after retiring as a highly regarded attorney and having served as Executive Director of the American Bar Association. Jan McNeil is a full time RVer who retired from her career as a realtor and now works out of her RV with her husband, Chris, a physician. Leo Everitt has been RVing since 1972, and was an executive with such major manufacturers as Cummins and RV maker FMC. Bill Estes retired in 2006 after 38 years with Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines, and is considered to be one of the most trusted and influential voices in the RV world.
About Good Sam Club
The Good Sam Club, www.goodsamclub.com, is the world’s largest RV owners organization with one million member families. Founded in 1966, the Club offers its members a wide variety of services, including RV Insurance, Extended Warranty on RVs (the Continued Service Plan), Emergency Road Service, RV Financing, Good Sam Credit Card and Life & Health Insurance, as well as member discounts at parks, campgrounds, and RV events. Good Sam Club members also receive a subscription to Highways, the Club’s popular RV travel magazine. Additionally, the Club represents more than 2,000 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Extremely committed to its RV members as well as to the environment, the Club is a founder of the annual National Cleanup Day program and an advocate of public land access, Adopt-A-Highway programs and Adopt-A-Park programs, to name a few. The Good Sam Club is headquartered in Ventura, California, and is a subsidiary of Affinity Group Inc.
Good Sam Club
Public Relations Contact:
337.235.2924, ext. 3