BELLEVILLE, MICHIGAN -- I want to post this as a word of warning to potential future buyers of RV's from Walt Michaels: DON'T. We have had such an upsetting and costly experience with Walt Michaels that I wouldn't buy a camper from these people again if they were the only people selling them. I would rather go without. And I love camping! It is very clear when you deal with this company that they are sued often. You have to sign an arbitration agreement and release of liability for everything you want done there.
The first time we bought from them we purchased a beautiful, large camping trailer. The salesguy told us our Jeep Liberty could tow the 7000 lb trailer with no problem! Luckily we suspected otherwise and looked in the owners manual. We bought another truck! Unfortunately this camper had a leak we didn't know about at the time of purchase, but noticed soon after. After 2 years of constant visits to the service department, it was still not repaired. Since the warranty was expiring and the walls were starting to rot, we were forced to trade the trailer in on a new one or we would be stuck with a useless camper we still owed money on that was unrepairable (according to them).
Of course, no other dealer would even look at it as a trade, and we couldn't in good consciousness sell it on our own, so we were forced to trade it through Walt Michaels. They were only too happy to do this since we were then upside down on our loan. We traded it in on another camper that we do like very much, but had to finance a lot of extra money on. We purchased this second camper in the late winter.
When we came for our walk through to teach us how to use the thing, after waiting for over 2 hours when we had an appointment, the technician didn't even know where the sewage drain was or most of the other accessories or how they worked! Luckily we were experienced enough RVrs to figure things out on our own.
The last time we dealt with Walt Michaels, we brought the camper in for a few little items that should have been covered under the warranty, since it was only a couple months old. The step was difficult to move, a drawer glide was broken, the door lock was sticky etc. No big deal. When we arrived, this woman came out to inspect the camper for exterior and interior damage. We had to sign a waiver saying that they were not responsible for any damage that occurred in their lot. Then after writing down what we wanted done, she insisted that we sign a form saying that we would pay for any repairs not covered under the warranty. No problem.
Then we were told we would not be given any estimate of repairs, or be notified if any of the repairs weren't covered under the warranty. They would just fix it and we would have to pay for it regardless of how expensive the repair was. I refused. I had never had a repair done where they didn't give you an estimate first! I certainly wasn't going to give them free rein to charge me anything they wanted.
When I told her this didn't sound right to me, the woman told me I had to leave or she would call the police and have me forcibly removed from the lot! She was swearing at me and totally lost it! I was stunned! Trying to maintain my calm, I told her this is where I bought the camper and all I wanted was to have some warranty work done since they were the people who should cover the warranty. She told me I was now banned from ever getting any work done there and never to come back! When I told her this was crazy and I wanted to talk to the service manager, she told me she was the service manager!
I told her I wanted to talk to whoever her boss was. I was led into the building and told that he would be in a meeting for over 2 hours and I could wait if I wanted to, but they threatened that if I said anything to anyone else they would call the police and have me arrested. I waited over 3 hours and no one ever came out to talk to me in spite of several inquiries to the secretary. I left and have never been back.
I have since taken my camper to Lloyd Bridges in Chelsea MI and they have always been very friendly, prompt and accurate in their repairs. Last time I was in I paid to have the Walt Michaels decal taken off the back of my camper, and the staff was saying how they are always getting unhappy Walt Michaels customers in their shop and showroom.
Some of the stories they have to tell make my experience seem almost fun by comparison. However, I will tell you it was not fun. By selling us the first flawed camper and mysteriously never being able to repair the leak, we were roped into lots of extra repair bills and another camper sale with no ability to negotiate a fair price. They conned a lot of extra money from us.
MICHIGAN -- I have read numerous complaints about the dealership where we bought our motorhome and have to agree that the service is poor. We live 70 miles from the dealership. We purchased a 2004 Discovery Motorhome, 3 slides, with a lot of luxuries. We were also talked into buying the 7 year extended warranty. Lo and behold the regular warranty and the extended warranty is not backed up through the dealership and they cannot give us addresses, dealerships, that will back up the warranties.
Every attempt to get service done on our RV has cost us large amounts of money out of our pocket. Every time they say the warranty doesn't cover anything. It's an all day job to take the motorhome to the dealership, and of course we have to leave it with no idea when to expect the work to be finished, then another full day to pick the motorhome back up. They've had to remove a cup holder to get to the wiring, after getting the motorhome back, the cup holder was missing.
They said they didn't lose it and we'd have to order another one which would take about 2 weeks. We left a full list of items that needed repaired, nothing was repaired and the only explanation we got was they couldn't find anything wrong. It's now 2007 and the wiring still hasn't been corrected. There's no way imaginable that anyone can believe how much we've put into this motorhome. We've spent endless hours on the phone with them and also calling different dealerships to see if they can help us. I have a bill to pay tomorrow to replace the wiring and the inverter. We currently have the motorhome in Louisiana and had to find a repairman down here. But nothing is wrong with it.
The only assistance we got was we finally contacted a freight liner company and they accepted the warranty and replaced the alternator. We didn't get that phone number or address from the original dealership. A dealership that replaced all 4 batteries got us hooked up with the freight liner company. In the early months of 2006 we had to unhook the motorhome in Florida and take it to be repaired. These are all day jobs. We've had a lot of repairs done and a lot of replacements done at our expense.... except for the alternator. The traveling satellite could not be fixed at the dealership. They had no knowledge on how to repair it. We had it repaired in Florida. I could go on and on.
Why did we pay for the extended warranty? Every time we call the dealership they try to talk us into trading it in. OH, on top of everything else, after returning home with the motorhome and leaving for vacation, we only had one set of keys that were in the ignition, the second set of keys belonged to someone else's rv. So someone else ended up with our keys. When we got to Florida we didn't have any keys to unlock the under compartments. I will never buy from this dealership again.
Somewhere between here and there, all my original paperwork has come up missing. I've tried calling the dealership to get duplicates to see if anyone in LA will honor the warranties so I won't have to pay the $2000.00 repair. They're closed for the week. I didn't know businesses like that closed for the whole week.
BELLEVILLE, MICHIGAN -- We went to Walt Michaels in the spring of 2002 to look at Pop-up campers. We did not want to buy a used camper and end up with a duct tape special so we purchased a brand new pop-up. When we did the walk through our sales person just pointed out "here's the stove, fridge, AC etc..." When got the camper home and set it up to show our friends we realized that the canvas had 2 areas where the stitching was coming out and the zipper around the door was also broken.
We called our salesperson who said we should make a report but if we wanted to use the camper for the summer we should wait and bring it in the fall or they could have it ALL SUMMER to repair it.... A new replacement camper was out of the question. We went camping the following weekend only to discover that we also did not have curtains in our brand new camper so we could not change out clothes inside it and the propane tanks that were supposedly FULL at purchase were empty.
We called our salesperson and he said he would order curtains and they would be in next week. We called him every week and were put on hold and NO ONE ever returned our calls. We made several trips out there only to get the runaround. FINALLY they gave us a set of curtains out of another camper but those did not match our interior.
In October we took out camper in to have the stitching and zipper fixed and were told it would take about 1 month. We called every month and IF WE actually got to talk to someone it was always "no, not ready yet." We went out there again in February and were told that the canvas had just been sent out for repair and would be ready in a month. Not ready in March, April or May! We went out there again and had words with Ms.** who told us to leave or she would call the police..... Mind you our camper has sat there on the lot for 8 months of us making payments for a camper we can not even use!
Then a few weeks later they tell us that the canvas has been lost in shipping and somehow they do not think they should have to pay for a new canvas! They tell us we have to deal with the company that LOST the canvas. We contacted an attorney who was very familiar with Walt Michaels POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE - he called the place WALLY WORLD! It took another 6 months of court hearings so no camping in 2003 & still making payments on a camper we do not even have.
In the end "Dutchman" offered us a brand new travel trailer in replacement of the pop-up! We had it sent to General RV as we did not want to go to Walt Michaels EVER again and Walt Michaels had to pay our legal expenses.
BELLEVILLE, MICHIGAN -- I am currently in the process of purchasing from Walt Michaels and I recommend you take your business elsewhere. I'm wishing we had read these other reviews before stepping foot on their lot. Everyone seems to have the same story. My husband and I were given the runaround by the salesman, meaning he did everything he could not to lie to us but still didn't give us full disclosure. We weren't able to get any solid info regarding interest rates and payment amounts until they had DRAFTED the loan agreement. Why I went through with any of this I will never know but hopefully my posting will save the next poor sap the same disappointment.
Long story short, we signed the documents but before leaving the parking lot I had some misgivings. I read and reread the fine print and was VERY uncomfortable with the deal. We went back in and talked to the sales manager who assured us he wanted us to be happy but that it was a done deal. I told him that didn't make me happy, that we wanted time to think about it. This is also what I told the salesman all along, that I wanted to make sure my HOLD deposit was fully refundable in case I changed my mind, and I told the finance girl that the payment was too high and I just felt like I shouldn't go through with it, to which she responded by shoving another document at us.
I don't know why I didn't just walk out the door then. At any rate, I feel that I was duped by these people. We had to talk to ANOTHER manager who pulled us into the office with everyone else we'd talked to so there were 6 of us, including my husband and me. They basically brow beat us and I told them that's exactly how it felt and that I didn't trust the deal. I was told that since it was Saturday there was nothing they could do, that had it been a week night she could just call the bank for us. She said she'd call first thing Monday and get back to us.
It's Monday and it's almost noon. I did hear from Walt Michaels... the shady salesman called to give me a freaking insurance quote!!!! The docs we signed that they want to hold us to state that we'll get our own insurance through our current provider. I found an email address provided on this website through a response posted by ** in IT at Walt Michaels. I've emailed him the entire breakdown of what happened that day and asked that he give me some kind of contact info for ANYONE who can help make this right.
My husband just talked to Mr Shady Sales, too, only to discover that this new $25K unit doesn't even have a TV.... even though Shady went on and on about it when we walked through the trailer, nothing would have led me to believe that a TV wasn't included. I will let you know if we are able to reach any kind of agreement or to leave with any satisfaction at all. At this point we're looking at being the owners of a brand new bare bones camper that we don't even want based on the experience we've already had with the dealer. I hope that you read this and ALL other posting (good or bad) before investing in an RV with Walt Michaels.
BELLEVILLE, MICHIGAN -- This is not a total "negative" review about Walt Michael's Rv in Belleville, Michigan. This is (hopefully) information for anyone considering going there to look at a new/used RV/travel trailer. My husband and I have been looking for a new travel trailer. We found one we fell in love with at Walt Michael's RV.
We went to W.M. dealership knowing full well their policy of "extra fees". We were met by a young salesman whose name escapes me. We were only there to look but were told they needed our names/address BEFORE we could look. We were escorted to a desk and grudgingly gave them our personal information. We were walked outside to the trailer and looked at it. The young man was not prepared to open the slide and we had to walk back to find a charger and then we were walked back to the trailer as it is a company policy you can not be left alone in one of their units.
Upon return to the trailer my husband and I both asked about their "prep fees"...by the way they WILL charge you $1,000.00 for prep. ANYWAY when we asked our salesman about the fees we were informed that it was for "fabric prep, gas tank filling, a complete going-over etc". Let me say to you all... DO NOT go anyplace where their "prep fees" are THIS MUCH! This is a total and complete rip-off! WHY oh WHY (and I did ask this question) do you NEED so much time/money to get a BRAND NEW trailer ready??!! I have NO problem paying for a service and paying a REASONABLE fee but this is just plain highway robbery!
By the way we own a pop-up and it does NOT cost THAT much to fill a gas bottle. Prep fees aside we went back to the desk so my husband could get their "bottom line". Our salesman left with a sheet of paper to speak to the sales manager whose name is **. FIRST OF ALL... IF anyone here from Walt Michael's sees this... HIGH PRESSURE sales are OR should be a thing of the PAST! ** needs to go back and re-learn the art of the deal badly!
He gave my husband his bottom line/out the door price which was ONLY good RIGHT THEN (we were informed that as soon as we left the deal was OFF THE TABLE!) ** put the sheet on the desk with black marker scribble all over it and it said NOTHING we could read... no number break down, no figures clearly written... just black marker scribble. (NOT ONLY were they going to charge for prep we also had to pay an additional 850.00 for their freight/delivery on that trailer PLUS the taxes, plates, title.) We figured there were about 1,850.00 in EXTRA fees at Walt Michaels RV.
My husband and I left there laughing all the way to the car. Was the price good? No. Did they "deal" with us? No.
I am only writing this because we took TIME and spent a LOT of time doing research on prices, makers, options and my advice to anyone looking at a travel trailer/RV is BE INFORMED! Know your product and prices and values. Paying EXTRA HIDDEN fees or paying THAT MUCH for prep is up to you... IF you feel you are getting what you are paying for.
ANYWAY.... long story short.... Or just a long story! We ended up at ANOTHER dealer near Lansing, Michigan and got a FANTASTIC deal on a new trailer (THOUSANDS LESS then Walt Michael's) the deal was seamless, NO prep fees and the manager of the dealership we purchased from wants a happy customer.
My husband and I are going back this Saturday because they want US to personally inspect our trailer and look for ANYTHING wrong or ANYTHING we feel needs to be changed. They DO prep our new trailer but they want EVERYTHING to be right and they want us to be totally happy when we drive away with our new purchase. What a novel idea? By the way... gas fill-up is FREE there for new trailer purchases.
NO PRESSURE/CUSTOMER SERVICE.... Both my husband and I feel Walt Michael's RV needs lesson's in BOTH!
I am waiting for someone from Walt Michael's to call us and ask us if we are still interested in that trailer...I want to personally thank them for making our decision to buy from another dealer SO EASY. I hope this helps someone out there looking.
BELLVILLE, MICHIGAN -- This summer (2006) we decided to take the family camping and the tent method would not work with small children, so we decided to rent a motorhome for a week of camping. Walt Michaels RV advertises to make it easy for "beginner" RV'ers with an instructional DVD and a walkthrough to show how to use the features, so we decided to rent from there. The Walt Michaels RV staff went through a checklist to explain how to use the different systems in the RV and note any damage.
On the checklist was the overhead antenna, difficult to see standing next to the motorhome it looked odd... the dome was lower on the backside and higher in the front but not knowing what it is supposed to look like thought nothing of it. So I drove off and for the first 30 miles I heard this clanking above the roof, so I checked the overhead vents and they were tightly closed (In the walk-through they emphasized closing the vents or it could be damaged by the wind resistance.)
The next week I returned the RV parked and walked in. There was a short round women bullishly telling staff members about a broken microwave antenna (I thought wow the rental staff nows appliances enough to diagnose the problems of a microwave.) Sure enough the top half of the antenna housing blew away and there was evidence of it being hit. I explained what happened but that did not matter because it was not on the paper work, so sure enough they charge me full retail price and a labor rate approaching aerospace levels of almost $100/hr. (I guess parts and service need to profit off rentals too.)
Then the short round woman approached me confrontational and asked "what did you put in the cargo area?" There was a huge gaping hole along the edge of the cargo hold, and I noticed that in the initial walkthrough and was noted... Walt Michaels RV need to be more rigorous in their pre-inspections. No staff members noted a huge hole in the RV until I returned it! There were numerous minor items that were broken but I did not dare tell them as first intended or my "repair" bill for things I did not break would be larger.... yeah I should charge them 1/2 hour labor time for the vent handle that I installed.
Walt Michaels RV promised a lot at time of purchase. Items would be taken care of. Particular items were to be replaced not repaired and I made the salesman scratch out repair and write replace on the agreement. Months later parts came in. I brought the trailer back for the repairs with the "promise" that the repairs would have to be done in time for a planned trip. "WRONG". Having to pick the trailer up before the repairs were complete I noticed that the dealership was trying to "repair" items instead of replacing them.
They had no intention of replacing parts all along. The sales and service dept. were no help at anytime with anything. I've been in their business a few times with friends and family looking for an RV. After experiencing their rudeness and lack of professionalism they end up somewhere else.
BELLEVILLE, MICHIGAN -- This I hope will be helpful for anyone considering purchasing an RV from this dealership in Southeastern Michigan. This incident happened back in 2001 and I still hold a grudge to this day. We went to visit this dealership back in June of 2001 on a Saturday with the hopes of just browsing and getting some ideas for a travel trailer. We were told of Walt Michaels because of the sheer size and quantity of inventory and it was very impressive.
After traveling around on a golf cart for nearly 2 hours my wife (who just gave birth and had our 2 week old son with us) decided we might as well go ahead and give into the pressure and just purchase one because we did not want to have to go through looking all over again. The salesman was very helpful and we felt we got a good deal on the RV we wanted. Being new to the RV scene we went to go finalize paperwork. After the initial price agreement, Walt Michael now added over 1,000 dollars to put a hitch assembly on our Van. Then we were charged another 1,000 dollars for what they called some sort of start up fee.
This merely consisted of having someone show you where the stove and microwave is in the RV and fill the propane tanks. Before we knew it, all of the money that was taken off of the initial price of the RV was added back on. We went ahead anyway and purchased the RV. The real problem began when we went to pick up the RV. I had left my Van 2 days earlier to get the tow package installed and have it ready for us by our scheduled arrival date and time. When we got there, they had not even begun to work on our Van. We had to wait 2-4 hours for this after they told us it would only be a half hour.
When we received our RV, the spare tire cover was missing and they wanted us to pay for it if we wanted one because that wasn't part of the accessories (even though the exact same model of a different color had one). The trailer was also missing the door stop holder and had to have its tow wiring replaced because someone frayed the wires towing it around the lot. When it came time for our 1,000 dollar walk through, he was not able to answer any questions on the exact procedures of the appliances because they could be held liable if we were to use them incorrectly.
So we basically paid an extra 1,000 dollars to have someone "point" were the stove and refrigerator and A/C unit is located. The aggravation only got worse when we had to bring our trailer back for service. All of the spots where the customers are assigned to "drop off" the trailers were used up by their inventory leaving it impossible to drop off my RV without some stuntman maneuvering. This happened the next 2 times I had to bring my RV in for service also. The last time I brought my RV for service was the real kicker. I dropped it off in October with a list of 5 to 6 very small items that needed to be replaced. i.e. door-knobs, cabinet pulls, blind rods, etc.
They held onto my trailer for 3 months before the worked was finally completed. When I received a letter from them in December stating they would be closed for 3 weeks during the holidays and they would not be responsible for any batteries that were still hooked up and may freeze and explode. Since they were holding my RV "hostage" I asked if they could just unscrew the 2 wing-nuts and disconnect the battery for me so I wouldn't have to make a special trip. They service manage informed me that they would have to charge me 45 dollars (to unscrew two wing nuts!)
When I finally picked up my RV in January, I noticed that the curtain plastic turn rod was never fixed. When I inquired why, he stated that I neglected to give him the broken piece so that the warranty would cover the cost. Not only did this never get relayed to me ahead of time, but I just said forget it and bought the 45 cent piece from Home Depot! The final straw came when I repeatedly called and asked to speak to the center manager to discuss my problems.
All 3 times I called I was put on hold to never have anyone pick up the line, let alone the manager. I have never encountered such unprofessionalism in my life and never went to this extreme to try to relay this information with the hopes that it will help anyone else from making a grave mistake. Stay away from Walt-Michaels Rv center in Belleville Michigan at all costs!!!