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Dan and Rita

RV ConsumerGroup Rating Reports

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It is hard for me to give an answer to your question that is current, but I'll give the best that I can. I was a member of the RV Consumer Group from about 1990 or so up through 2010 or so. I don't remember exactly when we dropped out but at least back then we did feel that the information that they supply was very good. In my opinion the value is much greater for someone who has little RV experience than for those with a vast amount of experience and knowledge gained from owning, maintaining and even doing your own repairs on RVs. I continued as an active part of the group for a time to do my part to help others who come behind me. A great deal of the information that they supply to new members is collected from members who contribute information from their direct experiences and observations, while most of the ratings come from evaluations that are done by examining the specifications of the various models as listed by the manufacturers and doing some computations to determine things like wheelbase ratio and other factors affecting handling and safety. They also use specially trained volunteers who then take factory tours using a checklist to evaluate the construction techniques and materials being used. They are often criticized by some because they do not actually test and examine each model from each manufacturer every year, which is simply not practical due to cost. But they do have technical staff who evaluate the chassis manufacturers use as well as the raw materials and a host of other things. I stayed a member for that length of time because I believe that they have done more to educate the RV buying public on issues of quality and safety than any other group, along with the people at RVSEF

I found the membership in the RVCG to be more than worth the cost back when we were shopping for the motorhome that we bought to live in fulltime and using the information and advice of that group we got a much better price than would have been the case without it and we chose a coach that served us well for 14 years, nearly 12 of them as our only home. While it was not 100% trouble free, there were no major issues and it held up well. On the other hand, I did not rejoin when we chose to downsize to our present small travel trailer as I felt that I had enough knowledge for that purchase and so far it has worked out for 7 years. 

I have no current information or contacts inside of the organization. 

Edited by Kirk W

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Not in my opinion.   But I purchased stuff from them over a decade ago.  On the positive side, they provided some interesting information about weight distribution and RV quality ratings.  But in retrospect, I didn't actually use any of their information in selecting the RV I bought.

Suggest you ask folks on this forum first, and then decide if there are big holes in the information that you wanted were not filled.

 

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We have always used their information as a basis for *starting* our search for a new rig.  However, we haven't been a member since we bought our current Class C (for which we used their ratings) which was almost 6 years ago, so I don't have any current information about them.  If we were ever to buy a new rig (unlikely at this point in our lives), I'd most likely use the ratings again.

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It's confusing enough to sort through the claims of all the "sales" people, and owners.

But I believe one thing remains true. They will not tell you which one of any type to buy, but will help eliminate the bottom 50% in their ratings. That is worth it in addition to the extra information about weights etc. that are included as well as website members only areas.

If you haven't been to their free pages go here and read around. https://rv.org/blogs/news

Safe travels!

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1 hour ago, RV_ said:

It's confusing enough to sort through the claims of all the "sales" people, and owners.

But I believe one thing remains true. They will not tell you which one of any type to buy, but will help eliminate the bottom 50% in their ratings. That is worth it in addition to the extra information about weights etc. that are included as well as website members only areas.

If you haven't been to their free pages go here and read around. https://rv.org/blogs/news

Safe travels!

Thanks Again RV, I'll check it out. It's like picking out a good apple to eat, you throw all of the rotten ones away and eat the good one! Right?

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Do they still offer memberships to manufacturers?  I remember when they first started, and they did have manufacturers that bought memberships.  I know some of the manufacturers would not give them the time of day, especially the larger ones who didn't need a "rating" from the organization.  I remember the info they first started out with, and it was of some benefit as at that time, there wasn't the wealth of information that is available online now.  Even in the beginning, I found the info already outdated as the industry moves along quickly with models, improvements,  finding cheaper ways of doing something, etc.  I had the benefit of working for a small direct sale manufacturer at that time and watching a visit and really being "the fly on the wall" in this case.  I just didn't think much of the whole thing.

 

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24 minutes ago, SnowGypsy said:

Do they still offer memberships to manufacturers?  I remember when they first started, and they did have manufacturers that bought memberships. 

 They do not now and have never accepted any sort of direct participation by or funding from any part of the RV industry. You are mistaken. I was an active member of the organization for more than 10 years. 

Edited by Kirk W

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17 hours ago, Kirk W said:

 They do not now and have never accepted any sort of direct participation by or funding from any part of the RV industry. You are mistaken. I was an active member of the organization for more than 10 years.

 

Edited by SnowGypsy
Moved my comment out of the quote area to just below.

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OK, the group that I am familiar with from the early 90s did do exactly that and gave "star" ratings to the different manufacturers.   Maybe they changed, but I am talking nearly 30 years ago to your 10 years.  They also rated the RVs as full-timer, vacation, etc.  I was already familiar with RVs to a certain extent, watched over the years, and it was my opinion that the smaller manufacturers were more interested in getting the ratings, so were more accepting of the organization, buying of their "products", making "donations".........  I also know how they got that ratings sitting there first hand and watching it happen.

When the organization that I was talking about got started it was one man and this is the "group" that I was talking about discussed in this forum in 2004:

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f84/rv-consumer-group-ratings-6894.html

I have seen this topic come up across the internet.  They don't rate every model, and many people are very happy with units that they slam.  It is also recommended for those that don't really know anything about RVs, but with the internet, I just don't see making the investment.

The manufacturer that I worked for "earned" the 5-star designation.  I see they still have it today from RV Consumer Group.  I just googled and found the name of the individual that was the manufacturer and his name was J. D. Gallant.  I met this man in person.  Got a very bad impression of the operation at that time, and I have commented in other forums over the years, probably to include this one, on this group.

J. D. Gallant:  https://rv.org/pages/about-us   Yep, that is him.

We did more RV shopping than most being on RV #10.   Both new and used RVs having looked at many RV units over the years.  We bought our first in 1984. 

Anyone considering buying into this should search for other opinions on other forums.  Gee, imagine that a $40,000 5th wheel isn't as well built as a $150,000 one!  Can you full-time in a $40,000 5th wheel?  Many people full-time happily in one that even costs less.  Most people won't keep a unit for 15 to 20 years anyway.  

The group may have changed over the years, but it looks like the same one.  My vote is "no", first hand accounts are always better than opinions, so if one wants to spend the money, then go for it!  Some like it, but there are enough shortcomings that one needs to understand what they buying.

OK, maybe it was "donations and buying products" rather than membership, but I didn't like the "business practices" that I saw at that time.   A manufacturer with about 25 employees total, including both office/shop. 

My advice is to go to the owners' forums for the units that one is interested in and read, read, read/ask questions.  Go out and look at used units of that manufacturer and see how they held up.  

Never consider an RV an "investment".   There are more buyers for that $40,00 5th wheel when you decide to unload it then the $150,000 one with some time on the road.

Edited by SnowGypsy

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Snow Gypsy wrote:

"Never consider an RV an "investment".   There are more buyers for that $40,00 5th wheel when you decide to unload it then the $150,000 one with some time on the road."

I totally agree.

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18 hours ago, SnowGypsy said:

OK, the group that I am familiar with from the early 90s did do exactly that and gave "star" ratings to the different manufacturers.   Maybe they changed, but I am talking nearly 30 years ago to your 10 years.  They also rated the RVs as full-timer, vacation, etc.  I was already familiar with RVs to a certain extent, watched over the years, and it was my opinion that the smaller manufacturers were more interested in getting the ratings, so were more accepting of the organization, buying of their "products", making "donations".........  I also know how they got that ratings sitting there first hand and watching it happen.

It does sound like the RV Consumer Group that I joined in 1994. The organization was begun by JD and Connie Gallant, along with Bill Willette, Mary Malone, Charlotte Landolt, Leo & Maria Bernardo, Terri Burnett, and Al & Sunie Weaver. They deny that they have ever accepted any type of funding from the RV industry and as far as I have ever been able to determine, that is a fact. I have worked with them and if you are correct then they did an excellent job of hiding it. How about sharing your information source?

Edited by Kirk W

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