Dealer prep fees?

Shoelm1

Member
Aug 27, 2021
11
I guess this isn't really a "pre-purchase" question. But can anyone tell me what dealer prep fees are supposed to cover on a used unit? We just took delivery, got it set up in a difficult ( non-full hookup) seasonal spot, only to discover the tanks are full of stagnant, disgusting water! Is flushing those tanks not considered "prep"?? They definitely didn't clean the inside either so idk really what I paid for.
 

eoleson1

Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2011
3,613
Macomb County Michigan
Dealer prep on a used unit would be defined by the dealer. On a new unit, there is a checklist provided by the manufacturer of things they need to verify (not that they really do, but that's a different story). I would go back to the dealer and ask what the prep fee was supposed to cover.
 

Shoelm1

Member
Aug 27, 2021
11
The "prep fees" are basically just a cash grab by the dealer. They market it as doing a comprehensive inspection of the unit to ensure all major systems function properly, but in reality that rarely occurs, as that would cost the dealership more money.
I'd definitely go back to the dealership and demand a refund of that ridiculous "fee ".
 

Shoelm1

Member
Aug 27, 2021
11
I have been trying to get ahold of someone. Of course nobody ever seems to be available. I am sure this will be a lesson learned on my part......
 

davido

Super Active Member
Jul 17, 2014
1,308
Checking on the freshwater tank is "every trip prep." Now, if the dealer charged a dealer prep on a used popup, sure, it probably ought to include sanitizing the freshwater system. But I check on my freshwater system before each and every trip.

Here's my pre-trip checklist for the trailer itself (I'm not including stocking it up with food and bedding):
  • Drain the toilet's fresh water system.
  • Drain the water heater and check the anode.
  • Fill the freshwater system (main tank and water heater), let them run dry, re-fill.
    • Run all the faucets, showers, etc. If there's any smell, sanitize.
    • Check the filter and sediment trap.
  • A couple times a year I'll also sanitize the fresh water system.
  • Turn on the fridge (at least 24h in advance)
  • Verify the lift system is working correctly.
  • Check tire condition and pressure. Fill if necessary.
  • Check battery fluid level.
  • Verify I have approximately the amount of propane I think I have.
    • I have two tanks, and only refill when one runs out. But I like to know ahead of time if one is close to running out.
  • Verify I have chocks, hoses, gray-water jugs, empty fresh-water jugs, fittings, adapters, tools, and Shore Power cords in the front storage bin.
  • Lube the weight distribution hitch's trunnion bar fittings, and clean and lube the ball / coupler.
  • Remove the coupler lock and coupler latch lock.
  • Verify that I have a copy of the registration and insurance in the storage compartment.
  • Light the fridge's propane to make sure it works, then switch back to AC.
  • Light the furnace and verify it works (sail switch went out once, and it would have been good to know ahead of time)
  • Check the drain hoses (sink drain hose cracked once, and it would have been good to know ahead of time)
  • Check tire pressures on the tow vehicle.
  • Check fluid levels on tow vehicle.
  • Verify the tire iron and jack are in the storage compartment on the side of the dinette.
  • Verify the brake, signal, and running lights are working.
  • Verify the brake controller detects the brakes.
All this takes me couple of hours. It's really just one evening a couple days before my trip. At this time I'll also verify we have bedding on board, and other things I may need that may not be stored year round on the trailer, such as a dutch oven, camp stove, TP, paper towels, etc. At one day prior, I do the grocery shopping and load the non-perishables into the trailer. The morning of the trip I load the coolers, hook up, and go.

Post trip:

  • Keep a list of anything you are running low on: Paper towels, disposable plates and utensils, camp stove propane, trash bags, toilet paper, dish soap, shower soap, batteries, matches, lighters, fire-starters, etc. This is really important. A month from now I'm not going to remember whether we have enough paper towels for the next trip, and it's easy to forget to check when you're going through the prep checklist.
  • Keep a list of things you haven't used this camping season at all. Eventually you'll find yourself realizing some of the things you've been carrying with you all this time are just extra weight, and not useful.
  • Keep a list of things you really wish you had with you on the trip. An extra set of stakes for the canopy, etc.
If you create those notes right at the end of your trip you won't forget them for the next trip.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
If you've already paid the fee, sorry, but you're very unlikely to get it back. If you haven't yet paid the fee, refuse it. Unless you're married to this deal, walk away if they won't remove it.

As already said, it doesn't cover anything but the profit line for the dealer.
 

Shoelm1

Member
Aug 27, 2021
11
Oh
If you've already paid the fee, sorry, but you're very unlikely to get it back. If you haven't yet paid the fee, refuse it. Unless you're married to this deal, walk away if they won't remove it.

As already said, it doesn't cover anything but the profit line for the dealer.
If you've already paid the fee, sorry, but you're very unlikely to get it back. If you haven't yet paid the fee, refuse it. Unless you're married to this deal, walk away if they won't remove it.

As already said, it doesn't cover anything but the profit line for the dealer.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,663
Scam...my price was otd on my new one...but im sure their fees were added...but otd pricing beats the heck out of hidden surprises...one way or another they are gettin theirs
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
My dealer preps fees for both used trailers included:
  • Dealer inspection on all working appliances
  • New trailer battery
  • Filled propane tanks (2)
  • Freshwater tank filled up
  • Water heater fill up.
  • Technician tour, demo and training on the trailer.
  • Washing the outside, clean and sanitize the interior.
  • The technician replaced our ball hitch since it was the wrong size with theirs on the Aliner.
  • The technician installed our WDH on the Kodiak.
During both purchases, dealers prep fees were $400 each time. Propane doesn’t cost much for refills, battery is less than $80 for a Interstate group 24 and etc. That seems to be the standard in my area so far.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
My dealer preps fees for both used trailers included:
  • Dealer inspection on all working appliances
  • New trailer battery
  • Filled propane tanks (2)
  • Freshwater tank filled up
  • Water heater fill up.
  • Technician tour, demo and training on the trailer.
  • Washing the outside, clean and sanitize the interior.
  • The technician replaced our ball hitch since it was the wrong size with theirs on the Aliner.
  • The technician installed our WDH on the Kodiak.
During both purchases, dealers prep fees were $400 each time. Propane doesn’t cost much for refills, battery is less than $80 for a Interstate group 24 and etc. That seems to be the standard in my area so far.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]

I would have walked away. Bought private sale if necessary. I wouldn't want my water tank filled up (we fill at the CG) much less pay to have it done.
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
@tfischer…. Their excuse to fill up tanks is to be able to show all water systems are in working condition during your final inspection before taking it home. The dealer prep price was at a dealership (2014) while the other was at a consignment dealership (2021). Two differently owned companies. Both at the same price.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Showing you how to use the product should be included in the price. That's one of the perks I would expect from buying from a dealer (and paying a premium) vs a private sale. But heck, the guy I bought mine from privately did a good job of teaching me everything for free as well, and I was a total camper newb at the time.
 

Anthony Hitchings

Super Active Member
Silver Supporting Member
Mar 2, 2019
3,487
Oakland, California
Dealer prep on a used unit would be defined by the dealer. On a new unit, there is a checklist provided by the manufacturer of things they need to verify (not that they really do, but that's a different story). I would go back to the dealer and ask what the prep fee was supposed to cover.
yes, exactly

our dealer never checked proper frig operation on just propane, a wasp nest had blocked the boiler chimney
 

Timmy V

Member
Aug 11, 2021
19
I hate that this happened to you. It’s all down to the dealer. We bought our Aliner off the lot from an independent dealer who kept it for an additional two weeks after we put down the deposit so he could go through it thoroughly. When I picked it up he took an hour to show me all the systems, turned them on and off to make sure they all worked, etc. Oh, and he didn’t charge a prep fee.
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
No one wants to pay for it. It depends on how badly you want the unit, can you negotiate to remove the fee and etc. Unfortunately at today’s environment, it’s a sellers/dealership market. There are plenty of other buyers sometimes competing for the same unit in some communities. I was able to negotiate the sales price by more than a few thousand less. But left the dealership prep fee included in the final price. I figured I still came out on top. I got the unit I wanted at a lower price than what was the advertised price. Since I paid a dealership prep fee for the Aliner back in 2014, I wasn’t surprised with it listed for KODI this year.

With the current RV trend… My unit is worth $8k more than what I paid.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 




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