LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The thought of enjoying retirement by striking out on the open road would appeal to many people, but a central Arkansas woman said that dream turned into a nightmare after she purchased an RV six months ago that has never left the lot.
Drendia Travers had plans of traveling the country as she had once done with her late husband. She was set to sell her house and turn her new RV into a retirement home in which she could see the country.
Travers found the home-on-the-go she wanted and purchased the brand new 2021 fifth-wheel trailer from Gander RV in Sherwood on August 30, 2021.
The excited senior said she signed on the dotted line to get a good deal being offered by the dealership but admitted she may have had trouble seeing some of the trailer’s problems, noting that was “considered legally blind” until a surgery following the sale.
Sales documents show that the new trailer cost $57,300. Other add-ons, like gap, paint protection, and so on, brought the total of her loan up to $72,156. She traded in her older RV, which had a value of $22,500, plus $7,041 in state fees. Altogether, the purchase exceeded $100,000. Since that purchase at the end of August, though, Travers said the RV has only left a trail of memories – but not the good kind – and five $500 monthly payments.
“It’s never left the lot,” she explained. “I’ve never taken possession of the trailer. I don’t even have the keys.”
After the purchase, and her eye surgery, Travers said she could see what turned into a nightmare. Work orders reveal the entry door grab handle had foam coming apart, the main door rubber seal was coming off and a shower with a gap and leaks so bad that Travers said when she turned on the water, “it would just run behind the shower.”
Finally, it was enough. With no RV to ring in the New Year, Travers said she started asking for a refund, a process she said is easier said than done.
“Every time I called to find out about the trailer, they either put me on hold, tell me ‘The people in the service department was busy. Could they call me back?’” she explained.
Looking for some kind of answer, Travers contacted the attorney general, who contacted Camping World, the corporate company of Gander. In a letter, Camping World replied by telling the AG that the company takes all consumer issues very seriously and offered to repurchase the camper. There was no mention of a refund, however, and the company contended that nothing in its letter should be an admission of fault or liability.
Calls by FOX 16 News to Gander RV about Travers’ refund was directed to the corporate offices for Camping World, where contact information was left along with a message, but only after a few transfers.
Just two hours after sitting for the interview for this story, though, Travers said she got a call from Gander RV offering to pay the loan off and give her a refund on the trade-in value and the cost of the state fees, a total of $105,190.81.
Travers said she signed an agreement when receiving the refund that state that neither Gander RV nor Camping World admit to wrongdoing. It’s important to note, though, that documents show it was a brand-new RV that Gander was selling to Travers. Messages sent by Working 4 You to Keystone, the RV’s manufacturer, have not been returned.
While she is glad to have the money back, she has spent nearly half a year in limbo, still in the house she planned to sell, now filled with boxes and bags and a folding chair turned loveseat.
“I’ve put my life on hold for the last six months,” Travers said.
Now, with a check officially in hand, she has the green light to set out on a mission nearly a year in the making.