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Good Sam Club Unveils Model “Lemon Law” Legislation to Protect the Rights of New RV Buyers

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

VENTURA, CALIF. (June 10, 2009) — The Good Sam Club, the world’s largest
RV owners’ organization with nearly one million member families, today
unveiled first-ever model motorhome “lemon law” legislation, developed
in conjunction with RV industry officials and the International
Association of Lemon Law Administrators (IALLA).

If enacted by a state, the legislation will provide specific
rights and remedies for motorhome buyers against product defects if the
motorhome does not conform to material provisions of the manufacturer’s
warranty. If the motorhome purchaser can demonstrate that a purchased
unit does not conform to the statutory standards prescribed in the model
law, the remedy available can include replacement or repurchase of the
unit by the manufacturer.

Most states currently either provide no lemon law coverage for
motorhome purchases, or offer protection that is extremely limited,
typically covering only the chassis. The proposed new model legislation
would extend coverage to the structural integrity and functionality of
major system components relating to the living quarters of a motorhome.

In 2007, the Good Sam Club joined the International Association
of Lemon Law Administrators as a corporate sponsor in order to
participate actively in this key IALLA project. IALLA presided over a
series of conferences and negotiations with key representatives of the
RV manufacturing and consumer communities leading to its eventual
adoption of the proposed model legislation. The Recreation Vehicle
Industry Association (RVIA) is also an IALLA corporate sponsor.

Pursuant to a series of conferences and negotiations sponsored
by IALLA, both the industry and consumer representatives were able to
agree on standards that would trigger lemon law liability for motorhome
purchases, and provide consumer remedies through alternative means of
dispute resolution.

“A new motorhome is a major life investment and new RVs are
often used for both transportation needs and as living quarters for new
buyers, meaning that any major product defects could present a serious
hardship to the consumer,” said Sue Bray, executive director of the Good
Sam Club. “It’s imperative that state ‘lemon laws’ protect the rights
of new motorhome buyers. The model legislation is the first step in
putting those safeguards in place for RV owners.”

The draft recreational vehicle initiative proposed by IALLA and
the Good Sam Club acknowledges that motorhomes and RVs have components
not common to cars and trucks and therefore should be protected by
specific motorhome lemon laws.

The proposed legislation would require manufacturers to repair a
new vehicle to the standards of the warranty if the product is
defective or nonconforming to the warranty. It also offers a reasonable
number of attempts clause, depending on the severity of the defect
and/or repair. While the model legislation is designed to protect
consumers who use their motorhome for recreational pursuits, full time
RVers who live in their motorhomes on an ongoing basis are specifically
protected under the model act.

The next step is for those states interested in offering
motorhome lemon law protection to their constituents to utilize this
model legislation as a template. The Good Sam Club encourages all state
legislatures promptly to enact this important new consumer protection
for motorhome purchasers.

Led by Chairman Tom Gonser, the Good Sam RV Owners’ Advisory
Council, a group of volunteers who assist the Club and its members with
RV industry relationships and policies, was heavily involved in
resolving issues with both the regulators and representatives of the RV

“We are delighted that the RV industry and the RV consumer were
able to work out our differences and develop model legislation that
will provide more equitable solutions for both sides,” said Gonser.
“It’s most important that state legislators recognize that existing
automobile lemon laws do not offer appropriate remedies for the many
different working parts of both the living and chassis components of a

For complete text of the proposed legislation, please contact Sara Wacker directly at (619) 533-7975 or via email.

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