A Los Angeles family is blaming a local RV rental business for causing their disastrous vacation.
Kerry Hecht says her family rented a temporary home on wheels in February from LA Discount RV Rental in Marina del Rey. They planned to drive to Idyllwild and spend four comfortable nights at a campground.
“The pictures of the RVs on the website looked really good, so I sent my husband over there to do the deal,” Hecht told the I-Team.
The family paid $1,500 to rent the RV, but once they were ready to roll, Hecht says the problems began piling up.
"We start driving, and the air conditioning in the cab doesn’t work," Hecht said.
She says they used the generator to turn on a rear air conditioner, but then says the refrigerator wouldn’t cool, and the cigarette lighter wouldn’t work to charge phones or GPS devices.
“We’re not even out of LA,” she complained. “This is between here and the 10 Freeway.”
Next, they pulled over “and the entire back of the vehicle was soaked with gasoline,” Hecht said.
Hecht says she called Stewart Silver, owner of the RV rental business, and was told the leak may have been the result of the RV venting while gaining altitude.
But after reaching the campsite, the family says they realized the cab was leaking sewage, and the heat wasn’t working.
After spending one freezing night in the mountains, the family decided to drive back to Marina del Rey to return the RV to the lot.
“We asked (the owner) for a full refund, but he wouldn’t give it to us,” Hecht said. Instead, they say he refunded them $885.
Hecht says at this point, she’ll settle for the partial refund, but tells the I-Team she still wants answers to whether Silver knew of any maintenance issues with his RV before renting it to her.
“When it comes down to it, can you put a price on ruining someone’s vacation?” Hecht asked.
She pointed to more than a dozen critical online reviews of L.A. Discount RV Rentals, saying she wants others to be aware of potential problems with the vehicles.
The I-Team reached out to Silver at his rental lot to ask about the complaints and to see his RVs. Contacted by telephone, he declined several requests for an on camera interview. He told the I-Team that he doesn’t deny there have been complaints. He said he’d gotten some rental RVs on consignment and that some had maintenance problems.
He says he’s now renting his own RVs to customers.
Before you sign a contract to rent an RV, here are a few things to remember, according to TheFunTimesGuide.com:
- Only do business with a reputable RV rental agency. They should have proper contracts and insurance.
- Always do your own pre-rental inspection and have the agency sign off on any pre-existing damage. You could be charged for damage the previous renter caused if you don’t.
- Ask about special incentives for dropping off the RV at certain destinations. You could save some money with one-way rentals!
- Ask for details of what the rental agency’s insurance covers. You may be liable for a sizable deductible.
- Avoid the person down the street with a "For Rent" sign in the window of his or her own RV. Who knows what insurance the person may or may not have and how well they've taken care of the RV?
- Before you leave, find out who to contact if you have mechanical trouble during your journey. You don’t want to get stranded a long way from home.