Action Line

Electrical Repairs Reimbursed

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August 23, 2012 by · 16 Comments 

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Good Sam members Terry and Karen Rosenquist of Lewiston, Idaho, wrote to Action Line asking for help recovering their expenses from a costly electrical mishap:

We’re writing to you as a last resort. We made reservations and paid in advance for a month’s stay at Rancho California RV Resort–Outdoor Resorts in Aguanga, California, starting on January 12, 2012. Upon arrival, we parked and plugged into the 50-amp service. It didn’t work, so we called the office. Bruce, the maintenance man, said the 50-amp receptacle wasn’t working, but the 30-amp was and told us to plug in and he would see that the 50-amp was fixed. Brian, the manager of the park, arrived and assured us that things would be taken care of.

I plugged into the 30-amp receptacle and went into the coach to let my wife know we were on 30 amps. We then heard a big bang. I knew that wasn’t good and checked the breakers. Most of them were blown. Brian, the manager, was still there and immediately called Mike Chavez of West Wind mobile RV repair, who happened to be at the park. The findings were not good. The transfer switch was blown, the inverter was blown, and the refrigerator was not working. We did not know yet if anything else was wrong.

On January 13, Mike showed up in the morning after I had gone to Temecula to get new batteries and a transfer switch. He told us that the owner of the RV lot had put in a 240-volt dryer hookup to the existing 30-amp receptacle, and we had plugged into this illegal outlet and got 240 volts, even with a surge protector. This was not good news. Mike spoke to Newmar and Oasis heating and received instructions on how to repair the damage. Oasis felt sorry for us and sent out the needed parts at no charge, which was much appreciated. We did not have use of our coach until February 2, after paying in advance $750 for a month at Outdoor Resorts.

We kept talking to Brian about the responsibility for the expenses, and he said to give him a statement and he would work on it. We left on February 11 without resolving the matter and continued on our trip to Yuma, Arizona. Upon arrival we found out that our refrigerator wasn’t working on electric, and we had it checked by Don’s mobile RV service. Don said we had only one element working in the refrigerator, and he had to order one, so we extended our time until the part came in.

We called Outdoor Resorts on February 14, and Brian said that the lot owner, Jim Mowry, offered a payment of $1,000, and Outdoor Resorts would not pay anything. This is not acceptable to us. The repairs amounted to $2,213.09.

Our motorhome is a 2008 Newmar Mountain Aire, and we have always been so careful in what we do and how we take care of it. We were only able to enjoy it for three weeks out of a paid month. We feel that Outdoor Resorts is responsible for their site they rented to us.

After Action Line contacted General Manager Brian Boersma at Rancho California RV Resort–Outdoor Resorts and explained the Rosenquists’ situation, we received the following message from him:
Mr. Rosenquist was sent a check to the address he gave us in the amount of $2,213.09. I have notified
Mr. Rosenquist of this via e-mail.

Action Line then received the following note from Terry and Karen Rosenquist:
Thank you ever so much for helping with this very distressing and expensive mishap. We received the check on March 15.

Since 1981, the Good Sam Club’s Action Line has helped resolve thousands of disputes between members and businesses. If you have an RV-related consumer issue and would like assistance, contact Action Line.

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16 Responses to “Electrical Repairs Reimbursed”
  1. David Hunt says:

    There is an excellent article in the October 2012 Motorhome Magazine that would have prevented this. It is Shorepower Safety, and explains performing basic electrical testing before plugging in at the campground.

  2. John Van Doren says:

    When I first bought my (slightly used) 2006 Monaco Knight in 2010, I was surprised to learn that it did not come with a built-in surge protector, so that was the first item I bought and hard-wired in. The second item I made (unable to find online) was a test box, that I plug into the pedestal before connecting anything to the coach. I split the 50-amp line into two 20-amp circuits with a polarity tester on each leg, and a voltage meter from Camping World. At campsites with 30-amp service only, I just use a standard 50- to 30-amp adapter. If I find anything from an open ground to a reversed line & neutral (or line & ground), or voltage lower than 95 or higher than 125, I notify park management and move to another site.

  3. bannister, marilyn says:

    sorry to hear someone else had an electrical problem at a campsite. we had the same problem in 2003 with a brand new dolphin sorry to say no one came to our rescue we had to pay out over $1800 since it blew every electrial including the ice maker, national would not pay for anything (no wonder they went bankrupt). glad to hear that you guys we helped.

  4. Terry Chase says:

    Its amazing. A company gets a legitimate complaint. A true problem they shud take care of.
    They don,t. They hem and haw and procrastinate and nitpick.
    Then action line gets involved, and they see how much adverse publicitiy is generated,
    and voila..they turn so nice, butter wouldn.t melt in their mouth. Just amazing, some one who
    was wronged, suddenly, gets a check.

  5. Joe Morris says:

    I have a 30 amp to 15 amp adapter with a little red Camping World plugin volt meter
    and another adapter with a receptacle tester to check polarity and grounding.
    I don’t hook up with out testing the hitchinh post first first every now and then
    I will find one with a problem.

  6. J. R. Lacy says:

    I had a similar problem when the company I work for installed a 30 amp receptacle for me to use when I had my rig on-site. The electrician that installed the receptacle was not familiar with r.v. connections and hooked it up with 220 volts. I always use the surge-gard unit I purchased from Camping World when hooking up. This time it prevented the 220 power from getting to my r.v. I hate to think what would have happened and how much money it would have cost me if I had not used the surge-gard.

  7. Phil Sherman says:

    I wish there were inexpensive 30 and 50A testers available to plug into an outlet to test it before hooking up your RV power cord. A VOM can be used to test an outlet but you need to wear protective gear and know what voltages to look for to verify that the outlet is wired correctly. Testing 120 or 240V outlets with 30 and 50A breakers with a VOM can easily kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing.


  8. Fred Leport says:

    I must be missing something in these reports. My experience is with simple house wiring where a 30amp is 12/3wg or 10/3wg with two hot legs being 110volts, one neutral and a ground. A 50amp is the same but adds another neutral and bigger wire. 110 + 110 equals 220 at the connected device. So how did this person get 220 on both legs of a 30amp source?
    Fred Leport

  9. Scott Young says:

    In response to Fred Leport’s message. There are a lot of different plugs, even for just 30 amp. The 30 amp you have in your house would most likely be for a dryer and is different than the 30 amp for a RV. The dryer would be 240 volt and the RV would be 120 volt. They are different sizes and have different blade configuration on the plug. The National Electric Code dictates how these plugs are to be used and no one should ever find a receptacle wired differently. As I mentioned, there are many more 30 plugs out there, a 30 amp for a planner in a wood working shop is different than a 240 volt 30 amp plug for a generator which are both different from the ones above. So again, we rely on the National Electric Code to inform the working world on how the are to be used. The biggest problem I can see with a campground pedestal is that a worn or cracked receptacle gets changed by the maintenance person who inadvertently swaps a couple of wires around and voila, you now have a disaster for the next one who plugs in. I too, have been lax in testing when pulling up late and tied but after reading this, I will again make sure I test before plugging in. Thank you everyone for all the good insight.

  10. Joseph says:

    I do not know of any campers or motor homes running on 240.The front desk at check in should give you a reducer / amperage protector.It is cheaper for the camp ground and more efficient to run 240.The camp ground is at TOTAL FAULT for this.Complete negligence.I would tell you this eye for an eye.I would have run over every sewer pipe and eletric box on the premises.then dumped my tanks in the owners car…

  11. Pam Rose says:

    In response to David Hunt, unfortunately I don’t get Motorhome magazine but I would love to know about shore power safety. Care to recap? If I have an external surge protector will that be enough?

  12. Jon Vidler says:

    I’ve always been careful to test the power on the pedestal before plugging in. Earlier this year I installed a power protection system from Progressive Industries (an EMS-HW50C) and wouldn’t be without it. It won’t allow power into our 5er until it has determined that it’s safe. At just over $400.00 it’s cheap insurance.

  13. Pierre Gauthier says:

    In response to Joseph (September 2nd)
    Joseph I sure hope that most members would have more maturity than the one that you displayed in your answer. Fixing the problem with the help of Good Sam’s action line was much smarter. Sorry!

  14. John S says:

    Pam – check out the Trailer Life videos. There is one that covers this problem.

  15. Larry Crouse says:

    I had the same thing happen to my Newmar Mountain Aire 5th wheel . I plugged in my father-in-law 50 amp rv plug and breakers went off and I reset the breaker and blew transfer switch, microwave, vcrs, tvs, and heating element in the refrigerator. I think he original had a extention cord that split the 220 V; but I used my 50 amp extention cord and shot 220 to everything instead of splitting the 220 to 110 to each side of the breaker box. It was time to update; threw out the vcrs and one of the analog tv. I got by with a lot less money than Terry and Karen; but did my own work. I made a box that I can plug in and check the voltage at the pole before hooking up.
    P.S.. My father-in-law felt bad and gave me $500 for repairs which coved the parts but not the new tv that I was thinking of replacing anyway.

  16. Sylvia Brwn says:

    Pam, many libraries have “Motor Home.”

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