5 Reasons We Avoid Camping World

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

5 Reasons We Avoid Camping World

Ah, Camping World. It’s the “big box” of RV life. The Walmart of camping gear. The easiest place to find trailer things that we aren’t sure we need.

Camping World is a chain of stores and dealerships (over 170 locations) that offer everything you might need to go camping, from RV-friendly toilet paper to the actual camper-trailer.

And, they’re popping up outside major metro areas in prime traffic locations.

In addition, they have Gander RV & Outdoors stores under their brand umbrella. They sell RVs and equipment and have service centers as well. 

But should we shop there? We’re hesitant, to say the least.

No, Camping World isn’t the worst. There are times when they actually make our life easier. However, if we have to, we shop there begrudgingly.

Let’s dive into our reasoning.

#1 – Camping World is Overpriced

If you shop around, you will most likely get better deals elsewhere.

It’s easy to imagine that the chain has a higher overhead for their fancy high traffic locations and marketing. As a result, higher prices are passed down to customers.

Often, you can find products priced lower at other stores. For example, Amazon or Walmart’s camping sections are usually more economical.

Camping World makes money off of financing, too. This can result in a worse deal than using your own bank or shopping for online financing.

RV salesmen’s’ pressure tactics are finely honed to get you to hurry and make large financial decisions. Then they often push add-ons like warranties (cheaper elsewhere) and accessories.

#2 – In Order To Get Their Best Prices, You Must Sign Up for Good Sam

To encourage membership in their Good Sam program, they offer discounts on products if you are a member. Camping World will not honor discounts without the membership.

Moreover, the program may not be useful unless you’re traveling to areas with Good Sam parks. Or if you choose not to use those parks.

The Good Sam membership offers gas discounts at Flying J, but those may not be convenient. Besides, the gas discount may not be cheaper than gas elsewhere.

Pro Tip: Here are the reasons we don’t like the Good Sam Membership.

#3 – Camping World’s Service Departments Often Get Mediocore Reviews

According to online forums, Camping World is notorious for taking a long time to fix campers. To be fair, this is an issue across the entire RV service industry. But, Camping World isn’t doing the stereotype any favors.

There are hundreds if not thousands of more reviews telling stories of campers sitting months waiting for service.

Multiple online reviews report the service quality as hit or miss depending on the location and technician. Some reviews state that they didn’t have a way to move 5th wheel trailers. Consequently, people had to stay with their RV all day and potentially wait around for hours after a scheduled appointment.

Sure, these are all anecdotal stories. But, it’s doesn’t help our confidence towards shopping with them.

A common complaint we’ve seen in online forums is that the level of service completely falls off after you buy a unit, new or used. Others feel the RVs are “lemons” or “built to break.”

#4 – Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against Camping World

Multiple lawsuits have been brought against Camping World, to the point of being class-action lawsuits, according to the RV Advisor Consumer Association.

There is even a website (victimsofmarcuslemonis.com) and a Facebook group to help victims of Camping World and its owner, Marcus Lemonis, keep track and support each other through the various lawsuits.

Again, most businesses can’t escape litigation.

It’s just another reason we shy away from the chain.

#5 – Camping World Seems to Care More About Money and Business Growth

The overall business plan of Camping World appears to be to lure in those that are new to the burgeoning RV industry. They seem to entice customers, through selling the RV lifestyle, to spend as much money as possible on RVs, purchase additional warranties, and use their financing.

What’s worse is that years after this trend has come to light in the RV community, no changes seem to have been made, and more Camping World locations have opened.

It’s fair to say the entire RV manufacturing industry is somewhat to blame. We’d like to see Camping World take the initiative to change the stereotype and deliver high quality RVs and service.

For Now, We’ll Keep Our Visites Limited

While Camping World is the most visible dealership and store location and have attractive marketing and promotions, hundreds upon thousands of complaints, bad ending stories, lemons, customer service complaints, and lawsuits should give you pause before doing business with them.

Sure, if you need a sewer hose or camping chair, Camping World is a safe bet. But, if you’re making a big purchase, do your research before blindly buying.

We want you to have a great RV and camping experience!

The best way to do that is with research and practice.

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9 comments

  1. Back in 2018 the wife and I narrowly escaped a bum deal with camping world. Suffice to say if you can’t deal with anyone else be sure to take a serious look at the deal and don’t buy the extra stuff they want to sell you. We ended up not making a deal with camping world and we are glad.

  2. Fortunately I had a friend buy from Camping World and warned me how aweful they were. As soon as they purchased their camper they were left to figure out how to hook it up themselves. They had to take it back due to pre-existing damage. After 4 months they went to pick it up. Total time to fix was only two hours. Unacceptable.

    It would be nice to hear from people about RV dealerships where they have had good experiences.

  3. We were forced to shop at the Camping World in Spartanburg, SC because our tow bar broke, and it was the only RV place within 200 miles of our location that had a replacement available. I’m just glad they had a Roadmaster in stock. The price was reasonable and the sales associate was helpful, even taking the remains of the old tow bar off our hands (after I’d scavenged what I could for repair parts). The only downside was the predictable high-pressure push to extend a Good Sam Membership at checkout.

  4. Before my wife and I purchased our trailer from a private party, we went to CW in Columbia SC. It was 95 degrees out that day with high humidity. We asked 3 different sales people if they could help us. Each time they said in a few minutes (they were conversing with other sales people) This went on for about an hour. We got fed up and left. When we got home, I went to a site to review them. I reamed them a new AH. Later that afternoon, I got a call from the general manager. He profusely apologized and asked us to come back and would make us a great deal. That was our first and last conversation with that CW. BTW, I had heard some horror stories about CW before we went down and didn’t want to become another statistic.

  5. Camping World Robertsdale, Al. We purchased what we were told was a 2017 Thor in 2109. All the paperwork said 2017. When I went o register here in Alabama I learned it was a 2016. This means I over paid and would lose money at resale ( which in fact happened. I was told it was still under factory warranty. After going thru the mountain of paperwork I found no reference to warranty. I called Thor and Ford to learn that there was no warranty because I am the 3rd owner of the vehicle as opposed to being the 2nd as the &*^%%$# at Camping World had told me. We felt lied to and completely abused by these people. I could go on about the lousy service in their service dept but Ill stop here.As we traveled the USA we talked to numerous people along the way that all said stay away from camping world.

  6. The owner, CEO or whatever, posted several months ago, that if you were a Republican, he didn’t want your business

    1. That’s a myth that has been debunked, Marcus Lemonis, the CEO, was commenting on Trumps remarks on Charlottesville in the aftermath of the violence, referring to white supremacists, not to republicans. In fact, Lemonis has praised some of Trumps economic policies. There are plenty of reasons not to shop at Camping World, but politics is not one of them. The incident occurred in a 2017 interview, but keeps getting posted as if it were yesterday.

  7. I know a lot complain about Camping World. Most of it is because they are a nationwide known name and are so big. In all the years we have had rv’s, I could easily insert 90% of the rv dealers that we have encountered. I just love (said very sarcastically) one that is one of the sponsors of some popular rv social media sources. We had an ac unit replaced on our motorhome and the dealership left the old one on our roof of the mh unattached. A few years later we still Thank God we did not kill someone driving it back to our rv lot. Thankfully our neighbor happened to see it in the wrong place and alerted us. The rv dealer did come and finally removed it, but never even apologized or admitted doing wrong.

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