WE WILL NEVER RETURN TO CORONA MOTORHOME RENTALS, INC., CORONA RV RENTALS, RV RENTALS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, @RentRVfun #coronamotorhomerentals For almost 2 years I have been planning to take my boys (now 12 & 13.5) to Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and the surrounding sites and attractions. Along with an adult friend, we rented an RV from Corona Motorhome Rentals, Inc. in Corona, CA. Our problems began before we even left home. Thus, we were given 2 RVs to choose from, a Monaco "Cayman," or a Fleetwood "Bounder." The choice was simple: The Cayman was newer, nicer, and in better shape. Too bad. Only two and a half days days before departure we called CORONA just to check up on things, and they off-handedly told that we couldn't have the Monaco after all, because it had "broken down in Santa Clara." "Broken down," as in "broken down so badly it couldn't be fixed and returned?" On the one hand we were disappointed; that was the rig we wanted, but I guess at the same time, in one sense we were relieved. A 2 week RV trip like this has to be (and was) planned to the minute. Had we taken the Cayman, and had it broken down on us, my summer trip with my sons -- 2 years in the planning and the only time I would get this summer -- would have been destroyed. So, on July 23, 2013, we arrived at CORONA and were given a "walk through" by an employee, let's call him "Pete." Pete gave us an incredibly cursory tour, and announced the RV "ready to go." It wasn't. No more than one hour into the trip, the double refrigerator/freezer broke down. Freon smell everywhere. My records show no less than EIGHT telephone calls to Pete on that day, 7/23/13 -- again, the very first day of our trip -- as he tried to suggest various "fixes." "Turn it off and on," check, no luck. "Stop driving," sorry, this is a 3,500 mile trip." Then, a Corona salesman got on the line and suggested that they could send a mechanic to our next full day stop, which was not until 2 days later, in Yellowstone Park. Right, on our only full day in Yellowstone, I was supposed to tell my kids that instead of visiting Old Faithful, we would have to spend the day waiting for a mechanic that may never show up. Because mechanics always do. Finally, Pete told us "I have to research this." He never called back. In the meantime, we had to throw out some $125.00 worth of groceries (eggs, chicken, meat, hot dogs, ice cream..) because it was all going bad, and would have rotted completely well before Yellowstone. We had been planning to save money by eating most of our meals in the vehicle -- why else does someone rent an RV? -- and we were suddenly reduced to using a single ice chest. For four men. After the ice went in, we were lucky to chill some drinks. I estimate we spent at least $300 extra on *** fast food due to our inability to use the fridge and freezer. And I cook better than MacDonalds. As it turned out, our problems were only beginning. One of the beds in the RV doubles as a dinner table. Later that same first day, the table top simply slid out of place, taking with it the entire holding bracket (it was affixed by a few small, scrawny screws). Suddenly, we were without a table. For the whole trip. Instead of a place to eat together, play cards, do work, and anything else one does with a table, we had to configure the space into a bed 24/7, adding to our discomfort. More calls to Pete, more useless responses. DAY ONE: No fridge, no freezer, and now no table. By this time, we were already in Beaver, Utah, some 500 miles out of Los Angeles. Then, on DAY 2 of our vacation, another (and really more) serious problem arose; the front door latch ceased operate. We found this out totally by accident, after we had all left the RV for an unnecessary fast food meal and (naturally) locked the rig's SINGLE DOOR behind us. It was only when we returned, therefore, that we learned that we had locked ourselves out. The only way we were able to get back in the rig is that, fortunately for us, my youngest accidentally left a small window open behind the screen. By standing on the front passenger wheel, and reaching around straining to reach the locks, my eldest was then able to get us back inside. An emergency call or two to Pete, but all he could do was sputter "I will look into it." We were forced to repeat this ridiculous routine for the rest of the trip, all the while either having to leave one of the adults behind to guard the valuables, or all leave and take the risk of a break-in. There was money, computers and other valuables in the RV, our "rolling hotel room." So, just to make things more interesting, our vacation coincided with the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and everywhere we went in the Badlands area there were literally 1,000's of Harley motorcycle bikers. That's right, thousands. Most were nice. Some were not. Our rig from CORONA RV was not safe. Remember, all of this occurred by DAY 2 of our trip, and we had already spoken to Pete onTWELVE separate occasions. Before leaving LA, I had planned to put my phone on "Airplane" mode for the entire trip, using the telephone only to call ahead and confirm RV reservations, or for any work emergencies. My sons called their mother on their own phones. As a consequence of the mountain of problems we were experiencing, I had to call CORONA long distance causing me to incur pricey "roaming" charges that I originally had no intention of expending). Pete had no solutions, not for the fridge, not for the table, and not for the door. He made some weak suggestions about us "fixing" the problems; we were on vacation, for goodness' sakes -- THE ONLY VACATION I WAS TO HAVE WITH MY CHILDREN ALL SUMMER -- and we were not qualified to do CORONA's work in any event. We were so frustrated by this time that we did not want to deal with CORONA anymore; they were of no help anyway, so we just tried to make do. But then, on July 30, things went from bad to worse. The night before, while in Deadwood, one of the four levelers that stabilize the RV would not descend. We thought this was rather significant; indeed, we understood that the levelers were central to many of the RV's functions. So, the next morning, we raised the three operation levelers, and decided -- if they couldn't be fixed -- that it was too dangerous to drop them down again. What if they descended and would not retract? We would be stuck. As an aside, it's ironic but even had Pete been able to fix the refrigerator/freezer, as of July 30 -- and for the next FIVE days -- we would have been without a refrigerator anyway, because RV refrigerator require the rig to be on level ground in order to operate. If the mercury bubble is off a bit, you are out of luck. Without levelers of any kind, it would have been impossible to use the refrigerator/freezer in any event. Needless to say, we intended to call Pete as we left Deadwood on July 31 to advise him of the leveler failure, but as soon as we left, an ear-splitting alarm went off. No matter what we tried, it would not shut down. The alarm seemed to be emanating from a control box on the passenger side front panel, and from what we could divine, it likely had something to do with the levelers. Calls to Pete went unanswered, and the incredible noise continued unabated. We finally got a hold of Pete -- we place EIGHT calls to Pete or CORONA that one day -- and he admitted to us that he had been "working on that panel" for a few days before we left. Indeed, a visual inspection of the box indicated that only 3 of the 4 screws were in place, and even one of them was loose. The entire panel seemed off. In any case, we were right; the problem did originate with the levelers. First, Pete tried to accuse us of "driving away with the levelers still down; nonsense. We didn't, and the proof will become evident later in the story. No matter; Pete quickly backed off of that unfounded accusation, and ran us through a series of ineffective attempts to shut down the still-booming alarm. No luck. Finally, Pete advised us to remove the panel altogether. Incredible. Now, here we are, doing CORONA's electrical work. The good news was, the alarm shut off. The bad news was, we still didn't have levelers, and wouldn't for the rest of the trip. I wish I could say we were done. We were not. On August 1, 2013, we spent the night at a desolate RV Park beside Pinnacle Rock, a natural National Monument in the middle of the Nebraska plains. We were pulling out to leave in the morning, heading for Boulder, Colorado. As we literally just pulling out of our space, someone from one of the only two other rigs at the RV park came calling after us, telling us that "something had fallen from underneath the RV." We immediately went out to investigate and, sure enough, lying on the gravel, still affixed to the undercarriage, was some sort of cylindrical RV part. We unhooked the thing -- we think it was a gear box of sorts, Pete never confirmed it with us -- photographed it, wrapped it up, and stored it in the rig. He didn't (or couldn't) tell us what the part was, but he had the incredible audacity to begin to suggest that one of us shimmy under the rig to undertake some sort of diagnostics! We declined, and the mystery remained unsolved. We had no idea what this part had to do with the operation of the RV, so we proceeded on blind faith alone. I won't even start to explain how 4 of the sliding doors in the rig came loose from their moorings and thus flapped constantly when the RV was in motion. The "return date" for the RV was "anytime, day or night," Sunday August 4, 2013. Indeed, we knew we'd be late, and so did CORONA, but they told us to just leave it in the unlocked yard. Only one problem: We couldn't lock the rig. Thus, rather than take the chance of (and the potential liability for) someone breaking into the RV, we decided instead to camp out in front of my buddy's house that night (a mile or so away from CORONA). Great: The last night of our vacation was spent with my sons and I sweating and sleeping (sort of) in an RV parked on a suburban street. The next morning (Monday), we returned the RV to CORONA RV RENTALS, fully cleaned, shampooed, diesel and propane full, water dumped, everything ship shape. The rig was inspected (funny, the door was suddenly fixed during the 5 minutes we were inside the shop while Pete was outside), and declared fit. Indeed, CORONA signed off on everything, made not a single complaint, and the rig was apparently off the lot and on the road within days. There was, however, first this matter of the "excess day" charge of $290.00. "Excess day" charges are common in vehicle rentals, primarily to guard against a customer inconveniencing the company's future plans for the next rental. But applied to this situation, such a charge would have been ludicrous. First, we WERE in Los Angeles on the correct "return date," but it was a SUNDAY NIGHT. No one was going to be inspecting the RV, or dealing with us; CORONA was closed. More to the point, we were doing THEM a favor by not leaving the rig unattended. Late? We slept a mile away. When discussing all of these issue upon our return to CORONA on Monday the 3rd, one of the salesmen asked me, point blank, "what's it going to take to make this all okay?" My response: "A refund of $500.00 (since and hereby withdrawn)." Under the circumstances, the number was exceptionally fair, so I assured the rep that the $500 was a "hard" number, and not the beginning of a negotiation. We then went back inside to speak with one of the owners, a husband and wife team. The owner advised us that she had already gotten most of the facts from Peter, and made it clear that she was not much interested in detailed discussion. She was, of course, more than happy to show me an invoice for some $1,400 in "excess" mileage and generator charges, which I paid for in cash, on the spot. There was some discussion of the "late fee," and the owner agreed to "waive" that supposed fee, and indicated as such in writing on our invoice. The matter of our $500 refund demand, however, had NOT been discussed. I pressed the owner on this matter, reminding her that I had just handed her a significant amount of cash without complaint of any kind. She said that she had to "talk the matter over with her partner (i.e., husband), and that she would "get back to me in a few days." That was Monday, August 4. Having heard nothing by Wednesday, I called CORONA, and was told by the salesman (after a period of time on hold) that they were still "deciding." Stalling, rather. I was getting nowhere, so my buddy called on Friday, and was told by the woman owner, "oh, I'm sorry, I did discuss the matter with my partner the day you were here, and we "waived" the late fee, which is half of the $500 you asked for, so we thought it was fair." FAIR?? Suddenly, CORONA had turned the "late fee" waiver into some kind of "refund -- which it most certainly WAS NOT, this, after getting us out of the shop on Monday with the promise of "getting back to me" on my refund demand of $500.00 It was the old "bait and switch." To be clear, a "credit" or a "refund" is giving you back something you have already given. Indeed, the dictionary definition of a "refund" is the "repayment of a sum of money, typically to a dissatisfied customer." That is what I was looking for from CORONA, an overly generous demand meant to ameliorate even some of the hardships they had put us through. To "waive" something, on the other hand, is defined in the dictionary as "refraining from insisting on or using an [alleged] right or claim." That's what CORONA did with the "late fee." They already had all of their money, including the last $1,400 in cash. The rig's arrival on Monday cost them NOTHING, as it was re-rented and back on the road by Thursday latest. That "fee" was "waived" quite separate and apart from my demand to get some money back. In any event, the contract speaks loudest and clearest: Beside the "late fee" line, the owner did not write in "refund" or "credit" or anything of the sort. She wrote in "waived." CORONA is now refusing to give us any refund for our troubles. Despite all of our "good faith," to wit: timely reports of all problems, return of the rig in good condition, timely payment of all monies owing, no raised voices, or threats, or confrontation of any kind, CORONA has decided to keep our money, customer "satisfaction" be damned. I intend to go RVing in the future. I will NEVER be using CORONA RV RENTALS again.