My experience trying to buy a nüCamp aluminum platform

New Year’s Eve 2018 I bought a 5-month-old, never used 320-S from friends.  I’d considered [email protected] for a while and knew I wanted a platform, but it didn’t come with one.  No problem, I thought, I’ll buy one. 

I soon learned that starting January 1st owners can no longer order directly from nüCamp.  No problem, I thought, I’ll get one from a dealership, or the [email protected] owner who posted one for sale in British Columbia.  Unfortunately, it is complicated and expensive to ship big items from Canada to the US. 

Next attempt.  My impression is that owners are free, maybe even encouraged, to search for the best price and service from any dealership in the country.  I contacted two recommended on the forum.  The one in Texas did not respond to my inquiry - no worries, there are lots of dealerships.   

The dealership in Pennsylvania returned my call.  I had a fun, helpful conversation with the owner, who generously suggested I ask dealerships closer to home if they’d order a platform and have it sent with a load of [email protected]’s to save shipping.  They offer this service when owners can pick up the platform from their dealership.  Also, with remarkable kindness, they currently don’t add a markup on ordered parts.  Later that day I read an older forum posting that suggested making this identical request for ordering parts, so I felt comfortable doing so.

I contacted the closest and only [email protected] dealership in the Puget Sound area, Apache with three sales locations.  The next closest dealership is 300 miles away.  I spoke with a service dept. rep and explained what I’d learned from the PA dealership, including no markup.  I asked if I could order a platform, no rush, to be delivered with their next order of nüCamp trailers so I could save on shipping, that I’d pick it up from them, and that I understood the probable need for markup.  I was put on hold while he checked with a supervisor.  The guy got back on the line and said “yes, we can do that’, and that he’d email a quote.   

The quote I received:  $635.25 for a platform with generator cutout (nuCamp charges $385); plus shipping which I was told by the PA dealer is $250; plus tax; and if they installed it $125 from an earlier quote – approximate total $1075. 

When I asked if they would please honor their phone agreement and reconsider the shipping charge, and if not, how much shipping would be, their emailed response was, “There is nothing to re-consider. We will not proceed with this in any fashion.”  So, no platform from Apache. 

A few days before I heard about the shipping with a load of trailers option, a different Apache location quoted $649.99 “at a 10% discount” for a platform with cutout.  Within days of each other, I got different quotes for the same item from the same dealership.     

Lessons learned.  As many posts have stated, there are great and not so great dealerships.  Everything changes, but I expect it was smoother to order parts under the previous system, from one well informed and well intended source, with a predictable procedure and prices.  Since the change, ordering parts might be easy for you, or like my experience - confusing, time consuming, frustrating, rather rude depending on the dealership, with unpredictable prices, and even unsuccessful - unless you’re lucky enough to live in Pennsylvania!  

Though buying a new but secondhand [email protected] from friends was a heartwarming experience, we have no warranty and missed the opportunity to get one with a platform.  Water way under the bridge.  It appears well built, and we’re looking forward to years of camping adventures.  Without a platform. 
2018 320S - 2017 V6 Toyota Highlander - Port Townsend WA

Comments

  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,750Member
    I am sorry to say this will probably be a  reoccurring story as we start to deal with all of the different dealerships. I really wish NuCamp would set up their own separate parts department. With people who really know the product. 
    1. Hash  [email protected] Fun
  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 407Member
    I'd suggest you post this in the Scott Hubble post about orderinf.  Some of the Nucamp folks might be monitoring that one.
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • digitaldeandigitaldean Posts: 4Member
    Hi. I'm the guy from British Columbia. Ordering NuCamp parts through my dealership up here is also hideously expensive, and I have to pay the US/CDN difference. Just so you know, I'm coming down to Arizona area in just over a month and would consider strapping the platform to the roof of my truck for an extra $100 cdn. That would mean $350cdn total or ??? US. If you're able to meet up somewhere on our flight path that is. It's a shame that people from the US don't explore up here in the summer. :)

    Adventure Canadian Style

    2018 Tab320s Boondock Edition, 2018 Toyota Forerunner TRD
  • klengerklenger Posts: 137Member
    I have a almost brand new Boondock tray and tub that I am removing and am willing to make a sweetheart deal to anyone who will pick it up in Tucson AZ.   See http://klenger.net for pictures. 

    My storage solution is a Weather Guard 664-001 60" Tool Chest mounted on the A-Frame, with a Low Pro Lock-Down generator tray for a Honda EU2200i between the tool chest and the jack (soon to be powered).  I have most of the parts and hope to have this mod done in the next 10 days or so.
    Stuck between "I need to save money" and "you only live once", so I bought the Jeep Wrangler and a nuCamp [email protected] 320 S.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite / Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL
    http://klenger.net
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Posts: 425Member
    Campwise said:
    . . .  the closest and only [email protected] dealership in the Puget Sound area, Apache with three sales locations.    

    The quote I received:  $635.25 for a platform with generator cutout (nuCamp charges $385); plus shipping which I was told by the PA dealer is $250; plus tax; and if they installed it $125 from an earlier quote – approximate total $1075. 

    Sorry to here you found Apache dealer difficult to deal with  . . . so far my (very) limited experience with them has been positive.  Do wonder if you had worked via a [email protected] knowledgeable sales person instead of directly with parts your experience would have been more positive? ?

    As for nuCamp vs. dealer pricing are you comparing Apples to Oranges as the standard price sheet platform does not include a generator cut-out.  Expect that platform is a not requested very often and would be way more pricey . . . .

    2018 [email protected] 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE
    TV: 2017 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, Factory Trailer Brake Controller
       Adventures:  16       Nights:   65 
  • jgram2jgram2 Posts: 1,207Member
    @campwise, an alternative is to check with local fabricators and see what it would cost if done locally. There's a photo of one in the New Tabber thread below, although I know someone else has fabbed one. 
    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/comment/80043#Comment_80043
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘06 V8 4Runner 


  • klengerklenger Posts: 137Member
    @Campwise:  If you want to do the legwork and find someplace in Tucson that will package and ship my platform and/or tub to you, I would be willing to drop it off at no charge to you and you would be obligated to pay the packaging and shipping directly to them.  I'm sure it won't be cheap, but still probably much less than buying and having it shipped from nuCamp.  Let me know.

    Stuck between "I need to save money" and "you only live once", so I bought the Jeep Wrangler and a nuCamp [email protected] 320 S.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite / Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JL
    http://klenger.net
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 295Member
    edited February 7
    @Campwise ~ Oh my gosh...thank you so much for posting your story because I have an almost identical situation and have been so frustrated and disgusted I didn't dare post the rant in my head. This change in ordering procedure is ultimately costing NuCamp goodwill and sales in parts. 

    Last year I received the part number and price of the platform from Whitney at NuCamp, and she even sent pictures with measurements. $342 plus $200 in freight for me (I'm in Bend Oregon). (This is the original platform without the generator extension). $200 in freight is a tough pill to swallow; Whitney suggested I contact my dealer (Big Country RV) to see if it could be added to a shipment. So a month ago, I did just that. Multiple phone calls, multiple people, and several weeks later I received a completely unacceptable answer. Are you ready?

    Parts manager claims their price from NuCamp is higher than $342 and would only say it's in the 400's and they would in turn charge me $700!!! And they didn't know when they would be placing another order for [email protected]'s so couldn't say when it would ever arrive. And then they charge $130/hour for labor to install. I was sputtering so much I didn't bother to ask if they had the audacity to also charge freight when it wouldn't be costing them anything. Thanks but no thanks. I don't need a storage platform that bad.

    The problem with this change from NuCamp is it's hurting the end users, their loyal fans. With the increase in business and demand for parts/accessories beyond which Elsie and Whitney can handle, they could hire a third person as the sales would cover the employee expense.

    @Dalehelman I think you fabricated a platform but now I can't find the post!
    Debbie in Oregon
    2018 [email protected] 320 S/2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 295Member
    edited February 7
    @digitaldean I have eyeballed the platform you've had for sale more than a few times! And I do plan to head up that way but not this year. (I've actually been to Kelowna, Pentictun, and through Vernon, back in 2005 and love that area). Any chance you will head down 97 through Oregon on your way to Arizona?
    Debbie in Oregon
    2018 [email protected] 320 S/2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,750Member
    @dsfdogs
    I purchased a UTV Cargo rack from Harbor Freight $49. Two cargo totes from Walmart $19 ea. I modified the racks to fit the trailer tongue with a little cutting and welding then bolted racks to the frame. Pictures show end results. 
    1. Hash  [email protected] Fun
  • CampwiseCampwise Posts: 9Member
    edited February 7
    Thank you for sharing understanding and suggestions, and for all the fabulously helpful posts I've read since buying our [email protected]  I have pages and pages of notes.

    I was sorry to read about @dsfdogs similar experience.  I agree that stories like this are likely to continue unless a single ordering site with set prices is reestablished. 

    @klenger, thanks for the offer to drop your platform and/or tub off for shipping from Tucson.  I checked with a  local UPS store when looking into buying a platform in British Columbia.  Packing and shipping is pricey, not so much the weight because they're aluminum, but size jacks up the cost.

    I saw the post for the platform built by @teztab - it is a thing of beauty.  And thank you @Dalehelman for pics of your clever, affordable adaptation.  Lots to consider, and with spring a ways out, there's time. 
      
    I met with a fabricator about having a platform built, and he encouraged buying a box online instead, that they could then adapt.  For security, there's a 23"Long/18# lockable battery box ($256, free shipping from Rvlockbox.com) that could be mounted in front of the existing propane tub, to hold dual 6V batteries that weigh 63# each.  That would accomplish more efficient secured batteries, the propane tank can be padlocked to the tongue, and it gains storage in the tub where the (sadly dead) 12V sat.  But too much tongue weight?  I know, there are threads on this important topic, that I will gladly read again ;~)

    Here's to keeping [email protected] and [email protected] on! 
    2018 320S - 2017 V6 Toyota Highlander - Port Townsend WA
  • George101George101 Posts: 36Member
    edited February 7
    Nucamps deal network is not well enough established for this change.  If they went better established and more numerous it might work.  Sadly as it is I fear the customer base is now at the mercy of parts departments that, in many cases, appear less knowledgeable than owners.

    The factory support is the only reason I felt comfortable making the purchase given the small dealer network.  When I bought mine, I knew more about it that the salesman giving the walkthrough.
  • linolino Posts: 117Member
    This is what I feared when I read about the change

    anf the best comment I read here is that this change is hurting us loyal owners which is the opposite of all my NuCamp experiences 

    The Millers in PA are the best and I will have to go through them now
  • MarcelineMarceline Posts: 418Member
    One thing that I would point out is metals prices have risen significantly due to tariffs so this is probably one reason that the prices people are being quoted today are much higher than what they heard a year ago. 

    Also from the Dealer standpoint they are going to want to be compensated for the time and effort of handling parts orders. It’s not really reasonable to expect them to do this for free. 

    I’m not saying that the prices people are getting today are reasonable or that I agree with the NuCamp decision about how parts are sold, but these are two factors that people ought to keep in mind. 
    San Francisco Bay Area
    2013 CS-S [email protected]
    Battered but trusty 3.5l V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • dsfdogsdsfdogs Posts: 295Member
    Thank  you so much @Dalehelman! I had studied your pictures and the platform from Harbor Freight, but apparently have too many saved posts for future reference. What I like about this platform is how it is pulled away from the edge of the trailer body so your containers sit sideways. Can you tell me the length of your tubs? Would a 24" tub fit? Thank you again!
    Debbie in Oregon
    2018 [email protected] 320 S/2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • RollingBnBRollingBnB Posts: 299Member
    klenger said:
    @Campwise:  If you want to do the legwork and find someplace in Tucson that will package and ship my platform and/or tub to you, I would be willing to drop it off at no charge to you and you would be obligated to pay the packaging and shipping directly to them.  I'm sure it won't be cheap, but still probably much less than buying and having it shipped from nuCamp.  Let me know.

    Maybe find someone going on a trip to the NW area who can bring it. We are just not until September.
    2017 [email protected] S Max White [email protected]
    2015 Chevy Silverado & 2017 GMC Acadia
    Alan & Patty
    Southern Az
  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,750Member
    dsfdogs said:
    Thank  you so much @Dalehelman! I had studied your pictures and the platform from Harbor Freight, but apparently have too many saved posts for future reference. What I like about this platform is how it is pulled away from the edge of the trailer body so your containers sit sideways. Can you tell me the length of your tubs? Would a 24" tub fit? Thank you again!
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Styleworks-Tough-Tote-10-5-gal-Black-Silver/19888931

    15x21x12
    1. Hash  [email protected] Fun
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Posts: 324Member
    This particular "platform" discussion is probably a bit of an anomaly in that while not heavy, shipping is oversized and is going to be very expensive. Loading it on a truck load of trailers going to a dealer is probably best way, still it needs to protected and secured during transport, wouldn't expect it to be free. Most smaller parts should be able to be ordered from any dealer and as noted drop shipped to you direct.

    I would assume when NuCamp was selling direct, those were retail prices. I would also assume they now invoice the dealers at wholesale prices and I would expect the end result to consumer to be about same. Of course a dealer can sell at whatever retail price they want the same as they do the trailers now. This is how businesses work across the board.

    I have only had one "part" inquiry for an outdoor temperature probe I want to add to my as of yet vaporware 400 (coming soon), easy and pleasant experience and quite honestly $100's of dollars less than the price quoted by NuCamp service for the part and labor if I had the factory install pre delivery. I think I can drill a hole and run a wire for the $25 part for several hundred bucks less than NuCamp. In fact the couple of electrical mods I am having done seemed a bit on the high side for what they are, I am thinking there is really no service or parts bargains in Sugarcreek. Quality work yes, inexpensive no.
  • MarcelineMarceline Posts: 418Member
    N7SHG_Ham said:

    I would assume when NuCamp was selling direct, those were retail prices. I would also assume they now invoice the dealers at wholesale prices and I would expect the end result to consumer to be about same. 
    Based on parts that I ordered in the past and quotes that I received from Elsie, my perception was that the parts that were fabricated by NuCamp or perhaps their local vendors were priced extremely modestly. Less than I would have considered "retail." But then again I live in San Francisco where everything is expensive and I am used to buying boat parts for "boat bucks" ($100).
    San Francisco Bay Area
    2013 CS-S [email protected]
    Battered but trusty 3.5l V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Posts: 324Member
    @Marceline maybe they were less than "retail" , maybe they realized they were a loss leader? No business can stay afloat selling parts at cost. We may see an increase for a reason, who really knows. I tend to believe there is more to the story than the NuCamp parts department being overwhelmed, if that was the case, why not scale the staff up? If the factory is still drop shipping then the same staff still has to package and send out all those parts to the customers. Of course billing might be streamlined due to only having to invite dealers instead of hundreds of individuals. I think this was a strategic move to get dealers more involved, maybe cull some bad ones, etc. Most manufacturers operate through a dealer network, it was probably time, just like you don't buy your auto parts from the manufacturer. I actually expect eventually the factory won't ship to individuals.
  • BigGroverBigGrover Posts: 407Member
    Considering Elsie was the primary contact I could see her being overwhelmed.  I do hope they concede to maintaining a list of common small items like the corner caps, screens, shades and hardware that could be ordered on line by owners.
    BigGrover
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
    2018 Ram 1500 Quad Cab Hemi
    Central Alabama
  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,750Member
    Possibly one dealer in the country will see the potential of providing consistent pricing and a parts list. Then we could order through them and have large items drop shipped. Smaller items could kept in inventory for shipping.
    1. Hash  [email protected] Fun
  • DalehelmanDalehelman Posts: 1,750Member
    I think getting consistent anything from dealers is unlikely. In my experience [email protected] are a very small and dare I say stepchild in most dealerships. As many have stated [email protected] buyers are many times more  knowledgeable then their sales  professional.
    1. Hash  [email protected] Fun
  • LuckyjLuckyj Posts: 237Member
    Curiosity here.

    since aluminium is tricky to weld, I really dought that Nucamp is doing this in house.  So, if the are co ing from an other fab shop, they must get there (at the Nucamp factory) pre crated or wrap.  And since Nucamp is offering drop shipped ounce purchased at the dealer, the part don't even need to be unwrap or uncrated before heading out..

    so the dealer should not be charging for packaging, and the shipping cost should be set by nucamp, since it goes directly from the factory to the customer.  So the only thing the dealer should have markup on is the suggested reatil priced made by Nucamp. ( ah, forgot about this, they do not offer this....)


    this is my thinking on this.

    and unless the dealer keep a Nucamp parts imventory, order ratio will still be one for one.  One call, for one part.  Dealer or customer direct.

    humm.
    2017 [email protected] Max Outback "Le Refuge"
    TV 2005 jeep TJ unlimited
    and/or 2005 Nissan X-Trail 4wd
    Alaskan Malamuthe on board!

    Les Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois QC
  • GreatWhiteNorthGreatWhiteNorth Posts: 47Member
    I ordered twice recently directly from NuCamp.  I needed a key for our 2004 [email protected], local dealer wasn't overly helpful, so ordered an entire new door handle assembly.  Next ordered a set of wheel bearings, brake pads and jockey wheel.  Cost me a small fortune.  Ordering thru the dealer network just doesn't seem do-able or practical for most folks IMO.
    2004 Dutchmen [email protected] T2 (fiberglass!)
  • 2Cougs2Cougs Posts: 591Member
    @Campwise - Sorry for the issues.  Welcome to the [email protected] family!  Hope you can join us in your backyard (Ft. Worden) for [email protected] [email protected] in Sept!
    2016 [email protected] CS-S silver with white trim and WSU themed
    Pulled by a silver 2017 Chevy Silverado
    Leaves on [email protected] from Spokane, WA


     


  • CampwiseCampwise Posts: 9Member
    @2Cougs - We got a site in the lower beach campground W-Th Sept 11/12.  Everything else is reserved that busy weekend, but we'll stop by Fri-Sat.  Looking forward to it!  
    2018 320S - 2017 V6 Toyota Highlander - Port Townsend WA
  • 2Cougs2Cougs Posts: 591Member
    @Campwise - Awesome!  Look forward to meeting you!
    2016 [email protected] CS-S silver with white trim and WSU themed
    Pulled by a silver 2017 Chevy Silverado
    Leaves on [email protected] from Spokane, WA


     


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