Jonathan D. Howell
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army
EarthRoamer XV-LT #15 "Around the World"
"Americans travelling America"
Life Memberships: National Eagle Scout Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Rifle Association, Military Officers Association of America, Army Engineer Association, Good Sam Club, North American Hunters Association...if I could: EarthRoamer, Overland Journal and ExpeditionPortal.com
Other than one post I think that this thread had very little to do with the quality of the units in question. Have people had issues? Sure they have. But I think that can be expected of just about anything that is pushed to the limits - how many RV's could stand up to the travel and being lived in for a long time without any issues? How many vehicles could be driven long distances without a breakdown? I know myself that some trips do a lot more damage to a vehicle than other trips and this has to be expected. As for the chassis that the unit is built on, that is more of a chassis manufacturer issue than with the camper unit.
NOBODY has said that they had poor aftermarket support or poor warranty support, so this has to say something about the manufacturer standing behind the product and for this I commend them.
I will go back to the original post and restate that if a company cannot respond to inquiries then there is a problem and that has to be addressed if the company wants to stay around. This could have been (or is) VERY valuable market research (and it is free) in that if one person is saying that there is a problem in getting a response from the company then maybe more are having the same issues. I know that in my own business over the years I have heard from clients about issues and when I have investigated I found that some of the complaints were real issues - a quick change and things were looked after and everyone was happy. If a company does not take each issue seriously then they are either going to have a lot more problems or worse yet they may not be around to look after the issues if they are ignored. Years ago I had the chance to talk to a top executive at Kodak, one of our companies complaints was that they were not responsive to our wants and needs. Kodak's response was tough, go someplace else, we are Kodak and really do not care. So we did. We took millions of dollars in purchases per year to another company. Well look at where Kodak is today.
2011 Majestic 19G & EVO electric bike
Paterson Photography Ltd. offering photography workshops, classes, expeditions and adventures around the world.
Take time to learn how to operate your digital camera so you can get the best images possible!
I use Gmail which I love. But very often it quietly puts very good emails into the SPAM folder without telling me. Stuff happens with emails.
Maybe EarthRoamer did get the emails. But a whole bunch of bytes are currently being wasted over a issue where all the facts are not known.
2014 F550 EarthRoamer XV-LTS
At the risk of popping whatever bubble is going in your though process that line of reasoning (spam folders etc.) has already been discussed quite effectively and dismissed as a reason. Secondly, I have corresponded with Liz through this forum and believe that she is an honest, unbiased and direct person, I have no doubt in her truthfulness, and neither should you. Thirdly, also undermining your argument is the fact that she finally received an email response from them, so obviously the messages were going somewhere accessible.
Let it rest mate.
The point is this: Email is often unreliable. Depending upon an unreliable communications method to make a decision on whether or not to spend one-quarter to one-half million USD on a truck is probably not the wisest course. Telephone would be better. I know that if *I* was going to spend that sort of money, I'd bloody well call the company.
Of course. But, as I already stated, it was likely ending up buried in an email box overflowing with: Spam and tire kickers *certainly* along with who knows what else.Thirdly, also undermining your argument is the fact that she finally received an email response from them, so obviously the messages were going somewhere accessible.
This, as you must know from being "in the business", is NO DOUBT compounded to horrible extremes by Earthroamer's web designer making the common mistake of putting the email address on the site, AND making it a "mailto:" link. Tsk tsk. Very bad thing to do. Guaranteed to end up with a mailbox buried in spam.
Better would be a "Contact Us" page with a form that keeps the recipient email address secret from web crawling spambots. But...well...web designers...you know...
(And...I was certainly not acting as an "apologist" - I was just stating observations from over a decade spent, among other things, cleaning up overstuffed email servers.)
Current: 76 E-250, bubble-top, self-contained|couple of old Yamaha enduros
Previous wheelers: 41 Willys|78 FJ40|78 Bronco|84 Bronco|74 Ramcharger|78 Ramcharger|79 D150 PowerWagon|77 D100|79 D400 dually, converted to 4WD, utility bed, 10' Lance|75 Westy|69 Scout, RHD|bunch of others|bunch of bikes|couple of boats|couple of motorhomes|blah blah|so what|not my idea|just doin' what I'm told|wank wank|this space for rent|candy is dandy|but liquor is quicker
good entertainment here... ;-)
Last edited by explore this; 05-11-2012 at 04:25 AM. Reason: it needed a wink *wink* ;-)
I am surprised my post has caused such a reaction, so I thought I would respond and put forward my point of view.
Before I continue though, I will mention again that ER did contact me, no doubt as a response to my post. They answered the questions in my email and explained what they have done to try and rectify some of the issues experienced by Dick Smith (although not all).
Firstly to help put my views in perspective, we are reasonably experienced travelers, with our last trip a 6 month independent overland trip through Southern and East Africa. Most times, within reason, we purposely chose the road less travelled and had some wonderful experiences doing so. We are familiar with the type of terrain and environments we will encounter and that we need a tough and reliable vehicle to allow us to explore this wonderful world for hopefully many years to come. We are well aware that we WILL have vehicle issues (and that is just part of the whole experience), but we are just as aware that there will not be a local dealer down the road we can call to give us a hand in a lot of places. This last trip was our trial run to confirm that permanent overland travel is where we want to be and it is. Our mission now is to find the vehicle that is going to meet our needs and so we began our investigations. We have looked at manufacturers all over the world as it doesn't really matter where the vehicle comes from if it is the right one and there are not insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles. (Obviously buying here in Aus is an advantage, but it is not the most important criteria). We have made contact with several companies that appear to fit the bill and are narrowing down our list based on further information. This brings me to my attempt to contact Earthroamer.
I still standby my original post. It is extremely poor customer service to not receive a reply to 3 emails sent over a 2 month period, especially on a product with such a high dollar amount. If a manufacturer offers the ability to contact them via email then they should ensure they have someone handling this and if they are getting too many junk emails to deal with it then implement a contact form. The intention of this post was to highlight this difficulty to others who may be thinking of purchasing an ER.
I am glad to see that there are others who can see my point of view and have expanded further on it, all of which I agree with. No matter how big or small a company is or how many “tire kickers” they have to deal with, nothing is more damaging to a company, especially in this age of the internet and social media, than poor customer service and the brand damage it can do. Sure I could make dozens of international phone calls, and deal with numerous time zones, to make initial contact with possible manufacturers, OR I could use the contact details provided on THEIR websites and get the information I need to eventually come up with my shortlist. From there I can choose my method for further communications.
Whilst I raised my concerns about the issues experienced by Dick Smith and this combined with the lack of response was not winning ER any favours, I would not be contacting them if I wasn’t prepared to understand what improvements had been made and make my own assessment of the vehicle’s suitability for our travels. I certainly do not hate ER, I merely used Dick’s blog as one of many I have read, to assist with knowledge and research in both truck requirements and general overland travel. All I will say though is that a vehicle for permanent overland travel throughout the world with significant periods in the third world and the infrastructure that comes along with this, has quite different requirements to one that is used for a few weeks or even months each year, goes offroad in national parks and is really never far from a dealer, mechanic or tow truck. (I know this will generate some debate, but I can assure you being majorly stuck in the remoteness of Africa with nothing but a satellite phone and probably some helpful locals is a very different scenario to being stuck in a NP even hundreds of kilometres from a mechanic and would be a much easier option).
For whoever asked about Dick Smith, he has now purchased an Australian built motorhome for his adventures and called it “Aussie Roamer”.
From my point of view I have finally received the information I have asked for and my post has fulfilled its requirements. If nothing else I hope ER take some learnings from this discussion. I think someone mentioned that it is free customer feedback – let’s hope they use it.
Lastly though, I would like to say that this is a fantastic forum full of heaps of useful information and people with firsthand experience. Planning something like this is quite different to planning a shorter trip, even a 6 month one, as there are so many things to consider and wrap up, one of which is the truck. Thank you for all the useful advice that is shared here.
—Fuso FM-260-based expedition camper
—Jeep CJ-5 (West Africa, 1961-1965)
—EarthRoamer #004 (2004-2008)
—EarthRoamer #095 (2008-2009)
At its core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and an open mind. [Matt Walker]
2003/2014 Sprinter 2500 mid/tall custom conversion
2012 Porsche Cayenne TT on all-terrains
2008 Lexus GX470
2008 Suzuki DR-Z400
2006 Honda PS250 Big Ruckus Expedition Scooter