Camper FELL OFF truck- help! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-05-2021, 06:23 AM   #1
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Name: Jamie
Trailer: Happier Camper
Massachusetts
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Camper FELL OFF truck- help!

Hello, this is my first post here. I have a very unfortunate situation on my hands and would appreciate any guidance.

I recently purchased a used 2020 Happier Camper in perfect condition from an owner in Florida. I contracted Fisher Shipping to transport it to me in Western Mass. Yesterday I received the terrible news that it had fallen off the truck and from the damage it incurred, appeared to have rolled on impact. The truck driver is taking full responsibility for not having strapped it in correctly.

I am devastated as this was a significant investment for me. The shipping company is saying that their insurance will cover the repairs. I also have a separate insurance policy on it through State Farm. But my main question is, can this be repaired to its original pristine condition, or should I be pushing the shipping company to determine this as a total loss and cut me a check for the full amount?

The company, while apologetic, is downplaying the damage, saying that it "could have been worse" and that "it will be fixed up good as new". But I have heard from at least one person familiar with this kind of camper that there can be stress cracks that may not show for weeks or months afterwards. I'm afraid that the fiberglass repair person who will be working on the camper will fix up the superficial issues, but that I will be stuck with the long term effects of this incident. Not to mention the decrease in resale value.

I should also mention that buying a new Happier Camper has a wait of 6 months to a year or more, so this is all a huge blow to my summer/fall camping plans, not to mention my finances.

I appreciate any advice on how to proceed. Thanks so much!
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Old 06-05-2021, 06:42 AM   #2
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I would contact Happier Camper and get their opinion. I certainly would not trust the shipping company to have any work done on the trailer ever. Have the trailer shipped to you or your shop, or have it totalled.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:03 AM   #3
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I can't imagine your disappointment and frustration. What a terrible situation for you, I am so sorry.
Yes, I would be worried about damage outside of what is visible. since the camper fell OFF the trailer, there was a drop(?) and a roll - at least onto the side. While I am sure that the Happier Camper is more solid than my Boler, it is still fiberglass,
I would contact Happier Camper. I would not have the visible repairs simply repaired. It would be the equivalent of replacing the fenders and hood on a vehicle in a front end collision.
Best of luck!
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:07 AM   #4
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If you allow the trucking company to make the repairs , you probably won’t be happy and if they decide to total it again you probably won’t be happy .
( Having 4 daughters , I’ve had a few cars totaled by insurance companies )
You paid to have it delivered to your home , so have them deliver it to your home and get it repaired , if possible at a local shop .
John in Michigan pretty much nailed it .
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:40 AM   #5
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May well be totaled. Hard to pinpoint full extent of damage once it rolled. I would get your insurance in the middle of it. Key word to me is "rolled".

If totaled, you may be able to buy it back and have it repaired. The difference in payout vs repair is your payment for the risk it will never be perfect, and title will be branded salvage.

As a minimum, beyond repair you WILL have diminished value here. Trucking company will always try to soft pedal it, "its minor". Full inspection by someone knowledgeable in the fiberglass business could also be an option. Surely fiberglass boats have transport disasters on occasion too.

I can only imagine it fell off truck at speed and rolled. You may never get the real story from the trucker. Even at slower speeds, these trailers do not roll well. Its not an accident, it was not properly secured and was crashed.

Myself, I would push for a total, and then get a new one on order. In the meantime, I would rent a camper via Outdoorsy or similar so I don't miss out on key trips. You are going to have this camper for years, I would not let the desire to camp NOW cause me to make a bad decision.

Double hull design is superior to single wall in many ways but makes full inspection and complete repair that much more difficult.
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:45 AM   #6
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What a horrible thing to happen! I completely agree with your assessment. Falling off a truck likely tweaked a lot of things. The double hull complicates structural repairs. I have zero confidence a low bid job by a shop of the shipper’s choosing will be “just like new.” I’m not even sure I would trust a local shop of my choosing unless I had a really good recommendation. Agree Happier Camper may have some useful advice.

Your options may be limited based on the fine print in your shipping contract. Your own insurer may have some good advice also, but be cautious before initiating a claim. You might find a letter from a lawyer helpful in pushing the shipper toward declaring a total loss.

Can we assume the pictures are from the shipper?
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Old 06-05-2021, 07:49 AM   #7
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Name: Jamie
Trailer: Happier Camper
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I took the pictures- it seems that the incident occurred when it was pretty close to my home city. They dropped it off at a local auto body shop that apparently had said they could repair it, then changed their mind when they saw the extent of the damage. I went over there to document it myself, and made my own calls and found a place 70 miles away that was recommended for fiberglass repair. So that's where it will be sent to on Monday. But I'm starting to doubt that this is the right path, and if I should be pushing for a total recuperation of my costs instead.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:22 AM   #8
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I think you’re doing the right things. Having it close helps, but knowing that it happened at speed on the highway makes me even more nervous about hidden damage. Have to say I am impressed with the overall structural integrity of the HC. Pretty sure my Scamp would have fared much worse! But the damage is still significant and likely more than appears on the surface.

While the fiberglass shop is makings its assessment, you could attempt to consult with HC to see if they have any additional advice. Armed with that information you can be prepared to deal with the shipper. I'd be pushing for a total loss.

That is not to say it cannot be repaired and be quite serviceable. But its value is severely diminished and that will be reflected in the salvage title.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:43 AM   #9
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Happier Camper would be the only people that might be able to tell you:

- whether its even possible to make it as good as new
- what's required to make it as good as new

The shop you found 70 miles away might be able to determine the proper repairs with support from Happier Camper, then provide a cost estimate.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:03 AM   #10
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Personally, I wouldn’t have it repaired. You paid for a trailer in perfect condition. You paid a trucking company to deliver the trailer that was in perfect condition to you in the same condition. The trucking company is entirely at fault. Tell them that you want the full value of the trailer, and if they want to have it restored and sell it themselves, fine. If they balk, I would consult with sn attorney and you may be able to collect attorney’s fees, the amount you paid for the trailer, and punitive damages for loss of enjoyment of your property due to their negligence. And if you find another trailer, consider taking time off and retrieve it yourself.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:28 AM   #11
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What a bummer! What everyone has said! Especially CPW, post #10. A thought: before you let that place that’s 70 miles away begin any repairs, see if HC can recommend a place for the repairs or the inspection. Also, check to see IF, if HC is willing to send a repair person to inspect it, the entire trip for said HC person paid for by the trucking company IF the trucking agrees. I’d find out first if HC is willing to do that, then broach the trucking company.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:36 AM   #12
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Have to agree with thrifty bill and Carl, I would attempt to get full value and then replace the trailer. Very well may have to sue the shipping company.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:48 AM   #13
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Personally after working on a double hulled Burro I would be worried about it being repaired. If the areas that need repaired, that you can see, are not able to be reached from both sides (outside and inside) you won't be able to get a true repair done. You may be able to sand back the outside and lay down new fiberglass, fill it and repaint, but if you can not reach the inside, that patch will not be reinforced with additional fiberglass layers.

Then there may be repairs that are needed that you can't see due to it being a double hull. Only Happier Camper will be able to give you guidance on those possible areas.

I would also me worried about the frame if it rolled and have it checked out too.

All in all, personally, I would rather have it totaled and have them order you a new one.

Sorry that you had this happen as this has been a huge fear of mine when I had to have a car shipped.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPW View Post
Personally, I wouldn’t have it repaired. You paid for a trailer in perfect condition. You paid a trucking company to deliver the trailer that was in perfect condition to deliver it to you in the same condition. The trucking company is entirely at fault. Tell them that you want the full value of the trailer, and if they want to have it restored snd sell it themselves, fine. If they balk, I would consult with sn attorney and you may be able to collect attorney’s fees, the amount you paid for the trailer, and punitive damages for loss of enjoyment of your property due to their negligence. And if you find another trailer, consider taking time off and retrieve it yourself.
This thread makes me want to hurl. What an awful thing to happen

Personally, I think Carl is spot on.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:03 AM   #15
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Another possibility is to have the shipping company ship it to Happier Camper in LA and have it analyzed then repaired, if possible.
I would never be satisfied whether or not I did the right thing (repair or total) unless I took it to the source.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:08 AM   #16
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If it is repaired, it will most likely have a "reconstructed" notation on the title. If that is the case, the trailer will have a deminishes value. Also consider loss of use while the trailer is in the repair shop.

Based on the photos, a total replacement and compensation for loss of use since you will loose at least a whole summer, maybe longer, would be the path I would personally take.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:38 AM   #17
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I have learned that if what I can easily see has problems, then what I cannot see will have problems too.

And that is the crux of any repair. Without some destructive inspection (cutting holes inside), its hard to tell.

Now if I bought this exact trailer from Copart, sure, at a huge discount, I'd buy it and roll the dice. But you bought a pristine trailer.
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:02 AM   #18
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A friend had their used van totalled in a chain reaction accident. He paid $45k for it and State Farm gave him a check for $55! So get State Farm on it to deal with the trucker's insurer. You deserve at new trailer!!

Best,
Fran
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:34 AM   #19
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I'd check w/State Farm and see what your options are with them first. They may pay you your purchase $$ + the shipping cost then State Farm can go after the shipper's insurance co. (subrogate). You can then decide if you want to to buy the salvage back from from your insurance co and have it repaired.

I wouldn't recommend having the shipper get it repaired since their looking to get out as cheap as they can....saying "it's not that bad" or "it could have been worse" shows their motive.
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Old 06-05-2021, 12:00 PM   #20
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Name: Tryonbrewer
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I'd have it totaled and then try to buy the unit for salvage, repair it and then sell it if you decide to buy a new unit. Understand what it will be worth once repaired though.

The reason has to do with the valuation, traceability and diminished value of a trailer with a salvage/branded title. It will NEVER be worth that of an undamaged trailer and the best way to minimize or eliminate your loss is to make it the loss of the trucking company that did the damage.

Don't do anything until you have the cost recovery amount (should be your original purchase price), the salvage amount you would have to pay to buy it and finally, what the repairs would cost. If the numbers work, you could have a repaired unit to use while waiting on a replacement and then sell this trailer at a bargain price to someone - providing full disclosure of what happened to explain why they are getting a decent deal.

I would absolutely make sure you know what this trailer is worth once repaired in order to know what the salvage price and repairs should be in order to make this work to at least a cost neutral deal. If the numbers don't work, get your purchase price from a settlement and move on. Don't let emotions influence your decisions.
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