RV Rental Horror Stories – and How to Avoid Them

If you’ve searched online for an RV rental lately, you’ve probably come across a number of RV sharing websites that offer owner-direct RV rentals. 

The concept is similar to AirBnB in that owners make their RVs available for public rental through a third-party platform which handles listings, reservations, payment, and insurance. 

Although it sounds nice and easy, these platforms pose tremendous risk for RV renters and owners alike.

Let’s take a closer look at these downside of RV sharing platforms.

RV Sharing Sites are Not What They Appear to Be

The appeal of these RV sharing platforms is that they offer a seemingly inexpensive way to enjoy an RV vacation. 

At first glance, their advertised daily rates appear to be a bit lower than traditional RV rental providers. However, these rates do not include unlisted fees for cleaning, delivery, outfitting, and more. Tack those fees to the daily rate, and RV sharing sites are no less expensive than reputable RV rental providers. 

It’s important for travelers to remember that RV sharing platforms are not in the RV business at all. Instead, they’re basically run-of-the-mill tech companies that simply host databases. Besides taking their 25% commission, all these platforms do is connect renters with RV owners and process payments. 

Ensuring that renters have a positive experience is not their concern.

RV Sharing Sites Could Potentially Disrupt Your Vacation Plans

Unlike professional RV rental companies that operate and maintain fleets of vehicles, RV sharing sites do not maintain any standard of quality, safety, maintenance, or cleanliness of the rentals. 

Since they don’t have any control over the vehicles listed on their sites, critical details like proper maintenance, safety inspections, pre-rental walkthroughs, and sufficient insurance are left entirely up to the owner. 

Travelers are left to roll the dice, putting their vacations in the hands of random strangers who may not be trustworthy. That’s not to say there aren’t some well-intentioned owners out there, but without any safety and maintenance oversight, renting a RV through a sharing site really is a gamble. 

As a professional RV rental agency, we often receive calls from renters who booked their trips through an RV sharing site, only to have their vacations ruined by run-down and unsafe motorhomes that don’t work properly.

In the worst-case scenarios, some owners wouldn’t provide pick-up locations for their RVs, even after their rental fee had already been paid. This act often forces renters to reschedule their vacation plans at the last minute. 

Instead of heading out on the road to enjoy their vacations, these renters had to source another RV to save their trip. Then they had to try to recoup their lost money through the sharing site’s nearly impossible-to-reach customer service.

Unfortunately, because these companies have no process to verify the accuracy of their listings or for vetting an RV’s condition, ownership, location, or existence, RV sharing sites have become a haven for fraud and criminal activity. 

Fortunately, we’ve been able to provide happy endings for many of these travelers’ RV rental horror stories. But not everyone is so lucky.

RV Sharing Sites Often Leave Customers Stranded

Even when RV sharing site customers stumble upon a nice motorhome to rent from a good owner, they’re still at the mercy of the owner’s maintenance schedule. 

Although recreational vehicles are very user-friendly, they’re complex pieces of machinery that contain dozens of integrated high-tech systems that operate the vehicle and provide all the conveniences of home. If the vehicle is not properly maintained, these systems cannot properly perform 

To keep these systems running optimally, professional RV rental companies adhere to a strict preventative service schedule with regular inspections before and after every use. These systems can break down if an owner cuts corners — leaving unsuspecting renters stranded on the side of the road.

Some RV sharing companies brag about providing 24/7 roadside assistance which would certainly come in handy if you have a flat tire or have locked your keys inside the rig. 

But what happens if there is an actual breakdown? Or when the generator or hydraulic systems fail? 

These problems are much less common to strictly maintained fleets as they are serviced and repaired by specially-trained or certified RV technicians.

RV Sharing Sites May Contribute to Poor Experiences

Imagine renting a stranger’s RV for a family vacation. Then two days into your trip it breaks down. 

Your family is now stranded on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck to arrive. If the problem can’t be fixed on the spot, then your rental RV has to be towed back to civilization for repair. That alone can take anywhere from several hours to overnight. 

If you booked through an RV sharing site, there’s a good chance you’ll have to cover the costs of the tow and repairs — at least upfront. 

When the RV finally arrives at the shop, it certainly won’t be fixed right away. In fact, just getting the issue diagnosed and then sourcing certain replacement parts can cause days to weeks-long delays. 

So now what? Your family is suddenly left stranded without any transportation or a place to sleep.

Who’s going to cover the costs of your family’s lodging or transportation back to the airport?  

The RV owner, who’s now facing an expensive repair bill of their own, is unlikely to help out. 

Your next option is to contact the RV sharing site. Yet a response could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days — especially if your emergency occurs after hours or on a weekend. 

Of additional concern is the probability that the RV sharing site will not issue a refund quickly — if at all. Remember, with those RV sharing sites, you deal directly with the owner. 

So you may be left to cover the entire cost of your ruined vacation, plus additional expenses caused by the emergency, including hotels, restaurants, and alternative transportation.

Ensure an Enjoyable RV Vacation

To be fair, we aren’t trying to create the illusion that every RV trip is perfect, even when using a credible and professional rental company. 

RVs can be temperamental beasts and do act up even when a strict maintenance and inspection schedule has been followed. 

While we can’t speak for other RV rental providers, Allstar Coaches goes the extra mile to ensure our clients are taken care of, no matter what happens out on the road. 

During your RV rental walk-through and orientation, we provide your with the personal cell phone numbers for two of our on-call service technicians. In the event of a breakdown (yes, it can even happen to us), our tech will answer day or night to either walk you through an issue, or instantly dispatch mobile service right to the RV. 

And if the RV requires repairs that force long delays, a replacement RV can be immediately dispatched and swapped out. With our RV services and rental fleet, your vacation continues. We’ll even extend your trip to make up for lost time, because it’s the right thing to do.

An RV owner contracted through a sharing site cannot provide these safeguards.

So when you plan your next RV adventure, do yourself a favor and ignore the lure of the RV sharing platforms. 

Opt for a credible RV rental company you can trust. Your precious vacation time will be in good hands.

Contact our team today to learn more about our RV rental services or to make a reservation!