Failed Lippert Steps - a happy ending!

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MapNerd

Staff member
RVF Moderator
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Messages
2,090
Location
Prince William, VA
RV Year
2020
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4326
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2020 Ford F-150
Fulltimer
Yes
About 6-8 months ago, we noticed that the powder coating on our Lippert 34-series Kwikee Steps Was beginning to fail on the outer left and right edges of both the upper and lower step. It was very small at the time and I didn’t think much of it, wagering that the steps would probably fail in the next year or so anyways.

Fast forward a few months and it really got worse. I mean, they are just ugly now with the powder coating having been failed approximately 1-1.5 inches on each side of both steps.

MapWife couldn’t take it and asked me to do something about it. Knowing we were out of warranty, I doubted that I would get any support from Newmar or LCI, but I figured the worst they can say is No and if they did, I would just remove the steps, strip them with a stripping wheel on my angle grinder, then give the steps a few coats of black spray paint and put them back on.

So I emailed Newmar and they suggested I give Lippert a call as I was just outside of the warranty on the steps. I did not expect much but decided I had nothing to lose but a few minutes of time, versus doing the work of stripping and refinishing the steps that would probably take a weekend.

I called Lippert Customer Support and explained the situation. The gentleman on the phone said normally rust and finish is considered normal wear and tear is not covered but he’d be happy to open a case for me. I told him I would like that as again, the worst they can say is no. He opened a case for me and said I would receive an email asking for details and photos and that I should expect a response within a few days. The email arrived within a few moments and I responded immediately with all of the pertinent details and several photos, and kindly asked for a good faith repair or replacement. A few days later I received a response asking for a few more photos which I provided.

Yesterday, I receive a response and Lippert agreed to replace the steps - the motor, door switch, step assembly and all. I was frankly astonished. They told me to call their customer service, provide the incident number and they would send me a full replacement. I did so today and now the steps are on the way.

I read from time to time about Lippert getting a bad rap for their products and while I think that the powder coating shouldn’t have failed so quickly, I recognize that life happens and not every unit that comes off the floor can be perfect. What’s important to me is that the company recognize when those things happen and do what they can within reason to correct it. I would have gladly accepted just a new step frame, new steps, a partial refund, a refurbished replacement, a can of rust remover and spray paint, anything at all. Heck, even nothing at all. From my perspective, I had no leg to stand on. I was out of warranty and this was a cosmetic failure, not a functional one.

Even so, Lippert is graciously sending me a new set of steps. I plan to just install the new steps and leave the existing motor and door switch in place as those are still fine. I’ll keep those components in my spare parts bin. I have learned that having replacements on board means the part will never fail.

My mom taught me early on in life that I could catch more flies with honey than I ever would with vinegar. I think my key to success here was using honey instead of vinegar.

A lot of times we get upset when products fail prematurely and especially so when the product failure ruins our day. Admittedly, this failure was far from a day ruiner, but the point remains - I caught this fly with honey.

So next time something doesn’t go your way, or a product fails in a way that it probably shouldn’t have, I would encourage you to take a breath, pick up your phone or computer and contact the company that makes the product and open up a jar of honey on them. I think more often than not, you’ll catch that fly you’re after.
 
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