For six years I dreamed of getting away in a trailer, and finally, the stars and the moon lined up correctly, and everything fell into the place: I found the perfect trailer for a motorcyclist, the price was alright, and a recent career change gave me a lot more free time. I decided to pull the trigger and put $4,000 down on a trailer from Lay-Zee Acres RV Sales, and I spent the next three months having to deal with the consequences of that decision.
Here’s what I learned after three months of waiting for Lay-Zee Acres RV Sales to get my used trailer ready for me, and why I don’t recommend buying a used trailer from them.
1) They tell you “Everything is great!” when it’s not
When a salesperson tells you that everything is great, you should always be a little skeptical, but until now, Cornel Geisser seemed like a straight shooter, so I believed him. Then I took a look and realized that the shower tub had a rip a few inches long in the sidewall.
Obviously, sales people will sugar coat things a little bit, and everything makes mistakes. It’s not a big deal, until you realize why they don’t know about the shape of their used units. More on that later.
2) They won’t tell you anything about the history of the trailer
It seems like no matter who I talked to at Lay-Zee acres, no one knew the history of the trailer I was buying, nor did they have any service records, and apparently they couldn’t look up in their system who had done the trade-in, in order to ask that salesperson.
It seemed strange that such a small team could tell me nothing about where this trailer came from, but now I’m starting to wonder if it was even a trade-in at all, and not something picked up on auction. Who knows? Not me! And not you either.
3) They don’t have a technician inspect used trailers until after they’ve sold them to you
Most dealerships will have a technician check out a used unit before they even take it in on trade. This the dealer know how much time and money they’ll have to sink into the trade-in before they can sell it,, which lets the dealer know what trade-in value to offer on the unit, and what they should price the unit at when they do offer it for sale. As per Thomas Geisser at Lay-Zee Acres Sales, they don’t do that, and “that wouldn’t make sense” – though he wouldn’t expand on what he meant by that.
From the customer’s perspective, you’ll want a technician to have checked out your trailer before you buy it, so you aren’t left with a bad surprise when you find out that it needs some work which could take weeks or even months to complete.
4) You’ll wait weeks, or even months, to get your used trailer
After putting $4,000 on a used trailer, I was told I would be able to get it within three to four weeks. Granted, this year we’ve had COVID-19 slow down a lot of businesses, fair enough, but it wouldn’t be until three months later that I was told the trailer was actually ready.
5) Waiting on parts, forever…
As you probably guessed, when the technician finally did inspect the trailer that I put money down to buy from Lay-Zee Acres, he discovered an axle that was in need of replacement. I guess he or she didn’t stock any axles that would fit this trailer, because this was a start of months of waiting.
Lay-Zee Acres offered to give me my money back on the trailer. But again, this trailer was everything I wanted in a trailed for the last five years, so I thought I’d better wait.
6) They don’t tell you that the part you need is actually on back order
After about a month waiting for an axle, with no updates, I reached out to Lay-Zee Acres again. That’s when Cornel told me that he looked into and discovered the part was actually on back order. I wish someone had told me this. I just kept planning trips and postponing them one week after another.
Lay-Zee Acres once again offered to refund me. At this point I started to suspect that they realized they were going to have more costs on this trailer than they thought, and they might simply be trying to do the work and then re-list the trailer for more money and sell to someone else so as to protect their margins. I chose to remain naively optimistic that this certainly wouldn’t be the case.
7) They won’t accept your help
Ever a problem-solver, I offered Cornel a couple of alternatives. Having worked in a motorcycle dealership and done countless parts orders from a half dozen different suppliers, I was confident that I could find something to work for my trailer, given the right information. I asked for a part number for the axle, or any specifications on it so that I could reach out to axle sellers on my own and find one that was available and would be compatible.
My email to Lay-Zee Acres trying to essentially do their job for them was ignored for a week, until I sent a follow-up email, and was told that Thomas would call me.
8) They don’t actually call you back
I, apparently a young naïve thing, assumed that Thomas would call me, so I waited. No call came. A few days later I emailed back. Still waiting for that phone call. No reply. Another week went by, I had to email and leave voicemails again before Thomas ever called.
When I did get the phone call, Thomas again offered me a refund. I made it clear that all I wanted was the trailer I put my money down on. Thomas made it clear that I would have to keep on waiting, but that he would ask to see what the hold-up was, or if we could get some kind of ETA. Fair enough, sounds good to me, right?
9) No admitting anything could have been better or should have been done differently
Two things stood out to me as being really strange about that conversation: First, Thomas started out hot-headed and hell-bent on trying to get me out of the deal, and second, there was never any kind of apology, or admitting that things could have or should have been handled differently.
It seemed as though Lay-Zee Acres, in their own minds, could do no wrong, even when how they do business was clearly having an ongoing negative impact on a customer. It was a really absurd conversation and unlike one I had with anyone else either professionally or even personally.
10) They re-neg’d on their deal
When the trailer was finally going to be ready for pick-up (about 3 months and 2 days after I signed the purchase agreement), I was told that Lay-Zee Acres was choosing to re-neg on their deal. One of the things that Cornel Geisser and Josh Allen from Lay-Zee Acres’ sales team promised me was that I’d get a full two-hour walk-through showing me how to use everything in the trailer.
When I received a call that the trailer was ready for pick-up, I was told, this was no longer on offer, “Because of COVID.” While I totally understand not wanting to be trapped in an enclosed space with a stranger during a pandemic, this was not only something that we agreed to at the time of purchase, but as someone brand new to campers and trailers, this two-hour crash course on travel trailers was something I definitely needed.
Explaining my position to woman on the phone got me nowhere, except to say that Thomas would give me a call. Naïve to the very end, I thought, Ok good, Thomas will get this sorted out.
When he called, I asked if there was any way of getting the tour just video recorded on my phone and I could be outside of the trailer. Thomas was having none of it, accused me of being rude, and said that after wasting my time for three months, Lay-Zee Acres would not sell me the trailer I had put $4,000 down on three months earlier.
11) Their reviews on the Better Business Bureau and Google say it all
Before putting money down, I had read a lot of bad reviews about Lay-Zee Acres on Google and the Better Business Bureau, but they seemed really good pre-sale so I told myself everything would be fine. Their pre-sale service was strong! But Lay-Zee Acres Sales gave me, by far, the worst post-sale customer service I’ve ever received.
Call my a cynic, but I suspect that the reason Lay-Zee Acres kept on, time after time, trying to get out of this deal, was because they realized that getting a new axle installed was going to eat away at their margin on this unit, and they might even lose money on this unit. I think once they figured that out, they started doing everything they could to get me out of the deal, until finally they ran out of promises to break.
I really loved that little Cikara X-Throttle 18 foot toy hauler. For $9,995 it was a good deal too. I had big plans for it and an Amazon shopping cart full of all of the parts and things I was going to put in it. For three spring and summer months I stayed waiting like a chump for a trailer that they stopped wanting me to buy the second they knew something was wrong with it.
Usually I’d say “Buyer Beware”, but in the case of Lay-Zee Acres: Looking back on my list we have deceit, withholding truth, lack of professionalism, lack of interest in the customer’s interests after he’s committed to a purchase, hot-headed attitude from the Sales Manager, zero interest in working together to find solutions, zero accountability or owning of mistakes, and prioritizing their own interests over keeping their end of the deal. If you value good morals and a fair you-get-what-you-pay-for deal, I would recommend you save yourself the trouble and stay clear of Lay-Zee Acres.