Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goodbye Red Bay… Hello Mississippi…


IMAG0665Monday morning, 7:00 am, we were lined up behind bay door number 7 after waiting 6 days it was finally our turn to be seen in the service center. The large bay door slid open and I fired up the motorhome and drove her into the bay stopping when the service techs told me too.

I get out and the techs asked if I had a list of things for them to look over. Odd, I thought, as I had given one to the service center. Nonetheless I showed them the list and we went over each item. Then they asked if I had ordered the windows that were going to be replaced… “why yes I did” Now I was getting a bit worried about the quality of the work I was about to receive…

IMAG0663They found the windows and started to take out the old ones and so I went to the lounge for some coffee. A little over three hours later our motorhome was done and all but one item was finished. The remaining item would have to be done another day and was not so critical as the other items were anyhow. After  inspecting the workmanship I have to admit I was very impressed with the quality of work performed by the techs.

I went to pay the bill and asked Tiffin if they ever got any clarification on whether the windows would be covered in any fashion on warranty. I had inquired about this over a month ago and had no definitive response. I was told the best they could do was offer the windows at cost which saved us about 100.00 bucks so even though it wasn’t what we had hoped we saved a few bucks.

IMAG0669Tuesday morning we had another appointment with Bay Diesel to have some preventative maintenance work done and to have our brakes looked at after they had overheated when we went through Birmingham Alabama. I spent a lot of time with the techs at Bay Diesel and they taught me a lot about the mechanics of my motorhome. When everything had been finished the owner chatted with me and told me there was an ABS modulator that was touchy and may go out in the future. He said he had contacted Freightliner and was trying to get them to pay for the part but they refused. He informed me that it wasn’t necessary to fix it now and to just wait till it fails since there was nothing to worry about. When I asked why not do it now he told me the part alone was $2300.00 YIKES!!!

IMAG0670So we paid the bill for the great work performed and the wonderful diesel mechanic education I received and prepared to leave Red Bay… And the we got a phone call from Tiffin. It turns out my request about the windows made its way all the way to the owner and founder of Tiffin Motorhomes, Mr. Bob Tiffin.

I read about many stories involving Bob Tiffin going way above what was necessary to make a customer happy but assumed most of these stories were a wee bit fictional… Well it was my turn to get in on this act! It appeared that Bob Tiffin told the service folks to give us a call and tell me that they were going to give a refund for the cost of the windows we just had installed – $690!!! WOW!!! We are now part of the generosity of Bob Tiffin who had been the pinnacle of Customer Success at Red Bay in the past before he took a lesser role in the management.

To summarize our Red Bay experience I have to say that:

  • when getting service at Red Bay you will enter the twilight zone known as Tiffin Time
  • Tiffin Time is another way to say you will have to wait around a lot before seeing anyone remotely affiliated with the service center
  • When first seen you will be told you are in a queue to be serviced and again you enter Tiffin Time
  • After patiently waiting your turn you will eventually end up in a service bay where you will get top notch work performed by very skilled workers
  • What may be lacking in customer service up front is more than compensated by the fact that the work you have performed is of very high quality
  • You simply must have mechanical work performed at Bay Diesel if ever in this area

imageWe were so glad to have the work done and so glad to be out of Red Bay that we left immediately after our PM work at Bay Diesel. We are now about 130 miles southeast of Red Bay at a gem of a campground in Mississippi called Lake Tiak-O'Khata. We have full hookups, cable TV on a lake for 19 bucks a night… think we will stay a couple of days…


  1. Very interest tale. Like you, I'd rather have the best service on my vehicle, because when you drive on down the road, that's really what you've paid for. Or not, when Bob Tiffen gets involved. :) Of course, if they could raise the bar on their customer service, that would be a good idea, too.

    It must be such a relief to be in a beautiful park like Lake Tiak-O'Khata - and right on the lake. Enjoy!

  2. Paul has talked with Bob directly, and he is one nice guy. He helped us out with our windows also. So glad you got it all worked out. We talk often about what will happen to the business once Bob retires. Hope his sons continue the great service of understanding our needs. Enjoy Mississippi. ~wheresweaver

  3. Nice that you got the work done and the windows paid for that's a bonus. And "Tiffin Time" sounds a lot like "Mexican time", it will happen when it happens. At least you got quality work done, enjoy your travels.

  4. Your service experience sounds very similar to the time we have spent in Forest City, Iowa -- lots of time waiting, but once you're in the service is great. Like many other Tiffin owners, you have also experienced what we believe is a fundamental difference between service at your manufacturer's factory and ours: There is no "Mr. Winnebago". And, it shows.

    Thanks for the tip on Bay Diesel. We're always on the lookout for good chassis service providers.

    Happy travels!

  5. What a great end to the saga! It's nice to see they still step up like that. I'll be keeping them on my list, not that it matters since we'll likely never be able to afford one!

    Have a safe trip!


  6. I am so happy that you "finally" got the service you expected. The same type of thing happened when we were there, but it all turned out great. We also used Bay Diesel and were beyond thrilled with the service, education and price. I would use Bay Diesel, Bruce Deaton's Paint and Auto Body and Tiffin Service any day and happily. They make it worth your while to drive to Red Bay.
    Enjoy Mississippi. We loved it there.

  7. So happy to hear that the service, in the end, was more like what we'd been hearing. Bob Tiffin is very responsive to his customers (I think it took him all of 10 minutes to return Mui's call when we touched base with him after purchasing our out-of-warranty Phaeton ... there's a reason he came out of retirement :-))) We plan to have our next check up at Bay Diesel, so good to hear confirmation on their reputation as well.

  8. Really glad to hear everything eventually worked out OK for you. I had heard Tiffin was a good family owned group so I was wondering what had happened. Now I see, the main man retired??

    Boy does that look and sound like a great campground. It just went in my campground list. Great price too. Can't blame you for getting out of dodge quick.


  9. Interesting...great news, good for you! Well, except for the ABS modulator!

  10. Have been on pins and needles about your experience. We are going next week to experience the same thing. Nothing major mainly just going. See you down the road

  11. Well, Tiffin Time must be like the Keys time...Good thing we're retired and can wait around!

  12. What a great outcome! Your experience at Tiffin reminds me a lot of dealing with a warranty company. It takes a lot of time and patience.

  13. Great news on the windows. It always makes you feel better to know someone stands behind their products.