My introduction to the world of blogging came by involvement with a company called Race Passion.
Finally in our 40’s we’d come to a stage in our life with the kids grown up where we did not require finance to purchase a vehicle, within a short period of time we’d aquired 3 large dogs but thats another story, our present ‘at the time’ Subaru was totally unsuitable for transportation as you can imagine. The search was on to find a replacement and we had £10,000 to spend, hardly a fortune to most but it was to us.
Its not easy to find dogsitters when you have 3 and kennelling costs are astronomical so a campervan seemed the ideal solution. I set about looking, there were certainly a lot of vans within our price range but none that seemed to keep the dogs in a separate area, it was then i came across motocross conversions. I thought if the garage area could be changed from metal plate to saftey flooring and a mesh door system fitted to allow the dogs to see, smell & hear us it would be ideal.
I found a company in Wales called Race Passion, their website of previously converted vans was very impressive and so i contacted them with my brief to make enquires, what followed was a series of phone calls ensuring me that Race Passion were the best people for the job and knew exactly what i wanted, boy was it a fantastic sales pitch, i fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Once they’d got me on board price started to become a problem, the sales patter got better & better and to get this fabulous van beyond my wildeset dreams i’d just have to pay a bit more, i agree’d, i could sell the car to make up the shortfall of what was now £12,500. I took the first available booking slot, the conversion would take two weeks to complete and i’d have my van on Feb 25th 2010. The cheque for £500 booking fee was to be sent to GC Jones Lloyd, i enquired why not Race Passion but the company and website are registered to that name so i went ahead.
The van was sourced and a spec sheet provided.
Sounds impressive, everythings in place bar a few things not added in on the spec sheet that i picked them up on and they said they would remedy so i send the cheque for £6,000. I grew increasingly concerned to the lack of contact, calls not returned, photographs not sent to update me where work was at. I live at the top of Scotland, this company is at the bottom of Wales. One excuse after another is what i got, work was going on round the clock on my van and it was either too late at night to call me or no time to photgraph, upload ect, they done their best to make me feel guilty for even asking. Everything was fine and i was not to worry. Both myself and husband booked two weeks off work from 24rth Feb, travel arrangements to collect and sold the Subaru. We were busy planning all the fantastic places we could take the dogs to, all the family and friends we could now visit and how life was going to be so great with the addition of the campervan.
I called Race Passion two days before collection with an insurance question, obviously the van would need to be insured to drive home. The van was not ready and it was not going to be ready, angry is a mild word for how i felt, excuse after excuse is what i got, Race Passion would provide me with a new generator free of charge for the inconvienience. I asked for an alternative curtosy vehicle so we could still take our holiday but they do not have a curtosy vehicle so we sat here unable to even take the dogs to the beach for a fortnight, it was miserable.
It was not easy to get a completion date but when i finally did i was told 20th March, that’s almost a month later !!!
What the hell was going on, it takes two weeks to do a conversion, i got told they were let down by other suppliers, its always excuses, excuses with Race Passion.
20th March came and went, no campervan. I did however recieve photographs of the stage the conversion was at.
Enough is enough i phoned Trading Standards who advised me to download template 7 letter and send recorded delivery giving them 14 days to produce the camper or refund my money in full. New date then is April 1st (ironic or what?)
Guess what? April 1st came and went, no refund, no campervan, reason – They could not allow the van to leave their premises without a full saftey check and service. The van was being resprayed, decals applied and cleaned to leave in pristine condition.
They offered to pay for flights for the van to be collected on the 9th April, i had no holidays left but my husband had a day off and his Mum said she’d be happy to accompany him as second driver, its a long drive back from Wales and my husband does not keep the best of health.
The flight got in at 8.30am and they were to be picked up at the airport but nobody was there, apparently they forgot what time they arrived !! They booked the flight, how could they forget? An hour later Paul turns up to collect them and proceeds to drive around a section of Wales showing off local landmarks, my family are keen to get the van and get on the road, its a long drive. Oh but they must try the local ice cream, this was getting ridiculous and they insisted on being taken to get the van. The van was up on ramps in a dingy, dark workshop, apparently there was overspray on a wheel and it was being changed. Paul paid for lunch and swiftly got rid of them.
They had to amuze themselves the rest of the afternoon, at 5pm Paul finally said they could get the van, this of course now meant they would be driving through the night to get back to Scotland. This is when Paul said he would not accept a cheque, bankers cheque or credit card payment for the final £6,000, it had to be done by direct transfer and funds cleared before they could leave, we now know why but more of that later. The seating was a shock as the order clearly stated Grey and Black, they were White, Red & Black !! Trading standards advised any problems could still be sorted out up to six months after collection and so the money was paid and the van was driven home without incident.
In the cold light of day the other faults started to become obvious. I’ll start with the pristine respray and decal application.
There’s photo’s of ripped/patched decals too, somebody please remind me later to post them.
Of course it does not look like this on the Race Passion website but those photo’s are from a distance. I will of course put up an album with all the other photgraphs later so you can see there is clearly not one panel on the van without an over or underspray and not one panel without a bubbled decal. I will also supply estimates of cost to remove these decals and respray.
Next we will move onto the interior.
The interior was filthy and i have to say i was somewhat amazed at the sink unit depicted on the Race Passion website as being mine, it most certainly is not, this is mine.
While im on about the sink, it does not drain water, apparently rather than having a downpipe, it points upwards so water has nowhere to go.
Seatbelts were a fail as you will see on the Iveco report later, left seatbelt jams, middle broken and unuseable. The gear knob comes off in reverse and there is a section of wood that covers access to the hand brake, again all in the Iveco report. The poor finish of the wood is something again you do not see in the distant photo’s depicted on Race Passion website but i think you will find the close ups here show it quite well.
It quite clearly states in all correspondance i have from Race Passion and also on their website that my campervan sleeps four people, im still trying to work out where the other two people go as there is no function for the seating to convert. The fixed bed that is available would certainly sleep two if only they had provided us with a ladder to get up to it, apparently this ladder is being sent, collected van 9th April, todays 10th May, still no sign of it.
The tall cupboard bracket came off, screws too small. The t.v & bracket fell off onto the cooker, again not correct fittings used.
The t.v damage when it fell off the bracket.
We then purchased the proper fixings but as you can see the cupboard the t.v is fixed too is coming away from the wall.
The dog section.
I have no idea how Race Passion expect my dogs to breathe, this is the air vents we have been provided with, not even so much as a basic air vent cover fitted, attention to detail not being a strong point.
They might just be dogs but the finish is not what i expected or was led to believe i was going to have, here is the ceiling and back doors of the alleged easy clean sealed unit with lots of air vents.
Would you like to see the ‘NEW’ generator i was given (free of charge) for work not being completed for 25th Feb?
Appauling isent it? Would you like to see the 3 dogs beds with their names embroidered into and the 3 non slip dog bowls i was offered as an apology for the van not being ready by 20th March?
SO WOULD I.
Clearly this was unacceptable and so with Trading Standards advice i sent a further recorded delivery letter detailing these problems and asking what they were prepared to do about it, again 14 days were given.
So far i have been offered a ladder.
Whatever next i hear you ask, well it just keeps getting worse folks.
One of the tyre’s was bald, the spare did not fit, it was then noted there are not the same amount of wheel nuts on the front as there are the back. The Iveco dealership thought it best to conduct a full saftey report, i have to admit with how things had been going so far i was fully expecting it to come back as a ‘cut and shut’
Iveco informed me that the back axle is not the correct axle for my model of van and i would need to carry two spares. If i have to carry two spares there is not enough room to fit three dog cages, the whole point of the van is to allow us to travel with dogs, its the main brief of the build.
Here is the Iveco report
On further inspection it was noted that the £651.00 was not for the full axle and so i got a new quote.
You might be wondering why not everything has been priced like the battery being insecure or the oil warning, paneling that covers the hand brake lever, these are jobs that come under ‘ labour time’. So what does it all add up to so far (bear in mind this is just work Iveco can do and nothing to do with the interior faults or the decals and respray) Feel free to add it up, then add VAT & labour, if you can get it to under £6,000 give me a shout.
Of course i sent all this to Race Passion, you might be wondering what the response was? Nothing to do with them. Oh really? Fabulous customer service and concern for the product they had sold. I thought it best seeing as i had the service history to call the garage who had done the servicing, last service was done in Dec 09, it certainly had been a well maintained van with them, no history of any axle change, i then called the previous owners (post office fleet) whilst the van had been with them it was great, no problems and sold on in Jan 2010 (bear in mind my spec sheet is 2/2/10)
Why did Race Passion change the axle, why did they not tell me?
Much to my surprise i then see the following on their website
But i don’t have 3 prize winning Husky show dogs, i have 3 crossbreed dogs. I don’t have a campervan that sleeps 4, i have a campervan that sleeps 2. As for COMPLETE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION !!!!!!!!!!!! Thats not what i would call taking him to court, would you?
I think its fair to say showing what i have so far that its not true for them to state you get attention to detail, highest quality, total customer care, quality of build, on time and on budget as they have said here but i leave it with you to make up your own mind.
Obviously Race Passion are very proud of my van as its quite clearly advertized on their website.
In the event its removed as i note some of the text about the dogs has, i always take screenshots.
The ripped decals to match the bubbled one’s.
Next i’ll move onto what a campervan repair company make of the work of Race Passion, i have been asked to leave out the contact details of the company as phone calls from Race Passion have been made to the company who done the report after they seen it online. The report is with my trading standards officer and anyone reading is welcome to contact him regarding the authenticity of what follows.
Report on Iveco daily conversion to motorhome & dog transport
Gas storage for propane is accessed entirely from inside the vehicle & not sealed to the interior, no high level ventilation provided, no lock on access door.
Low level ventilation & gas drop are ok.
Sink waste incorrectly routed allowing pipe to drip causing a trap.
Dog transport area severely lacking in ventilation at both high and low level.
All cupboard hinges are too strong & or wrong type.
Main living area has severe lack of windows & ventilation.
Cupboard falling off wall, fixings inadequate.
Double 240v socket in high level cupboard is of no use as access can only be had with cupboard door open.
No automatic shut off tap on hob/sink lid.
Fridge has no exhaust vent visible, i assume it vents to the inside.
No gas drop for fridge or hob.
Position of microwave unsuitable, almost at floor level.
Toilet compartment has no ventilation of any description.
Wardrobe is totally inadequate as it would only hold 2 dresses or 2 coats ‘if’ there was a hanging rail.
Hot air space heater, exhaust position suspect.
Bunk framing very weak & is falling apart.
No double bed conversion has been supplied.
High level base has no access ladder, is badly designed. Two children might just about be able to sleep here but no stretch of the imagination would allow 2 adults to use it.
Cab to living accomodation partition very poorly finished.
In conclusion this unit is very badly designed & has a total disregard of most of the rules of manufacture. Therefore major work will be needed to make this into more appropriate accomodation for the intended occupants.
Remedial work required.
External access lockable door for gas storage, totally sealing this storage so no gas leakage can access the interior of the unit, high ventilation to be provided.
Reroute sink waste to avoid drips causing traps, supply and fit underfloor waste tank.
Adequate high & low level ventilation to be provided for dog transport area.
Replace all cupboard door hinges.
Provide more windows & ventilation in living area.
Check high level cupboard security & refix as necessary.
Reposition high level 240v socket outwith cupboard or provide access to it.
Fit automatic shut off tap on hob/sink lid or provide easily seen warning label to warn of danger of closing lid.
Provide fridge with external exhaust vent.
Provide gas drop holes for fridge & hob, also high and low level ventilation to the approved standard.
Reposition microwave to a more suitable position.
Provide ventilation in toilet compartment.
Re design wardrobe position to make more useable.
Check regulations for gas hot air heater exhaust & reposition.
Strenthen bunk framing & provide double bed conversion.
This report was compiled after a ONE hour inspection, a more in depth inspection would need to be done to asertain the full implications of this conversion & the necessary repairs.
A provisional estimate for the repairs as detailed above would be £3,938.00 excluding VAT.
We had a further more in detail report done for the upcoming court case that condemmned not only the gas but electrics which i will scan and upload after the case.
UPDATE – Today 9/2/11 i have received the paperwork from the court, decree is granted in my favour and i await payment, interest and expenses. Will keep you all posted.