Monday, March 05, 2007

RVDA Requests that FEMA Consider RV Market Impact and Public Safety When Auctioning Trailers

Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Mike Molino is urging the federal government to consider the impact its RV travel trailer auctions will have on local dealers, the RV industry, and public safety.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials announced the agency will begin auctions in March to reduce its inventory of RV trailers used for emergency temporary housing in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The auctions are run through the General Services Administration (GSA).

In a letter to FEMA Director R. David Paulison, Molino urged the agency to carefully consider the impact public auctions of large number of trailers will have on the retail market for RVs – especially in the Gulf Coast States.

“The practice of selling directly to consumers also raises significant public safety implications,” Molino stated in the letter. “These vehicles appear simple but are really rather complicated with electrical, plumbing, and propane gas systems that power sophisticated heating and cooling units, fire safety equipment, and gas leak detectors. There are a myriad of potential problems consumers face, unless the vehicles are thoroughly checked out, serviced, repaired, and reconditioned where necessary by qualified technicians.”

Molino said one way to protect the public could be to offer the units in lots, instead of auctioning each trailer individually. “Requiring sales in lots of 5 or 10 units would make it more likely that the vehicles get back into the stream of commerce through a licensed dealer who is capable of ensuring the safety and serviceability of the unit,” he stated.

“The issue of unfair government competition with small business obviously concerns all of us. However, safety is also an issue. By selling these vehicles through dealers, FEMA and GSA would be providing the public with a greater assurance of safety and reliability,” Molino concluded.

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