Red Bay, Alabama - December 16 to 19, 2020
A long awaited visit to Red Bay was finally approaching. In November of 2019, while in Texas, we began making Red Bay appointments get some needed maintenance done on Miss Mosey, our 2012 Tiffin Phaeton. But then life happened and we ended up staying in Texas for most of the year. Fortunately, the Red Bay folks were very understanding and told us to call back after things were sorted out. So in early December 2020, I was making the trip solo while EJ stayed in Orange Park, FL. Sitting around for almost 2 weeks while people worked on her RV didn’t sound like fun to her.
Our experience with Red Bay vendors has always been excellent. Over the years we have done business with Trevor Nichols, Bay Diesel, Making Sawdust, MS RV Solutions and the Tiffin Service Center. Every one of those was a positive experience that I would repeat in a heartbeat.
Never having had a negative encounter with a Red Bay business and based on the recommendation of one of the above vendors, we took our beloved Miss Mosey to Banner RV Paint and Auto. I had researched Banner and found that while they were not the most popular paint shop, they had gotten several favorable reviews. I found no bad reviews for them.
I apologize for the lengthy blog, but I must tell the story of my disastrous experience at Banner RV Paint and Auto.
I arrived at Banner RV Paint and Auto just after noon on December 15 after having spent a day and a half at MS RV Solutions having new slides seals installed and the carpet replaced. Daniel and Carl are fun to work with and do top notch work.
I came a half day early thinking the owner of Banner RV Paint and Auto, Justin Allison, might want me to park inside the paint shop since rain was predicted that night and I figured he would want Miss Mosey nice and dry before he started to work on her. But, he said “No, I’ll just blow it off”. That set off a few warning flags in my mind, but he’s the “expert” I figured he knew what he was doing, and after all, he was recommended by someone whose opinion I respected. The second warning flag I got, was that I was the only customer there. All the other places I had been to were swamped, but this was the “slow” season for Red Bay.
The next morning, December 16, Wednesday, I pulled into the bay and yes, Miss Mosey was wet and muddy from having spent the night outside in the rain. He said it would be better if I left during the day because if I stayed he would want to talk to me and get distracted from his work. Hmmm, none of the other vendors had that problem. The next red flag that went up was that he was alone. This was a one man operation..
To his credit, Justin did call around and found me a rental car. He even took me to McKinney’s in Red Bay to pick it up. Of course while he was doing this, no one was working on Miss Mosey.
So I killed several hours at the Mason Jar in Red Bay eating lunch, drinking coffee and surfing the ‘net on my tablet. I returned about 3:30pm since that was the time most of the Red Bay vendors quit for the day. Justin wasn’t around when I got there, but at least some progress had been made on Miss Mosey.
Thursday I was up at 6am having spent the night in Miss Mosey inside the shop.. Made breakfast and got ready for the day as I assumed that Justin would start at 7am as all the other Red Bay vendors seemed to. Finally at 9am, I decided to drive by his house to see if he was going to work on Miss Mosey today. As I was driving down the road, I saw him in his pickup coming towards me. We stopped and he said he had been out getting supplies. OK, I’ll give him a pass for that.
So I disappear for the day at his request. When I come back around 3:30pm he is not there, again. He shows up about 5 saying he had to go pick up his boy. OK, Tuesday night, Wednesday night and now Thursday night and I’m not seeing a whole lot of progress. By now he realizes he has bitten off more than he can chew and brings in someone to help him. The helper is named Steve. Justin says they will have to work late to get me out on Friday. They quit at 7pm. Well at least the window frames got painted.
Now Justin is a nice guy and he will talk your ears off. Old timers in the area like to come by and schmooze with him for hours on end. I also found out his “real” business is running log trucks. Painting RVs is just a sideline. Wish I had know all this this ahead of time. By this time I’m in too deep as there are Miss Mosey parts scattered around the shop and out in back. I’m stuck. I keep hoping it will get better.
Now it’s Friday. Justin shows up at 7am to turn on the heat and disappears. About 9am he returns and say they can’t finish it today, but they will work late into the night to get me out on Saturday. Today the engine hatch, front cap, and side rails get painted. Steve gets to take me back to McKinney’s in Red Bay so I can return the rental car. They quit about 7pm, again.
On Saturday, things get started about 9am again. Now they are working on patching some screw holes around the bathroom window. About noon, Justin informs me that they are quitting at 2PM whether they are done or not. I offer to stay through Sunday, but he says “No, we’re done at 2pm.” “Oh, and because we are pressed for time we can’t use the slow drying clearcoat, which is better, we’ll have to use the fast drying stuff which is almost as good”. By this time I am getting pretty upset. I mentioned the engine hatch, which had been repainted, looked like Fido’s ass. He said don’t worry, he would buff that out. If he buffed it out, I couldn’t see any difference, it still looked like crap.
So at 2pm, Saturday, they wrapped it up and started pulling off tape and paper. I couldn’t get up on the roof at the time, but after seeing the mistakes that were evident from the ground I was madder than a pissed off hornet.
I drove off and stopped at the Downtown RV Park in Red Bay to investigate what was making the flapping noise coming from up on the roof. I pulled out my ladder and climbed up top to find more left over tape and paper. I also found this.
Over spray on the roof. Justin did not even attempt to fix this.
Then I discovered that he only painted the front cap, and not the rear cap like I had asked him to do also. Of course that may have been a blessing since I won’t have to pay to have that fixed again too.
Further inspection revealed that the paint job to repair the front cap was not the quality I would expect a professional to strive for. There were runs in several places. He had to have seen this and just hoped that maybe I wouldn’t notice.
He did not remove the running lights. That means he painted over the caulk which is going to be a problem when I replace the ones that have moisture in them. When I remove the lights I will have to remove the caulk also meaning that may screw up the paint even further.
The engine hatch cover had stress cracks in it and Justin gave me the impression that he would do a fiberglass repair to eliminate the cracks. Turns out all he did was paint over the cracks with no repair what so ever. And the paint job looks like someone threw dirt on it as it was drying. There are bumps and dimples all over it. The white stuff is the reflection from the clouds.
On the big air inlet above the engine hatch, there were a number of places where the paint had chipped away and the white primer was showing through. This was Justin’s repair…
I had also asked him to repaint the louvers on the rear of the coach as they were looking a little tired and dull. It looks like all he did was get out the rattle can (spray can) and spray over what ever was already on the louvers. Dirt, warts and all. And you can even see a hint of red over spray on the black. Not sure how he accomplished that.
And to wrap up the engine hatch, on the lower edge there was not enough clearcoat applied so the finish is dull.
But, apparently it all got applied on the opposite side where we have more runs in the paint.
The final area they worked on was the bathroom window. There were four screw holes that used to have snaps for a solar fabric window cover. We no longer use the window cover as we installed a window awning instead. But I wanted the snaps removed and the resulting holes repaired. I should have left the snaps and just let it quit bothering me. Instead we got a paint and fiberglass repair that appears to be the work of a 3 year old.
The one thing I thought he did ok on was the window frames. But he even managed to screw that up. Yup, overspray on the freshly painted window frame.
I must say as I was leaving after I told him how unhappy I was, he did offer me a free wax job if I ever came back. He also gave me an empty bottle of polishing compound and some rags and said I could just buff it all and it would be as good as new. I thought I was paying for it to look as good as new?
I hate to trash any business, but I hope this serves as a warning for anyone considering using Banner RV Paint and Auto in Golden, MS for any work on their beloved Tiffins. Don’t do it!
Obligatory cat photo follows. This little guy, I named him RB, adopted me while I was staying at the Downtown RV Park in Red Bay. Story was he was a mouser and was employed by a nearby business. He was starved for attention.