Pasadena, CA 2012 JUCY camper accident

JUCY Camper leaves a sour taste

December 23, 2012

Pasadena, CA 2012 JUCY camper accident

The next stage in our dispute with Jucy Rentals has been to contact the owners directly.

Hello Mr. T and Mr. D,

I am writing to first refute your firm’s refund of $77.45, and second to disclose to you the quality of your company’s service, including the merchantability and serviceability of the vehicle provided us.

We are requesting that your firm return our full $500.00 deposit. If done, we will sign full liability releases.

As to the first issue, on December 4, 2012, your manager in California, Ms. M, issued me an e-mail stating that she was refunding a total of $77.45 from our discontinued use of the vehicle following an accident mid-month, and our $500.00 deposit.

Ms. M noted that we did not use the vehicle for 20 days into our third month, and was willing to refund this non-used portion at $27.25 each night with the accompanying tax. This with our $500.00 deposit (or bond) resulted in a total amount to be refunded of $1,099.00.

From this, Ms. M claimed the following deductions were to be deducted from this refund, as follows:

1. Excessive mileage: Ms. M stated our contract provided for 100 miles daily, or 7,000 total miles for the period we used the vehicle. It is undisputed we traveled an additional 3,278 miles. Ms. M charged us $0.25 for each excessive mile with tax, totaling $901.45.

However, we had orally contracted with Ms. M a reduction in the excessive mileage rate to $0.20. Insofar as the oral modification was for a period not to exceed three months, the oral modification is permitted under California’s Statute of Fraud law.

Also, much of the mileage incurred was due to problems with the vehicle, which is better addressed in our disclosure of services.

2. Deep Cleaning Fee: Ms. M further stated that she would provisionally deduct $275.00 to provide for deep cleaning of the vehicle due to the fact we had our cat with us on our trip. Ms. M. conceded we were not informed of any pet restrictions, but stated that had she seen our cat earlier in the initial negotiations for the vehicle, she would have communicated such a restriction.

Of course, this could not stand up in a legal test in California, as any attempt to enforce a non-disclosed restriction would be deemed arbitrary and capricious, and clearly not enforceable. Moreover, the vehicle was obviously compromised and not serviceable following the accident on November 30, 2012. Any concern over cat hair in such a circumstance is ludicrous.

Finally, my husband injured his knee on a screw on the bed’s hinges, which was too long. Initially, the injury drew blood, but we were not concerned with his knee. More recently, my husband has again begun limping, and the knee feels hot.

//The following is written with the intention of sharing it with our friends, family, and acquaintances via social media. The names of Jucy’s employees will be altered. The above letter will also be shared.//

The vehicle

In the beginning when we found Jucy Rentals they seemed good value for money. It’s quite a feat to go through 26 states whilst living in a vehicle. The Jucy camper had a small kitchen sink, gas ring, refrigerator, cupboard with various sizes of pots and pans, coffee mugs, rocks glasses, plates, cutlery, and even a tin opener.

However, when we received the vehicle we were more than surprised to see its condition. Paint was peeling or missing from the bumpers, the radio button cover and one coat hook were missing, several of the advertising stickers were peeling on the outside of the car and the offside front tire was so badly worn on the inside edge that it was in dire need of replacement.

These problems were pointed out to the sales person, and I enquired whether we were in fact supposed to take this vehicle? The company was aware we were going to be traveling the USA, and blogging about our journey. After making a call, the sales person confirmed this was indeed our vehicle and insisted everything would work. So I took the keys and started our trip.

Once on the road, we found the steering wheel would shake at speeds around 60mph, and there was wind noise even with the windows fully rolled up.

There were so many near misses on the freeway from people coming too close because of the colorful advertising and the picture of the WWII pin up girl on the rear.

Sleeping inside the vehicle was uncomfortable. In fact, the very first time we set the bed up, Peter knelt on a screw causing a puncture wound in his knee drawing blood. The screw was securing the hinges on the folding part of the bed, and was too long, going not only into the base of the bed but right through it. Despite immediately administering hydrogen peroxide, Peter’s knee was swollen and he felt pain when walking. Unfortunately because Peter had scheduled Seminar events and the USA Nationals to compete he had to grin and bear it.

Even now, when he wakes up in the morning his knee still aches where the screw went in.

Back to the vehicle

Sleeping. The rear seat constantly stuck into our ribs causing pain and restless nights. Sleeping the opposite way was more comfortable. However, because the sliding doors didn’t have a good seal, there was a constant draft blowing through them (where our heads were). On nights, we were woken up by the icy wind, and had to turn the engine and heaters on two or three times to warm the camper up.

Despite the faults, the camper wasn’t too bad, and for short breaks during the summer it would prove quite serviceable if a little cramped. We wouldn’t recommend more than two people use it, as the penthouse (the bed on top of the roof) felt very claustrophobic and was also prone to condensation.

Oil Change, Transmission, Accruing Extra Miles

At one point the oil change light came on. We contacted the Jucy office in Los Angeles and were told by an Apollo RV agent Ms. A to go get it serviced {Apollo RV and Jucy share the same office and agents}.

We accrued extra miles as we had to divert from the countryside.

During the oil change the mechanic stated there may or may not be a transmission leak. The Apollo RV agent Ms. A, paid for the oil change and told us we would have to take it to a Dodge dealership, again accruing more mileage.

Unfortunately Ms. A was unable to get an appointment, but asked us to drive to the dealership anyway and if I wouldn’t mind purchasing transmission fluid. She stated they would reimburse me. I said “no problem.”

At the dealership, I was able to get a rep to come out and quickly look at it. They thought it was an overflow issue and to have the fluid on-hand just in case. I purchased the transmission fluid for $9.20, for which we have yet to be reimbursed (both receipts were shown to Ms. M).

When the oil change light came on again and I was able to reach Ms. M she indicated that I shouldn’t have gotten the oil change the first time, or at all for that matter, as the camper can go without for 10,000 miles. She stated she didn’t know why the agent approved that.

After Sales and Customer Service, Extra mileage again

The last part of our trip was heading north to San Francisco and Oregon, in December. Having already suffered from the cold wind whistling through the doors, we decided to take a diversion back to Los Angeles, accruing extra miles again, to swap the camper we had for a more airtight one.

We arrived in LA Friday evening, parked the camper up on the street next to Ralphs supermarket, and went to get something to eat.

I walked 10 paces, heard a loud bang, turned around, and saw the aftermath of the collision. Upon returning to the camper, we could see the whole front wing, headlight, and left corner of the fender were smashed in.

Once the initial shock had passed, I began trying to contact the Los Angeles Jucy office, while Peter took the details of all parties involved. This was between 6:45 & 7:00pm.

The police arrived and made sure everyone was ok. Meanwhile I was still trying to get someone to answer the after hours number; it never went to voicemail.

A tow truck came for the other vehicle at 7:30pm, some 30 minutes after they were called. I was finally able to get a live person at 7:31pm, after Peter found another number on a manual Jucy had given us.

Mr. A, the Jucy contact in New Zealand, said he would contact Ms. M, the Jucy manager in the USA, and have our vehicle towed.

When Mr. A called us back, he said Ms. M was busy in a meeting and said that I should call the ACA (tow service) and to get the ACA to call New Zealand. Apparently Jucy couldn’t dial an 800 number from New Zealand, but the tow service could call Jucy on their 800 number.

I started to get upset, as what was being asked of me made me uncomfortable about the company. I expressed this to Mr. A. He didn’t seem phased by the request he had made and repeated Ms. M was busy in a meeting and it would be a simple task.

Anyway, my call to the ACA went something like this:

Me: “Hi, my name is Anahit Lewis and I’ve been in an accident. I have a rental through Jucy Rentals, but they’re out of New Zealand. I have their membership number, but you need to contact them, because they can’t contact you, because you have an 800 line. Although they have an 800 line that you can get through to.”

ACA rep: “Uhhh, I’m sorry can you repeat that?”

I tried several times to get the ACA rep to contact New Zealand. She finally did.

After some time, Mr. A called back and told us he had spoken to Ms. M again, that a tow was on their way and that a replacement camper would be there the next morning.

Now when Mr. A said a tow is on their way, we thought great, all wrapped up in the next 45 minutes…wrong. Not when the tow driver doesn’t bother pulling up directions to our location.

The tow driver called four times in total. On the last call, our friend Sergio spent 5 minutes talking him through all the streets of Pasadena while we were busy unloading the camper. I should note the location is extremely well known, no doubt Google would have plotted it easily.

The tow eventually made it around 10pm, three hours fifteen minutes after the accident had occurred, two and half hours from when we initially made contact with Jucy. It’s 25 miles between the Jucy L.A. office and where the accident happened, mainly on freeways.

But what of Jucy? The company never bothered to ask if we’d be okay for the night, ie. set up in a hotel.

Sergio loaded up his 4runner with our possessions, and transported us to another friend’s house. By the time we got to their house we had already decided not to accept the camper the following morning. The thought of anything else happening, being abandoned again in a strange place far from friends, and our overall experience with the camper and service, made the decision easy.

Saturday morning we went to the Jucy L.A. office in an attempt to meet with Ms. M.

We were greeted by a very helpful lady called Ms. D (Apollo RV), who emphathized completely with our situation, and tried several times to call Ms. M to no avail.

In a last ditch attempt, Ms. D sent an email to Ms. M to contact us.

We informed Ms. D we would be back on Monday morning.

Saturday and Sunday passed with no contact from Ms. M or anyone else at Jucy to ask about our situation, or even why we had refused the replacement car.

Monday morning, we again made our way to Jucy to try and meet with Ms. M. She showed at 10am.

After a brief greeting she checked out the Jucy office and decided it was in too much of a mess to have a meeting in there, so we would discuss things in the public greeting area?

Peter began by stating we required the last months rental fee plus our deposit back. This was promptly refused.

He then pointed out we were abandoned on the street and left to fend for ourselves. Ms. M’s reply was that we were not abandoned. She went on to explain that it was she and Mr. A who spent an hour to “organize” the tow truck. One hour? Her and Mr. A?

I then went on to list the catalogue of faults mentioned at the beginning of this post, emphasizing we had to come back to LA accruing extra mileage to exchange the camper, or risk freezing to death in the far colder Northern USA.

I also outlined the entire evening’s events of the accident, including the back and forth phone calls to New Zealand. Ms. M responded with more excuses.

At one point during the conversation Ms. M actually admitted they had left us stranded. Once she realized what she said it was quickly changed to “I was the one who ended up organizing the tow truck”.

I stated “you didn’t call the tow truck”. According to Ms. M we didn’t call the tow truck because it was her guy that came out.

When we look at this now, we think “what organizing?” Having three people make a call to get the camper towed?

The organized and efficient thing would have been for Ms. M to take charge of the situation, contact the ACA herself, and call us to let us know what was happening. Not involve two people (Mr. A and I) who couldn’t close the deal. The ACA would have called in a tow company nearest to us, similar to the tow company that came for the car that hit us, versus a tow company who won’t bother looking up the location.

If Ms. M ever did contact the tow company we believe it was purely because Mr. A told her I was upset.

By this stage, Peter and I were both pretty angry, because at no time did Ms. M take accountability. No empathy. No sincerity.

In fact the way she spoke to us was patronizing, as I had to tell her “don’t speak to me as if you are admonishing a child” when we were discussing the contract.

We asked her if there was anyone above her in the USA and the answer was No. Which made sense, since in the beginning when I was negotiating the monthly mileage Ms. M had said she was the boss, and for all intents and purposes, could make things happen.

We told her we were going to go directly to the owners of the company in New Zealand. She stated it was better that she contacts them.

Anyway, at one point during the conversation Ms. M admitted that she was in a restaurant when she got the phone call.

When we asked why she didn’t come out of the restaurant to make the original call to the tow company, she replied she didn’t have the appropriate phone numbers with her.

Hang on a second, Ms. M’s in a business meeting and Mr. A called her, so she must have a work phone with her, right? Are we to believe there were no emergency numbers in a work phone, and if so why didn’t she take the number when Mr. A called her? The number Mr. A gave to me?

I’ll fast forward through Ms. M stating she did everything to help us, and come to the part where she said she called some bodyshop they use to do all the repairs on the campers. She wanted to see if they could help with a tow truck. Fair enough, but didn’t Ms. M just say she didn’t have the appropriate phone numbers? Wasn’t that the reason WE had to phone the ACA in the first place?

At this point, it’s not entirely about how shoddy the camper was, or how long it took the tow truck to get there. It’s about about having no faith in this company. It’s about being left on the streets to fend for ourselves with no communication or help from Jucy to get us out of there. What if we had been out in the boonies? Or in a bad neighborhood?

It’s also about a lack of integrity, honesty, and compassion.

Latest update

Jucy wants to refund us $77.45. That’s all that’s left after they reneged on the lower excess mileage charges I had negotiated with Ms. M, and the original arrangement where we agreed we would be doing more miles in the first couple of months. They also slapped on a deep cleaning fee because we had Pepe our cat in there with us.

Apparently pets aren’t allowed in their vehicles, even though there is nothing about that in the contract we signed or under their online FAQs page (a smoking cleaning fee is disclosed however).

When I asked Ms. M if she could work with me on the cost of excess miles at $0.25 cents, she indicated that she had provided $0.20 cents per mile to previous renters and could do the same for me, but could not give them to me for free. I said that was fine. Ms. M reneged on this agreement.

//The initial letter in this post addresses the above latest update.//

For more reviews on Jucy


We would appreciate a response as soon as possible.


Anahit Lewis
Peter Thain



  1. Monflo says:

    Their loss. I think you should add a review on YELP. Very poor customer service indeed!

  2. R.R. says:

    Thank you for posting this experience! I was searching around for a travel camper as I plan to do some extensive traveling of the West Coast. I will definitely not be using Juicy Camper given their complete lack of customer service!!!

  3. Bluesox says:

    To add my experiences with Jucy Camper USA: I had rented a Jucy Champ in 2013 through a German travel agency, starting in LA, to travel three weeks through the southwest. My result is, after these three weeks:

    1. I like the concept of these “mini campers”.

    2 I do not like the policy and service of Jucy as a company.

    The BAD:

    I had a flat tire on the first day, on the highway outside Bakersfield, California, that means, a FEW MILES AWAY FROM ASSISTANCE. Although I was sick with problems on my spine and told them so, Jucy refused for 4 hours (!) to call roadside assistance (!) and obviously stopped roadside assistance, after I had called them myself (!!). Instead, they urged me to install the spare tire by myself, despite my medical condition. More, the repair kit was not complete, so I would have not been able to exchange the tire by myself. … What a service.

    With my extra insurance through the German travel agency, that covered tire and glass dameges, it was not a problem to get the costs for the new tire reimbursed. Without that, it would have been another 180 US$ from my pocket, as the basic insurances offered by Jucy do not cover these costs.

    To continue: The gas cans used in their stove are pretty special and not easily found in department stores. The one handed to me was obviously only partly filled, although a full one was part of the contract, and empty after 13 days. No kitchen use for a week. Luckily, I have always an “emergency stove” with me. It was easier to buy a European-style gas can in the USA than these specialized Jucy cans.

    The build quality and robustness of these Jucy Champs “could be better”. Be aware of failing car fuses, failing hinges in the bunk bed, … and so on. Almost every Jucy renter that I have met during these three weeks had a story to tell. Also, the cleanness of my “Jucy” could have been better.

    I asked my German travel agency for regress for all these issues, and they discussed my request with Jucy. As a result, Jucy offered 123 US$ for ALL problems, including hours waiting on a hot, dirty and dangerous US highway. That is ridiculous.

    To tell at least a bit of “THE GOOD”:

    As said, the concept of a mini camper with rooftop bed and built-in kitchen is absolutely convincing, if you travel in a party of two, are outdoor fans and do that in a mostly sunny season. The mileage is absolutely acceptable for US standards, the basic car, a Dodge Grand Caravan, is small enough and easy to handle. Use foldable or collapsible suitcases, because all hardcases will block the “living room”. The trunk is filled with the built-in kitchen, i.e. no stowaway for luggage. ….

    …and ….

    use other rental companies. Escape RV offers a similar car, and others may follow.

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