Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scott Hubble, CEO of Little Guy Response to my critique

Scott Hubble, CEO of Little Guy Trailers


I am writing today with respect to your 2013 Silver Shadow.
It was brought to my attention this morning that you had posted a couple of Youtube videos that needed my attention.
I put everything on hold and viewed them this morning.
First, may I express my sincere thanks for deciding to purchase the Silver Shadow.
We believe it is a fantastic trailer, in terms of quality, aesthetics and function.
That said, we also realize a) mistakes are made from time to time and b) we need to engage in CQC.
As you mentioned, the trailer’s warranty certainly would have covered the issues that you had.
We stand behind our product 100%, even post-warranty.  Our aim is to have a 0% warranty claim rate.
While we don’t meet our goal,  the Little Guys and Shadows have had a failure rate of less than 1% for quality related issues.
We have had some systematic component failures, but the vast majority of claims do not stem from quality control.
Your case does prove to be the exception.  I’ve sat and discussed this with the Warranty Administrator as well as the Owner.
On behalf of the company, I apologize for this lack of oversight.  It is absolutely unacceptable.
I pulled your warranty registration and identified your VIN in order to trace the work order for your trailer.
The goal being to identify the plumber, electrician and foreman when your trailer was constructed.
We have begun speaking to them already and have/will share the pertinent parts of your video.
We are also taking precautionary steps to share the issues you exhibited with our dealer body.  Our Warranty Administrator is putting together a Preventative Notice.
You are right, it was certainly good that you possess the skills that you do – where others may have had their plans delayed or halted awaiting repair.
While your savvy saved us the work of sorting and financing your issues (and we appreciate it), it did leave us in the dark for a little while.
With respect to your videos, we appreciate the instructional perspective you bring.
On the flip side, we prefer the disparaging words weren’t accompanying the review, as it is not an accurate global representation of our product.
That said, your video does accurate depict your trailer, so we understand (and agree with your specific trailer review).
We would greatly appreciate it if you would edit the first video’s caption at the end.
If you are willing to soften the edges, it would go a long way with us and what we are trying to achieve – bring a great looking, high quality trailer to the masses.
I am not asking that you alter the truth, change your video, your experiences, your reviews, etc…  Thank you in advance, should you choose to do anything about the final frame/remarks of global quality issues.
Over the past 3 years we have tripled in size.  Going from 50% of the teardrop market to over 80%.
During that time frame, we’ve build 2500 units.  There have been less than 10 plumbing/sink/leak issues since Jan 2010.
Below, I made a couple notes, for your benefit.
Video 1 (poor quality):
·        You mentioned that the pump was always on – I wanted to ensure that you do in fact have a switch for your water pump.
Video 2 (poor quality II):
·        You mention the linoleum may have been used as a cheap way to finish the floor of the trailer
o   I have been with the company over 6 years and the floor has never changed.  It has always been unfinished Eucalyptus.
o   About 9 months ago, we began installing linoleum over the wood to provide for easier cleaning & better finish.  It actually added about $50 to the bill of material.
Video 3 (floor board tip):
·        Thank you – We have rounded the floor boards for just that reason (splinters) for the past couple years.
·        That said, rounding is NOT sanding….I have instructed the foreman that oversees the prep area to sanding post-round.
Video 4 (camping trip):
·        Thanks for the kind words – glad you had a good, dry night’s sleep.
·        A word about the tent leak – I noticed you did not have the rain fly installed.
o   One comes with every tent (was the box sealed when you got it?)
At the end of the day, we recognize you experienced several issues.
None of them should have ever occurred and each should have been caught upon final inspection.
The only way to grow and improve is to not be defensive, check our pride, listen and make accompanying wholesale changes.
Only when you are humble, can you accept change and learn.  Many of our changes both in function and quality are a direct result of user feedback.
In spite of tripling in size, we know our roots and strive stay true to them.
Once again Mark, thank you for your comments, feedback, instruction and most notabably
being a customer.
Feel free to contact me should you wish.
Response II
Thanks for your response, Mark.
I've jotted some notes below.
Have a great day.

Scott Hubble
p: 877.545.4897  I  f: 330.791.7120
scott@golittleguy.com  l  www.golittleguy.com"
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Fellows [mailto:mark@markdfellows.com] 
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2013 6:56 PM
To: Scott Hubble
Cc: mark@markdfellows.com
Subject: Re: 2013 Silver Shadow(A long response)
I very much appreciate your attention on this, and your time.
Giving good customer service takes a lot of work, and devotion.  I can appreciate that!
However I have some issues, and some questions I would respectfully like to bring up with you.
Making videos is not how I make my living, although my videos, reviews, and other media outlets are mildly popular.
I charge 55 dollars an hour for technical consulting, and have been in business since 2007, so I know a little about giving my customers quality.  I understand what is a simple mistake, and what is poor quality and workmanship.
Of course, my time is no where near as valuable as a CEO of a prosperous company, bu
but I can assure you, my time is VERY valuable to me and others.
Let me just say, people read my reviews elsewhere, and watch my videos here because I have a reputation for honest, thorough, and fair reviews...
I will be fair with you, as I try to be with everyone I deal with.
Although this media outlet only has around 400,000 views, I have others.  One with almost 1,000,000 views. 
This is the only one of my many sites I have put anything up about your trailers, so don't worry.
Fair enough.  Thanks.
I have other issues I haven't mentioned that need attention, please.
I paid for a 5 x 10 cover, and when I got home I discovered the cover I was given wouldn't fit, because it was for a 5 x 8 silver shadow.
I was told your company shipped the wrong covers to the dealer. I was told 3 weeks ago that you would be sending me a the cover that I paid for, and I would send back the wrong one to you...
I don't care who fixes this, but seriously, this is just one more irritant that makes your company look bad, in light of what I have already discovered.
Agreed.  Here is the background on the organization that may help explain that.
Pleasant Valley Trailers builds every trailer for Little Guy Worldwide.
Little Guy Worldwide is the distributor and also a re-seller of associated goods.
One of the main vendors for covers, tents, visors, etc is PAHAQUE.

Little Guy is in the midst of their busiest year ever and literally cannot order enough product to stock their inventory.  By the time it is received, it has been shuffled off to a customer.
Pleasant Valley Trailers, Pahaque and a few other vendors are building at maximum capacity and are literally weeks behind on new product builds.

I hope that explains why you did not receive your 5x10 cover in a timely fashion.
I have zero explanation why you were sent a 5x8 cover, other than the individual originally fulfilling your order did not read the label closely.
Action taken:
I think you meant the second videos captions, not the first.
Although I believe everything is true, I don't like the way I said it, so I edited it out.The only thing not factual in that caption, was that the Camp Inn, was "five times the quality". I really can't know the previous for sure.   It will take some time to revert to the new video without the caption.
The first videos caption will stay as it is.
Very good…thank you. 
I will tell you that we may have a general statement (not an argument, debate, etc…) regarding our track record posted as a comment.
I don’t want people to think this is the norm…nor that we aren’t available to you or any other Little Guy or Shadow owner.
1. When I bought the trailer, I asked the salesman what the warranty was on the 10 x 10 room.  He didn't know.  He called your company and you didn't know...  Okay, whether you make the tent our not, you are selling it. It has YOUR name on it, so you should know what the warranty is!
That is like me going into REI to buy a tent(I own 2 of theirs), and them not knowing what the warranty is on one of their tents. 
I paid 400.00 for my last tent from them, which carries a life time warranty.  Yours, I paid 690.00 on and know one seems to know what the warranty is for it...
It too is a lifetime warranty, but they do not warranty against “normal wear and tear.”
Just to follow up, did you receive the rain fly with the tent?
2. This issue with the plumbing isn't just some mistake I blew out of proportion.  This isn't just a loose fitting, which I tried to illustrate in the video.
If I hadn't fixed this myself, I would have never known about it.  Sloppily cutting ends off of PVC tubing, heating them up with a torch, and jamming them onto fittings, is no way to do work.
There are several issues with this.  A. PVC, is one of the worst materials you can use.  It may be flexible and cheap, but it is poor quality materials, and obviously leads to poor workmanship.  The install in this trailer is the type of work I would have done in the 5th grade.
Seriously, it is that bad.
I am not suggesting you put copper in the trailers, but at least some polyethylene tubing, with some proper fittings. This is what I will ultimately install when I get the time.
Besides how sloppy it is to use PVC in that way, PVC is one of the worst materials to leach chemicals and taste into the water.  There is even a scientific article that experiments were ruined from chemicals leaching into scientific experiments from tubing.
I don't believe PVC was even approved for potable water in residential until recently. I think some agencies caved.
I have no idea what happens when you burn it like that.
At any rate, poly would look much better, and be a more quality install.  This is what I will install in there when I get the chance.
I know your issue was not blown out of proportion – the video was great for my Warranty Administrator (who flipped out since he typically has to deal with this), Line foreman, plumber and most notably the owner himself.
You’re spot on about the approach and I have taken the PVC information to the purchasing department.  I role is global by definition and have a business and law background, not one related to any trade or construction of product.
You’ve educated me on PVC and I am going to get action taken immediately.
3. Electrical tape does NOT belong in a new electrical install!    There should be shrink tubing on those battery ends.  At any rate, there should NOT have been electrical tape sloppily looped around that cable that some nicked!
I don’t know what was worse to see…the sloppy plumbing or the “cover up” from cutting the cord.
One thing I stress is admitting and fixing a mistake immediately.  To do otherwise is misrepresentation and a lack of integrity.
4. I don't like the way those support blocks under the beds are fastened down.  They aren't installed to last.
They are a newer feature – with the idea to support the 2nd floor/bed.
In years past there was no support whatsoever.  I’ll get with the prep foreman to look at a redesign.
5. I am glad you have taken action to have those boards sanded.  I seriously got long splinters in my hand and fingers every time I opened one. 
I wasn't going to tolerate my delicate wife getting splinters in her hands while we were out camping.
Chivalry still exists.
I know your company had quality issue in 2008, and 2009 with people getting pits in the fiberglass of the shells of their campers.  How did you remedy that?
The reason I am asking, is because I am trying to be fair and gauge actions based on what you have said.  This is for fairness.
To be frank, we employed the nuclear option.  That is to say, Little Guy Worldwide left the previous manufacturer (The Little Trailer Company, now defunct) in late 2009.
Between the delamination and rotting on ’05 and ‘06’s, corrosion on ’08 and ‘09’s that employed aluminum sides and a general lack of improvement in quality/new features/passion, we simply had to part ways.
As such, in December of 2009, Pleasant Valley Trailers became the exclusive manufacturer for Little Guy Worldwide.

That said, every single one we found out about, Pleasant Valley Trailers fixed, courtesy of Little Guy Worldwide.
It has gone a long way with these victimized owners as we want to hold forth the mantle of ensuring every owner of a Little Guy or Silver Shadow (regardless of manufacturer) is a happy camper.
Possible actions in the future:
I would like for fairness, to post your email to my blog and install a link to it in the comments so people can see your email. This can only help you, and your company.  It lets people know that you address issues.
Absolutely.  We are comfortable with who we are….knowing we must constantly pursue quality and improvement.
I can put a annotation in the video telling people to check out the link to your response.
I will put an annotation in the vacation video telling people we didn't use the fly like we were supposed to, as you have responded.
We did have the fly, we just didn't know it was a fly.  Usually with our other tents, it is all screens, and when you install the fly, it is just solid nylon like this tent already has on the sides that roll down.
All of that is very much appreciated.
Sorry if this email although long, might come across as abrupt.  After a long day of consulting, I just wanted to make sure I got back to you, but had some things to say.
The reason I put the videos up was not out of anger, or to trash your company, but to give people solid information about what they might be buying.
I knew your intent….while it is a tough pill to swallow, it made me more sick seeing the oversight and lapse in integrity.
I truly appreciated your feedback and to have it posted on line is what I term to be a “life consequence” – something you live with due to your actions.
From what you have said, you intend to address them, so the videos did what they were supposed to do.
I have heard companies are made not based on IF they have problems, but how they handle the one they do have, so you have an opportunity.
Thank you for your time, patience, and attention!
Thank you once again for your time, effort, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and communication.
Mark D. Fellows

Response III

Mark... I failed to mention that I would be willing to build you a new trailer in exchange for your current one... If that is something you desire. At the end of the day we want to do whatever it takes.

Scott Hubble
Sent Via Voice to Text on My SIII.

I will seriously think about it!

In the end, Scott agreed to write me an extended warranty for an additional year of coverage above the standard warranty, rather than me going through the hastle of switching trailers.

The extended warranty for replacment at my descresion was my idea.

In summary, I think I am as pleased as I can be with how this was handled, and how much attention Scott gave to try and make the situation right for me.

I wanted three years of coverage, but ultimately, I was granted two.

We can only do the best we can, and deal with life as it comes.

The future will tell how well this trailer suits our needs, and how well it holds up to the use.

Mark :)



  1. Very interesting and informative. Pleasantly surprised to see how Lil guy has responded and remedied an unhappy camper. I am seriously considering a fully equipped silver 6x10 and this video as well Scott's responses have been helpful. I will be calling Lil guy to see if they have in fact switched to a poly plumbing or offer as an option another choice other than PVC. Today's consumers tend to be more educated and more concerned about "leaching" or off gassing from materials used in manufacturing.
    I have no doubt that customers who can afford to buy a top of the line never mind a lesser valued model in the first place,would pay a premium for healthier components. I hope that these options are available on new '14 models already...or I may wait for a '15 if I know the changes are coming.

  2. H Erite,

    Little Guy is now using PEX plumbing, which does leach for a little while, but is better than the reinforced PVC with the burnt ends they were using.

    They use PEX in commercial and residential plumbing now most of the time. This is over copper pipe, because as population has increased, the resource of copper is getting harder to supply, which makes it much cheaper to use PEX. Most modern houses now a days use PEX. If you talk to them, they may be willing to install copper at an extra cost. I would be interested in what happens, please let me know! Mark :)

  3. Great review and action taking! Thanks.

  4. John, Thanks very much for your words of encouragement!

  5. I also bought a 2013 Little Guy 5 Wide in October of 2013 and within a week or two after our purchase from Little Guy Trailers in San Diego we were asked bring our Little Guy back in for this very warranty work. The hoses were clearly heated up to make it easier to do the installation and they replaced all the effected hoses and we couldn't be be happier with our purchase. Our dealer is great and would highly recommend both Little Guy Trailers and our dealer in San Diego. Little Guy Trailers 8148 Ronson Rd, San Diego, CA 92111 Phone:(858) 277-7607

  6. Problem with your pipes? Get it solved by the professionals at Bronx Sewer Cleaning.

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