Western Auto closes suddenly, customers left with questions

MEDFORD, Ore.– **UPDATE** A family-owned auto and RV store in Medford closed without notice this past week leaving customers wondering what happened.

All that could be found was a notice on the door and a voice-mail saying the store was no longer open. Now some customers are concerned about what happened and what that means for their warranties.

Off of Highway 62 going out to White City, all that’s left of Western Auto Sales & RV are a few RVs and an empty room.

“Things just went downhill with it I guess,” said Charlie Bowie, a recent customer.

Bowe says he purchased a camping trailer from the family-owned store at the beginning of the summer for him and his fiance. He said they chose Western Auto because it was a local mom-and-pop shop.

“We’re rookies so we felt pretty confident going through here cause we knew if we called them with any questions we needed they had the answers,” he said.

With a warranty on the first year with the trailer, the couple felt comfortable with their decision. However, after a recent trip, he says the trailer had a leak.

Bowe called the store repeatedly until a voicemail notified them the store had closed due to “circumstances outside of [Western’s] control.”

“We were hoping to have the help of this company to go with the first year,” said Bowe. “The big concern now is spending out of pocket.”

Bowe says he’s taken the trailer to another store to get it fixed. He’s still waiting for a quote but estimates it could end up costing them a couple thousand dollars. He says it appears he wasn’t the only one.

“I actually jokingly said, ‘Oh I must be the first victim,'” said Bowe. “And he’s like, ‘Oh you’re actually not. We’re starting to see a couple of you guys.'”

NBC5 News reached out to the owners of Western Auto to see what was going on. The family said it could not comment at this time. According to Medford Police, there is an investigation underway but declined to provide details. The nature of the investigation and whether the owners are being investigated is unknown.

But customers like Bowe don’t want to speculate.

“All I’ve seen is Facebook rumors and rumors spread way too fast,” he said.

Bowe expects he’ll just have to pay out of pocket for repairs on his trailer. After choosing to go with the local mom-and-pop shop, Bowe just hopes they’ll be all right as well.

“With these guys, no I just wish them the best,” he said. “Hopefully they can come back from it but we’ll see what happens.”

After this story went online, Western Auto’s owner spoke to NBC5 News and clarified that the police investigation involves an employee and not ownership. As a result, it is not possible to reopen.

Customers with new trailer warranties on products they’ve sold can be honored at any Forest River or Heartland dealership. Extended warranties can be honored anywhere. Western Auto has fixed problems with their phone and encourages any customers with questions to contact them at the 541-500-8555.

*The article has been updated to reflect clearer the investigation. It also reflects options available to customers of Western Auto. 

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