I thought it might be helpful to others planning their winter projects for me to share our recent experiences with HILO Roofs and their Surf Roof product. For the record, this doesn’t directly relate to the product recall, although we did have to drive around with that bra strap on the roof for nearly 3 months waiting for them not to solve our problems because they were so busy dealing with retrofits. We ordered the Surf Roof in December 2018 after lots of research and it was fitted under supervision of HILO personnel at their factory in Preston. The fitter is more local to me (north east Scotland) and he agreed to undertake the training with HILO and my roof was his hands-on training session to allow him to become a qualified fitter. It is important to note that the work done by this fitter was, in my opinion, of a high standard, but following this debacle, he removed himself from the list of qualified fitters and will no longer touch my van – he fitted the roof, a wonderful Titan bed and an external gas tank, the rest of the conversion has been done by others. I’ve got a beauty of a van, with quality detail, but unfortunately the roof has failed, making it essentially not fit for purpose as a camper. We experienced significant leaks in the canvas at the beginning of June on the first outing for the van (through the fabric itself, the seams and the bathtub seal failing) – water pouring through the headlining, and our stuff getting wet. After an inordinate number of phone calls, emails and providing video evidence showing the scale of the problem, we got agreement from Mr Pendlebury that the fitter could make a temporary repair using a waterproofing solution and reworking the seal, on the condition that HILO would replace the canvas at a later date as it was demonstrably faulty. Although this dealt with the worst of the leaks it did not fix the problem entirely and subsequently we noticed that the condensation build up was excessive: to the point where we needed to use our window vac to wipe down the canvas before closing the roof to avoid all our stuff getting wet. It took until the last week of September for them to pick up the van for the agreed replacement of the canvas along with doing the modifications for the product recall. There were endless phone calls and chains of emails to get to this point, but HILO would not confirm whether the replacement canvas had been fabricated. Prior to the van being taken I had a number of conversations with the production engineer who assured me that they would be able to fix everything to my satisfaction. It was going to be a 700 mile round-trip for a van now with 5k on the clock, so I didn’t agree to this lightly. The details are tedious, but the end result was that, after they had taken my van from Aberdeen to Preston, they refused to replace the canvas and returned the van with ‘adjustments’ to the existing canvas and some very dodgy refinishing of my interior. This work left one of the previous holes in the canvas and it continues to leak through the seams at the windows. But apparently it’s our fault: “The hole in the canvas is likely to have been caused by your actions which are a direct cause of you ordering a roof without a roof bed which is part of the HiLo Surf roof system. You also seem to be having an issue with the windows in your canvas which were made to your specification. Because of these facts we will not be replacing your canvas at a cost to us.” (email correspondence from the production engineer, Mr Jake Dunn) We were also told that we should expect condensation build up because we live in Scotland. This is a roof that was advertised as being “breathable” and HILO now claims that with a Surf roof you must lower the roof bed before sleeping downstairs otherwise you should expect condensation. That is nonsensical (and not in any of their literature) – heaven knows what might happen is someone dared to sleep ‘upstairs’? I wonder what damage this roof would have caused if we had a roof bed – anything coming into contact with the canvas would be saturated. We have always operated the roof in accordance with the instructions and demonstrations we were given by our fitter at handover. In case anyone thinks we’ve got unreasonable expectations, this is our third VW and we’ve literally spent years camping in the previous two throughout Europe, from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean, so we know our stuff. We fitted a Reimo roof (also with no roof bed) to our T5 and we spent over 400 nights in it over an 11 year period, in all seasons – no leaks, no serious condensation issues, ‘even’ in Scotland - I did of course catch the canvas in the 'scissors', so for years I have been paranoid about dropping a roof carefully, and though the rear hinge of the Surf was an advantage! Ten months after buying a brand new T6 base vehicle, we have spent almost £45k (so far) on a bespoke camper van that can’t be used in the rain! So, on the basis of our experiences anyone needs to consider very carefully whether this is a reputable company, and if they are selling products worth putting on a vehicle that will be used in the UK – we know others have had significant problems, many of which are documented on this forum. It is perhaps indicative of the situation that, according to the production engineer, Mr Pendlebury changed his mobile phone number due to the volume of complaints he was getting – it explains why I couldn’t get through to him after August. Our experience shows that they have sold us a product that is poorly designed for use in the UK (of insufficient quality and not fit for purpose) and we have been subjected to a shocking level of customer service – they also still owe us the agreed costs for putting 800 miles on our van (there are many facets to this!). Unfortunately in our case we are going to have to seek recompense through the courts as HILO has refused to adequately repair or replace the faulty product, and will not agree to mediation or arbitration – we have been left with no alternative. You can probably imagine the stress this has caused – we also had to cancel our planned camper van holiday this year thanks to this bunch of charlatans, the first time since 2004. I think the phrase “buyer beware” is an understatement. Pictures and videos are available, including the frankly shoddy refinishing by HILO (I use that word carefully).