Parts and after sales service
I purchased the camper second hand from a friend and needed some replacement parts due to normal wear and tare. Mary and the team at 36 Orange Grove Road Warwick Farm NSW 2170 were great and parts were delivered super fast and they couldn't do enough to help.
Purchased in February 2019.
Keeping it real with a Black Series Dominator
To start off I rarely give full marks to a product or service. There is always room for improvement and increasing value.
We have had our Dominator for a couple of years now.
Multiple trips to the Vic high country, Fraser Island (west coast camping) and many weekends away with family and Scouts events. We tow with a 2016 Toyota Fortuner which has been lifted and rear airbags fitted.
The Dominator has seen a lot of sealed road work, as well as medium to occasionally heavy off road tracks. It tows very well and with a good electronic brake controller (we use the Redarc Tow-Pro elite) has no issues on downhill offroad sections.
We bought the Dominator after running a soft floor camper for 6 or so years and well over 30,000km in trips all over the country. The reason for our change was to get a quicker / easier setup at camp.
We have had two warranty claims, both of which were dealt with by Black Series after we had submitted the provided forms as per their process. These were for a cracked sink basket retainer and for two AGM batteries which were not holding charge. In both cases we were happy with the outcome and how it was handled.
You will read a lot of horror stories and rants about Black Series online - you will also read occasionally glowing reports. That can make it hard to make a judgement. From my experiences here are a few of the factors I reckon people need to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing one of these campers:
1 - You are buying a Camper that is made in China to a price. That is not a negative thing, nor is it a positive thing. It is just the reality. The Dominator is expensive when compared to a tent or a basic CT, but incredibly cheap when compared to higher end locally built campers and caravans. The value here is high in comparison to the price.
2 - You are buying a camper trailer, not a Caravan. By definition this is a tent on a trailer and basic accommodation designed to provide access to remote locations. Things like air-conditioning and heating are just not part of that design intent and every tent flaps in the breeze. You need to be realistic as to what it is you want and buy a Caravan if these things are important to you.
3 - The electrical setup is one area where I've made some changes, but I have the skills and tools to do that safely. Adding a quality DC-DC charger and replacing the supplied batteries with some better quality ones has removed the one issue we had with ours. There are many other mods people have done - check out the many facebook groups for ideas.
4 - Camper Trailers are vehicles and need to be serviced! Our trailer has been serviced every 12 months and after returning from Fraser. I have also had the wheel bearings and seals changed out just to be sure that everything is tip-top.
5 - Everyone camps differently. The Dominator suits us and our camping style well. It may not suit you so do some research and thinking. E.g. How big a fridge do you need? How long do you need to support yourself off grid? Are you Bush campning or heading to Caravan parks? How much gear do you need to take with you?
6 - Lastly, every canvas tent needs to be cared for. Tents need to be completely dry before they are packed away. Damp or wet canvas will go mouldy in just a few days if you're not careful! If you are caught out by weather, setup the tent in the backyard when you get home until it is completely dry. They you can pack it away safely.
I'd buy another Dominator today. It's capable and great value for the price. If you have any warranty issues then follow the Black Series warranty process on their website, fill in the form and send them pictures of the problem. They will sort it out.
Most importantly, get out and enjoy yourselves!
Purchased in January 2017 for $17,000.00.
Looks good but thats about it
I made the mistake of purchasing my Dominator in Melbourne at a show, living in Adelaide means no warranty (well not without significant difficulty) . Have had so many problems, here's a list of the ones I can remember.
-Stove initially wouldn't work.
-An internal light doesn't work.
-Socket for fridge flakey.
-Exhaust fan for fridge compartment doesn't work. First time I opened that door found the plug crushed.
-Eyelets for awning poles, 1 missing and 1 doesn't line up with the hole in the canvas.
-regulator on gas bottle failed.
-Lots of surface rust.
-Canvas doesn't line up with other pieces.
-Cant seal the awning from weather or insects.
-Now has no power to unit at all, have reset breaker still no power.
-Lots of sharp edges of the stainless steel kitchen
-Plug in the sink doesn't work
Now there are also frustrations in the design I didn't think of when I purchased it. Can't access the gas bottles or jerry cans when set up. Jockey wheel is not long enough to get it on or off the car (have replaced it now). Very limited internal storage. I was told I could leave the awning on when packing up, but you can see the lid buckle as you try and close it.
Great Camper but there are issues - my experience from using two Dominators
My wife and I initially borrowed a friends Dominator - to see if this was for us - and also to identify things we needed to be concerned about when buying a similar unit for ourselves. Initially I didn't need to be concerned about a tow vehicle - our friends Colorado was suitably set up - Electric brakes and light connection, Anderson Plug for charging camper batteries on the move, and connection for a rearview camera (definitely needed if only using standard mirrors on tow vehicle). Thus our focus was on towing behaviour, ease of use (erection, living and packing away). We had dry weather and little wind on our trial runs, so no serious worried there. The gas connection point for the stove could be located in a more readily accessible position for us oldies. Lifting in full jerry cans and gas bottles at front is a challenge, due to the height, and yes, we got a ladder to help when putting up the awning. But in the main, we were so satisfied with the trial runs that we made a move and bought our own - but in our case, and unused second hand 2017 model - and though unused, no warranty could be carried over.
If you aren't already setup for towing, be prepared to spend on the car - suspension, braking system, hitch (high clevis, not the regular ball), and if you want the camper to ride level, then the hitch point has to be set high. The camper doesn't have an adjustable hitch height, which would be useful. Not sure if the multiway hitch could be inverted and place under the trailer hitch frame, as this would reduce the need for highest setting of the hitch on the back of the car.
After some initial short towing to get things done on the car and trailer, we then realised life would be much easier if we had some wide view tow mirrors on the car. We tried the el cheapo strap ons but these don't sit well with a diesel engine and bouncing on the road, so we bit the bullet and got some secondhad Clearviews - well worth the investment.
We also fitted the camper with a mains power in, battery charger and 240V inverter, with associated power outlets. Our camper has the fold over 'boat' rack and this is definitely useful, and easy to lift when you need to setup the camper, even when we carry the solar panel, extra tables, step ladder and Kayak.
Towing - with a Mitsubishi Challenger - handles like a dream on pretty well all sorts of track and no issues at speed limits on the highway. Luckily we had an oil cooler already fitted for the car transmission, and this is definitely recommended if doing long trips in hot weather.
Camper issues - we had initial hassles with the solar panel connection - all seemed good but the trip fuse in the switch box on the camper had dropped out. Once reset, has worked without drama. Erecting the camper - this has taken a bit of trial and error, especially to get everything aligned and the canvas generally taught. I'd recommend that these inner poles and spacers need to be marked for easier setting - especially when it is hot within the tent whilst doing this. A nice touch would be to incorporate some fine adjustment turnbuckel type fitting for easier tensioning of the canvas, but I guess that adds cost (and weight). We have had the permanent marker pen out to help setting up in the future.
Awning - this is the biggie - mostly the horizontal pole connections to the erected camper. They just do not lock in positively, so as the erection process goes, they spring out or drop out from the connection points on the camper pole frame. This definitely needs a fix to ensure once inserted and during erection, the looped link in the end of the horizontal poles cannot drop out. I'm thinking of what might be possible and will make some mods soon.
Zipping on the roof awning isn't too difficult, but we can't leave it on as we have an additional mattress installed for the main bed. But the Velcro ties around the poles are a fiddle and hard to get tight. Also had one of the elastic hooks strretch and break when the wind was too fierce in the middle of the night and the awning collapsed with weight of rain. And, for windy conditions, the vertical poles need a baseplate so they can be pegged firmly in position. With side awnings on, they can't withstand strong winds, and pegs to hold awnings to ground are too small and bend too easily. We are working on addressing these issues, and have adopted much heavier duty pegs to prevent uprooting in strong winds.
Another improvement/mod we are thinking about is to sling some pole tubes (boxes) across the back, off the tow brackets, to carry the poles, and then leave a bit more space in the camper boxes to carry additional items. Also means we can do away with pole carry bags.
We have fitted covers to the spares wheels and winches - as it is clear long exposure in the sun will soon lead to deterioration and problems later. The winch webbing will weaken and the exposed part of the tyre is already showing signs of deterioration due to the UV.
So - that sums up our experience to date. On balance, we are very happy with the Dominator, but you need to be prepared to deal with some small irritations. Not insurmountable, and these issues will be more important to some than others, but if the aim is trouble free travel and enjoyment, then be prepared to make a few personal mods. Maybe GIC will resolve the awning issues for the next upgrade, including making the awning poles stronger and less prone to bending in fierce weather. Perhaps we should have taken the awning down, but it would be better if it could withstand strong gusts and could be set taught enough to shed heavy rain. That said, and if some of the current weaknesses were addressed, I'd recommend a Dominator as a good buy.
Bad after sales and Warranty
I am still awaiting a call back from the warranty department of black series after i had to cancel my Christmas holiday due to the battery catching on fire. I bought an Alpha 2018 from the Brisbane camping show in June/July from [name removed]. The very first day I picked the trailer up, I drove 45 km home all on sealed roads and the dust caps came off. In which made my wife who took a bit of convincing that a camper trailer would be a great idea for our Family of three. I filled out the warranty request form online and numerous phone calls after 3-4 weeks i finally got a hold of [name removed] in Brisbane who gave me replacements and was told just sounds like it wasn't done correctly in the manufacturing warehouse. After my wife saying this wasn't a good omen of things to come for a 'Off Road trailer', so [name removed] agreed to get the trailer inspected to make sure the trailer was in 100% being that it was only 4-5 weeks old by this stage in which no inspection was organised even after calls for [name removed] to call me back i had not heard a thing. I finally got around to working out how to open the camper to start the weathering process which i was not shown how to open of close the camper at all, and still don't know if i am doing it right.
After awhile we decided to take the trailer out for the first time, we went on complete sealed roads and not far from home as we could not already trust the trailer. We stayed out for 2 nights, in which the battery failed, had been on the 240 v charger since we got the trailer, my vehicle as and Anderson connection. When we pulled up i checked the batteries they were sitting at 12.9 (100% from what i have been told) we had a small fridge running off the battery, which also had the solar panel supplied from Black series plugged in which the camper had been stationary and had been charging all day. Later on the very first day i checked the batteries and everything was fine, sitting at 12.8 by 8 pm, After falling to sleep and waking up to some animals around the camp site i decided to check the battery level because our food was in the fridge and found the batteries had dropped to 5 volts which is below the cut off for my fridge. so i plugged the fridge back into my vehicle to get us through the night. In the morning I later inspected the battery to see what had happened in which i was stumped the batteries would stayed charged which no draw coming from them. In which when we returned from our trip I filled out the warranty request form which only took 3 days to hear something back and a new battery was sent out, and i had to pay for the fitment of the battery as i was told black series don't have a workshop in QLD according to [name removed].
Now this is where things get interesting, camper has been on charge constantly as advise by [name removed] to keep the battery at full health. Due to health reasons we couldn't take the trailer out again straight away, so 3 months later we finally had the chance. Again all fully sealed roads and we still couldn't trust the trailer, 2 nights one and half hours from home because we didn't want to get stranded, as we found it very hard to get a hold of anyone in Black Series. Surprise surprise had found another issue with the new battery that had been installed, the 12 volt system stopped working, pump stopped working, and the one light in the trailer stopped working. So i ran everything off my vehicle to get us by for the 2 days. Once again followed the online process to black series warranty, i hear back from them saying could you please take photo's so we can inspect them about the battery system not working. In which i replied how do you show the battery not working as nothing happens when you turn the master switch one, i did not receive a reply at all about this matter.
So we had Christmas holidays booked up in Bargarra, QLD in which we were hoping the camper trailer would be 100% by this stage. I tried calling [name removed] to ask him to chase this up for me in which i did not hear a reply. So my wife and i decided we will still go as i can atleast use my vehicle to run the power. So 5 days before we leave i checked the trailer as it had been on charge since we got back and the battery was actually holding charger, so i checked the pump which worked as well and same with the light i also thought i would check the inverter that had been installed by black series as it had been handy, i just plugged in my phone charger and a massive spark and the cable connecting the invert caught fire, i quickly rushed to the battery side and notice and the battery positive terminal was on fire aswell. After putting out the fire i removed the battery and found the positive terminal black and melted along with the gel of the battery all down the side. I took photo's of the battery and the damage and emailed through to the Warranty team, I also filled out the warranty form online and tried to call in which none of these had been successful. After having to cancel our family holiday and loosing our deposits i still had not heard anything for nearly 10 days. After being apart of the Black series Owners group seeing people getting issues fixed quickly as possible so they can still enjoy their holidays i attempted to call again and still nothing. I am now back at work and decided to call the QLD store as I could never get a hold of anyone in head office which regards to my camper. I spoke to a gentleman who i can not for the life of me remember who has been trying to help, he looked me up in the system and said someone has tried to call and asked if i had any missed calls in which i did not as i know most companies now call off Private of Block numbers. The gentleman also said he would contact the warranty manager to get this sorted as quickly as possible. I called later on that day as i am fed up with the treatment i am getting and the lack of communication i am getting from black series. I requested and still am requesting a full refund of the trailer and thing to be picked up and taking from my yard as i have lost all faith in the trailer, and could have seriously hurt my 3yr old daughter, my wife or even myself. I am still awaiting someone to get in contact with my regarding this matter.
Perfect Off Road Camper
We have taken our camper trailer away for many weekend trips up the soft sand beach. Tows well behind our 80 series, easy set up and pack away, ours was purchased second hand and had done quite a lot of off road adventuring and is still in great condition
Not too bad for a single traveller
[name removed], from Sydney showroom is wonderful. There was some delay with me picking up the Dominator initially, which meant I had to cancel a trip away with friends. Did the 'trial run' from South Coast New South Wales up to Far North Queensland in January this year. To say that the annex is a proverbial pain in the head is an understatement! If you are a single traveller, and you're trying to put up the annex in the heat - forget it! They said it's easy enough for one person to erect the annex - it isn't! The annex weighs approx 42kgs! It was such a horror having to unload it every time I stopped, I ended up packing it up and sending it back via a parcel delivery service - which cost me over $200! An option for a 'summer' light material (like that of a fold out marquee) would be helpful.
I've had no after sales contact.
The main frame for the tent (in the camper) is warped, which meant it was difficult to get up, and I was never able to get the tent to be 'flush'.
The internal lights have been dodgy.
Every time I want to use the kitchen, I have to use a screwdriver to push one of the drawers in so that it slides out.
Came across a couple in Queensland who had just taken delivery of their MDC camper (different company) and were doing a 'trial run' as well. They had MDC fit the shower fitting up near the A-frame, and MDC did it at no extra cost!
Recently had to hook it up to take it up to Sydney so that I could have the rear camera which I had fitted to it (not by Black Series) checked, and the brakes are seizing up - dangerously so! Called Black Series and was told to lodge request for repairs online - but when I tried to fill in the online form it was asking for the receipt number of purchase! I mean, really, even after putting all my contact details in?!
I've had trouble with the jockey, and one of the clips to secure the fold-out keeps coming undone.
I mainly drove it on sealed roads, and a few times off road. Had no troubles.
TIP - doesn't matter what type of camper or caravan you decide to purchase, if you haven't already got them fitted to your car/4x4, then I highly advise you have suspension airbags fitted to all your wheels. This has made a huge difference to towing. Firstly, I was able to see over the back of the camper and, secondly, it takes a fair bit of pressure off the engine, which helps with fuel consumption (a little) and a more smoother towing experience. TJM (Rockhampton) fitted my suspension airbags for $550.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with my Dominator and I'm hoping to do a trip in the New Year down south. Hopefully Black Series will contact me and have the repairs done before then.
We have had ours for 6 weeks and been on 4 weekend away trips already. This is the greatest thing I have had, so much freedom the Dominator suits the two of us beautifully we can’t wait until the weekend arrives.
problems early in black series dominator
After second use the sink tap started to leak, then on the 3rd trip couldn’t use it anymore, still trying to find a replacement. Rear stabiliser stand malfunctioned, could not raise the stand, as the cogs inside were not attached to each other, had to pull apart and place washer under turning cog, so both cogs join and operate the stand, lounge room light blew after 2nd trip, fridge keeps cutting out due to faulty 12v socket or battery system. Not bad for the money but frustrating as there were many small faults in a short time, some parts are cheaply made.On the plus side it is easy to set up and pack away, very capable offroad camper.
The 2018 Black Series Dominator is an exceptional camper trailer and at such a great price.
Our first trip away just last weekend and the dominator went so well, so very happy with it. Took it over some really rough dirt road, firetrails, mountains, and it towed extremely well. We had everything we needed and travelled comfortably. We have picked up a top quality mattress topper as I found the bed a little hard (I have a pretty crook back) so we're hoping this will sort that small issue out. The camper was an easy setup and tear down although haven't tried to setup the annexe as yet, next trip we'll have a go at that. I must say that the team at Black Series Warwick Farm, Thomas and Mark in service and parts have been absolutely fantastic. I have phoned a few times with some questions and they have answered the phone every time, replied and followed up on responses. I just called them last week to see if I could get a small piece of canvas for repairs if needed and Thomas spoke with me and arranged for Mark in parts to follow up on it for me. I received an email from Mark to advise me that he had sorted the canvas and had wrapped it ready for collection by a courier and then I received another email later that day to advise me that the parcel had been collected by the courier. He provided me with a consignment number and tracking information and my parcel arrived the very next morning. We could not be happier with the product and the after sales service from Thomas and Mark. Outstanding!
Your comments are very important for me as a prospective future purchaser I find the after sales service inexcusable
and if I am going to spend money I want to be fully informed
No after sales back up
Have done approx 28000 klms in our camper initially impressed, they do tow well. However last trip we encountered a few problems, split water tank, stabilizer jack has broken, fridge connection disintegrated, fridge main switch in switchboard malfunctioned, pivot pin on suspension either snapped or fell out causing suspension to collapse wrecking the tyre in remote area, sink waste broke off, dust egress into external compartments and switchboard causing electrical problems. l suppose the worst part is dealing with Black series to try and get replacement parts -e-mails, phone calls all seem to fall on deaf ears, no response, one guy did ring me back from Brisbane dealer and informed me parts had to come out of Sydney office, still no response, obviously not interested in any service once the trailer is paid for and driven away. Very unprofessional.
Great family camper for the price
The black series name is well known for its campers and caravans, the dominator in particular is a great family camper, you get a large range of features for a very small price.
the quality is good and the ease of use is great.
Very happy with product
When I looked at all the campers out there I realised quite fast that they are all the same only difference is colour. Many claimed that their campers were "unique" when they were identical down to the welding :)
We went with the Black Series Dominator knowing there would be items we wanted to change on it anyway and being cheaper gave the budget to do so.
Have done many many trips and the camper has performed very well given some of the tracks we have taken it on to date. Nothing structural broken, sink drain replaced (cost all of $15 bucks) and all water tight etc
Have heard bad reviews on customer service however to be frank, if it is a minor thing is not worth my time making a claim anyway.
Would not hesitate to recommend to anyone.
Better than a Tent
We have used our Camper up north to the Tip of Australia at cape York and had mainly good use of Camper. The camper was easy to setup in approx. 10 mins, kept majority of Dust out and was easy towing. While travelling on outback, rough dirt roads we had one problem. A stone hit the water hose fitting at tank and shattered and lost all water. Luckily we were travelling with other people and had plenty of water. So we have had fitting fixed by Black Series and then added some extra protection. This was by making larger mudflaps and also by covering hose and fitting with foam noodle and tapping. So no more issues. We have added extra to our camper to make even easier to charge and use 24 volt power by adding a DC converter and inlet for 240 volt so easy to charge and also if staying at caravan park we now also have interior plugs to allow for easier use of 240 volt appliances. We have also added a thicker mattress to make more comfortable. Overall a strong and reliable camper. With regular maintenance this camper has not missed a beat and keeps us out of the weather and off the ground. Best investment we have made. So a lot more trips to come.
Wife and i just did uluru and oodnadatta track with our dominator and dessert tracks it was very rough in places but we never had a worry it handled it with ease . Very easy and quick to set up and pack up i was talking and having a beer one day and wife set it up and then let me know.So can honestly say if your in the market for camper the black series dominator is a great choice and great value at $17000 hard to beat
This is it.
We picked our Dominater 4th May from Melbourne Showroom. Best camper trailer ever . Lot of room. Our money is well spent. Big thank to Alex and Peter. 10/10 for the service guys. Dinesh & Ranjana.
Service is terrible
I ordered a alpha camper was told I’d be picking it up & be ready in a week from order date then the day before pickup I call them to find out there out of stock & have to wait another 6 weeks for new stock, I’d paid them $2000 deposit when ordered it they lie to you they never return phone calls when they say they will, two weeks before I was meant to get the camp I blown up my ute so had to cancel my order and get my money back it’s been 3 weeks now & still no money back they happy to take your money by putting money into there account but when it comes to them giving money back they send you a cheque well I’m still waiting for that cheque that was meant to come two weeks ago they fill ya with bull sh#t telling you there snowed under that’s not my problem I want my money I’ll never bye a camper from gic black series ever & going off a lot of the reviews I’m glad I never got the camper, you will be very silly to bye a camper from this company
Camper trailer battery system would not support fridge as advertised. Water leaks thru tool box and seals. Have tried to get repairs but 6 weeks later their repair could not find a problem. Took camper trailer to independent business and $ 600 later fixed. Still have not fixed seals but they advertise camper going thru creeks. Not happy.
K and A
I recently placed a $500.00 deposit on a new Dominator, which I was informed was going to take 6-8 weeks for delivery. After approximately 4 weeks I spoke to and emailed Nick in Brisbane to cancel the order and told him that I was going overseas for work for a few months and therefore asked for a refund of the deposit, but my request was denied. There was nothing stated on the invoice to say that the deposit was refundable or for that matter not refundable, and nor was anything said verbally. I called their Head Office and spoke to the Manager regarding the refund and got the same response. I then contacted the Department of Fair Trading and they looked into the matter for me and were quite helpful, and discussed organising mediation in regard to the matter, but GIC flat-out refused. After all that I did not go away for work, but I then decided that I would not deal with nor purchase a camping trailer from GIC because I would not feel comfortable with their staff nor would I have any trust in their warranty or service. I have relayed my experience to friends who have now also purchased elsewhere. I am a builder by trade and have my own business and for $500.00 I would not do that to a client. GIC can keep the $500.00 for it is not the money, it is the principle of it.
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