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dangerzone66
post Mar 1 2010, 06:25 PM
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My family and I have been camping for many years. About two years ago we were introduced to the world of time share camping by a company called Travel Resorts of America, at their Gettysburg Battlefield Resort in Gettysburg, PA. All in all, the facilities were nice, so we sat in on the sales meeting, just to see what it would be about. They told us about their package which included a lifetime membership to their resorts (they have a sister resort in NC) with no additional camping fees, stay for two weeks at a time, then out a week and you could come back for two as often as you liked or any time frame smaller than two weeks, and the ability to transfer your membership to up to 4 generations of your family, which would mean our kids could inherit the membership at no additional cost and have "free" camping for a lifetime. It sounded good to us as we enjoy camping immensely, and our kids do too. There was an option to upgrade to a "platinum" version of the plan within the first 24 months of the contract which would allow use of on site cabins and other additional amenities. We weren't too concerned with this, because we enjoy our travel trailer and wouldn't really take use of those other things. We signed up for the contract and bought into the program for $3500.00.

With the current economy and other things life throws your way, we found out after a year that we weren't using the membership as we thought we would. We had been camping a total of 4 days that year at their resort. Most of the time it was because when we called for reservations, they would tell us they were full for that date. Every time we called it was the same thing. We decided to cancel our membership since we weren't using it, and we still had about $1700 to pay on it. The woman we spoke to in there office explained rudely that to cancel, we would have to pay the contract in full, then we would be able to cancel. They would take us to collections if we didn't. Who in there right mind would pay $3500.00 to go camping for 4 days? We reevaluated our situation and figured it was not worth the hassle of fighting this. We would pay up the contract and then have the rest of our lives to enjoy camping, even if we didn't get out much for the first couple of years. So we did.

A few weeks ago we were contacted by a salesman in regards to upgrading to the platinum plan. We told him we would just stick with our current plan the way it was, because we didn't have any additional money to spend for the upgrade, plus we did not foresee us using the cabins or other benefits included in that plan. He then told us our current contract would expire in a year if we did not upgrade. My reaction - WHAT?!! He said the contract was a trial membership for 3 years with the option to upgrade to full membership in the first 24 months of the contract. When we explained the way it was written on our contract, and that we were told it would be a lifetime membership with the option to upgrade to platinum during the 24 months, he agreed with us they way it was worded sounded misleading. But our membership would still cancel in a year if we did not upgrade.

We have contacted their offices, the Better Business Bureau, and the Attorney General's office describing this "bait and switch" scam to great length, and looking for a resolution. We would like to get at least part of our money back since we haven't use the facilities much during the time we were members. As of this writing, the reply from the manager of the resort chain has indicated to us they have no intentions of refunding our money, and that we just misunderstood the contract. He didn't even get my last name correct on his letter, showing even more how they don't care about their customers, only thier money. I am a contractor and deal with contracts every day of my life. I think I would know what to look for.

Has anyone else had this kind of thing happen to them? How did it work out for you? HELP!
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Florida Native
post Mar 1 2010, 10:41 PM
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If you ever want to go camping in Florida, I have some swamp land I can sell you. Sorry for your problems. You are probably in with a lot of others in this type of thing. Condo time shares are rampant in Florida and there are many horror stories. Many were sold with payments stretched our over 7 years and "maintenance fee" of $300 to $500 that goes on forever. They say you can trade and sell them at a profit which is untrue. Many folks just walk away and they have teams of lawyers that do nothing but try to get the money. They are expert at getting the money also and the contracts are air tight. They go after your credit rating. I would suggest spending the money for an hour of a good local attorney in your area to see what can be done. The are sites on the internet you might find that can test if others have had the same problem with them.


Good Luck


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dangerzone66
post Mar 1 2010, 11:07 PM
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Swamp land...Sounds interesting. We figure there are more folks out there who were taken by this as well. Yes there was a "maintenance fee" of about $300 a year to go along with it. We spoke with a friend who is an attorney, and he said the way the contract is written (badly), it could go either way, and with the amount of the contract only being $3500, there wasn't enough money involved to make it more than a small claims situation anyway, which means no lawyer involvement or we would have to pay for him. So that is why we went to the Attorney General's office at the state level, to see if they could make a little more headway. To date they have not replied to the AG. You saw in my post the reply from the BBB contacts, also with little result. And the sad part of all of it was when we had a chance to sit down and think about it afterwards, we thought we might have made a mistake. Boy were we right. Now we just want to get the word out and stop this from happening to anyone else. Do you know of any of those sites? I would like to do that. Thanks Lindsay!
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HappiestCamper
post Mar 2 2010, 08:33 AM
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Sorry you got messed up with those people - glad I didn't. We bought a new camper last October from Camping World, and it came with a free visit to those people. I never gave it any thought, and last month some lady from there called me. She went on and on about the wonderful resort it was, and all the amenities they had. I explained to her that we don't go to those kind of places - we simply do the state and national parks, or boondock. She couldn't believe we wouldn't be interested, and kept going on about all the activities for my kids. She finally got it when I told her that where we go, my kids get to go swimming, tubing, fishing, hiking, learning about nature, etc., and that when we were at home they could go to the pool and do video games.


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Denali
post Mar 2 2010, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for posting your cautionary tale. It may well help someone else avoid one of these deals.


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FosterImposters
post Mar 2 2010, 03:45 PM
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Good grief Dangerzone66, this sounds positively awful. Thanks for taking the time to post as a 'heads up' for the rest of us!
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NorthernIllinoisPlumber
post Mar 2 2010, 05:40 PM
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What a bad experience...my wife and I were bilked $500 for a travel package back in the 1990's. Heck, we even returned the package, recieved no refund, and was never even given the chance to try any trips!

The more you work trying to get your money back, the more frustrated you will get. May I suggest a trip to the area in the summer at another campground, and set up a protest outside of their facilty with informative banners? Or book a reservation, and let everyone know what a scam they are while you are there?

Good Luck!
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Florida Native
post Mar 2 2010, 09:28 PM
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If you look at it from their standpoint they probably have many others in the same position as you. They surely donít expect to keep the money from everybody. At some point the real jerk among you is going to become more trouble than he is worth. If you fight them at each turn and make them realize you wonít give up until you get out of it, then they just might save themselves some money and hassle by giving in. We did this several times when we were in business and had somebody try to screw us. We just outlasted them and made a game out of it.

Good Luck


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coacbcps
post Mar 3 2010, 04:08 PM
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I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience but thanks for the educational lesson. Most people might have been too embarrassed to admit that they have been bamboozled. By sharing with such detail what happened to you, you have allowed others to learn from your mistake. Those sales people double talk so fast that it's easy to be duped. Again, thank you for sharing because this is just the kind of thing that I could have fallen for.
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dangerzone66
post Mar 5 2010, 05:35 PM
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Well the game is afoot...Thank you all for your replies and kind words of encouragement. We have resolved ourselves to the fact that we probably won't be gatting our money back any time soon, if at all. Right at the moment, we are still waiting on the continuing efforts of the BBB and the PA state Attorney General's office. If we get no due recourse from these entities, the real fun will begin. Thanks to you HappiestCamper for the heads up that they are passing out those "free" camping tickets with RV sales at Camping World. That's the thing that got us into this mess in the first place. I have seen CW's display's and salespeople at the Hershey RV show before. They really seem to care about their business and customers. I wonder if they know what kind of an organization they are endorsing by including those tickets in their packets! This is just one avenue I am going to look into if things don't resolve to our satisfaction. Those consumer advocate TV news reporters could have a field day with this one! I'll keep you posted on how our progress goes if you want to keep checking this thread. Thanks all! wink.gif
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Florida Native
post Mar 5 2010, 05:47 PM
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One thing that happens here in Florida is that the maintance fees never stop. Even after you accept the fact that your original investment is gone, they till try to ding you for the fee forever. They threaten to go after your credit and stuff. You have to get it in writing that you are all done with them.


Good Luck


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dangerzone66
post Apr 5 2010, 10:58 PM
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Well, just a little more information to add to the story. My family and I returned last week to the Jackson Springs, NC site to try and get some of our money's worth out of what we paid in, because both of the BBB branches have fallen on deaf ears, and the corporate manager is sticking to his idea that we just didn't understand the contract, and we are being unreasonable. For this they are going to refer any further correspondence on the matter through their attorney. If that just doesn't say what they truly care about, what does. They have also started charging $2 a day for sewer hookups, and if you have a golf cart of your own that you like to travel in, it must be insured (a good idea anyway), and there is a $5 a day charge for the "priveledge" of using your golf cart on the grounds. I guess my $3500 membership and $92 a quarter in maintenance fees is not enough to cover that additional expense! All in all, the trip was nice, the campground itself was clean and nicely kept, but because of the staff following only the computer for the scheduling of sites and stays, we had to breakdown from one site and move to another halfway through the trip to another spot that was open the whole time we were there. And besides the obvious tainting of our trip because of this situation, we had a pretty good time. But that is because of our family and our dedication to not letting it get us down. And believe me Lindsay, I will get it in writing that we are done with the maintenance fees and all when we are done for sure! At this point we met a couple who have been members since 2002, who are also unhappy with the way things are being run. They know a bunch of people who were also dissatisfied. So we exchanged info and will be looking into possible legal action as a group. Power in numbers!
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Florida Native
post Apr 6 2010, 07:15 PM
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Well, I am glad you were able to salvage something out of it. That cart fee is probably for the electricity to charge it up. I hope things continue well for you. Sometimes places like this sell and the new management can make a difference.


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David Morgan
post Jun 24 2010, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. Got some sort of packet from what I suspect are the same folks. Glad I know what's going on. rolleyes.gif

David
San Diego Airport Hotel ~ San Diego Beach Hotels


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Bud in Florida
post Jun 26 2010, 08:22 AM
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Thanks foe sharing. I would make a couple of suggestions. 1) Forget about the BBB. They will do nothing. It is almost always useless to contact the BBB if you want some sore of action. They will put a complaint in the file, but nothing else. 2) You might try contacting Trailer Life and ask their problem solver to step in for you. Often times, business will respond to Trailer Life when they have ignored the customer. 3) Send Camping World a letter. Tell them that they are pushing a bad product and it could taint their reputation. They AG in Fla is pretty active in these matters, not sure about the one you contacted. Did you contact Pa? Might try NC too. Depending on how far away you are, you might file a small claims action. Good luck!
Is there any authority for the added fees in your contract?
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