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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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dangerzone66
post Mar 31 2011, 06:36 PM
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Hello everyone,

Thanks to all of you who shared your comments and similar experiences in your replies. smile.gif

It is almost a year after all the fussing and fighting went down, and I finally can relate the way it all ended up working out. I would like to say we succeeded in getting our money back, but that is not the case. mad.gif

The PA BBB had no luck trying to persuade the resort, and deferred all efforts to the NC BBB. The AG in both states declined to get involved. The NC BBB was only able to work out a deal after 4 months of negotiating with the resort, that, as stated by the resort manager in a letter to the agent at the BBB, was "to give us the lifetime membership not because it was warranted by the situation or because we were mislead into believing we actually had purchased a lifetime membership, but in order to keep their good standing with the BBB." The agent from the BBB forwarded his letter to us. That was the final straw. We were so tainted and insensed by this comment, that we had no desire to ever stay at their resorts ever again! We never did receive an actual letter from the resort indicating we were upgraded to the lifetime membership. We did however continue to receive the bills for the maintenance fees, even though at that point our 3 year trial was up. We figured they were just doing their usual and were slow to catch up on what was going on, so we ignored the bills. After a year of maintenance bills, two weeks ago received a letter stating they were taking us to collections unless the bills were paid immediately, plus a $125 penalty fee. My wife called them, actually spoke to the financial manager of the resort (the one I could never speak to, for some reason), and explained that since we didn't pay anything past our trial membership, and had not received anything in writing regarding our upgrade to lifetime membership as he had proposed, that we assumed our membership had run out, and we were done. This apparently was not the case, and the only way we could get out of paying an additional $500 was to fax them a letter stating that as of April 2010 we no longer wanted our membership and would like to cancel it. He did send a reply that we were cancelled as of that date afterwards, with no additional charges, but we had already lost thousands on this deal. Not to mention the aggravation and frustration we had to put up with while dealing with them and trying to work this out. We even spoke with an attorney about a lawsuit, but he told us it would cost us just as much as the membership did to try and get the money back, because of the interstate business thing, regulations, and having to file in North Carolina. We gave up at this point.

So now we are a bit poorer, but wiser, and will never be roped into one of these schemes again. Hopefully others will read these words of wisdom prior to venturing into one of these types of resorts, and steer clear of these fork tongued devils and their wiley ways. There are plenty of nice clean resorts around this great country of ours without having to be a member and roped into staying at one or two places all the time.

Thanks to all for the supportive words and happy trails! happy.gif
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Posts in this topic
dangerzone66   Time Share Resort Pitfalls   Mar 1 2010, 06:25 PM
Lindsay Richards   If you ever want to go camping in Florida, I have ...   Mar 1 2010, 10:41 PM
dangerzone66   Swamp land...Sounds interesting. We figure there ...   Mar 1 2010, 11:07 PM
HappiestCamper   Sorry you got messed up with those people - glad I...   Mar 2 2010, 08:33 AM
FosterImposters   Good grief Dangerzone66, this sounds positively aw...   Mar 2 2010, 03:45 PM
Denali   Thanks for posting your cautionary tale. It may we...   Mar 2 2010, 12:27 PM
NorthernIllinoisPlumber   What a bad experience...my wife and I were bilked ...   Mar 2 2010, 05:40 PM
Lindsay Richards   If you look at it from their standpoint they proba...   Mar 2 2010, 09:28 PM
coacbcps   I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience b...   Mar 3 2010, 04:08 PM
dangerzone66   Well the game is afoot...Thank you all for your re...   Mar 5 2010, 05:35 PM
Lindsay Richards   One thing that happens here in Florida is that the...   Mar 5 2010, 05:47 PM
dangerzone66   Well, just a little more information to add to the...   Apr 5 2010, 10:58 PM
mamawjudy   Well, just a little more information to add to th...   Sep 29 2010, 05:36 PM
Lindsay Richards   Well, I am glad you were able to salvage something...   Apr 6 2010, 07:15 PM
David Morgan   Thanks for the heads up. Got some sort of packet f...   Jun 24 2010, 04:14 PM
Bud in Florida   Thanks foe sharing. I would make a couple of sugge...   Jun 26 2010, 08:22 AM
Wink   All timeshare camping or condo is a bill that you ...   Apr 11 2011, 04:01 PM
Wink   Sorry you got caught in there trap.But if more peo...   Jul 2 2010, 04:18 PM
southerncreed57   :( WisH I had read your post before we went to Ge...   Aug 22 2010, 07:57 AM
Fitzjohnfan   My dad got hooked by Cutty's Resorts here in C...   Aug 25 2010, 10:07 PM
RFCN2   We have a membership in Thousand Trails which is s...   Sep 28 2010, 10:53 PM
Wink   The thing with any of the timeshare schemes is you...   Sep 29 2010, 07:40 PM
kdfarmer   We have had similar problems with Gettysburg Resor...   Nov 11 2010, 09:29 PM
Skymessenger   Sorry you going through all this mess. Several yea...   Nov 12 2010, 09:25 AM
dangerzone66   Hello everyone, Thanks to all of you who shared y...   Mar 31 2011, 06:36 PM
Lindsay Richards   Unfortunately this sort of thing happens all the t...   Apr 1 2011, 05:38 PM
jan-n-john   Seems to me this whole thread points to a simple r...   Apr 2 2011, 06:35 AM
FosterImposters   Better to keep your money now, and pay as you go ...   Apr 2 2011, 08:15 PM


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