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mamawjudy
mad.gif I need some advice from my fellow camping lovers. My husband and I joined a private campground close to our home that promised unlimited camping at no extra cost after our $294 yearly dues and our initial $5394 membership fee was paid. We also had the opportunity to join ROD for a low membership fee. Well, that deal was made 6/2007. We have camped at our campground numerous times over these three years and found that some of the promises that were made verbally to us when we were deciding to join (the addition of sewage hookups, etc) were never going to come to pass. An EPA issue, we were told. Well, we accepted the disappointment but the latest screw-over came by letter this month. We were notified that our campground was sold to Legacy Developments, LLC. We were sent a letter stating that they wanted to meet with all the membership to explain some of the "exciting" things they were planning for us. We took our original membership packet with us and went to our appointed meeting. When we sat down and started talking to Legacy's rep, we discovered that another verbal promise (that our dues would be frozen when we retire) is not going to be honored. "Show me in writing!" Well, after scanning our contract, we found that the sales rep who also told us that sewer hookups were in the near future, had failed to "write" the promise to freeze our dues upon our retirement! Then Legacy's rep started his sales pitch! He told us he would offer us a deal that we couldn't refuse. He stated 7 out of 10 members were gladly taking this "deal". The deal was, that all we had to pay was an additional $4995 to Legacy Developments that would freeze our dues and protect us from having hundreds of dollars of assessments for the wonderful improvements Legacy was planning for our campground. He wouldn't commit to saying there was definitely going to be septic installed at all the campsites, but "This campground really needs some updating". He also said, "if you choose not to take this opportunity, we'll get our $5000 by assessments and dues increases." He also stated that our "perpetual ownership" was moot. It states in our contract that we can will this membership to our children and grandchildren. All they have to do is pay the dues. Well, if what he threatens is true, our children will not be able to afford to keep the membership! We don't know what to do. We've decided to keep our present membership, which is paid in full and see what happens over the next year. If the dues increase and the assessments for improvements are extravagant, we will be forced to walk away. A very valuable ($5394) lesson learned. If I can save anyone else out there the pain of this lesson, I will be happy! Get EVERYTHING in writing! And even then, there are ways these sheisters can screw you over!!! tongue.gif
John Blue
We have been in a couple meeting with people who sell the same plans and found the same BS. We told them to stuff it and walked out the door. May be best to eat the lost and walk off. No paper = no contract = lost $$$. You will never win in this case. All spoken deals are useless in courts of law.
joez
I feel your pain with the membership. In our case, we bought a Thousand Trails/ROD/NACO membership several years ago. After a couple of years we discovered that we really did not like most of the parks in the system, there were not enough of them in the areas we wished to stay, and the cost savings for us was not worth it. It seemed that each year there was a new "upgraded" membership opportunity each few months. We decided to sell and discovered there was really very little value in the marketplace. We ended up essentially giving the membership away - buyer paid the transfer fee. At least we were rid of the aggravation and the annual fee. Good luck.
Trivian
Dear Joez:

We bought our TT membership about 6 years ago from a couple who didnt use it anymore. We got a deal like you gave your buyer...we only paid the transfer fee. About a year and a half ago we went to the meeting about the available "upgrades." We chose a more afforable option that what was first offered; they were loathe to let us leave without getting SOME of our money, Lol. Our upgrade give us, among other things, a bigger window for making reservations, which we really benefitted from when we went to Palm Springs last winter and this coming Jamuary, also.

We really enjoy our TT membership. We've been to "preserves' in western Cananda, Wash., OR, and Calif. Some are NACO or RPI or ROD; our membership includes them. Some properties are what we call "cramp-grounds", in other words, just a glorified parking lot. But most have generous spots, with good facilities: hot tubs, Wi-Fi, etc. And some of the nicest RV'ers ever!

Next year we hope to go to even more new places.
Skymessenger
Several years ago my wife and I were invited to stay "Free" in this certain campground for 3 days and two nights. The catch was we had to sit through an hour and hour sell-pitch trying to encourage us to by membership in this certain campgrounds company.

We were told we could go to several of these campgrounds and stay for a small fee because we would be members of their team. We thought about it and decide not to join them.

A couple of years later we were in the area and decide to ride by and see the campground. Well, you got it... It is now a Public Grocery Store. The campground was no where to be seen.

So be careful and do get all things in writting. Make sure you read it and understand it before you sign it.

unsure.gif
Lindsay Richards
If you have a lot of nerve, you could get a sign made up saying SEE US BEFORE YOU BUY HERE o something like that and place it on your site when you are there and they might just offer to buy you out.
Kirk
It is sad to hear how badly you were treated, but unfortunately that is not a rare problem. It may well have happened in time even if the park had not changed hands. After all, that sales person you bought from was employed by a different company.

You can bet that both the first salesperson and the most recent one were paid by commission and so were willing to say most anything that they thought would close a sale. It is always a bad choice to believe any promise made by sales people without those promises made a part of the contract. It is also a very bad thing to buy anything on a contract if you have not taken the time to read every word of it, first.
jim crowl
QUOTE(Skymessenger @ Nov 9 2010, 06:37 AM) *

Several years ago my wife and I were invited to stay "Free" in this certain campground for 3 days and two nights. The catch was we had to sit through an hour and hour sell-pitch trying to encourage us to by membership in this certain campgrounds company.

We were told we could go to several of these campgrounds and stay for a small fee because we would be members of their team. We thought about it and decide not to join them.

A couple of years later we were in the area and decide to ride by and see the campground. Well, you got it... It is now a Public Grocery Store. The campground was no where to be seen.

So be careful and do get all things in writting. Make sure you read it and understand it before you sign it.

unsure.gif


I agree . I've heard the membership campground horror stories for years. Even with a written agreement it could be fairly one sided. Be sure issues such as assessments, standard of upkeep are addressed (and if it becomes a supermarket you are allowed to park overnight in your RV tongue.gif )

I'm curious if anyone has gone to one of the free camping (sometimes with additional gifts) for listening to a sales pitch offers. I've often wondered if you just get the 1 1/2 hour pitch, or if the salesman decides to become your best buddy, and comes by your campsite every couple hours to see what you think!
AFChap
If you have the option of walking away with no strings, that often is the best alternative. Too many times you are on the hook forever, or until you unload the membership on someone else. We had a condo timeshare that we used for several years, then it was no longer part of our lifestyle. We bought a option that was ti vastly improve the usability, but did not when all was said and done. We were able to deed the original back to the resort at no cost to us, and after a few years trying we able to sell the optional portion to someone who knew exactly what they were getting into, and wanted to go that direction. We'll never get into membership campground time shares. At least with the condos we found nicely maintained properties. We have not seen that in the membership campgrounds we have visited for one reason or another.
EMDQueen
We also have done the campground membership thing. We paid about 5000 for the membership and 290 a year in dues. We did use the park and the first year it was as advertised. But the basic maintenance of the park was never done and the improvements were never done and there started to be "surcharges" for staying there. 2.00 a night became 3.00 a night became 5.00 a night. Now, the park is dumpy and not worth the original purchase price. We walked away and stopped paying dues. They still send us invoices but we ignore them. The home park has been sold out of the membership company and time will tell if they make any changes. I think the final straw was when they drilled two oil wells in the middle of the park! Adios, amigos!
jan-n-john
Put me down as the forum's resident skeptic (I have been posting in another thread why you should not buy extended warranties). I think the sad stories in this thread point out a general rule. Never pay anybody large sums of money upfront for any kind of "membership" based on promises--you will likely lose. This is pretty much the same thing you hear about time shares--too many people get burned, because the business model is to collect up front and promise to perform later. It's just too easy for developers to "forget" their promises and run with the money. In private they consider the buyers gullible nincompoops, because they know what a bad deal these things are. Just say no!

Anyone who is interested in one of these things, whether an RV deal or a time share, should definitely buy it on the secondary market, never as an original purchase. Trivian upthread did it the right way and is happy. Pay heed. The fact that these things are nearly always available on the secondary market at a fraction of their original cost speaks volumes.
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