ADIRONDACKS — Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced a settlement Monday with three campgrounds over deceitful marketing and membership sales.
Officials with the AG's office are requiring Bolton-based Adventure Resorts of America LLC; Adirondack Adventure Resorts of Lake George Inc., and Saratoga Escape Lodges and RV Resort Inc. in Greenfield Center to pay a total of $41,133.56 to settle the claims against them.
The settlement includes restitution to consumers who tried to cancel their contracts during their contractual cancellation period and those who bought memberships based on marketing and sales pitches that misrepresented the campgrounds' facilities, officials said.
“When New Yorkers spend thousands of dollars on a membership, they should receive the services and amenities they’re promised,” Underwood said in a prepared statement. “This settlement compensates consumers who were duped and requires the companies to fully deliver what they promise to those who buy campground memberships.”
The AG's office said consumers paid between $3,000 and $6,000 for lifetime campground memberships or memberships with terms of either five or 10 years, and were required to pay additional annual dues of $349. Many consumers also paid extra to participate in a campground program that allowed them to reserve campsites at discounted rates at certain participating campgrounds nationwide.
The three companies shared common ownership and operated campgrounds in Diamond Point and Greenfield Center, as well as Sturbridge, Massachusetts, until recently, the AG's office said.
An investigation by the AG's office revealed that the companies lured consumers to visit the campgrounds for tours during the off-season with misleading direct mailers that promised giveaways, such as a netbook computer, which the businesses often failed to provide.
The investigation also revealed the companies misrepresented the amenities that would be available at the campgrounds, as well as consumers’ ability to reserve campsites at other campgrounds through the reciprocal campground program. They also failed to honor membership cancellation requests from consumers who found campground facilities lacking.
The settlement requires the companies to reform their business practices, including: honoring all promises of free giveaways for attending a sales presentation, not misrepresent planned campground repairs or enhancements during sales pitches, honoring timely cancellations and issuing refunds, and disclosing any material terms or restrictions concerning use of any campground program.
The settlement also requires payment of restitution to consumers who file complaints within the next six months, demonstrating that they were harmed by the deceptive and illegal practices uncovered by the AG's office investigation.
Consumers who have a complaint against Adventure Resorts of America LLC, Adirondack Adventure Resorts of Lake George Inc. or Saratoga Escape Lodges and RV Resort Inc. are asked to call 1-800-771-7755, or file a complaint with the AG's Office online.