There is a thread on the Escapees forum that every RVer needs to read before they ever consider buying a campground membership. It can save you a lot of money and aggravation.
This is not the first time I have heard complaints about Timber Lodge RV Resort, and a website called the Ripoff Report shows 20 complaints against the company. The crux of the situation is that once you buy a membership in Timber Lodge, you are obligated to continue paying dues for life, and they will apparently dun you right into your grave to collect, and then apparently go after your estate. Timber Lodge says this is a “standard industry practice.”
What a bunch of bulls&%$! Any business that uses practices such as these obviously knows that they cannot keep customers by virtue of their facilities or customer service, so they try to bind them to financial servitude for life. There’s nothing like sticking it to unwary consumers to maintain a healthy bottom line!
Contrary to what Timber Lodge wants people to believe, this is not an “industry standard practice.” But just as many membership campground sales representatives will lie, cheat, and steal to make a sale, apparently once they get your name on a contract, they will be just as underhanded to keep you on the hook.
We had our own bad experience with a membership campground chain; Western Horizons, one of the biggest and best known in the country. We joined as greenhorns soon after we hit the road (always a mistake) and made a huge down payment, with a series of quarterly payments due on the balance. Soon after we joined, the company placed a series of advertisements in the Gypsy Journal, which they never paid us for, in spite of repeated collection calls on my part.
When Terry was diagnosed with cancer and we didn’t know if she was even going to survive, we had a payment due, and I called to ask for an extension, since money was tight and we were off the road. No dice, it was either pay up or else.
I pointed out the fact that while our account was not past due, they had owed me more than I owed them for over a year, and suggested we both wipe the slate clean and go on from there. No, they wanted their money, they ignored (again) my request for payment of what they owed me, and basically told me to go to hell.
Just like Timber Ridge, they made all kinds of threats about what they were going to do to us, and I told them to stick it where the sun don’t shine. They cancelled our membership, and we never heard another word. So we got ripped off for what we had already paid, but I can assure you that it has cost them much, much more in goodwill over the years. That old saying “Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel” is so very true!
This is not to say that all campground memberships are bad or unfair. We feel that the used Thousand Trails/NACO membership we now have has been a good investment, and while not all of their campgrounds are as pristine and perfect as their promoters would have you believe, and while the system has its own warts, we are pleased with it.
If you are going to purchase a campground membership, be sure to read every word of the contract. Remember, it’s the fine print that bites you in the butt! As for places like Timber Ridge, or any other company that uses such sordid tactics, my best advice would be not to even stop at their locations. There are plenty of reputable businesses out there who deserve your patronage.
Thought For The Day – Whatever hits the fan or rolls downhill will not be evenly distributed!