National Association for Members [ NAM ]

DO YOU HAVE TO PAY DUES TO TRAVEL AMERICA?

The short answer is "NO".

Note:

  1. If you use their facilities, you should pay their fees and obey their rules. - That's it!

         On the other hand -

  2. If you do NOT want to be associated with them, there are several things you can do to make them leave you alone.

Agents of Travel America will try to convince you that you must pay money to them every year for the rest of your life! They have tried this with others.
THEY ARE WRONG...

No "lifetime obligation to pay dues" was emphasized when you joined the camping club from which Travel America magically obtained your membership contract. This would not be a trivial commitment. Such obligations may not be forced on you by trick, deception, or concealment of intention.

Several Attorneys General, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and class-action attorneys we are talking to would really love to get more documentation concerning this abusive assertion.

What can you do about it?

  1. Send a letter to the company telling them to leave you alone.
    [Click this link to see a sample letter]

  2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    [You can do this on-line by clicking on this link.]

  3. File a complaint with your Attorney General (AG), the AG in the state where they are operating, and the AG in the state where their home office is located.
    [You can get a complaint form by clicking on this link.] AOL Icon
    [Here's a link to a web site where you can find the address for any AG office.]

Is Travel America sanctioning or participating in illegal or criminal practices including extortion, etc.? We don't know because we are not attorneys.

We recommend, if they continue to threaten or harass you, that you contact an attorney to answer these questions.

Dan Hopper
NAM


  • Your complaints about Travel America are NOT “contract disputes”.

  • You do not have a contract with Travel America!

  • They simply obtained your information from a bankrupt camping club, started demanding money from you — and never promised you anything in return.

  • Now they “Hide their money” in order to keep you from suing them and harass you demanding money they do not deserve.

This web site contains several items that can help you file your complaints
[ Click Here ].


 

Iowa Attorney General’s Office
Goes after Novelli Companies
for Harassing Former TAI Members

December 2007 - A letter from the Iowa Consumer Protection Office dated November of 2007 warns Travel America, First Nationwide Resorts, their owners, employees, agents, representatives, etc., that they must STOP harassing former Iowa members of Thousand Adventures or face monetary and other penalties.

The letter instructed the offending companies to refund any money collected after they were first notified that the (victim) did not want to be a member, to send the (victim) a letter confirming the cancellation of the membership within 10 days of the cancellation, etc...

Complaints against these companies have been filed with AG offices in several states, the US FTC, the US Postal Inspection Service, and others.


 

Still More Complaints About Travel America

September 2007 - Please Help Me...

I am 71 yrs old on Soc Sec and my husband is in frail health, we are being extorted for money we do not owe, this company is intimidating, harassing and infringing on my health. We are part of a Class Action Settlement that was closed in OUR FAVOR, ON 4-12-07, we received a check for $780.00 we paid out $5,590.00. The resort went bankrupt in 1994, we never visited any of their resorts.

The name of the company when we signed the contract was Thousand Adventures, when they went bankrupt in 1994 at that time we were not aware of the bankruptcy taking place until we were contacted by the attorney in charge of the suit. The Class Action Suit was settled on March 2007 at the Des Moines, Iowa Court house. Thousand Adv. Inc. moved to California, kept changing the mailing address and name of the company BUT ALWAYS THE SAME FORM FOR BILLING, they are AKA Thorenhaven, R & R Ranch Resort, Hayden Creek Resort, Cathedral Palms Resort and now First Nationwide Resort Mgmt. We never signed any contract with these resorts. We owe nothing, they keep billing for maintenance fees when there are no parks. I mailed a certified letter on 3-4-05 stating I wanted the contract cancelled and that NO FURTHER DUES would be paid, the attorney advised me to do this, he also stated they had no legal right to bill me or call me. The attorney general is aware of this case, I have documents & a file 2 inches thick.

I want the billing to stop, I get very sick and can’t sleep and I get really stressed out because I RELIVE THIS TERRIBLE NIGHTMARE, THE HIGH PRESSURE SELLING WAS UNREAL THEY EVEN CAME TO MY HOUSE, we have been fighting this for many years since 1989. We paid with our retirement money and never received anything from them only dismay.

Please stop these people from mailing me bills, the amounts keep running up, if you need anything please let me know. I AM SO WORRIED THAT MY CHILDREN WILL BECOME VICTIMS AFTER I PASS (they are not into law). I filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service. Please help me (Linda) as to what to do my attorney in the case has now moved and hard to communicate with (since he doesn’t have his paper work).

Please, Please I need your help.

[ NAM is helping to prepare complaints to several government organizations. ]

Campground Members have Rights !


 

Travel America vs Campers — Again!

September 2007 - NAM still gets complaints about Travel America’s and their continuing efforts to intimidate (Extort?) money from members of bankrupt campbrounds.

[ Still More Complaints [ Click Here ]

Do You Owe Annual Fees to Them?

Here’s the bottom line: If you use the campgrounds - you must pay the fees. They maintained some campgrounds for your use - it’s only fair that they be compensated for that effort.

On the other hand, if you never signed a contract with Travel America; you do NOT use their facilities. You do NOT owe them money!

They simply obtained a membership roster from a bankrupt campground and started demanding that you send them money. They never promised to provide all of the services and facilities that you originally purchased.
Travel America and their accomplices have been repeatedly notified by NAPIER, WOLF & NAPIER that they must stop such harassment.

See copy of the letter [ Click Here ]


 

NOVELLI COMPANIES (TRAVEL AMERICA, ETC...)
ABUSE MEMBERS AND THE BANKRUPTCY COURT SYSTEM
ACCORDING TO CALIFORNIA JUDGE

November 2000 - Companies owned or controlled by Ray Novelli filed a lawsuit against Coast to Coast on February 7, 2000. The Court ruled for Judgment against those companies on July 25, 2000. The Novelli Organization's own witnesses defeated their case even before Coast had a chance to present their side. The only fraud or injustice presented by this case, the Court found, would have been the injustice of permitting the case to continue. The Plaintiffs went into Court with unclean hands.

UNCLEAN HANDS

Novelli Companies' unclean hands were evidenced by repeated failure to comply with their obligation to disclose this lawsuit to their creditors and to other courts, including the US Bankruptcy Courts in the bankruptcies of Apollo Group, Inc., Thousand Adventures of Ohio, Inc., and Thousand Adventures of Alabama, Inc. By not disclosing this lawsuit as required, the Novelli Companies engaged in affirmative misrepresentations to the courts supervising their bankruptcies (which the Court found to have been for the improper purpose of taking an estate asset without payment to the estate or its creditors). Those Plaintiffs also took positions in other bankruptcy cases diametrically inconsistent with those asserted before this Court.

The lack of bona fides of the various Plaintiff entities, and the sham nature of the Novelli Companies, is another factor that the Court took into account in finding that Plaintiffs' claims failed because of their unclean hands.

NOVELLI WAS NOT A CREDIBLE WITNESS

The Court's conclusion that Mr. Novelli was not a credible witness was supported by substantial and overwhelming evidence, including:

  1. The numerous and material inconsistencies between Mr. Novelli's trial testimony and his deposition testimony;

  2. The pattern by Mr. Novelli of giving incredible testimony and of engaging in deceptive practices (both personally and on behalf of the Novelli Organization), and

  3. Mr. Novelli's demeanor while testifying at trial.

DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING

Novelli Companies engaged in deceptive and misleading tactics that included:

1) debt collection activities directed to individuals who were not justly indebted to the Novelli Organization,

2) misinformation provided to individuals about why Travel America was formed and why RPI (but not Coast) was now providing reciprocal network services as an exclusive provider, and

3) misinformation provided to individuals about their membership terms and conditions.

4) Plaintiffs' unclean hands in connection with the formation and operation of Travel America are simply the latest in a series of improper tactics by the Novelli Organization to acquire and retain campgrounds. The record is replete with examples of the Novelli Organization's pattern of:

5) acquiring membership campgrounds and treating the existing members as if they, too, had been acquired;

6) then attempting to sell services such as so-called upgraded memberships to the recently "acquired" members;

7) on occasion closing many of the campgrounds;

8) transferring the members to other campgrounds, most often without providing the members with advance notice or meaningful options;

9) defaulting on the debt to the campground sellers; and

10) placing the campground purchaser into bankruptcy to avoid the obligations to the sellers, after having stripped the campground of its' members.

IT'S ALL THE SAME COMPANY

The evidence established that Raymond Novelli, effectively controlled all aspects of the "Novelli Organization", and that those companies include All Seasons Resorts (ASR), First Nationwide Resort Management (FNRM), TAI subsidiaries, Adventure Resorts of America (ARA), Inc., and others.

There is substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that some of these "Novelli Organization" companies have no purpose other than to have been named as Plaintiffs in this action.

Novelli Companies never supplied evidence showing actual separateness among the different Plaintiff entities, or the reason for the jumble of different Plaintiffs, or their separate business purposes, functions or existence.

The evidence further proved that:

a) Mr. Novelli moved individuals into and out of official capacities of these Plaintiffs on a recurrent basis without any legitimate business purpose, that

b) Mr. Novelli has repeatedly and excessively misused the bankruptcy laws and the judicial system to frustrate creditors, business partners, and the Government (such as by regularly failing to deposit payroll taxes withheld from employees' paychecks), that

c) the Novelli Organization has repeatedly ignored its' responsibilities to federal and local taxing authorities through the use of these various Plaintiff entities and other entities within the Novelli Organization, that

d) the record keeping of books and records within the Novelli Organization were unreliable (with unexplained instances of one entity controlled by Mr. Novelli paying the debts of another named entity), and that

e) for all practical and legal purposes the conduct of one entity within the Novelli Organization (and among the Plaintiffs themselves) should be charged to all others, and specifically to Mr. Novelli, as well.

The Court found that the sham nature of all these Plaintiff entities goes to the core of the transactions on which Novelli Companies predicate their claims in this action and further establishes Plaintiffs' unclean hands.

Evidence showed that one Novelli Company even presented altered, forged or unauthorized documents to Florida State authorities, in December 1999 in order to influence this California lawsuit.

ABUSE OF RV OWNERS

The evidence established, without contradiction, that Plaintiffs attempted to deprive RV Owners of the choice of whether to become part of Travel America by:

(1) concealing from the predecessors' members the absence of any obligation to pay Travel America;

(2) improperly billing members as if there was an existing and enforceable obligation between the member and Travel America; and

(3) notifying Travel America's alleged members that their membership contracts were "automatically assumed" by Travel America. Memberships in ASR, FNRM and TAI were the property of their respective bankruptcy estates at the time those notifications were sent, and Travel America had neither sought nor received permission from their respective Bankruptcy Courts to substitute itself for the original provider of membership camping services.

Moreover, as noted by one of Novelli's own witnesses, Travel America could not call an individual a "member" unless and until that person manifested his or her consent to become a member of Travel America. Travel America ignored that fundamental precept and simply treated all of those people as its' members for the improper purpose of trying to collect from them money to which Travel America had no legal right.

The evidence established that the purported transfer of membership relationships into Travel America, coupled with Travel America's concurrent announcement of a new "exclusive" reciprocal provider relationship with Resort Parks International ("RPI", a competitor of Coast), was engineered by the Novelli Organization:

(1) without regard to the interests of the members themselves;

(2) without regard to whether the members in fact wanted or agreed to become members of Travel America, and indeed without prior notice to the members;

(3) without regard to whether RV park members who were also Coast members valued their Coast membership and wanted to maintain their Coast membership;

(4) without regard to and in derogation of the rights of various bankruptcy estates and their trustees and creditors, all of whom had an interest in membership contracts that Travel America effectively stripped out of bankruptcy estates without compensation to the bankruptcy estates and without advance orders from bankruptcy courts;

(5) without regard to either the spirit or effect of various State Attorney General actions that had been taken against TAI;

(6) without regard to the rights of secured and unsecured creditors of the Novelli Organization who were owed substantial sums of money – some of whom even had rights to the membership contracts themselves; and

(7) without regard to Coast's interest in maintaining existing and prospective relationships with its' own members.

NOTE: (1) This article reflects our best understanding of the official decision of the Judge in the California lawsuit.


 

Travel America Blames Coast to Coast
for Problems

May 2000 - Mr. Ray Novelli alleges in a lawsuit that Coast to Coast is responsible for the financial problems of Travel America and several associates. He has presented a person who represents himself to be an “Expert” on the needs, desires, and intentions of RV campground members. This alleged expert's name is a Mr. Robert Mitchell. One could conclude, after reading some of the depositions of Mr. Mitchell, that his testimony appears self serving to his position as a highly paid consultant for certain campground developers and “their” needs, wants, and desires.

The following article is offered by a different and highly respected author and advocate for campground members, Mrs. Janet Wilder, “The Road Princess”.

Why Members Left Travel America
An Opinion by Janet R. Wilder “The Road Princess”

I have read Mr. Mitchell's deposition and would like to make the following comments:

Mitchell's perspective is representative of the developer and campground owner. Though he purports to expertly represent the member's perspective, he hasn't a clue as to how members feel. His recitation of his qualifications and his curious narrative over several days of testimony reveals only a cursory interaction with actual campground members.

When Travel America withdrew from Camp Coast to Coast, the members who frequently used the Coast to Coast system and found themselves without a Coast to Coast Home Park were, to my knowledge and belief, grateful for Coast to Coast's assistance in securing new home park memberships. Though this process may have had some financial benefit to Coast to Coast licensees, it was transparent to the members. Further, the percentage of members at membership campgrounds who would miss the Coast to Coast affiliation is rather small. Most of them enjoy their home park and rarely travel beyond its or sister park limits.

In 1996, Mr. Novelli was already enjoying a poor reputation among membership campers. His properties were reported to be in bankruptcy. This may appear to Mr. Mitchell's expertise as “good business practice,” but to the average member it was frightening.

President's Club and All Seasons members were extremely unhappy with his organization and complained vehemently that they had been “taken by high pressure salesmen.” During the summer of 1996, one would find All Seasons memberships for sale on the bulletin board of any given (non-Novelli) membership campground for next to nothing or for transfer fees only. People seemed to want to place as much distance between themselves and Novelli as possible. Additionally, Mr. Novelli's reputation was not enhanced by his affiliation with Vopnford by assuming Thousand Adventures. In my opinion, which is based upon many conversations with fellow RVers during the summer of 1997 through late 1998, many members abandoned Travel America because they were reluctant to fork over any more money to what they perceived as an organization born of President's Club, All Seasons, and Thousand Adventures, all of which enjoyed odious reputations at the time in question. There is no basis to Mr. Mitchell's insulting insinuation that all members want is someone to make them feel “warm and fuzzy”. We are intelligent adults who are capable of forming our own opinions. The majority of us adhere to the adage of “once bitten-twice shy”.

I have been a participant in membership camping since 1990 and am a member of Thousand Trails/Naco, Wanderwood Resort (Camp Coast to Coast affiliate), RPI (through Naco), Campers' Club of America and former Thousand Adventures member who did not continue with Travel America because of distrust of Mr. Novelli's practices. I have been a full-time RVer for 4 years. I am the publisher of “The Road Princess Gazette,” a quarterly newsletter about full-time RVing, just completing 5 years of publication. Since 1995 I have written columns for several RV related websites. I have frequently participated on the RV Newsgroup (Usenet) and am a contract writer for “RV Companion Magazine.” I have been published in Escapees Magazine and enjoy some recognition for expertise in the RV Community. I have written several articles about membership camping and am a strong proponent of such organizations.

I have an Associate Degree as a Legal Assistant as well as 17 years experience in the legal field. I know how to read and digest a deposition and I have more than a layman's appreciation for the validity of testimony.


 

SHOULD YOU PAY MONEY TO TRAVEL AMERICA?

February 2000 - If you use their facilities - you should pay their fees and obey their rules for participation. That's it!

If you do NOT use their facilities and you do not plan to - what gives them the right to demand money from you?

Do you have a contract with them? Do they have the means (or even the intention) to honor every provision of a contract you have with someone else? Did they ask you if you want to be in their organization?

They seem to feel that some of us have been awarded to them like some kind of cow that one farmer might sell to another farmer. You know - a CASH cow.

A cow has no rights - YOU DO!


 

The following exchange
is from an RV conference on the internet.

It is presented without change or comment. (We will respond in another newsletter.)

March 1999:

Any feeling on this membership camping?

Are there any good ones left?

What about CCC, RPI.....etc?

Please stay away from Travel America!! The organization is involved with all kinds of legal hassles, is run by disreputables and is very dangerous to your pocketbook!

CCC and RPI are viable organizations, but your membership is as viable as the 'home park'. The parks that belong to CCC and RPI are independently owned membership parks that participate in a reciprocal program. You have to belong to one of those reciprocating parks to join RPI or CCC. If you stay in either system, you are excluded from staying in any park within a specified distance from your 'home park' and are limited to 2 stays of a maximum of 7 days each, per year in the parks that are not restricted. A lot of the CCC's are not even allowing 7 days. They'll give you two or three nights and some will require you to go to a sales spiel if you want to stay more than a day.

Some 'home parks' are a chain of parks owned by the same organization. What you should look for is a 'home park' with good financial prospects, low maintenance fees and reasonable purchase price.

Membership camping is not for everyone. It works well for full-timers, people who spend a lot of time RVing and for people who have a membership in a park near home that they can go to on weekends and vacations. For traveling, they may not be ideal, as most are quite a ways from the Interstates and cities. This is because they are meant to be *resort* destinations for the people who live in the surrounding cities.

Memberships are a contract with annual maintenance fees. If you default on the fees, you breach the contract so be absolutely certain this is what you want before you buy.

If you need cheap and convenient places to stop for a night or two while traveling and do not need the fancy amenities, look into Campers' Club of America. They have an annual fee, something like $200, and you pay $5 per night for up to 14 days. You have to be out of a participating park the same number of days you were in and then you can go back again. There is no limit on how many times you can stay per year. If you don't like the system, you just don't pay the membership fee the next year. No contracts. The participating parks are commercial, and are usually closer to freeways. Not usually high in esthetics, but safe, clean spots with hookups.