DO YOU HAVE TO PAY DUES TO TRAVEL AMERICA?
The short answer is "NO".
If you use
their facilities, you should pay their fees and
obey their rules. - That's it!
On the other hand -
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?
Send a letter to the company telling them to leave you
this link to see a sample letter]
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
can do this on-line by clicking on this link.]
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.]
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.
Your complaints about Travel America are NOT “contract
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
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. ]
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
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
On the other hand, if you never signed a contract with Travel
America; you do NOT use their facilities. You do NOT owe them
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
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.
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
The numerous and material inconsistencies between Mr.
Novelli's trial testimony and his deposition testimony;
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
Mr. Novelli's demeanor while testifying at trial.
DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING
Novelli Companies engaged in deceptive and misleading tactics
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
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
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
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
(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
(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
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
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
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
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 -
The following exchange
is from an RV conference on the internet.
It is presented without change or comment. (We
will respond in another newsletter.)
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