In previous articles on Vogel Talks RVing, I’ve discussed membership camping—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In an earlier article I reviewed the current information, misinformation, and confusion about membership camping in order to assist the consumer in making a more informed decision.
Today’s post details an ugly aspect of membership camping as it pertains to one—and I emphasize, only one— membership campground system—Halo Resorts Inc.
Halo Resorts consists of two campgrounds located in southern California between San Bernardino and Palm Springs—Oak Glen Retreat (38955 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa) and Fisherman’s Retreat (32300 San Timoteo Canyon Road, Redding).
After a two week trial, a San Bernardino Superior Court jury reached a unanimous fraud verdict for intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and negligent misrepresentation and awarded $3.585 million in damages and $750,000 in punitive damages to 2,500 members who purchased campground memberships and/or paid membership fees to Halo Resorts Inc. from December 16, 2007 to February 20, 2013, according to a written announcement from one of the law firms in the case.
“A jury found Halo Resorts falsely represented to its members that it was entitled to charge these fees and concealed the fact that they were not entitled to charge the fees,” said attorney Kitty Szeto with the R. Rex Parris law firm who tried the case with attorney Kevin Shenkman of Shenkman and Hughes law firm.
“For several years, Halo Resorts has sold a ‘lifetime membership’ to thousands of consumers over those years. Essentially, the membership entitled consumers to utilize the facilities and amenities at Halo Resorts’ two membership campgrounds, and obligated members to pay annual dues to Halo Resorts,” said Szeto.
“Halo Resorts charged its members fees that were never disclosed in their contracts and in violation of the California Membership Camping Act. Members were charged termination fees, transfer fees, and were tricked into going to the campgrounds to take a new photo ID but then were forced into 10 -by-10 rooms and were presented with different options: (1) to leave their memberships alone but then their annual dues would increase and they would be assessed a $60 monthly surcharge for the next five years; (2) purchase an upgrade (gold, silver, or bronze for $3,994 and up) which essentially gave them nothing more than what they already paid for; and (3) terminate their membership by paying $2,350. Unconscionably, consumers were forced to make a decision that day within the hour,” said Szeto.
A judge will be deciding three remaining claims (violation of the California Membership Camping Act, Unfair Competition, and Unjust Enrichment).
Case Name: Wilkinson v. Halo Resorts, Inc. – Case No. CIV DS 1114158.
If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a consumer frauds lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.