Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release -- Friday, August 1, 1997.

Miller: Consumer Fraud Lawsuit Against
Campground Company Resolved

Thousand Adventures operates membership campgrounds near Marshalltown, Knoxville, Osceola, and Lake Rathbun.

DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday that his office has resolved a consumer fraud lawsuit brought against Thousand Adventures, Inc., a Nebraska-based company that operates four membership campgrounds in Iowa near Marshalltown, Knoxville, Osceola, and Lake Rathbun.

Miller's lawsuit had alleged that Thousand Adventures made false and deceptive statements about the value of memberships -- which typically cost consumers from $3,000 to $6,000 -- and about consumers' ability to obtain refunds or sell their memberships.

"The campgrounds will remain open, and that's good," Miller said. "The company will change numerous practices that violated Iowa's consumer fraud act, and it will pay the State over $50,000 in penalties and costs of investigation, and for consumer education."

Miller said a formal consent judgment was filed Friday morning in Polk County District Court in Des Moines. Under the agreement, Thousand Adventures is under court order to resolve numerous complaints and alleged violations of the consumer fraud act:

  • Cancellation. Thousand Adventures must immediately cancel memberships and release persons from further liability if they requested cancellation. The company had denied such requests and continued to bill members. The company also is obligated to make timely payments to customers who had re-sale agreements, and to catch up on any past- due payments to customers.
  • Changing terms in contracts. Thousand Adventures is prohibited from unilaterally changing any material terms in membership contracts. Iowans had complained that the company had imposed unexpected, additional charges to members.
  • Debt collection practices. Thousand Adventures must avoid illegal debt collection practices and correct unfavorable credit reports the company had generated with credit reporting agencies.
  • Consumer complaints. Existing and future consumer complaints must be resolved within 30 days.
  • Campground maintenance. All facilities must be maintained in good and safe working order.
  • Misrepresentations. The company is prohibited from misrepresentations. Miller's suit had alleged that the company touted new campground facilities that did not exist, and misrepresented the quality or odds of receiving particular gifts or prizes that were used as inducements for people to visit the campgrounds and listen to sales pitches.
The consent judgment also includes an enforcement "hammer," Miller said. The Court retains jurisdiction, and, if the company violates the terms of the agreement, it can be ordered to stop all business in Iowa, pay $200,000 to the State, and release customers from their contracts.

The consent judgment does not resolve a private class action that is being pursued on behalf of campground members by Douglas Napier, an attorney in Ft. Madison.

Miller said his office believes that financial problems had led to numerous questionable practices by the company that culminated in his office filing the consumer fraud lawsuit last year. He said Thousand Adventures, which once operated about fifty membership campgrounds around the nation, is expected to merge with two other nationwide campground companies and operate as Travel America. The terms of the consent judgment filed today will be binding on successor companies, he said.

Thousand Adventures, Inc., has over 5,000 members at its four Iowa facilities: R & R Ranch near Osceola, Crabtree Resort southwest of Marshalltown, Hickory Ridge Resort near Knoxville, and Rathbun Resort near Moravia and Rathbun Lake.

"I think we have a solid judgment that protects everyone as best as possible," Miller said "Most people will be able to continue to use the campgrounds. People who want out can get out. And potential new customers will be protected from misrepresentations."