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Old 02-19-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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Thousand Trails membership let-down

Am I the only one who feel cheated after Encore have taken over Thousand Trails? Is it just me being a grumpy old man?

Firstly - I bought, for a large amount of cash, into an exclusive membership only "club" and I was promised that my "investment" was safe and always would retain it's re-sale value. Now you don't have to buy an expensive membership - you can either buy an annual zone membership without any investment or just turn up at a TT park and pay a fee per day like any other camp ground. Since this is no longer a membership only arrangement my "investment" is lost.

Secondly - when I visit a TT site, most or all prime sites are now not available to me. They have been reserved either for promotional use, or they have been set aside for people who will pay money for annual use or long term stay. This is not was I was promised or told about at any point.

Thirdly - I have had nothing in writing explaining to me what influence the take-over by Encore would have on my membership - I have had to find out for myself that many changes have been made, and not one single one of them are to my advantage. Encore have had the opportunity to "sweeten the blow" to existing TT members, but they have chosen not to.

Fourthly - I have spoken to TT sales representatives on various TT sites, and I have asked for written material that explains to members the consequences of the take-over, but the representatives confirm that nothing exists. The strong feeling that I am getting is that Encore simply do not want existing members to know what is going on, as this may cause them too many problems with dissatisfied "investors". This, however, does not prevent TT/Encore sales staff from trying to sell you yet another extension to your now devalued TT membership before you leave their office. To rub salt into my wound I have just been told by a sales representative that I should be extremely pleased that Encore took over, since if they had not done so, TT would have folded and would have been no more.

For the time being I am a disillusioned and dissatisfied TT member.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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I wish I could argue with you .. .. But yes, you do have a point. When I signed up all sights were "First come first serve" the only long term leases were either segreagated or "Winter" (When the park was otherwise closed) Today it seems half the sites here are "long term" People are building decks and putting storage sheds beside their RV. This is not the Thousand Trails I signed up for.

That said.. I'm not (yet) complaining.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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Although it is not at all good what has taken place for you. Bankruptcy would have been much worse.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:56 PM   #4
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Helmick,

Now I can come in and park next to you. Hee hee.

Is it true that TT parks now accept Passport American Member with reduced daily pricing?

We stayed at a TT in St. Clair, MI on our PA membership and PA rates.

I feel your pain. I'm happy that I did not buy into TT. However, I have to consider their move. It is better to have campers paying daily rates, then an empty camp ground. Let's ask, "Who get's the buy-in money?"
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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I've been a TT member for years. It's not Encore doing all these changes... Encore is owned by Equity Lifestyles (ELS), and ELS then bought TT. So, they are integrating all of their properties. The underlying problem is this: Equity Lifestyles is a very large company that has created hundreds of retirement communities. You know, the kind of retirement parks you see all over in Arizona and So California.... It is a natural fit for them to buy up these RV parks, including TT preserves and convert them to leasehold spaces. That's what's going on. Over a year ago, I wrote letters to ELS asking many questions and received zero back.

If they were taking sites out of inventory, that might work okay if they were buying more parks to add back in, or offering sites on an honest reciprocal trade for TT members at Encore parks. But that is not happening.

I believe ELS has broken their contractual obligations to all TT members. If any of you TT folks are lawyers, we need some help.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne M View Post
Helmick,

Now I can come in and park next to you. Hee hee.

Is it true that TT parks now accept Passport American Member with reduced daily pricing?

We stayed at a TT in St. Clair, MI on our PA membership and PA rates.

I feel your pain. I'm happy that I did not buy into TT. However, I have to consider their move. It is better to have campers paying daily rates, then an empty camp ground. Let's ask, "Who get's the buy-in money?"
Hi Wayne

It would be a pleasure to have you park next to us - we wish you would.

I don't think that a Passport America membership will give you a 50% reduction on your camp ground fee at Thousand Trails. At least I haven't seen this.

What happened to the "buy-in money" is exactly what I would like Encore to tell me, and is exactly the question they seem to be avoiding by not issuing any information at all.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelheadbluesman View Post
If they were taking sites out of inventory, that might work okay if they were buying more parks to add back in, or offering sites on an honest reciprocal trade for TT members at Encore parks. But that is not happening.

I believe ELS has broken their contractual obligations to all TT members. If any of you TT folks are lawyers, we need some help.
I couldn't agree more.

I don't know anything about contractual obligations but I am surprised that they can actually do what they are doing.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:44 PM   #8
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I don't know how they can win a legal challenge, but someone has to at least threaten. It seems to me TT members would be screaming, and shaping up a class-action suit, but that's not happening. I've got thousands wrapped up in my membership, and then there are the dues -- still, I am way ahead financially, because I've used TT so much. But, I would like them to stop, and I'm sure it will be a legal battle. They claim TT has over 100,000 members, so maybe we'll get it together, eh?
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:16 AM   #9
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We have been members over 10 years. No way the same. Nothing is ever done to improve these so called preserves, unless you count paint. Palm Springs in Indio continues to make more sites unavailable with never a improvement to the sites. The list is real long. In case you can't tell color me dissatisfied.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Firstly - I bought, for a large amount of cash, into an exclusive membership only "club" and I was promised that my "investment" was safe and always would retain it's re-sale value.
Resale value? Three years ago when we decided to sell, we were lucky to find some sucker lucky person (after nine months) to take our membership and pay the transfer fee without us having to pay her. Look on ebay to see what resale value your membership has now.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
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We stayed at a TT in St. Clair, MI on our PA membership and PA rates.
Wayne... I spend about half my summer at that park.. Usually in "A" section.

And 2/3 of the winter in Carolina Landing.


And for the other poster...

And yes.. If you want a nice zero amp site with water and sewer, you can park next to me.. If you want electricity,, You will have to pick a different site at least for the next week or two.. (Manager says he will be fixing the power at the site next door next week, or there about).
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:36 PM   #12
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Disappointed with ELS & Thousand Trails

We bought in to TT in 84. We've added NACO, then LTR - even voluntarily upped our dues (nearly 2x) to keep Thousand Trails afloat during their hard times. We felt it's better to have a membership campground than have them go under. We retired & became full-time RVers in 07. We've seen a lot of Equity Lifestyle changes + a lot of complaining from members & staffers. In the last month we've been in and out of the Forest Lake TT, now called Forest Lake Preserve w-Encore logo. Being open to the public (drive-ups, Passport America, RPI, etc) sure changes things - not good. We bought into a membership campground back in 84 to get away from public campgrounds and long term campers. We loved TT's business plan. In retirement we planned to enjoy the outdoors without dogs on 20+ft leads, barking incessently, tied outide long term campers that look like they should be in a trailer park. I asked the Ranger how many dogs are permited per campsite - he said no limit. Our barking-dog neighbor has 4 dogs so he's right. Most campgrounds allow 2-3, apparently Encore doesn't care provided the public has $$$. Upon arrival we were told which sites were available, others were empty but not offered. That's wrong! There's no postings about a Manager Meeting so this park is apparently run covertly. Ugly... We "day" visited a near-by Encore only to see that it looks like any public campground that allows mostly leased sites. Guess that's what's in TTN's future. So sad.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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We bought in to TT in Orlando in 2002. At the time we had a Newmar Kountry Star DP and it was wired for 50 amp. So, whenever we camped, we'd look for the 50 amp sites. Good luck with that! There were never enough 50 amps sites to meet demands.

Then we had a situation where a TT employee banged the tailpipe/rear section of the coach with a riding mower. I called the TT manager and he came over, took pictures and sent them to 'corporate' assuring me they would handle it. They certainly did handle it. Their lawyer (nice touch) sent us a letter pointing out the 'small print' where it says TT is NOT liable for ANY damages incurred to your vehicle while in the park, regardless of whose fault it is. So, you get to pay for the repairs. THEY DON'T TELL YOU THAT AT THE SALES MEETING DO THEY?

We then upgrade to the Mountain Aire, and not only are 50 amp sites still problematic, now we have even more trouble finding site that will accommodate a 45' coach.

Scroll ahead a few years and ELP takes over, and now you have to pay additional to use other parks they manage, and pay for . . .and pay for . . We finally said to hell with them and just quit paying the annual fees. Did we loose money? Yep, did I loose any sleep over it? Not on your life.

RUN - do not walk - away from any TT sales pitch.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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Thanks guys! Just saved me from a newbie oops

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