LANSING – The Michigan Department of Attorney General issued a Notice of Intended Action to Bay City-based Outdoor Adventures earlier this week, outlining serious concerns with the company's aggressive and misleading sales tactics. The company has an "opportunity to immediately cease and desist from engaging in unlawful business practices" before the state files a lawsuit against the company, the letter stated.
Outdoor Adventures operates eight campgrounds in Michigan: Davison, Grand Haven, Kalamazoo, Mt. Pleasant, Omer, Standish, Sterling and West Branch. A ninth location is in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
The Attorney General has received nearly 30 complaints against Outdoor Adventures since 2016 – 10 since January 2019. The Better Business Bureau shared additional complaints against the company. As a result, the Attorney General's Corporate Oversight Division began scrutinizing the company's sales tactics and cancellation policies, reviewing the documentation and seeking notarized affidavits from consumers.
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The findings were revealing, indicating Outdoor Adventures is engaging in several unfair trade practices, including:
- Causing a probability of confusion or misunderstanding about the legal rights, obligations, or remedies of a party to a transaction; Causing probability of confusion or misunderstanding about the terms or conditions of credit if credit is extended in a transaction; Failing … to promptly restore … a deposit, down payment, or other payment …. Gross discrepancies between the oral presentations of the seller and the written agreement covering the same transaction; and, Causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation.
"I take my role as Michigan's Chief Consumer Advocate very seriously," said Nessel. "Outdoor Adventures appears to have taken egregious advantage of dozens of Michigan residents, taking their money under false pretenses and then refusing refunds and cancellations. We cannot and will not allow any company to mislead people into spending thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money."
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"The size of the consumer debts involved here, and Outdoor Adventures' aggressive, ongoing misconduct prompted us to advise you of our concerns and intentions," the letter stated. "We are laying the groundwork for a formal investigation ... and are communicating to you the intention to file a lawsuit."
Outdoor Adventures can avoid legal action by agreeing to voluntary compliance to ensure it addresses all of the concerns outlined by the Attorney General, including a mechanism to ensure appropriate reimbursements are made to all customers affected by the company's unfair trade practices.
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