NEWARK, NJ – June 16, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — A Cape May County campground, accused of failing to tell mobile home owners it would take half the profit when their mobile home was resold, plus a 10 percent sales commission, has agreed to pay restitution to affected consumers, under terms of a settlement reached with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Driftwood Camping Resort, Inc., which does business as Driftwood Camping and RV Center (“Driftwood”), will pay $38,400 in restitution to five consumers. The campground also has agreed to pay restitution to additional consumers who file complaints with the Division of Consumer Affairs within the next 90 days, unless it provides proof that the complainants were notified about the terms for resale of their mobile homes.
Driftwood also agreed to adopt certain business practices under the settlement. Prior to selling a mobile home unit, the company will provide written notice of all sales policies and fees in effect at the time of the sale. The company may continue to charge commissions when consumers re-sell their mobile home units, so long as the company has given each consumer notice of those commissions.
“This case underscores why consumers must get all contract terms in writing and then keep the contract and all addendums safe and secure. The alleged failure of Driftwood to provide disclosure to consumers cost mobile home owners thousands of dollars when they resold their units,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
The restitution for the five consumers covered by the Consent Order with Driftwood ranges from $4,400 to $10,400.
A total of $32,210.40 was assessed against Driftwood by the Division of Consumer Affairs. Driftwood will pay $17,210.40 to reimburse the state’s legal and investigative costs. The balance represents $15,000 in civil penalties and is suspended but payable if Driftwood does not meet the terms of the Consent Order over the next 90 days.
“This settlement is a victory for the consumers who suffered financial harm through Driftwood’s unsavory business practices,” Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “Our message to consumers cannot be overstated: Before you sign a contract or make a down payment, demand all the terms in writing and be sure to read the fine print. If a business refuses to give clear information, walk away.”
Consumers who wish to file a complaint against Driftwood, or who believe they have been cheated or scammed by any business, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website, www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov, or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
Deputy Attorney General Frank J. Marasco in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section represented the Division of Consumer Affairs. Investigator Patrick Mullan in the Office of Consumer Protection led the investigation of this case.
Jeff Lamm or