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Old 04-19-2022, 12:31 PM   #1
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1st attempt to reserve site at private campground was a disaster

After 4 years camping in-state at state parks and county parks, we were finally looking to camp out of state at a regular campground. I found a KOA in the black hills, went through the reservation process indicating a 35' TT (it's actually 29', but I don't want to mess with a small site), and booked a site for June. Within 2 days I rec'd an email from the campground advising me that the site 'was about 30', but that I could park the truck in the parking lot'. To me, "about 30 feet" means anything from 28' to 32', so I emailed back and said that won't work and please cancel my reservation. They cancelled the reservation and refunded my first night deposit except for a $10 cancellation fee. I emailed the campground and asked how they can charge a cancellation fee when I indicated I had a 35' TT and the reservation system booked me into a 30' spot? They replied back that the site lengths are on the website. I went back through the reservation process and there are NO site lengths listed anywhere, although 35' TT shows up while booking a reservation. I then went to that specific KOA campground website and poked around and still can't find site lengths anywhere.
Is this normal? How do you guys make reservations at private campgrounds that don't show you a pic of the site you are reserving and tell you how long the site is?
thanks,
Mitch
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Old 04-19-2022, 12:48 PM   #2
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For KOA, we were a 21' trailer pulled by a 19' truck. So backing into a spot for a 21' trailer was problematic.
If we were booking online, I'd put in the comments what our equipment was and we needed a 40' long space. Of course, I was usually booking a pull through.
When in doubt, call the campground in advance and see if they have a spot that will fit your rig.
Their reservation system isn't fool proof.
If you told them you've got a 35' rig and they booked you into a 30' spot, it's not right for them to charge you a cancellation fee. Be nice, but insistent that you need a refund.
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Old 04-19-2022, 01:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MillMitch View Post
After 4 years camping in-state at state parks and county parks, we were finally looking to camp out of state at a regular campground. I found a KOA in the black hills, went through the reservation process indicating a 35' TT (it's actually 29', but I don't want to mess with a small site), and booked a site for June. Within 2 days I rec'd an email from the campground advising me that the site 'was about 30', but that I could park the truck in the parking lot'. To me, "about 30 feet" means anything from 28' to 32', so I emailed back and said that won't work and please cancel my reservation. They cancelled the reservation and refunded my first night deposit except for a $10 cancellation fee. I emailed the campground and asked how they can charge a cancellation fee when I indicated I had a 35' TT and the reservation system booked me into a 30' spot? They replied back that the site lengths are on the website. I went back through the reservation process and there are NO site lengths listed anywhere, although 35' TT shows up while booking a reservation. I then went to that specific KOA campground website and poked around and still can't find site lengths anywhere.
Is this normal? How do you guys make reservations at private campgrounds that don't show you a pic of the site you are reserving and tell you how long the site is?
thanks,
Mitch

I would call the campground and make the reservation if you are not sure or unable to locate the information you require. I have no idea what KOA you are looking at, as there are several in the Black Hills area of SD. I'm totally assuming this is the area that you are looking to visit.

Here is a private campground we stayed at when we visited:
Mt Rushmore
Custer State Park
Crazy Horse

https://beaverlakecampground.net/available-units/

I would still call. We've been able to get into a few "full" campgrounds just by making a call.

As far as the KOA. It depends on how mad you want to be. We've had to cancel complete trips with 4 or 5 reservations each two times and paid the fees as they were described when we booked. We've also made changes or had changes made that have involved a miscommunication between parties and had no fees charged.

Based only on your email correspondence described above. It appears that the KOA is attempting to justify the cancellation fee. Their response should have been, there is a cancellation fee as described on the website if you cancel, sorry. If I were mad enough, I would email them a response. Politely explain that you looked for lengths and they were not readily apparent on the website and the reason for cancelling is that they could not fulfil the reservation. You were acting in good faith, they were not.
Therefore, if the they will not refund the entire reservation fee due to the fact they were not able to fulfil the reservation, you will have no choice to dispute the cancellation fee with your credit card company.

You may lose the dispute depending what the actual website cancellation policy states. You then will ultimately have to pay the $10, but they also lose as a dispute fee is charged to the retailer.

$10 right now is about 20 miles driven towing. Maybe 20 miles down the road you'll be less frustrated and not find the fight worth $10. Or not.
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Old 04-19-2022, 05:38 PM   #4
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If you book a 50 amp site it will be large enough for you.
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Old 04-19-2022, 05:52 PM   #5
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I pick up the phone and call and talk to a real person If i dont know where im going. Only way to do it with a 43 foot 5th wheel. 10$ doesnt seem much to sweat. I'd be more worried about the lost trip.
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Old 04-19-2022, 06:28 PM   #6
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KOAs have lots of things in writing to cover their rear ends. I had trouble like that in San Antonio. However I've found most KOAs to be reliable across the country. I always read reviews with from multiple sites, but with a grain of salt. Overlook the Angry Birds and overlook the ones where "this is the best place ever" reviews. If all else fails call. Campgrounds have what they have and they don't have to be too picky these days.
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Old 04-20-2022, 03:01 PM   #7
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We use KOA as our overnight goto when traveling from point A to B. Never an issue/cancellation. However, we stay at private campgrounds when reaching our destination. We find they have more room between campsites, more amenities, and cheaper pricing. In Black Hills we stayed at Rafter J Bar Ranch. Beautiful campground.
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Old 04-20-2022, 03:11 PM   #8
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Yesterday, I was trying to book one night midweek at a private campground and I have never encountered this before; an application that they will review and get back to me if they will accept me. They asked for my Fico score, model, age and condition of rv and any other vehicles, breed of dogs( 2 max. of 40 lbs.) and WHY I am staying with them. I responded with one female, no pets, picking up new Monaco rv and Fico score 830. They turned me down. Oh, and I love Yelp!
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Old 04-20-2022, 03:50 PM   #9
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I would have hung up the phone at their first question regarding none of their business stuff.
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Old 04-20-2022, 04:16 PM   #10
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We stayed at black hills trail side resort several years ago.

Located on the edge of Hill city.

Not fancy.

We were traveling without reservations.
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Old 04-20-2022, 04:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
For KOA, we were a 21' trailer pulled by a 19' truck. So backing into a spot for a 21' trailer was problematic.
If we were booking online, I'd put in the comments what our equipment was and we needed a 40' long space. Of course, I was usually booking a pull through.
When in doubt, call the campground in advance and see if they have a spot that will fit your rig.
Their reservation system isn't fool proof.
If you told them you've got a 35' rig and they booked you into a 30' spot, it's not right for them to charge you a cancellation fee. Be nice, but insistent that you need a refund.

Yeah, totally agree it's not good business practice (and, probably bordering on illegal) to provide you one size of site, then switch you to a smaller one that won't accommodate, and charge you a fee for their mistake. But, if it were me, it isn't worth the time and aggravation of trying to get $10 back. It was a inexpensive learning experience with this campground, and specifically with KOA's online reservation system. In the future, if I want to book with KOA, I'll be checking their online reviews beforehand, and then, not using their online system and instead calling for the reservation.
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Old 04-20-2022, 05:14 PM   #12
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We use KOA a lot when traveling but don't use the KOA reservation system instead we call the campground to make our reservation and we have never had a problem.
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Old 04-20-2022, 05:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnlvr View Post
Yesterday, I was trying to book one night midweek at a private campground and I have never encountered this before; an application that they will review and get back to me if they will accept me. They asked for my Fico score, model, age and condition of rv and any other vehicles, breed of dogs( 2 max. of 40 lbs.) and WHY I am staying with them. I responded with one female, no pets, picking up new Monaco rv and Fico score 830. They turned me down. Oh, and I love Yelp!

FICO score???? What LEGITIMATE reason could they possibly have for needing your FICO score? Sounds like a new scam to do a better job at MONETIZING their camping customers. As long as your credit card goes through and, your rig is compatible with the park's PUBLISHED rules, there should be NO problem in a customer making a reservation. The NAMES & LOCATIONS of these outrageous RV parks should be publicized as a warning to other potential customers.

I DO agree that, in an effort to stop RVers that abuse / game the reservation systems, there needs to be a monetary penalty (and perhaps an industry database to track & ultimately block abusing scammers). I don't see that happening anytime soon though.
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Old 04-20-2022, 05:57 PM   #14
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a few years ago we made reservations at a KOA in Pa on our way home from Fl to Nova Scotia. We decided to stay one week longer since the weather on the US east coast was not going to be good. Called KOA they make the change to the following week.. When we arrived there was a cancellation fee included on our bill. I questioned the gal and after a while she admitted she cancelled it instead of moving it to a later date--- then remade the reservation for the proper date.....She said I would have to go to the head office for my rebate -she could not give me the refund....she made the mistake...Never did get my $$$$ We normally do not stay at KOA's but this one is open 12 months and on our way home..Did not go to Fl for the last two years due to Covid!!!!
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Old 04-20-2022, 08:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM Welder View Post
We use KOA a lot when traveling but don't use the KOA reservation system instead we call the campground to make our reservation and we have never had a problem.
Exactly what we do.
We usually reserve overnight stops the day of travel. With those online systems you usually can't reserve same day. The less expensive parks fill up early, but KOAs have a pull through for us most of the time. They are a few bucks more, but you know a little bit more about what you're getting with a KOA. It's not much in the grand scheme of things and the wife unit feels better with them which is good for me.
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Old 04-20-2022, 08:12 PM   #16
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I would have hung up the phone at their first question regarding none of their business stuff.
Same here. I can't imagine the snobbery at a place like that. It's camping. I understand them not wanting old clapped out RVs, but that goes way too far.
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Old 04-20-2022, 08:30 PM   #17
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Smile

I stay away from KOA. Thats how my bookings are more accurate. Just my 2 cents. Good luck and Happy Camping.
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:28 AM   #18
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We seldom stay in KOA parks simply because there is none convenient to where we are going most of the time.

On those occasions we have stayed we have found them friendly, helpful and no problems.
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Old 04-21-2022, 06:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MillMitch View Post
After 4 years camping in-state at state parks and county parks, we were finally looking to camp out of state at a regular campground. I found a KOA in the black hills, went through the reservation process indicating a 35' TT (it's actually 29', but I don't want to mess with a small site), and booked a site for June. Within 2 days I rec'd an email from the campground advising me that the site 'was about 30', but that I could park the truck in the parking lot'. To me, "about 30 feet" means anything from 28' to 32', so I emailed back and said that won't work and please cancel my reservation. They cancelled the reservation and refunded my first night deposit except for a $10 cancellation fee. I emailed the campground and asked how they can charge a cancellation fee when I indicated I had a 35' TT and the reservation system booked me into a 30' spot? They replied back that the site lengths are on the website. I went back through the reservation process and there are NO site lengths listed anywhere, although 35' TT shows up while booking a reservation. I then went to that specific KOA campground website and poked around and still can't find site lengths anywhere.
Is this normal? How do you guys make reservations at private campgrounds that don't show you a pic of the site you are reserving and tell you how long the site is?
thanks,
Mitch
If you paid with a credit card, then dispute the $10. If I never disputed a charge, even $10, I'd be out many dollars at this point.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:12 AM   #20
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If you paid with a credit card, then dispute the $10. If I never disputed a charge, even $10, I'd be out many dollars at this point.
If the charge is within the stated policy then no reason to dispute it as it's a valid charge then. if it is contrary to the policy then yes dispute it as it is unauthorized.
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