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Utclmjmpr

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Sep 14, 2009
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Cedar City, UT
Beware of the state of Michigan reservation rules that are punitive, convoluted, manipulative and designed to "pick your pocket"..
It is so stupid that they spend millions each year to promote tourism, then treat you as trash to exploit when using their system'
  EXAMPLE  Mid January I made a 5 day reservation at the Porcupine Mountains State Park in the UP of Michigan during the month of June..14 day's later I canceled when the state tightened their Covid19 control system..  This is how it went down: $8.00 for a" reservation transaction fee"
no problem and is normal these day's,,A $10.00 "cancelling fee", also normal..THEN A $14.00 "SHORTENED STAY FEE!!..This represents a 10% per day charge for each day you have held the reservation!! All this while they are sitting on your money as they ding you immediately.! This amounts to a tax on a tax and is punitive when you consider that the arrival date is 4 months out and they can rent that spot every day till I arrive with no loss or cost involved..#2. A $34.00 PER VEHICLE charge for each vehicle entering a state park!!
  I guess they don't understand that the tourism business is highly competitive and RVs do have wheels..

  The sorry part that I  hate to admit is, Michigan in 1941 was my state of birth!! >>>Dan
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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3,139
Location
Midwest
Certainly is a bit stern considering Indiana has a flat $10 fee.  Tell me a bit more about MI new covid rules..  We are currently looking at a 5 day camping trip to MI in early Aug.
 

Doc Roads

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Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Posts
163
Location
Southern Arizona
Be advised ... Washington State and Oregon can stack fees also ... it?s less painful if the charges are upfront instead of in arrears (not an intentional pun).  It also appears extra fees are becoming more common.  It would be better if they gave you a full disclosure page with the ?what-ifs? to view before you hit submit. 
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Nov 17, 2018
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888
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Two factors at play - profitability is secondary, no matter what happens the taxpayer assures continued operation.  Second, this reservation system is outsourced and no matter what happens through the outside vendor the state and the vendor always gets their contracted cut.  Everyone wins! (You don't count...)

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Bob C

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Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Posts
8
Location
Baraboo, WI
I found out that many states now require you to go on-line or call in a reservation for a camp site even if you are sitting in the parking lot of the campground registration building.  And they do include a "convenience fee" for ALLOWING you to take the time to do this.  You can't just walk in and get a site even if they have some available.
 

ziplock

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Dec 3, 2017
Posts
404
Bob C said:
I found out that many states now require you to go on-line or call in a reservation for a camp site even if you are sitting in the parking lot of the campground registration building.  And they do include a "convenience fee" for ALLOWING you to take the time to do this.  You can't just walk in and get a site even if they have some available.

That could make this new surge, of NEW campers stop camping?  What do ya think?  New campers might sell their campers?  Ya just never know.......
 

Trivet

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Oct 27, 2012
Posts
220
That could make this new surge, of NEW campers stop camping? What do ya think? New campers might sell their campers?
I doubt it, because they're not going to know it was ever any different. It'll just be how it is, to them.
 

Old_Crow

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Nov 20, 2016
Posts
2,292
Location
California
I found out that many states now require you to go on-line or call in a reservation for a camp site even if you are sitting in the parking lot of the campground registration building. And they do include a "convenience fee" for ALLOWING you to take the time to do this. You can't just walk in and get a site even if they have some available.
Not just a state park deal. I was in a Corp of Engineers campground in Little Rock. The guy in the office had a phone outside the door. I could see him, but only talk to him on the phone. Had to go on recreation.gov to book and pay for my site.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
All the big reservations systems, whether government-owned or contracted, now seem to have rather draconian penalties for cancellations. Apparently the public has gotten into the habit of reserving and cancelling on whim. Yeah, I know, YOU never do anything like that, but apparently a lot others do so, and repeatedly.

It really is a problem. Tying up campsites with reservations that aren't used effectively denies use to others. Sure, the site most always get occupied in the end, but in the meantime many people try to make a reservation and are denied from their desired date or type of site. Here we regularly see complaints about the difficulty in getting a reservation at many state and federal parks.
 

Matt_C

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Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Posts
348
Location
SE - Mich
We became self-contained in 1974. In the time since then, we have probably paid for the overnight less than two dozen times. In recent years and longer excursions, we often only pay for an overnight slip when DW wants a too long too hot shower to wash her hair. That make for a convenient time to load potable than dump as well. Otherwise, I will find where to do that one the fly.

Matt
 

jymbee

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Feb 20, 2018
Posts
1,156
Location
Upstate NY
All the big reservations systems, whether government-owned or contracted, now seem to have rather draconian penalties for cancellations. Apparently the public has gotten into the habit of reserving and cancelling on whim. Yeah, I know, YOU never do anything like that, but apparently a lot others do so, and repeatedly.

It really is a problem. Tying up campsites with reservations that aren't used effectively denies use to others. Sure, the site most always get occupied in the end, but in the meantime many people try to make a reservation and are denied from their desired date or type of site. Here we regularly see complaints about the difficulty in getting a reservation at many state and federal parks.
An excellent overview of the multiple issues involved IMO.

Sure the reservation systems are more than willing to charge whatever the market will bear, but a significant portion of the traveling public shares the blame.

As an analogy, I'm loathe to defend airlines and their punitive cancellation policies, but absent some form of control (penalty) flyers would clog the system with multiple reservations knowing full well they would only use one in the end. The one that suited their needs best.

Not saying I disagree with the complaints of the OP with respect to his experience, but there's multiple underlying forces at work. Doubt it will get any better going forward either.

(ps. don't EVEN get me going about Ticketmaster!)
 

Domo

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Nov 8, 2018
Posts
234
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Seems very strange they did not give you opportunity to reject/accept their cancellation policy when you booked your original reservation. And, just because you believe MI tightened/changed their Covid policies did THEY cancel your reservation or did YOU voluntarily cancel the reservation thus triggering the cancellation fees that must have been overlooked, but accepted, during the reservation process.

If they never gave you notice of the fees I'd contest the charges - but I'm guessing that's unlikely.

Here's their cancellation policy - seems that it's all right there. Michigan Camping Reservations

We always check the terms since we've travelled across many states - and yup, sometimes we get hit with fees but we do it knowingly.

Sorry you were surprised - and yes, it seems someone made money from the deal.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,505
Location
Davison Michigan
Cancellation fees are now the norm in many many Hospitality type businesses. The policy is clearly stated.


WHY: Well if you reserve a room or a campsite or a ____ and you suddenly don't show. Well if they can't fill the vacancy. They lose money.. Some of the places I've seen the policy is "If we don't get someone else in there you pay the full bill same as if you'd showed" Yup. that is the rule in some places 100% show or not.

And if you think they are going to admit someone else took the room/site I have a slightly used Bridge.. as they say.
 

Seon

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Aug 30, 2011
Posts
329
Location
Lake Camanche, CA
My fat fingers typed space 45 instead of 25 and within seconds I made the space corrections and I was charged $10 fee for the change. Oh well, my bad.
 

NY_Dutch

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Nov 22, 2010
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6,483
Location
Where our wheels take us!
Just a little clarification, the ReserveAmerica (Aspira) reservation system that many state, national, and private park systems contract with for reservation services includes various flat fees in their contracts depending on which features the park system selects. Where the differences in fees comes in from state to state and park to park besides the selected features, is that the individual park systems or parks can specify how much of the fees, or even more than than those fees, they pay is passed on to the guests. Some years back for instance, Florida state parks did not charge a reservation fee, although RA was still getting their per reservation fee of course. Then when Florida decided to raise the amount guests were paying, instead of increasing the site fees they started passing the reservation fee on, with the same effect as raising the site fees without the guest complaints to deal with. The bottom line is that RA doesn't control how much you pay for the fees, they only control how much the park management pays, That said, Michigan state parks are not part of the RA system, although a number of other private and municipal MI parks are, including USFS sites.
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
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1,239
Unfortunately there is no way to avoid the reservation cancel culture. I guess you could charge extremely high cancellation fees but that will just create more problems as the op has conveyed. I would be in favor of having a checkout understanding which specifically totals the cancellation fees pertaining to the specific reservation being made and with a check box that is to be check off before payment. In the case of MI, that may prevent campers from gobbling space up.The system seems unfriendly but when you consider alternatives like standing in line hoping to get a space, it isn't that bad.

I try to be fully aware of cancellation fees for reservations that I make. I make it a point to review cancellation fees of any new reservations.

I do enjoy scanning for reposted vacancies from cancellations. Reserve America reposts them to the public but if you deal with private campgrounds, the process could be much less friendly.
 

Utclmjmpr

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Cedar City, UT
Many have missed the point here,, the cancellation fee was noted and not objected to,, the crazy part is a SHORTENED STAY FEE. How can I "shorten" a stay I just cancelled??. I think some one got it right with the term " Stacking"..>>>Dan
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
Posts
1,239
That policy is written in the cancelation policy.


That does have the ability to get some folks upset and I understand how you (Dan) must feel getting hit with that unknowingly.

The other issue is the rate of increase to the shortened stay fee. After holding the reservation for 5 months or longer, the shortened stay fee is 40% and is the maximum amount charged. The fee incementally drops to the minimum of 10% which is incurred 2 months or under.

I guess Michigan has found a way to combat campers from gobbling up space and not using it. It will cost plenty of money. I wonder what their income statement reads from the cancelations in a fiscal year. It could very well be higher than the actual usage rental fees.
 
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