Camping World’s Good Sam Club is taking legal aim at a new social network for RVers dubbed the “Good Samaritan Club,” run by entrepreneur and RV dealership owner Gigi Stetler under her “RV Advisor” brand. The name is a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at Camping World Holdings and its CEO Marcus Lemonis, whom Stetler has had an adversarial relationship with since a 2009 incident in which Stetler says Camping World conspired with an equestrian festival to damage her business RV Sales of Broward—now known as Planet RV—in Davie, Florida.
In the years since, Stetler has been an outspoken critic of Lemonis and Camping World, issuing many press releases documenting her legal battles with him. In 2020, she went as far as establishing the website “victimsofmarcuslemonis.com” to collect stories from people who have had negative experiences with Camping World businesses and with Lemonis himself as a part of his CNBC TV series “The Profit.”
In a press release received earlier this afternoon, Good Sam Enterprises, a subsidiary of Camping World Holdings, announced it has filed a lawsuit against RV Advisor and Stetler claiming “trademark infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices” over the use of the name “Good Samaritan Club.”
The Good Sam Club was founded in 1966, and though it originally began as a support network for RVers with rallies and community, it’s morphed into a subscription service since becoming a part of Camping World in 1997, offering discounts on campgrounds and fuel, roadside assistance, insurance, and extended warranties. The name comes from the Bible parable that tells of a traveler from the region of Samaria who helped a person along the road who had been robbed and beaten — a good samaritan.
Stetler’s Good Samaritan Club, which made its soft launch on March 10th, is described as a “Facebook-like platform for the RV Community,” including profiles, chats, events, posts, and more. It’s under Stetler’s “RV Advisor” umbrella, which is also a subscription service offering discounts to campgrounds, roadside assistance, RV insurance, extended warranties, along with advocacy for RVers when battling RV manufacturers and other dealers. In fact, the RV Advisor website advertises its extended warranties specifically as a way to protect people who have bought RVs from Camping World.
“We believe this misinformation campaign fueled by RV Advisor and Gigi Stetler misleads our customers and the public by using our trademarks and making false, misleading and deceptive statements about our products and services,” says Tamara Ward, Chief Operating Officer of Camping World Holdings. “We will not allow RV Advisor or Stetler to add legitimacy to the products and services they purport to offer and deceive and mislead the RV community by trading on the goodwill and trademarks established by Good Sam over the past 55 years.”
Ward goes on to say, “We will proactively and aggressively pursue our rights against any company that uses deceptive trade practices and attempts to trade on our name to provide legitimacy to their business. We’ve been cultivating our trademarks and concepts for over 55 years and will not tolerate any type of unlawful business activity to infringe on our rights.”
In an email, Stetler told RV Miles that the RV Advisor team’s goal for the club was to start “a chain reaction of good deeds,” stating that since the pandemic began, “people need help and support more than ever, and the RV community has answered that calling.”
Specifically addressing the lawsuit, Stetler said that “Marcus Lemonis can not trademark the long history of good samaritans and the will of the RV community to do good for others.” She added that “Lemonis’ time would be better utilized actually servicing the needs of the thousands of Camping World customers who have been sold subpar products and services, handling the barrage of lawsuits from former customers, business partners, and employees and actually helping the struggling businesses featured on ‘The Profit’ — many of whom accuse the CNBC star of unethical business practices, predatory behavior and intimidation tactics.”
Records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office show a trademark issued for the word mark “Good Sam Club” registered on August 12, 2003 and owned by Good Sam Enterprises LLC. A trademark for “RV Advisor Good Samaritan Club” was filed for by RV Advisor LLC on March 8, 2021.