More than 800 Maine customers of the Festiva Development Group’s vacation club have the option to sever their contracts as part of a lawsuit settlement between the company and the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Janet Mills announced Monday that as a result of a settlement in October, customers who signed 40-year contracts with Festiva will be able to break them if they agree to the terms of the settlement and receive a portion of a $150,000 payment by Festiva.

The Attorney General’s Office sued Festiva in Kennebec County Superior Court in November 2013 on behalf of the company’s Maine customers, accusing the company of unfair and deceptive practices.

Festiva Development Group sold Maine customers points for membership in a vacation club at “high-pressure sales presentations” held at the Rangeley Lake Resort and its sales office in Portland, Mills said in a news release.

Festiva led customers to believe they could use points to take vacations whenever they chose at resorts in Florida, the Carolinas, Missouri and at Rangeley Lake. But members reported that the company didn’t have enough accommodations at its resorts, making it impossible to book vacations at peak times and locations, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“This was a very complex case,” Mills said in a written statement. “Resolving the various complaints of 800 different consumers was a challenge. A common theme to all of these complaints was the 40-year contract and the escalating maintenance fees. We felt it was important to help get people out from under the financial burden imposed by an extremely long contract period not adequately disclosed during the sales process.”

The terms of the settlement differ for different groups of Festiva customers. Customers who accept payment settlements get one-time payments that may not cover the money they lost. Others may be released from their 40-year contracts or have them reduced to 10 years. Others who traded their timeshares to the company in exchange for memberships may have their timeshares returned, the news release said.

Attorney Eric Wycoff, who represents Festiva’s interests in Maine, said Monday evening that while Festiva strongly disagrees with the way the Attorney General’s Office characterized the facts in the case, the company was pleased to resolve the lawsuit in a way that benefited the company and its consumers.

“Depending upon the specifics of individual consumer circumstances, FDG has communicated with consumers about, among other things, opportunities to be released from current Festiva Adventure Club contracts and opportunities to receive back a deeded timeshare week the consumer may have traded in for a membership in the Festiva Adventure Club. FDG also agreed to provide $150,000 to the state of Maine to distribute to consumers, as the attorney general sees fit,” Wycoff said in an email. “For the many consumers who are happy with their membership in the Festiva Adventure Club, they are of course able to continue their membership and continue to take advantage of it in the ways they have in the past. Nothing will change for those consumers.”

Assistant Attorney General Linda Conti, who litigated the case for the state, said Festiva customers who accept the settlement deal still lose money, but they will have the option of getting out of a bad contract.

“The $150,000 isn’t going to go very far,” Conti said Tuesday afternoon. “They don’t have to take the deal. They could sue.”

The lawsuit named eight corporate entities under the Festiva umbrella – including Festiva Development Group – and its two founders, Donald Clayton and Herbert Patrick Jr., both of North Carolina.