ED Magedson – Founder
Platinum One Destinations Inc.7668 El Camino Real #104-268 Internet United States of America
BBB of San Diego just wasted 5 months of my life and had me agree to a binding arbitration case against PLATINUM ONE DESTINATIONS (P1D) but then supplied a lawyer to arbitrate the case who ended up completely disregarding all the copious evidence I supplied in favor of P1Ds (a BBB member) scant and highly questionable defense.
Shortly after I joined P1D as a Platinum member (cost $12,000) and started to attempt to exchange my membership points for the wholesale/consolidator pricing that I was told that I could expect, this special pricing never materialized. At first I was told that the company was still new and in the process of expanding their inventory, then I was told that the wholesale pricing was just available for international air travel, and then I was told that its only sometimes available for international first and business class travel!
I had very explicitly told the woman, Jani Teeter (of The Elite Synergy Team), who sold me on P1D membership that I was not interested in a typical travel club because I was not interested in prepackaged deals and hot weeks, and that I wanted to travel when and where I chose and needed to know if I was still going to get this wholesale pricing if I became a member. She in turn went to the companys CEO, Debra Smith, to make sure and she was told that P1D was working with the biggest consolidators in the business and that I would have direct access to unmarked up travel products.
Just before joining I was able to speak with the companys head of marketing, Ms. Nitsa Nakos, who also assured me that the travel benefits would suit my needs.
Nowhere in the companys Business Report or their Members Rewards Guide, or in the many web presentations that I attended either before or after joining did it ever say that you had to be a First Class or Business Class traveler in order to get wholesale pricing.
The company also claimed that as a member I would also have a NetTrav web portal where I could earn up to 80% rebates on the commissionable portion of travel booked on my site. It was only later that I found out that airfares arent considered commissionable! I looked at all the promotional materials again and no where does it state this fact, not even in the fine print!
So this $12,000 Platinum membership ends up being worthless to me, as neither I nor do my prospective clients have the luxury of traveling first or business class. Nor do over 95% of the flying public.
When I finally had to face up to the fact that I was deceived into joining this business opportunity I decided it was time to stop promoting P1D and get the company to issue me a refund.
Jani Teeter, who sold me into this business, claimed to be just as shocked and disappointed as I was that the companys travel product was not what she and I was told it was and agreed that I was entitled to a refund and she attempted to speak with P1Ds CEO Debra Smith on my behalf but apparently, according to Ms. Teeter, Ms. Smith never returned any of her calls or emails.
After stringing me on for another two months telling me that Ms. Smith was going to get back to me I finally had a lawyer write a letter to Ms. Smith to let her know that I was expecting a full refund plus over $4,000 that I spent promoting a company that could not deliver the travel product that I was lead to believe they could provide.
The certified letter sent to P1D Corporate Offices was returned to my lawyer unopened. Ms. Smith claims it must have been sent to the wrong address, but it wasnt.
It was at this point that Ms. Teeter recommended that I place a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney Generals office, which I did.
It took a very long time to get things rolling with the BBB because the first representative that was assigned to my case ended up going on maternity leave and I had to wait another two months before another person could be assigned and get to my case. Ms. Gabrielle Almond at the BBB finally got back to me to let me know that the BBB had decided to bring my case to Arbitration.
When I told Jani Teeter that the BBB was going to help arbitrate the dispute she offered to write a statement in my defense basically backing up all the evidence that I already had. She also offered to attend the arbitration as my witness. I couldt attend the arbitration in person since I do not live anywhere near the San Diego BBB but I was going to represent myself by conference call and Jani agreed to do the same.
I spoke with Ms. Teeter the night before the arbitration was to take place and she confirmed with me that she planned on attending by telephone on my behalf.
I was instructed by the BBB representative, Gabrielle Almond, to call in promptly at 9:30am on the day of the scheduled arbitration and when I did, I was told that the Lawyer/Arbitrator and Debra Smith were still not there and that she would call me when they arrived. An hour later I got a call from Ms. Almond saying that the lawyer and Debra Smith had arrived and were now ready to begin.
At that point I told her that I wanted Ms. Teeter to be called as she was supposed to attend as my witness. This is when Ms. Almond informed me that I needed to check my email because she was just informed by Debra Smith (of P1D) that Ms. Teeter sent a new statement in which she basically asked to retract her previous statement and that she was no longer intending on attending in my defense.
Since Ms. Teeters new statement and her original statement were both entered into evidence (along with numerous other emails of support that I had from Ms. Teeter) I decided to continue with the arbitration thinking it would be clearly evident to any impartial observer that the company had gotten to Ms. Teeter and somehow persuaded her to retract the statements that she made previously entirely of her own volition.
I went through with the Arbitration feeling confident that after all the evidence was reviewed that the arbitrator would clearly see that this company was deploying deceptive practices and that I could expect a refund. But, to my great surprise, 10 days later I received the arbitrators decision in which he completely dismissed all my evidence in favor of the companys scant and questionable evidence in their defense.
The Arbitrators Reasons for the Decision had one factual error after another and completely misrepresented my case while unabashedly trying to defend the business case. So now, apparently everyones served but the consumer. BBB has a paid member who thinks theyve gotten rid of a pesky customer and since I had agreed to a binding arbitration the company is off the hook and can keep their good standing with the BBB which can help sway other unsuspecting consumer into this worthless travel business.
This was far from a fair arbitration. I was suspect about what actually happened in the BBB offices in my absence during this arbitration and had asked Ms. Almond (BBB Representative) directly after the fact if she had been in the room the whole time the arbitration took place? She admitted she wasnt, so I said half kidding, So you didnt see the money pass under the table? Of course she denied that anything like that transpires at the BBB but I contend that the Arbitrator and Ms. Smith had ample time to cut themselves a deal prior to entering the arbitration room at the BBB offices. Remember, while I arrived (via conference call) at the arbitration table on time, they (Ms. Smith and the Arbitrator) both arrived one hour late!
As if this wasnt bad enough, Ive recently discovered that P1Ds CEO, Debra Smith, ran a similar company prior to Platinum One Destinations called Platinum Travel Club (PTC) that is now defunct. So, if anyone reading this was made a victim of PTC, you still have a chance to go after the same culprits.
After another woman confided in me about her unfortunate experience with PTC, I urged her to place a complaint against P1D at the San Diego BBB and she actually got her money back. She was only owed about $1,000 (compared to my $12,000) so I guess its safe to say that the company calculated that it was worth paying her off so that they could maintain their A- business rating on the BBB website.
It is important to note that the reason P1D still has such a high rating with the BBB is that theyve only been incorporated for slightly more than a year, plus most people dont have the know-how, time or energy to bother going after someone thats ripped them off. Truth be told, most people dont like to admit theyve made a mistake and would prefer to just hide their messes under the rug. That is why, unfortunately, companies like this can make a bundle and then close their doors claiming bankruptcy or whatever it is they do so they can walk away untouched.
As far as the BBB is concerned, I had no idea how they worked. I was under the assumption that they were there to protect consumers not to cover up for their shifty business members. CONSUMER BEWARE! The Better Business Bureau makes their money by taking dues from their businesses members and ultimately that is who theyre beholden to. My hope in publishing this information is that others wont make the same mistake I made. My recommendation is to stay clear of Platinum One Destinations, then you wont need to bother with the BBB.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/05/2009 02:13 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Platinum-One-Destinations-Inc/internet/Platinum-One-Destinations-Inc-Deborah-Smith-Jani-Teeter-P1D-NetTrav-Better-Business-B-520138. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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