• Report: #542426

Complaint Review: Travelhost Magazine

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  • Submitted: Sat, December 19, 2009
  • Updated: Thu, December 13, 2012

  • Reported By: The Publishers Advocate — Westchester New York United States of America
Travelhost Magazine
10701 N. Stemmons Freeway Dallas, Texas United States of America

Travelhost Magazine Travelhost "Business Opportunity" Fraud, Lies, Deception, Misleading, Overcharging, Sleazy Dallas, Texas

*General Comment: Are there BBB complaints against Travelhost?

*General Comment: Are there BBB complaints against Travelhost?

*Consumer Comment: It's FUNNY...

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Do not invest in Travelhost!!!

*UPDATE Employee: Full Story and Author's Motives

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The "Travelhost Busines Opportunity" is a huge rip-off for most investors, in my humble opinion.


Travelhost Magazine recruits unsuspecting job seekers online, and slickly sells them on the idea of becoming an entrepreneur with Travelhost, where they can "make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year running their own business.'  They mislead these people into investing 60k in a local publishing operation, that has a failure rate of over 90%.  Most people fail in this business because Travelhost charges double what other printing and production houses charge, and provides no real value to the overcharge. (franchise fee?)


Travelhost seemingly violates franchise laws in 15 states by not disclosing the failure rates of their associates, not disclosing any past or present litigation, and not disclosing other current or past investors contact information so that people can do their "due diligence."


The sad truth is that Travelhost makes millions of dollars per year on turnover, as more than a third of it's associates go out of business every year.  Travelhost then re-sells their market to yet antother unsuspecting entrepreneur, for another 60k.


That's the Travelhost business model.


The most ludicrous thing, is that Travelhost has been doing this for over 40 years!


Please do your homework before joining this business scam...or you'll be sorry.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/19/2009 06:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Travelhost-Magazine/Dallas-Texas-75220/Travelhost-Magazine-Travelhost-Business-Opportunity-Fraud-Lies-Deception-Misleading-542426. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 5Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Are there BBB complaints against Travelhost?

AUTHOR: Greg - (United States of America)

I looked on the BBB website and could not find any complaints.  Does anyone know if there have been complaints filed with the BBB?  Quite a few of the Travelhost companies in various cities were actually BBB accredited.  I was just wondering if the company is so bad why are there no BBB complaints or am I just missing them?

 Thanks!
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#2 General Comment

Are there BBB complaints against Travelhost?

AUTHOR: Greg - (United States of America)

I looked on the BBB website and could not find any complaints.  Does anyone know if there have been complaints filed with the BBB?  Quite a few of the Travelhost companies in various cities were actually BBB accredited.  I was just wondering if the company is so bad why are there no BBB complaints or am I just missing them?

 Thanks!
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#3 Consumer Comment

It's FUNNY...

AUTHOR: TRAVELHOSED - (United States of America)

... that Dave Portenor posted this ridiculous rebuttal less than a month before he mysteriously "resigned" from his post as Travelhost CMO then high-tailed it out of Dallas the next day never to be seen again. Hhhhmmmm...
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Do not invest in Travelhost!!!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

To be blunt, I wouldn't advise investing in Travelhost to my enemies.

They lie, cheat, and steal -- it's a process perfected over 40-some odd years in the biz, and it works wonders for them. It also puts plenty of good people out of business around the country. 

Here's what they do -- the skim over the facts, focus on one of three markets (Branson, South Florida and Disneyworld) that make high six figures and tell you how great life will be, but they don't tell you vital information like how fast people fail and how hard they fall. I'll bet it's about a 7 percent success rate. No joke.
And they way overcharge for printing a crappy magazine.

I've been out of Travelhost for several years, and only recently did I hear from a few of the last known survivors I knew. You should hear how disgusted they are. Talk to ANY former "publisher," (that's their name for us who joined) or employee and see what they think. That'll tell you a lot. 

I can't suggest this enough: DON"T DO IT.


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#5 UPDATE Employee

Full Story and Author's Motives

AUTHOR: David - (U.S.A.)

I am Dave Portener, the Chief Marketing Officer for TRAVELHOST, a position I have held for approximately 1 years.  I am also the TRAVELHOST of Palm Springs, California, Associate Publisher.  My wife and I have successfully operated the local Palm Springs edition for many years.  Serving the travelers in Palm Springs as the TRAVELHOST Associate Publisher has been extremely rewarding. 

 

Unfortunately, as with any business, an employee or business associate will occasionally become disenchanted with some aspect of the business operation, and will look to others (often the home office) to blame.  Brian Hickeys corporation joined TRAVELHOST in March of 2005 after acquiring the rights to the Westchester market from a prior owner.  TRAVELHOST was not involved in or privy to that transaction, and it was not involved, in any way, in any negotiations or discussions with Mr. Hickey leading up to his decision to take assignment of rights to the Westchester market.  Mr. Hickey did not pay anything to TRAVELHOST in conjunction with his acquisition of the rights to the market.  Westchester has been a market served by TRAVELHOST continuously for well over 20 years.

 

Mr. Hickey never raised any complaints or concerns with TRAVELHOST until late 2008 when, like so many others, he claimed that the economic downturn was adversely impacting his ad revenues.  Only then did Mr. Hickey start raising concerns about the pricing of the publication, and he requested two specific types of relief.  First, he requested and was permitted to temporarily change to a quarterly publication frequency, and second, he requested and was permitted to temporarily pay for his issues in installment payments.  In June of 2009, Mr. Hickey advised TRAVELHOST that he would never again question the publishing prices if TRAVELHOST would allow him: a) to permanently go to a quarterly publication schedule; and, in addition, b) to continue to pay for his publication in installments until the end of 2009.  TRAVELHOST accommodated both of Mr. Hickeys requests.

 

Mr. Hickey never made any request for assistance or relief from TRAVELHOST that was not granted.  In addition, TRAVELHOSTs records reflect absolutely no other complaints or concerns of any kind expressed by Mr. Hickey over his entire 4 year tenure as an associate publisher.

 

Mr. Hickey served on the TRAVELHOST Advisory Board.  Mr. Hickey was encouraged to and did share his concerns and ideas for improvement, and they were all given serious attention and consideration by the other Advisory Board members and TRAVELHOST.  Although invited to do so, Mr. Hickey did not participate in any TRAVELHOST marketing webinars during 2009, and he did not attend any of the TRAVELHOST regional meetings. 

 

Suddenly, in November of 2009, Mr. Hickey informed TRAVELHOST that he would not be attending the next scheduled Advisory Board meeting, and, shortly thereafter, Mr. Hickey advised that he desired to terminate his relationship with TRAVELHOST.

 

TRAVELHOST communicated with Mr. Hickey seeking to provide some form of assistance to either keep the local edition in circulation and/or to seek a smooth transition of ownership of the market in a manner mutually beneficial to all concerned.  During the course of those discussions, Mr. Hickey advised TRAVELHOST of a blog he had started on the internet pertaining to TRAVELHOST.  He then demanded that TRAVELHOST pay him $65,000.00 (the amount he represented he had paid to the prior owner of distribution rights to the market) absent which he would accelerate his negative blog postings in order to cause severe damage to TRAVELHOST. 

 

Mr. Hickey has posted numerous defamatory and libelous statements on several web sites/blog sites on the internet (including his own). TRAVELHOST has requested that Mr. Hickey cease and desist engaging in these tortious activities, and, in addition, it has put Mr. Hickey on notice of the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 875 (d) which provides:
 

Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, or corporation, any        money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

 

Interstate commerce, as used in this statute, encompasses the telephone, emails and the internet. 

 

Given the nature of what Mr. Hickey is engaged in doing, TRAVELHOST has, up to this point in time, refused to legitimize or to draw further attention to Hickeys activities by itself responding to his various false and deliberately misleading accusations aimed at extorting money out of it.  TRAVELHOST is fully prepared to address any and all issues directly with Mr. Hickey, but it will not do so in a public forum.

 

TRAVELHOST recently discovered that Mr. Hickey has, for some time, been engaged in various business activities under the TRAVELHOST trademark which, without TRAVELHOSTs express written permission, constitute trademark infringement and a breach of the terms of the TRAVELHOST agreements.  TRAVELHOST was never asked for permission to use the mark for these purposes, TRAVELHOST never authorized such use, and TRAVELHOST never would have authorized such use.  Notwithstanding TRAVELHOSTs demand that Mr. Hickey cease such activities and account for his actions, he has failed to do so.

 

In his blog postings, Mr. Hickey accuses TRAVELHOST of fraud, lies and deception  --  among other things.  TRAVELHOST has asked Mr. Hickey to provide to it the details of any instances where any representative of TRAVELHOST made any false or misleading representation to him at any time.  TRAVELHOST has asked Mr. Hickey to bring to its attention any deceptive behavior toward him by any TRAVELHOST representative, any occasion where TRAVELHOST did not live up to any of its contractual obligations to him, and any instance when TRAVELHOST did not do what it represented it would do.  Mr. Hickey has not responded to TRAVELHOST or provided a single instance of such an occurence.  

 

Without getting into the details of Mr. Hickeys inaccurate and deceptive accusations, a few examples of his tactics are illustrative of his own lack of candor, such as :  a) reciting allegations asserted against TRAVELHOST in a federal court case many years ago, but neglecting to point out that the trial judge dismissed all of the claims asserted in that case and entered judgment in favor of TRAVELHOST on each and every claim; b) referring to a jury verdict in another case, but neglecting to advise that the trial judge in the case entered an order vacating, setting aside, and declaring null and void that verdict; or c) referencing a 20 year old FTC advisory opinion relating to a business structure totally revamped by TRAVELHOST in direct response to the FTC guidance.   Mr. Hickey does not even disclose that he has terminated his relationship with TRAVELHOST.

 

This is not the first time that Google AdWords and the RipOff Report site have been improperly used by those seeking to personally benefit financially from this type of extortive behavior, and it no doubt will not be the last. 

 

TRAVELHOST is proud of its long history of serving the needs of the traveler for over 40 years, and it is equally proud of its current and past associate publishers.  The economic situation over the past year has undoubtedly been challenging, and those who have weathered the storm have done so by being prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.  The coming year will bring to fruition the single most significant transformation of TRAVELHOST in the companys history.  TRAVELHOST is excited about the future of the travel business and the new ways in which TRAVELHOST, along with its exceptional network of local associate publishers and its many local business partners in the travel business, will continue to serve the needs of the traveling public for many years to come.   

 

 

David Portener

Chief Marketing Officer

TRAVELHOST, Inc.

10701 N. Stemmons Frwy

Dallas, Texas 75220

972-955-8722

www.travelhost.com

 

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