Complaint Review: Pantheon Holdings - Miami Florida
- Pantheon Holdings 11645 Biscayne Blvd Miami, Florida U.S.A.
- Phone: 800-577-3722
- Category: Internet
This is the chronicle of our unhappy experience attempting to be customers of Pantheon's turnkey EZLink Internet Access Terminal business opportunity' for the better part of a year. During the sales process, the salesman, Jay Mayne assured us that wiping down the machine regularly and simultaneously scooping up the endless piles of bills would be our biggest concern. Sadly, this was simply the first of an endless string of lies and broken promises.
This business opportunity was clearly marketed to the senior demographic and we were assured that Las Vegas was a fabulous opportunity and we were lucky to be the first into this untapped market as there were so many extraordinary locations on the strip, we couldn't help but rake in the cash.
My partner Carol and I have made every effort to make this business work. It should be noted that Carol is an elderly recent widow (the first anniversary of her husband's death will be on Thanksgiving day, by the way) who looked at this business opportunity as a way to support herself now that her husband is gone after a protracted illness during which she had been his sole caretaker. She has no other source of income at this time besides her meager widow's Social Security benefit.
During this entire ordeal she was recovering from a crushed right arm injured in a freak accident and was clearly risking her life driving with only one hand in 115 degree heat all over Las Vegas, checking out the fabulous' locations found for us by Pantheon's locations department. All the locations were miles from her home, nowhere near the Las Vegas Strip (the hot business opportunity location we were sold on by Jeff Cooper and Jay Mayne) and in bad neighborhoods.
It should be noted that Carol is a 39 Year resident of Las Vegas but her knowledge of Excellent Strip Locations was been repeatedly denigrated by Todd Nechtman, Jeff Cooper, Al and others in the locations department. She gave detailed feedback on every location she was presented with and rejected by us, to their locations department after personally visiting each one.
She provided Pantheon's advertising department with hundreds of business names and contact numbers for advertising. She contacted potential sites on her own as well, but to no avail. Our wish list' of potential sites which was requested early in the process by Pantheon and which Carol laboriously produced seems never to have been consulted at all.
When we rejected unsuitable sites we were made to feel that we were being way too picky and the inference we both received was that we would soon not be helped with finding a location any longer since we were being so unreasonable'. That location assistance was just a favor' and not really required under the terms of our contract, although this was something that was very clearly told to us numerous times during the sales process. Finally we accepted a location in a branch of a chain of Gyms. We were dubious about the income potential of this site from the beginning.
This is a neighborhood gym and it seemed unreasonable to us that people would be flocking this site to use the hotspot or even to use the Internet. There is no walk-in business, only gym members who would most likely find it far more practical to just go home to use the internet on their own computers. Our doubts were totally discounted by Todd Nechtman who told us that we should just let Pantheon, the experts in this field, do their job. This was not an ideal location for us, but we thought we would try it based on Pantheon's promise to find us a new site and move us if this one didn't work out.
As soon as we accepted the site, the machine was delivered to the gym weeks before Pantheon could schedule the TAP evaluation and we could possibly get the DSL and phone lines installed. As the weeks passed and TAP (the contracted installation vendor) was not being responsive, we were told by Todd (although we were not supposed to let ANYBODY know that HE told us this), to contact TAP directly and we would be expedited.
We did call, we were expedited, but this breach of policy was thrown in our faces later by Jeff Cooper later when we had additional problems as we had now interfered with the process' and we had no business contacting the vendor directly. That was Pantheon's job. We contracted with DSL.net, the Pantheon recommended DSL supplier and the cost to install was much greater than we were quoted by Ariel.
We were quoted $99 (after $400 rebates which are paid out over 6 months or more of continuous service, not immediately but we were never told this up front either). The installation took much longer than planned. The DSL line was not terminated at the location of the kiosk but in the demarcation point in the phone closet. Nobody told us to make sure a jack was brought to the wall where the kiosk was to be installed even though it seems that this should be a common recommendation to new internet access terminal owners who know nothing about telecommunications. DSL.net insisted that terminating the line at a jack near the installation site is not normal and customary and we required the services of an electrician (at extra cost) to put in a jack for us later.
When the DSL line was finally installed and Pantheon finally arranged for actual installation of the kiosk, more and more technical problems cropped up. The installer was unfamiliar with the functions of the kiosk and could not adequately test the machine. It took 5 hours to install the machine due to lack of any written instructions.
It seemed that the new DSL line interfered with the Gym's own DSL lines although DSL.net denied any culpability for this. Pantheon always insisted their machine worked perfectly, DSL.net insisted that their line was functioning perfectly as well. Since we never had a chance to totally debug the installation, we don't know for sure, but it is telling that as soon as the DSL was disconnected all the problems with the gym's own DSL lines that started with the installation of our line, miraculously went away.
We were never told by Pantheon that they had negotiated a deal with the gym that this was really only a test' at this location and that they could pull it out at any time, totally discounting our costs and time invested in installation, and also that we would give 20% of gross to them as their split. We found THIS out directly from the manager at the gym later. Again, these terms were NEVER discussed with us and the cut we were told we would be paying to the location was 10%.
Every step of the way we have had detailed notes as Carol has been meticulous about documenting all of our experiences and problems to me and to our various contacts at Pantheon, the gym manager (who tried to help us as much as he possibly could, spending hours with the techs and the kiosk trying to get it to work properly), the installation companies, the DSL provider, etc. We have a 3 pound stack of hard copy email printouts, copies of which we shipped by priority mail to Pantheon (and which seem to have spontaneously combusted upon arrival another bizarre twist to the ongoing saga) to document our case.
The bottom line is that the machine has never worked properly. The machine would not send pictures, the machine would not accept bills initially, although that was resolved sometime later. The very important credit card feature, which we applied for months prior to the installation of the kiosk, was never activated. The machine did not print a receipt. Porn sites displayed prominently (unacceptable in a family gym). The kiosk shut itself down repeatedly. Winston Wu, the Pantheon tech who was trying to help us over the phone, felt that it was very important that he come to Las Vegas to check it out since we had so many unusual' problems, but he was never given permission to do this by Pantheon.
We were asked to remove our machine from the gym location after one month. DSL.net still wants us to pay the early termination fee even though removing the line and canceling the service was not a capricious act on our part. The DSL account is not transferable to a different site. We are very fearful about installing this machine at another location without being checked out by a tech to make sure all the features work before starting this whole nightmare over at a new location, no matter how good the location may be.
During the sales process, we were told that advertising alone would bring us $720 per month (12 advertisers who paid $75 each month is $900 less 20% to Pantheon Could you guys use an extra $720 per month?) therefore we would realize $8400 per year JUST ON ADVERTISING over and above the massive revenue from the internet access. Who could pass that up? However, despite filling out detailed demographic information required by Pantheon advertising department and hundreds of advertising leads provided by Carol, not a single advertising contract was secured and the blank spaces on the screen where the advertising would have gone were extremely conspicuous and unsightly.
Pantheon advertising personnel have told us that there is no advertising lined up whatsoever for the kiosks from any local vendors, but that they are waiting for National' advertising contracts to kick in after a few months which we would be included in, although somehow I doubt that any bulk advertising contract with national advertisers would yield any kiosk owner $75 per month each.
The fabulous income to be expected from advertising contracts was a significant sales point as not only would we receive income from the many varied kiosk functions, but we would be making a ton of money from the minimum of 12 businesses to advertise on the home page. Of course, this was totally misleading as well. There was no advertising and no revenue from advertising.
The manager at the gym was wonderfully patient and helpful but after one month of being online and having the machine receive less than $6 in cash and several member complaints requiring refunds of some of the $6 received, the gym manager insisted that the machine be removed. By the way, it has been several weeks and the machine is STILL at the Gym. Packing materials were ordered by Pantheon from an LA location, shipped by ground and somehow mistakenly sent to Florida after a week in transit, instead of to Las Vegas. Finally we called and emailed asking for new materials to be air freighted this time, they did ship packing materials by air freight but they sent the wrong size. The base machine fits into the box, but not the stands.
The company Pantheon uses to do installations in Las Vegas now has made appointments to pack up and remove this machine (Carol can't lift the machine due to her arm not being completely healed) and have agreed to help her move it to her house, although this is not something they normally do. FedEx cannot ship it to her home because by law they cannot enter a private residence and she needs help getting it into her house. We agreed that Carol would store it in her home since we were anticipating a new site, but this makes no sense at this point.
We have written numerous letters to Pantheon demanding a refund of our purchase. This refund was promised to us in May when we initially cancelled our contract within 5 business days (the Pantheon contractual deadline) of the date of our purchase order, May 3, 2004. Jeff Cooper immediately called to say that he was a special assistant to the president, speaking to us on the president's behalf, and who had asked Jeff to personally give him (the president) a chance to prove that he could get this done for us. If we gave them this chance and for any reason we were still unhappy, the president would return our money, no questions asked. The president has apparently forgotten this conversation as has Jeff Cooper.
Unfortunately, we believed Jeff, but failed to get these promises in writing. Of course, after we rescinded our cancellation letter we never heard from either of them (Jeff OR the president) again except upon receipt of the various follow up letters we sent demanding our promised refund.
On Sept 30, 2004 we wrote a letter addressed to Maya Lazarevic, who was the president at the time we purchased our unit although we learned that Alan Glaubman is now the president. Carol received an intimidating call from Jeff Cooper stating that the president doesn't speak to anyone, that Pantheon had fulfilled all the terms of the contract by shipping the machine to the site within 45 days and that is all they have to do. They don't HAVE to find us a site, or find us advertising or make sure it is functionally operational.
He said they only have to deliver the machine and their job is done and anything extra is as a favor' to us but not required by our contract. He denied that Pantheon made the arrangements with the gym that the gym manager revealed to us. Apparently we are to believe that the gym manager is a liar, but not anybody at Pantheon, of course. That this was a business involving computer equipment and we should expect glitches' and needed to work them out ourselves.
The actual wording of the contract is If the seller fails to deliver the product, equipment or supplies necessary to begin substantial operation of the business within 45 days of the delivery date stated on your contract, you may notify the seller in writing and cancel your contract. It seems to us that substantial operation of the business could be interpreted as something significantly more than delivery of the kiosk to the site to be stored in a locked room for months. Substantial operation of the business NEVER occurred at the Gym.
We continued to try to work with the machine to find another site after disconnecting it at the gym location, even though actual removal from the wall occurred 7-10 days later, all the while looking ugly on the wall, turned off and disconnected. On Nov 8, 2004, we wrote another letter. This time Jeff Cooper called Carol again, and spoke to her on speaker phone with Todd Nechtman in the room as a witness. He informed us that Pantheon routinely records all calls to protect themselves, apparently from evil, lying, ungrateful customers like us.
Even though it is totally illegal in the state of Florida to record calls without the prior notification of both parties, all we can say is HALLELUJAH because a simple review of these illegally recorded calls would reveal all the promises that were made to us by Jeff Cooper which have been subsequently categorically denied by him in attempts to intimidate and threaten us. Unfortunately, we actually believe that there are no recorded calls and this is just another in the long series of lies we have been told by the wonderfully honest people doing business as Pantheon Holdings, as there have been no transcripts or copies of the tapes forthcoming as we have requested.
During this most recent call Jeff alternated between trying to intimidate us by telling us the calls were recorded and threatening to see us in court in Florida' and that we had sabotaged the success of the business ourselves by refusing to be reasonable about sites they found for us, and then whining about how we could possibly do this to them when they have tried so hard to be our friends and did everything they could humanly do to help us. And this is the thanks they get for being so good to us, we were so ungrateful.
He said we never let him know we were unhappy and didn't give him a chance to fix it (I don't know what the hundreds of emails sent to Pantheon over the past few months were if not notification of our frustration and unhappiness') but then when we MENTIONED the 3 pounds of printed emails, copies of letters and other documentation we sent to them and which were tragically destroyed in the freak fire which broke out immediately upon receipt, Yeah, we saw all that. We know all about it.
On our own we contacted another site that Carol had scouted out, a Sports Bar that could have potentially been a great location, and we even got preliminary agreement from that site to let us install the machine. However, negotiations broke down when they insisted on 50% of the revenue which we feel is way too steep considering all our expenses and the need to recoup the cost of the machine. Todd found us another site, finally, on the strip in a shopping mall. We were mildly enthusiastic since it was a mall location. However, this site is a very small coffee shop and it is questionable just where the machine will be mounted.
The FINAL STRAW, however, occurred on Tuesday the 23rd of November when Carol checked in with Todd to see about the installation of the DSL line in the coffee shop location that Todd promised that Pantheon would take care of for us. Yes, Todd actually promised that PANTHEON would not only credit us $300 for the installation of the DSL costs. This credit was supposedly to compensate us after our complaints about the exorbitantly high and unexpected installation costs with DSL.net, all the problems we incurred during the attempts to get the machine up and running, and the early termination fee we have to pay to remove the line from the gym. However after speaking to Megapath, the new DSL vendor currently being recommended by Pantheon, it seems that this is an arrangement Pantheon has made for ALL its customers so we are really not getting any special consideration from Pantheon after all.
Todd stated that they would also make all the arrangements for installing the DSL line, having the kiosk delivered and installed at the new site and that we would have to do nothing this time except show up at the site. When Carol told me this I was incredulous at first, and asked her if she was positive that Todd promised this. She insisted that he DID say this and in fact, she had asked him several times to clarify what he said and that he would not even give her the contact information for Megapath, stating that since they would take care of everything she had no need to know the contact information. I suggested she put her understanding in writing to Todd and she did this in two separate emails over the past week. She has received no response from Todd, either confirming or denying this.
Today, when Carol called to check on the status of the new installation, she was verbally berated by Todd for wasting' a week not getting the DSL line installation ordered, and he emphaticaly denied he ever said Pantheon would take care of the installation, that it was totally her responsibility to do this, not theirs. The new DSL installation by Megapath would take 3-4 weeks from the time of ordering.
This is really all we can take. We simply cannot work with Pantheon any longer. Nobody takes any responsibility for anything. They accuse everyone else of lying when THEY are the ones who are doing all the lying. Carol is ready to have a nervous breakdown. When I speak to her I can hear the exhaustion in her voice, the frustration over these repeated broken promises and lies. I fear for her health. She has no one to take care of her. The business opportunity we hoped would bring her a steady income in her retirement has been nothing but a nightmare since May.
Fortunately for us, Carol has documented EVERY communication with anybody at Pantheon, the manager of the gym, DSL.net, LV Geeks, etc. We have over 500 pages of very detailed notes, letters and printed email correspondence made over the past months since the beginning of May. There are also the illegally recorded calls' that Pantheon made without our consent or knowledge to protect themselves, which will serve to show who is really telling the truth, if they truly do exist, which we doubt.
A Pantheon employee, whose identity we need to protect, told us they had no advertising for anyone and no hot locations' lined up in Las Vegas either, although this was clearly promised to us during the sales process.
One last time, on Wednesday the 23rd of November, we asked them politely for our money back. Since Las Vegas is just opening now, they could easily resell this machine to any one of the numerous suckers, er.. I mean excited EZLink customers, they say they have in line just begging for a hot site in Las Vegas.
Walnut Creek, California
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/24/2004 11:28 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/pantheon-holdings/miami-florida-33181/pantheon-holdings-ezlink-internet-access-terminal-rip-off-broken-promises-and-lies-holy-119674. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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