Pro Travel Plus embroiled in vendor scam
One of the marketing tools affiliates in travel MLM niches often use is the travel itself.
Despite commissions typically having nothing to do with travel, recruitment is often marketed on the photos affiliates take on trips booked through third-party vendors.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But what happens when the third-party travel vendor goes rogue?
As affiliates in Pro Travel Plus recently found out, unfortunately it seems you’re just “shit out of luck”.
Having personally recruited over a hundred affiliates into Pro Travel Plus, Paul Della Penna (right) is head of a “large team” within the company.
Back in June, Penna and some of his team booked travel to Cabo on the 7th to the 11th of October.
[2:46] We were able to get rooms for $239 for the five days, four nights there.
All inclusive, all paid for – all you have to do is get your flight to get there… which was a really awesome deal.
So of course myself (and) my partner Bruce, we took advantage of it. Some of our members too took advantage of it, and we were all gunna go to Cabo, San Lucas next week.
All seemed well, until September 29th – about a week before the trip was scheduled to take place:
[3:46] Last night I heard through some of my members that they were getting phone calls or texts from Charles Vest, saying that they were scammed and that this trip was not gunna happen and it was cancelled.
Charles Vest is the Vice President of Pro Travel Plus.
Penna (right) eventually got in touch with Vest himself, to ask for a refund for the cancelled trip.
Vest didn’t offer to refund Penna through Pro Travel Plus, but instead provided him with a transaction number to file a dispute himself.
Penna claims the response Vest sent him made him “feel a little uncomfortable”. Nonetheless, he acknowledges Vest was “trying to do the right thing”.
Shortly after this exchange with Vest, Penna received a phone call from Pro Travel Plus CEO, Seth Frasier:
[6:14] He asked me on the phone, “so you’re going to Cabo?”
I was taken back a little bit at first. I was like, “Cabo? What are you talking about? I heard that you guys got scammed and the trip is no longer”.
He goes, “No, we’re getting another trip together. Yes our vendor gave me the whole story about what happened.” But he wanted to know if I was going on this new trip that they’d booked.
And with what was going on and how it was handled, I kind of felt uncomfortable.
Penna declined to go, and instead maintained he wanted a refund.
Frasier replied, “No problem, go tell your bank”.
Penna got in touch with his bank the next day. His bank told him that since he paid for the trip on a Visa debit card, the sixty day charge dispute period had expired.
[5:31] My bank told me, “Well, you’re kinda shit out of luck Paul.”
Penna took this news back to Frasier:
[5:47] I told him the situation what my bank said and he said that he was gunna make it right, and (to) give him thirty days to get this money back.
This thirty days, in light of another trip being booked in the meantime, seems to be a point of contention for Penna.
[7:46] What gets me is they’re scheduling another trip.
With what’s going on right now, it’s kinda uneasy. Why would you be scheduling another trip?
You would want to try make things right for the members, right?
[9:30] You’re paying money out of your own pockets, cuz that’s what he said.
In fact on the phone call he was telling me that he was hoping I didn’t go on the trip, because they had to pay for this.
He and Charles were paying for this, and he was hoping that I wasn’t going on the trip so he didn’t have to spend money on it right. So this is why I had a bad taste in my mouth about it.
So after this conversation and him telling me thirty days, I was like “Hey, hold on a minute.”
[10:11] You (Frasier) yesterday gave me an option to go on the trip. What you should really be doing is giving people an option, “Do you want to take the trip that you’re rescheduling, or do you want a refund?”
But why do I have to wait thirty days to get that refund, right? Red flag.
So you’re telling me that you’re gunna pay for people to go on this vacation on this new trip, out of your pockets. Give that money, go off and have a great time, or whatever you’re gunna do out there, and then we gotta wait thirty days for our money… because we were shit out of luck? Because we didn’t go?
[10:47] We didn’t feel very welcome of going in the first place, cuz the first thing he told us was “Boy I hope you don’t go because we’re paying for this.”
It’s just a bad situation all round.
What’s really curious is that when Penna asked Frasier about why he had to wait thirty days, he was told this new trip is not being funded by Pro Travel Plus corporate funds. Apparently Frasier and Vest are paying for it themselves.
Which makes no sense.
And where is the vendor in all of this? Has the new travel being booked through the same “scam” vendor?
Do the terms of business between Pro Travel Plus and its vendors leave them any recourse when it comes to fraud? And how exactly was this even permitted to happen?
In further response to Penna’s queries on the matter, Frasier told him that he was paying double for the trip and that surely that deserved a “nod of appreciation”.
Claiming he wasn’t some “college kid born yesterday”, that didn’t go down too well with Penna.
[13:31] He wants me to feel sorry for him, and I do feel sorry for him.
But why should me, or my partner or anybody, any Pro Travel Plus member have to suffer for that and wait thirty days?
My guess it might be part of a resolution process in place. Otherwise this probably isn’t going to end well.
In the meantime, the situation has deteriorated into somewhat of a game of ransom – with Pro Travel Plus and Seth Frasier’s credibility as the stakes:
[8:46] Thirty days from now, I wanna make another video to see if Seth Frasier is a man of his word.
You know what happens on the internet man, they always say “the check’s in the mail”, right?
I’ve fell (sic) for that too many times.
[16:51] The first thing he (Frasier) should do, if this was gunna turn out good and what he actually says he means, he should be refunding everybody’s money and then thinking about a trip.
But not going out and paying double, out of his own pocket, making another trip for everybody, and then have to let the other people wait thirty days.
Something with that smells fishy.
And I’m not saying he’s going to screw us and go bankrupt, but the odds are in that favor.
They’re brand new, they haven’t been around very long, maybe six to eight months and it’s like, this is not a good situation.
Penna closes out his video by announcing that he is no longer promoting Pro Travel Plus. He also recommends his downline does the same ‘until this gets rectified‘.
Frasier’s response to Penna telling him he was going to stop promoting Pro Travel Plus was purportedly “you gotta do what you gotta do”.
One thing Penna can be thankful for I guess it that at least Pro Travel Plus only pay affiliates to recruit new affiliates.
Had commissions of been paid on travel booked through the company, then who knows how long it might’ve taken to clean up this mess.
Update 17th December 2015 – In a video uploaded on November 1st, 2015, Paul Della Penna reveals that he has still not received a refund from Seth Fraser.
Penna also claims that messages sent to Fraser have been ignored. Fraser meanwhile has not been seen or heard in public for months.