Rip-Off Report: The Travelhost Magazine Complaints Continue…

Could all of the complaints be wrong?

Or, perhaps there’s a trend here?

Only the reader can decide…


P.S.> There’s something brewing in the Dallas, TX court system…and guess who’s watching?

We’ll have full coverage of everything that transpires, right here, on THE PUBLISHERS ADVOCATE!

3 Responses to “Rip-Off Report: The Travelhost Magazine Complaints Continue…”

  1. Former Employee Says:

    I read this former APs story on Rip-Off Report and just shook my head. It’s so hard to believe that not one thing has changed at all through all of this. Everything he/she said about the process, about the treatment they received, and the “just get out there and sell ads!” comment, which I mentioned in one of my posts, is all very true, and all very sad. These staff here in Dallas are so incredibly arrogant that they can read all of the back and forth on this website and others, see their errors, hear the bad reports from for APs, and it’s still business as usual. Buerger used to say he would not have the tail wag the dog at Travelhost. Well, I don’t think there’s much dog tail left, and certainly not much dog.

    The former AP also mentioned there are only about 20 people left, after laying off a bunch. When you read the masthead there are 11 listed there, so that means there are only about nine people left doing all of production? No wonder the people I hear from are at their wit’s end. I had no idea it was this bad.

  2. Former AP Says:

    Ditto from a former AP in a large Midwest city. I was convinced in 2009 by the Dallas TH scam artists that my 20+ years successful print media sales and sales management experience was the perfect recipe needed to be successful. My research discovered two failed attempts in the market within 5 years. I was assured in Dallas that the previous publishers “just didn’t have their heart in it or didn’t have the tools it takes” “This is a no brainer for you-just sign here!”

    Let’s also not forget the outrageous print cost imposed by TH Dallas. 2 to 2 1/2 times that I could have printed the magazine for locally.
    54 pages-25,000 copies TH cost $24,000+
    54 pages-25,000 copies on a higher grade paper. $10,500.

    Regarding help from Dallas, I was assured a team of Dallas TH staff would be at my immediate disposal for graphics intended to appear as themes, special sections, etc… to aide in my sales effort. To the contrary, it was nearly impossible getting help from the production folks except when it was crunch time to submit my magazine for print. They were always “too busy with other magazines” going to print to help me create themes, special sections or otherwise to help make my market a success.

    Entrepreneurs–Do yourself a favor. Find a legitimate and honest franchisor to invest your hard earned money and time with if you want to be successful.

  3. "Broke and Divorced" Says:

    Wow… things have not changed at all at Travelhost. I too am one of their many victims. I purchased the rights to my territory back in 2007 knowing that there had been several failed attempts in just the previous few years. I know, i know… why would I do such a fool hardy, stupid thing?? Well, I was taken in by the slick Travelhost presentation, the lies and the promise of success because I was evidently the right person for the job. I had always dreamed of being in business for myself, and this opportunity just seemed a perfect fit for me and my background.

    There had been someone there previously who had terminated their relationship with Travelhost only a few months prior, but I was told he left the business due to personal reasons and that now was the perfect time for me to jump onboard because this was an already developed market with established advertisers and cash flow that, given my experience and background, I could surely capitalize on and that I could essentially pick off where the former owner left off. Besides, they said, they were going to be with me every step of the way to help me, assist me, and support me in every way possible to ensure my success.

    Incidentally, I tried to no avail to locate and contact the former owner but the numbers were disconnected and I was told that he had left the market and that there was no current address, e-mail or phone number on file. Yet another red flag I chose to ignore.

    So, I dove into my retirement savings and took out a home equity loan and sent in my check for $60k (using the pre-addressed, pre-paid overnight Fed Ex envelope they conveniently provided me with). $30k of that was for the franchise rights to my territory, and the other $30k was pre-paid printing which was to cover my first two editions.

    Well, I quickly came to realize that there were a number of reasons why the former owner (and the owners before him) failed. I also came to realize that there was a lot of bad blood between him and Travelhost and that by the time he walked away the market was so tainted and the business and Travelhost brand were both so irreversibly negatively perceived by the local business community that success was impossible.

    Oh sure, I might have been able to turn things around in a few years, but I didn’t have a few years! I needed to start making money soon and I was led to believe that given the recent activity in the market there should have been some cash flow in place already and all I would need to do is build upon that. Well, that simply wasn’t the case. I tried and tried and tried to make a go of it but within the first year I realized it was not going to happen and that continuing my efforts would be fruitless and ultimately wipe me out financially.

    So, I terminated my contracts and asked for a refund of my $30k prepaid printing funds because, after all, I never put out a magazine edition and thus the funds were not used. I reluctantly accepted the fact that I would lose the original $30k, but I thought for sure I was entitled to a refund of the other $30k as it was specifically for prepayment towards my first two magazine editions which were never produced or printed. I was told by several Travelhost executives that the ENTIRE amount was non-refundable and that it would be entirely my loss if I decided to walk away.

    I asked if I could resell the business since it was my understanding that it was mine to sell and was told that because I had not produced a magazine edition that I, in fact, did not have the right to sell it even though I had bought the business and paid $60k for it which they were going to keep. My mind was blown! How can this be?? How can this be legal, I asked myself. I contacted an attorney, threatened legal action, and the next think I know I’m receiving certified letters from their lawyers explaining to me that all of this was in the agreements and that I signed them and there was nothing I could do about it. But they’d be happy to take it to court if I so desired.

    Wow! I was floored. Less than a year ago they were loving me and telling me how great I was and how perfect I was for this. Then once they had my money that love quickly began to dissipate and before I knew it they were threatening to terminate my agreements, steal my entire investment and were basically saying to me “screw you!” and that they’ll gladly see me in court.

    We went back and forth with this, I retained an attorney, and finally Travelhost said to me they were willing to negotiate. They told me they would allow me to terminate my relationship with Travelhost and that they would actively search for and find a new sucker… ummmm, I mean buyer… and that once they resold my market (which they assured me would take no time at all) they would then refund me my $30k, but only after they sell it and collect their money from the new sucker first.

    So what was the catch? Well, all I had to do was sign documents agreeing to not say anything bad about Travelhost to anyone (especially potential suckers) and to only say good things. I felt bad, creepy and shady agreeing to such a thing and basically agreeing to be a liar on their behalf, but that was the only was I was going to ever see a dime of my money, my unused prepaid printing money, again. And, frankly, I needed that $30k… and still do.

    So, fast forward to 2011 and guess what? They have yet to sell my territory and I have yet to see a dime of my money. I’ve been quiet up until now in hopes that something good might happen, but it never did and still hasn’t. I started doing some research and, after coming across this blog (and the rip off reports mentioned by Mr. Hickey), and after speaking to several people it has become very apparent and crystal clear that (a) their little empire is quickly crumbling and consequently they are never going to resell my territory and (b) I’ve been had, robbed and will never, ever see my money again.

    I literally robbed my retirement savings and took out a loan to put together $60k… then flushed the entire amount down the toilet. But, there’s nothing I can do. I signed the contracts initially knowing full well the history of failure in my territory and no one held a gun to my head. I got caught up in the glitz and glamour of how they portrayed owning my own Travelhost franchise would be and simply made a bad decision. Actually, the worst decision of my life. And, by signing their little “keep quiet / gag order” I’ve relinquished any and all rights to pursue any further legal action.

    They won and they won big time. They found an unsuspecting, overly trusting fool like me and literally robbed me of $60k and threw me out to dry. And, the fact that $30k of the total amount was specifically to cover all of my printing costs for my first two editions yet they’ve refused to refund even a small portion of it even though I never, ever put out a single magazine simply reinforces the fact that they are liars, cheaters and thieves.

    The only thing I can do now is try to warn others. If I can somehow prevent this from happening to others then, in a way, it’s almost worthwhile. It’s too late for me. Because of this, I’m in debt and divorced. The loss of our nest egg was just too much for my marriage to withstand and my wife has long since left me and, of course, took my kids. I sold my house at a huge loss and now live in a one bedroom apartment.

    I’m legally still under “gag orders” and so I can’t be specific as to the territory to which I’ve been referring to, but be assured that mine is not an unusual story. There are many, many. many others like me out there, although Travelhost takes steps to pay people off to keep their mouths shut. In retrospect, I’m sure they paid the guy who owned my territory off as well. I’m actually quite surprised, Mr. Hickey, that they haven’t paid you off yet and that you’re still able to speak freely. My life is in shambles and the last thing I need is Travelhost’s lawyers coming after me as they tend to do.

    But again, perhaps my story might help others and, if so, then maybe some good did come form this after all.

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