Jetsetter Social Media Firestorm Gets the Attention of their CEO

After having a few hundred dollars of credits ‘removed’ from my Jetsetter.com account, and being given he runaround by customer service — being told I had violated their terms and conditions, but being refused requests to tell me how, and then being told that using referral links that they had given me at all were seemingly in and of themselves a violation of their terms and conditions — I shared the ludicrous story of their customer service responses here on this blog.

The post generated over 100 comments, it also was posted on Jetsetter’s Facebook wall and tweeted and re-tweeted. Lucky picked up on it as well.

Within hours of my posting, I finally heard from a ‘real’ person at Jetsetter (from a non-generic email address with a person’s name attached).

I was unfortunately in meetings all day, and was not able to respond in a timely manner.
I understand you’re frustrated regarding your referral credits. I am happy to explain the referral program, terms of service, and how to properly utilize the channel for perks as a valued member of Jetsetter.com.

Please provide me with a phone number, and a time most convenient to contact you. I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow.

I had gotten their attention. And they commented on this blog as well.

Hey Gary –

We hear you and first and foremost would like to apologize that you’ve had a bad experience. We are continuing to investigating your case to honor any credits that are duly owed to you. We just want to make sure and clear up any misunderstanding and do what we can to do right by you.

Jetsetter experienced a lot fraudulent activity during the Groundlink sale. As a result, we were forced to delete several accounts deemed fraudulent, as well as their respective credits. Upon further investigation, we are restoring your credit that complies with our terms and conditions. While we know you did not knowingly commit any fraud, your invitation link was used in several confirmed cases of fraud. Jetsetter has always honored referral credits and we will continue to do so. We will not however, honor credit received through fraudulent practices.

We value your business and are doing as much as we can to make things right. We always appreciate your feedback (positive or negative) and of course, we apologize.

I’ve tried to make clear to Jetsetter that I don’t especially care about my own referral credits. That I’m not mollified by their returning my credits (squeaky wheel gets the grease so shut me up). That if they want to demonstrate contrition and learning, they need to make things right with everyone that they took referral credits to without explanation and with stonewalling responses through their customer service channels.

I asked if I could provide the email address of the ‘real’ person who contacted me to the folks that have commented on the previous thread that they’ve had similar experiences with credits seemingly illegitimately taken away. I haven’t heard back on that request.

Now, the claim that people using my links were engaged in fraud so they took away the credits doesn’t quite ring true. Here’s the relevant snippet from their comment: “While we know you did not knowingly commit any fraud, your invitation link was used in several confirmed cases of fraud.

If someone was committing fraud they were presumably signing up multiple accounts for the $25 first purchase bonus. But they wouldn’t have been using my referral link if they were doing that, they’d be using their own so that they would also get the $25 credit for successfully referring someone.

Still, I have no way to know who did what with their accounts, no matter how far fetched it seems, I cannot disprove their claim and they’re not likely to give me access to those sorts of details on the individual accounts referred through my link.

And of course they deleted all of the credits earned at the time of the Groundlink offer, were they seriously claiming that everyone who used my link was doing so fraudulently?

Further, what about the claim they made to me that any use of a referral link was impermissable under their terms and conditions? (Presumably only under the updated terms and conditions from January 28 which weren’t in effect at the time?).

Well, they haven’t given me a commitment to restore everyone’s credits. Or to allow me to give out the email address of the ‘real person’ that has been in touch. But my modest $275 in referral credits have been restored.

And I can only imagine what their office was like during this social media kerfuffle, as it prompted a blog post under the name of their CEO.

Unfortunately, there are people who game the system by creating multiple email accounts in order to gain fraudulent credits. In regards to the Groundlink sale, people created multiple accounts in order to purchase multiple vouchers which violated the sale’s terms and conditions limiting the vouchers to one per member.

When we see suspicious activity with a single individual creating multiple accounts, we deactivate these accounts and any associated referral credits. In cases when one link is abused many times, the irregular activity can negatively affect referral credits, and account status of honorable members. Upon further investigation, it seems we were overzealous in our effort to ferret out abuse and deactivated some legitimate accounts and deleted legitimate credits. We regret deactivating suspicious accounts without a more thorough investigation and without communication.

We are investigating every complaint on a case-by-case basis and have already reinstated credit to several legitimate accounts. If your account or credits have been deleted in error, we apologize. Please contact support@jetsetter.com and we will investigate each case in a timely manner. You can also call 877-573-8872.

That does sound like acknowledgment of error and contrition, and a commitment to make things right — for those who contact them. Of course we’ll have to see whether or not they actually do. And it fails to acknowledge the heinous, silly, and illogical customer service responses to date.

My confidence is hardly restored in Jetsetter, but if they do in fact make it right — for everyone — and if future customer service examples do more than stonewall, they have the potential to restore confidence. Which I genuinely hope they do, because I’ve found some of their offers to be quite good, and for hotels that I would actually very much like to stay at.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Many of you may have got in on a great deal recently from Jetsetter. The deal was for airport transfers from Groundlink.com and with the referral bonuses that Jetsetter was advertising, the price was very low. It almost seemed too good to be true and for many participants, it turned out that it was. Gary over at View From the Wing posted the details of what he went through and then an update a few days later when Jetsetter had responded. If you have referral credits due to you from Jetsetter, make sure to check on them because they might be gone. Original details HERE and update HERE. […]

Comments

  1. Behold the power of Gary and Ben…. and you two are such nice guys. Why would anyone make you two mad intentionally? I re-tweeted but never got in on the deal but thanks for looking out for readers. Just tops!

  2. BaH…. a bunch of your users abused the system and got caught out. No doubt they will all be posting their ranting and ravings about how terrible the customer service is. Can we open a book now on how many posts before someone asks about a law suit.

  3. Good work, and I’m humbled to see you taking the high road and not defending Jetsetter after they decided to restore your credits due to public embarassment. Any company who tries to make things right only after public humialtion are still low lifes in my book and Jetsetter still doesn’t deserve any future business. Fine if they make things “right” by all people — good for them — however it’s sickening to see how quickly companies get their act together when their reputation is in jeopardy.

  4. The “While we know you did not knowingly commit any fraud, your invitation link was used in several confirmed cases of fraud.” is probably added in there to save face and cover their own behinds…

  5. A bunch of crap. I will never use jetsetter. Many thanks for exposing their fraudulent practices. The only reason I looked into them in the first place was because TPG blogged about the groundlink promo. Not that I trust Groupon getaways or Travelzoo local deals more for that matter. This kind of company will probably disappear into oblivion in a few months anyways. Their customer service is obviously terrible considering they are still trying to justify their actions in a so called apology letter, sheesh

  6. Gary, I’m glad they finally responded to you. But their initial response to this situation and the stonewalling responses to your email reflected poorly on the company. I will be hesitant to do business with Jetsetter and the Gilt group in the future.

  7. I purchased the Groundlink offer in my account and in one for my wife. They charged the credit cards for both, but I never received the Groundlink code, nor did my wife. Instead Jetsetter refunded the charge (not at my request and without any explanation or communication whatsoever.) I don’t think it was fraud, they just got too much demand and decided not to honor it. I think Jetsetter’s ethics are very much suspect and I won’t do business with them any longer.

    Aren’t they owned by Gilt City? That calls Gilt into question as well.

  8. I think what groundlink wanted to say but couldnt was that they thought you were the one defrauding jetsetter, since so many new accounts were created using your referral and each account got 25.00. They thought you personally created all the bogus accounts and purchased multiple vouchers to get the all those 25.00 credited to your main account.

  9. Gary, Good show! Their explanation sounds weak to me. It does appear that they are somewhat less than 100% honest. I base this on the fact that once they started to get publicy posted negative feedback did they lift a finger to shut you up.

    Thanks for shining the light on these much less than special people.

    ST

  10. I don’t think Jetsetter is “dishonest” but the Groundlink promo was certainly not thought through. The person who handled that account is likely looking for another job. And it will take considerable effort to restore the company’s reputation.

  11. @Charles, I have booked TravelZoo hotel deals and found them to be a good deal. TrvelZoo has been around for years, and I do not recall their ever being bad press on them like Jetsetter. Perhaps the local TravelZoo deals operate differently? @Carl, Jetsetter is owned and part of the Gilt Groupe.

    What Jetsetter has done is simply obnoxious. They create terms of service so that they can decide to reject member referral credits at their own whim, and so they do not have to honor their offer. The only reason they are offering some users a reinstatement of their referral credit is after the firestorm lucky and Gary have cause by their blog reports. I have been a subscriber to Jetsetter from when it opened, but I have not ever made a purchase of one of their offers. I did not take part in the Groundlink offer, so I have no potentail benefit from this offer, but I am truly disgusted by Jetsetter’s practices. This case will make me avoid making purchases from them as they do NOT stand behind their offers and engage in shady business practices.

  12. @ # 2 Phil, how do know that “… a bunch of your users abused the system and got caught out.”? Do you have a personal knowledge of this, or is this just an assumption on your part?

    The way Jetsetter has treated their customers (#7, Gary, and others) due to their own not-thought-through offer is a negative reflection on this outfit for years to come. I will no longer post any offers from this merchant anywhere until a fair resolution to consumers is achieved.

  13. Glad you got your referral cash back and i hope others will as well. But this situation leaves me with the impression that Jetsetter’s first reaction when it gets itself into a disadvantageous deal is to back out of it entirely rather than use it as a learning experience.

  14. What a bunch of crap. This is a perfect example where transparency and simple communication would go a long, long way to preventing these kind of kerfluffles.

    Let’s give JS the benefit of the doubt, that they had a lot of perceived “fraud.” Why not send an email out, postsomething on their blog, send out a tweet, something, everything, to everyone whose account was affected, that they were under review? If “frozen” or rescinded credits were absolutely necessary (rolleyes) then a promise that each individual’s account review would be completed within a week?

    Not perfect, but much better than this completely unprofessional stonewalling.

  15. this after the fact apology is as believable as a politician caught with his pants down and who says “i won’t do it again” to his wife and the public, hoping that they will be forgiving and look the other way (when they do it again, as soon as they get a chance). hopefully, being fooled once is enough as for me, jetsetter can go eat a fat one.

  16. I do not se anywhere on the jetsetter website where it states that the referral credits only last 12 mths. I have had a couple of hundred dollars worth of credits removed.
    with the excuse that there is a 12 mth limit.
    i asked where this is on the website and was ignored.
    and not replaced.
    they are like talking to a brick wall so i would not ever book with them again-for anyone at all.

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