Since writing this original blog post, the issue has been resolved to my satisfaction. Check it out…
(I’m pleased to report some great news on the V1 Jets front. My disagreement with the company over a recent jet charter has been settled to my immense relief and satisfaction. Company President Andrew Zarrow called me personally after being made aware of the problem. After discussing the outstanding issue with me at length, he promised to look into the matter and get back to me asap. Well, he was good to his word, calling me back the very next day to explain V1′s position and present a solution that has happily put the matter to rest. A stand-up guy! A big thank you to Andrew for wasting no time in stepping in, getting involved, and taking care of this customer.)
Over the course of the 4+ years I’ve been blogging, I’ve managed to build a fairly solid readership base. Thousands of visitors swing by this blog on a daily basis while who-knows-how-many-more check it out via RSS feeds, links, and countless forums worldwide. It’s nice to know that I’m able to reach out to so many of you on a regular basis and, with that in mind, I’ve tried my best to promote certain worthwhile but under-appreciated interests here on this site. Stargate comes to mind. as does my monthly book club (shelved for a few months while I attempt to gain solid footing here on the new show, Transporter: The Series) that seeks to introduce all you genre fans to the joys of reading and discovering new authors. This blog has, on occasion, also been a soapbox from which I’ve been able to offer my opinion on everything from film and television to the sheer impossibility of eating a mango. And then there are those rare occasions where I use this blog to rant. This, dear readers, is one of THOSE entries.
Today, I’d like to tell you about my experience with V1 Jets, a private jets broker operating out of New York. Now those of you who have been following this blog already know part of the tale but, in order to get everyone caught up, a little backstory should suffice:
After receiving news of Stargate: Universe’s cancellation, I planned to take some time off and relax – but, in January, a huge opportunity presented itself in the form of Transporter: The Series, a show scheduled to shoot in Toronto in 2011. And so, I set aside plans for cooking school, closed a deal for my writing/showrunning services, and prepared my big cross-country move. Easier said than done of course because I had a pack of small dogs I needed to take with me. After considering several options (renting a bus, driving across Canada, flying them in-cabin), I eventually decided to bite the bullet and charter a private jet that would fly us all to Toronto in one trip. I looked into several options and finally booked a plane through Victor at V1 Jets. He was very courteous, very kind, and with my departure date fast-approaching (I chose to fly out Saturday, March 19th as I had to be in the office for Monday, March 21st), he handed me off to the equally courteous Joe who instructed me on how forward them payment. Unfortunately, they didn’t take VISA and I don’t carry American Express (apparently, AE offers the company protection that VISA doesn’t), so he suggested a wire transfer of funds would be the best way to go. And so, that Friday afternoon, after several aborted attempts, I managed to send off payment.
I spent the night packing and, late that evening, just as I was about to head up to bed, checked my laptop and discovered a disconcerting email in my inbox. It was from Joe informing me that they hadn’t received payment and that the jet could not be secured until payment had been received. Needless to say it was a sleepless night. First thing the next morning, I headed to the bank to find out what the problem was. The Bank Manager informed me that, despite what I’d been told, the wire transfer would take several days. It had been initiated late Friday, so they would receive payment Monday, maybe Tuesday at the earliest. My Bank Manager was kind enough to get on the phone with a V1 Jets representative and assure them the money had, indeed, been sent – but her reassurance wasn’t good enough. And so, my plans to fly out on Saturday, March 19th were cancelled.
Annoying, but understandable. As amiable as I’m sure I sounded over the phone, they didn’t know me (or my Bank Manager) and they presumably didn’t want to chance it. Thus, the following day, Akemi and I flew out of Vancouver commercial, taking two dogs, in-cabin, on Air Canada. And, the following weekend, I flew back to Vancouver for another round. Again, annoying, but it all worked out in the end and I figured, hey, there was still the possibility I could charter a flight for my return trip to Vancouver in December.
On March 23rd, I received an email from Victor at V1 Jets informing me that they had received my wire transfer (on Tuesday, March 22nd) and to please forward him my mailing address and to whom payment should be made so he could forward the information to their accounts payable department.
I did. But when I didn’t hear back, I dropped Victor another email to get an update on the status of my refund. Unfortunately, he had no new information for me. According to Victor, he had forwarded my information to accounting and they typically batch out payables at month’s end. He suggested I contact the accounting department directly.
It was April 1st so I assumed the payment had already been sent but, just to be sure, I left a message with their accounting department.
My call was never returned.
After several repeated attempts to talk to a real, live accountant, I ended up connecting with Joe who assured me he would pass the message along to accounting. I awaited a response. In vain.
I called again and was told things had been crazy-busy there lately and that they would look into expediting matters. A nice sentiment but I’d rather have my money back for that flight I never took.
When no one got back to me by last Friday as I’d requested, I sent a strongly worded email to the folks at V1 Jets, making sure to cc both Victor and Joe (who I had already dealt with), along with company President and CEO, Andrew Zarrow, and Vice President of Sales, Xavier Williamson, detailing the outstanding issue and my desire to resolve it asap.
No response. No “Sorry for the inconvenience.” No “We’re working on it.” Nothing.
Today, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Fondy called and spoke to Joe who claimed the accounting department was sick and, hey, maybe we’d accept a credit instead?
Tomorrow, I get my lawyer involved and start placing calls to law enforcement.
May this entry prove food for thought to anyone who considers using the services of V1 Jets. Do me a favor, all you loyal readers. Link back to this post via twitter, facebook, and whatever other sources of information dissemination! Get the word out!
So, what about you? Been ripped off, wronged, or otherwise taken advantage of by a company or business? I want to hear about it!