Protect your Ass(ets)

Literally and figuratively. As a business owner, entrepreneur, founder, partner or person responsible for the spending of your money, the most dangerous things out there are a waste of your time, money and energy. While you can get more of and make up for some of each, do you really want to though? Today we’re gonna talk about one of the worst cases of time, money and energy suck we’ve experienced so far: The scam known as T-Mobile Travel.

Why is it important?

Traveling is important whether it be for business, pleasure or the unique mix called workation. Booking trips, flights, coordinating meetings, events and such can be just as taxing as a terrible client. Thankfully there are great services out there that will help you. There are also some terrible services which will do the complete opposite. One such company/service is T-Mobile Travel.

T-Mobile Travel Stole $1,550.81 from me

A little bit of background.

In summer 2021, I decided to take a trip to Paris to explore potentially living there for some time out of the year, reconnecting with a couple clients and exploring a potential opportunity with Station F (https://stationf.co/). I also needed some well earned rest. So I decided to take a working vacation (workation) where I would get my core NITM work done but also take the time to enjoy Paris, my favorite city so far. I ended up booking my flight @ $450.79 in July and hotel @ $1,550.81 in August. A three week trip from August 25th to September 16th, my birthday coincidentally ;-). All sounds perfect so far right? Weeeeeellll….

I booked my flight directly with TAP Air (https://www.flytap.com/en-us/) and had a wonderful experience. I also booked a 15 hour layover in Lisbon, which I loved up to a certain point. Apparently I looked like I needed some hashish…but that’s another story.

My hotel, I booked with T-Mobile Travel (https://hotels.tmobiletravel.com/th/home/en/), after an introduction from a close friend. Now I’ve been, or was, a loyal T-Mobile customer for 15 years. I always paid on time and had 6 lines with them. Why? I don’t really know but they’re all being used! I ended up choosing the lovely Hotel Darcet (https://www.hoteldarcetparis.com/en/) in the 17th arrondissement.

Everything was setup for success. I’d be getting work done while visiting my potential future home and also reconnecting with friends and exploring some business opportunities. Shit I was now international baby! Ca$h me in gay Paree!

<cough>

The particular issue in discussion began on Sun, Aug 22 at 7:20 AM when I got an email from T-Mobile Travel stating that my booking with Hotel Darcet was canceled. They offered me an alternative which I agreed to anxiously. They then came back and informed me on

Mon, Aug 23 at 7:17 AM that the alternative hotel was also not available. They offered another which I even more anxiously accepted, because it was TWO days before my trip. WTH. Upon further inspection I realized that T-Mobile travel’s reviews for the second alternative were different from publicly available reviews. I then decided to reach out to Hotel Darcet because I really loved the reviews and location. I was able to book directly with them, at a slightly higher cost, something I expected T-Mobile travel to do. Within the hour I responded to T-Mobile travel asking that they refund my money since they couldn’t secure my accommodations adequately. On Tue, Aug 24 at 7:26 AM they responded that it was too late to request a refund since it was less than 24 hours.

I was out of $1,550.81 for a hotel I wouldn’t use

Since then I’ve been fighting a losing battle to get my money back for a scam trip and service. Here are the details:

  • I submitted three different disputes with American Express and each time T-Mobile Travel changed their story
  • The first time they lied and said that I accepted the booking and requested a refund too late
  • The second time they said that it wasn’t them refusing the refund but the hotel
  • The third time they said that I checked into the alternative hotel and thus cannot refund due to their refund policy

After 3 months of stress and annoyance, decided to switch my phone to AT&T because I couldn’t possibly keep paying a monthly phone service to a company that robbed me blind.

I did not let this situation bother me during my trip however and absolutely enjoyed Paris, Station F and my friends and colleagues. I spent a wonderful three weeks and can’t wait to go back! After all, I could eventually make the money back…

The facts

  1. T-Mobile Travel is NOT concierge. It is an attempt to make money off the T-Mobile brand. Buyer be-VERY-ware
  2. You will NOT get a refund if they screw up your booking in any way shape or form
  3. They will fight every dispute or attempt you make with your credit card company and will LIE at each stage
  4. T-Mobile support personnel are not the problem, in fact they were nice and tried to empathize. However the platitudes of “We appreciate you for being a loyal customer”, “Thank you for being with us for so long!” all fall flat when the systems in place don’t value you as a person
  5. T-Mobile Travel is a grade A+ Scam.
  6. T-Mobile Travel stole $1550.81 from me, a small business owner

My advice

Be wary of services from brands which have no business offering these services. Be wary of marketing words that say what they don’t really mean. Concierge doesn’t mean “We will screw you and take your money”. Concierge means “We will do our best to accommodate you and if something is not possible we will ensure you are either refunded or properly compensated with a credit or a voucher or something of equivalent value”. You are NOT a friend to a corporation. Ensure you are working in you and your company’s best interests and that the corporation is working in your best interests.

Finally, remember that you are the most important person. If things don’t work out with a corporation then cut your ties and move on. They should be working to serve you, not the other way around.

How does it help you?

How does protecting your time, energy and money help you? While it should be self explanatory, but I will happily elaborate:

  1. As a business owner, founder, partner, money person, …etc., you are looked upon to provide vision, guidance and execution so you need to ensure you have the energy to respond to these challenges
  2. Funds that are stolen from you in the manner above can easily be put towards a marketing, investment or other fruitful activity
  3. Most importantly you will save time dealing with such situations and deal with the people who make decisions and don’t give excuses

In short, try your best to connect directly with the source of truth. Usually you can reach out directly to the underlying service provider and get an even better deal. If a service or offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. Reach out to your network and find out if anyone has had similar experiences or can recommend a better solution. Finally, be sure to take advantage of the legitimate offers you have and don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to secure your time and energy.

How can we help?

If you’re unsure of a travel service, cloud platform, development team or agency, business software, email or “deal” then send it our way. Or better yet post it to your social media and see what the people say. We are here to provide a second opinion to ensure you save your money, time and energy. Money, time and energy that could better be spent building the next great thing with us!

References

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