Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mariden Update (or, The Power of Online Reviews... Proven Again!)

If you read my post from 5/1/12, you're familiar with my crusade to bring Mariden USA to justice (if you didn't, please read it--you'll be amazed and appalled).

Yes, I'm like a pitbull. I continue to fight Mariden because they destroy kids' dreams. I continue to fight Mariden because it proves a point--online reviews ARE powerful and DO make a difference. Plus, as I declared in a recent job interview: "I was in the Army. I don't quit, and I don't lose."

This latest update is more positive for the victims of unscrupulous travel operators like Mariden--and one which underscores the power of social media.

I was contacted recently by Mark, the father of a student who had invested in a Mariden trip to Spain--which Mariden canceled at the last minute (no surprise)--without communication to Mark or his family. Mark had read my review of Mariden on Yelp and reached out for some advice on how to proceed. Sadly, the saga he related wasn't surprising.

Thankfully, Mark is a tenacious fellow (takes one to know one). As he lives in the same city where our nemesis, Mariden, is based, and he wasn't getting any response from Mariden, Mark visited Augustine (the Mariden rep) at HOME!

Here's the scoop, as Mark relayed it to me via email:

"I met with Augustine today. I looked up his address and surprised him at home because no one will return my calls email, etc. The owner is Nina with her husband they both own 50% of Mariden and Mariden Canada. They are in the middle of a bad divorce. The woman named Dagmar is the sister of Nina. They have not filed Chapter 11 yet but are considering it. I will mention on a positive note that you were mentioned as someone that had substantially damaged their incoming business. I am suppose to hear tomorrow if the trip will happen. If not I have been referred to their attorney. Hopefully it will not come to that but we will see."

Naturally, I am helping Mark strengthen our legitimate campaign against Mariden International, by providing him not only my own correspondence, but that of others who were similarly exploited by Mariden.

The key line in Mark's synopsis is "I will mention on a positive note that you were mentioned as someone that had substantially damaged their incoming business."

Let this be a lesson to ALL businesses operating deceitfully: You WILL be discovered. Your deceit WILL be disclosed. Your business WILL suffer. Your only solution is to apologize, compensate the victims of your perfidy, and pledge henceforth to be transparent. Go on the attack and you'll be vilified. The world is a small place; people communicate.

If you've been a victim of unscrupulous business owners, share your story online. Share it widely. It DOES make a difference.

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