Last October, Travel Agent sparked some interest among readers and agents as it reported an ongoing clash between host agency Joystar and travel agent Peter Stilphen of Coral Sands Travel. Further analysis lead to asking the question if the travel industry has a responsibility to monitor the financial stability of host agencies. The buzz seemed to weaken for a few months, but has recently reignited after an involuntary bankruptcy petition has been filed and travel professionals are growing concerned as to how the scenario may affect them.
Here are a few comments from agents and readers on the matter, from the past few months:
On October 23, 2008, Kimberly Achziger wrote:
I have been with Joystar for 3 years now and have had nothing but a positive experience and they are very professional and I never missed a commission check yet. Truly a HAPPY agent with JOYSTAR.
On October 31, 2008, Jackie Friedman commented:
As a host agency General Manager (Nexion) and a member of the PATH Board, I agree that we need to establish standards and guidelines for host agencies with the interests of independant travel professionals. Joystar agents, or any IC looking for a good host agency partnership, should look to organizations like PATH to provide them with a selection of host agencies that they can look at to determine which one is the best fit for their business needs.
On November 2, 2008, Cristy said:
I have been a Joystar agent for 2+ years & have over 14 years total under my belt. I am also way under age 50 (thank you very much).
First of all, my question to Peter Stilphen & all other anti-Joystar folks is, where was the proof?? All you have ever come up with is "Joystar is an MLM or a cardmill" but you offered no facts. I know for a FACT that I am a real travel agent, so I was being called something I wasn't. Don't just tell me, SHOW ME. Otherwise, how can I believe?
I have not been paid any commissions for the month of October & Joystar owes me over $3,000 to date. I have another $3,000 in commissions due before the end of the year which I doubt I will ever see. I have received sporadic e-mails from various employees telling me that Joystar is not going anywhere & to be patient. I was also told my check would be in the mail yesterday 10-31. No check arrived today & I live about 2 hours north of Joystar's offices. So, I wait. I blame no one but those in charge.
Referring to the bankruptcy petition, on January 3, 2009, Paul stated:
Its about time someone takes action. W.A. is either in way over his head or he is a crook. Either way, it is about time that he be put out of business. The Joystar / Travelstar entity is still recieving my commissions because none of the accrediting associations has taken any action which would have allowed the transfer of outstanding commissions.
On Monday, January 5, 2009, GE wrote:
I for one am one of the agents and I have documented over $20K in unpaid comissions. I have repeatedly contacted Joystar and receive the same canned response that "Joystar will pay everyone what they are owed" and "they are working as fast as they can to pay everyone." This does not help pay my bills and with no response from the CEO or his wife after multiple attempts something has to be done.
This story is likely not disappearing anytime soon. We encourage our readers to continue engaging each other in the discussion by sharing comments below.