HOME to Tour, Vacation & Hotel Guide for Costa RicaResponse to Comments on www.TripAdvisor.com
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& Warning to The Traveling Public

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1CostaRicaLink.com IS NOT:
Associated with 1-costaricalink.com (dash - )
Or Associated with Flamingolink SA
Or Associated with Joern & Angela Malek
Or responsible for their debts or bookings.



Update July 27, 2007 The complaints against 1-(DSAH)costaricalink.com keep coming in, this time to www.welovecostarica.com, a very popular local forum about Costa Rica. The mention of COSTA RICA LINK.COM in the complaint below is not my site, but Joern and Angela Malek's. The poster wrote:
"This week, my 21 year old son Casey went back for 2 weeks with his best friend and their girlfriends on a 2-week first-solo-vacation "surfing sabattical". They had booked 6 nights at Hotel Playa Espadila in Manuel Antonio through COSTA RICA LINK.COM. They too, had been issued a voucher/confirmation#. And again, on check in at the hotel this Tuesday they were informed that the hotel had never received any payment for the room and the reservation had been released (All rooms were now booked). Thank God he had the Tico Talk Card I had purchased though Scott's recommendation and they were able to call us. The group of tight-budget college kids who had saved all year to split this trip were obviously upset at this predicament, not to mention how helpless all the parents felt here at home. They were able to find one room for the first night, and then had to spend the next vacation day searching for somplace to spend the rest of the week. Plus, good 'ole dad had to wire in extra funds to my son's Visa bankcard acct to cover the additional hotel costs. Now, he too is scrambling contacting American Express to contest the $800 in travel charges he's out of. Ironically, after our Arenal problem, he had checked and corresponded with the Costa Rica Link.com agency and they assured him everything was taken care of."
Click here to read the total story and other complaints at: http://www.welovecostarica.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=1&ThreadID=1516#12040 (Login required) Or, Click Here for "Fair Use" reprint.

In addition, I have been informed that Prolijo, a poster on Trip Advisor.com, has made additional comments on a recent post:

"Having reviewed the newly available evidence that Forrest brought to light (which I won't go into here), I have to say that I find his version of events to be a LOT more credible than the allegations made by his former friend and partner. To the best of my knowledge, all of the negative reviews and complaints by travelers that I have seen have been about the costaricalink WITH the dash. While the confusion that these similar names create and the nastiness of the dispute between these two outfits might understandably give one some pause about dealing with either of them, I don't think that should really prevent anybody from dealing with Forrest and 1CostaRicaLink IF they're looking for an agent to package their trip. He strikes me as a responsible, professional and earnest service provider. (Quote me on that, if you like, Forrest!)

You can read Prolijo's full comments by going to the link directly below. Thank you, Prolijo!

Update June, 11, 2007 The complaints against 1-(DSAH)costaricalink.com keep coming into tripadvisor.com. Click here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g291982-i813-k1165421-Avoid_1_CostaRicaLink_notice_the_dash-Costa_Rica.html"   Please remember, this site you are on is the orginal 1CostaRicaLink.com, is not the "DASH" site, and we use licensed travel agencies within Costa Rica, and do not take money on credit cards, or request cash to be sent to us by travelers.


Update March 16, 2007

Dear Reader,

Recently, my attention was called to this information on www.TRIPADVISOR.COM, at this URL: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g291982-i813-k944214-1_Costaricalink_com_DO_NOT_USE-Costa_Rica.html Please take a moment to read the top post by Caity937.

Click to read more public warning notices

Because of this page and the questions raised by several posters, I am once again forced to be more public about my unfortunate partnership with Joern Malek. Most of the clarifications will be addressed to this poster, "Prolijo," which actually was fairly unbiased, considering he was not able to find additional explanations on my website.

In his post, Prolijo states, "As near as I can tell, the owners of the site mentioned here (the one WITH the dash) had some sort of association with the webmaster of the second site and, according to them, hijacked the site for his own ends. IF their claims are true, letting their old webmaster register himself as the domain-owner was their big mistake, which I'm sure they now regret. Anyway you can read a little about the dispute from their side at: http://www.1-costaricalink.com/costa_rica_information/criminal_webmasters_in_costa_rica.htm."   In another few paragraphs down in his post, Prolijo writes, "It, (my site, 1CostaRicaLink.com), also makes no mention anywhere of their dispute with their former business associates."

My first comment here is that I guess it was a mistake to not make more visible to the surfing tourist on my website, my explanation of what really happened with my partnership with Joern Malek. I do have a link to that information so that Google can find the pages and index the content, but it is not in a prominent place. I disliked sullying up my website with this matter between Joern and me, and the possible bad image of Costa Rica in general that it might create. So, I relied on the mistaken supposition that most people would simply "Google me" if they had more questions. If they did, with any search terms like, "Criminal webmaster costa rica, "Forrest geiger costa rica," "criminal charges forrest costa rica", or "Joern malek costa rica," or many other terms, then I would always appear in the top 5 results of Google, and they could find my side of the story on my website. What a mistake that was, as the post from Prolijo would have been more complete, if my factual version of the story would have been more accessible!

To continue, I did not "hijack" a website, mentioned above, but was a business partner with Joern Malek for over 2 years. Click for information about the false accusations made by Joern Malek.. From the above page, there are many interlinking pages that chronicle the events, if you need a detailed explanation.


Directly below is more evidence, previously witheld from me:
About 4 months ago, after 2 Ż years of waiting, a copy of my hard drive that was taken in the search warrant executed on my house, was finally given to me by the OIJ. Finally, I was able to have more evidence of my partnership with Mr. Malek. From a lengthly email that Joern wrote to me as we were negotiating a buyout:

----- Original Message -----
From: "J÷rn Malek Flamingolink S.A"
To: "Forrest"
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 9:38 PM

Joern admitted in that email that we were partners. He wrote in three different places:
1. "We were in business together."
2. "For my person it hurts me more to loose you as a friend than as a partner."
And, then, one last time, Joern even chided me for allegedly not behaving like a partner - never mind that I didn't take enough to even pay my expenses while we were partners. He said,
3. "As a business partner you could have helped with some problems, but you started behaving like a hired help, that didn't get paid for his work."

Of course, there is much more evidence on the hard drive that shows we were partners. (In the forced dissolution, he kept 12 websites; I kept one.)


Prolijo then continues, "The other site (the one WITHOUT the dash) does not list any address (PO or otherwise) or phone numbers of any kind or even any e-mail address (you can only contact them through their contact form which only then reveals their "licensed, reservation fulfillment provider, Costa Rican Trails" and the phone numbers 1-888-803-3344, 506-225-6000 or fax 506-225-8842.)"

To answer the phone number question above, it has to understand that I am not a booking agency, but rather an advertising medium for select, licensed travel agencies, hotels, individual vacation rental clients and companies, and I also list real estate for sale by individuals and companies, etc.. Although most of the reservation requests are directed to Costa Rica Trails, where a phone number is displayed, many hotels advertise on my site, and receive their reservations requests directly. When there was a number on the site, phone calls were often received and questions asked that would be better answered by the individual hotel, travel agency or other advertiser themselves. (Update April 27, 2007 - Since most hotel, tour and travel packages pages are serviced by Costa Rican Trails, a toll free number to CRT now appears at the top of only those pages in order to contact them directly.)

There used to be an email address on 1CostaRicaLink.com, but, as with many other websites, contact us forms are now preferred as it is more difficult to spam a contact us form. For those that would need to contact me as a site owner / webmaster regarding my website, the "Contact Us" form is on every page. But, the real question here is do I quickly answer any requests dealing with my website business or questions about my providers, and that answer is unequivocally, "yes." And, once I start dealing with someone, I do give out my phone number.

(As an aside, Prolijo mentions about dealing direct to help local providers realize more profit, or possibly save yourself money. For some people this may work. However, from looking at many reservation requests, travellers are often frustrated because English is not spoken, or spoken well, emails go unanswered as there may be long delays because of remote internet connections, the person making the reservation is often not there after repeated calls, and smaller hotels don't always take credit cards, as Costa Rican Trails does. Also, some hotels prefer to have an agency make the bookings and collect the money so that they can concentrate more on running essential services of a hotel. In short, having a reputable agency do the work for you won't cost you more money, but they will save you much time and frustration, as well as answer questions about the country, travel time between hotels, and the quality of services.)

Prolijo also warns about the two sites in question, in reference to the original poster at the top of the page, he writes, "Well obviously, this post raises some serious issues about the site WITH the dash (assuming Caity didn't get the address mixed up). "

So, I am here to say that Caity937 didn't get things mixed up! She was dealing with 1DASHcostaricalink.com as an unlicensed booking agency, and not my website, which is only advertising medium for travel services. Those travel service providers on my site, ie hotels, Costa Rican Trails travel agency, car rental agencies, etc., USE THEIR OWN CREDIT CARD MERCHANT ACCOUNT. 1CostaRicaLink.com, my site, takes no money from any tourists.

There have been many more complaints about 1DASHcostaricalink, and occasionally, some unhappy people send them accidentally to me. To continue Caity937's public warning with complaints accidently sent to me, go here.

In closing, let me say that I manage and control over 30 website, most in Costa Rica, but also some very large 150,000 page real estate and financial services websites in the United States. I have an impeccable reputation among those that know me and use my professional services. My client list includes a number of local prominent organizations, one of them the www.ticotimes.net , where recently as a consultant, I oversaw the technical aspects of a redesign of their website, so that they could maintain and improve their search engine ratings. This and other references are available, for those interested.

Sincerely,

Forrest Geiger
Webmaster / owner www.1costaricalink.com

Continue reading warning below:

Public Warning - March 16, 2007

Dear Tourists,
A few years back, I posted the following warning at the bottom of many pages of my website to politely warn, in general terms like "Quality and Safety," potential travelers that this site, 1CostaRicaLink, is not the same as my ex-partner's website:

The Original 1 Costa Rica Link.com for Hotels And Travel Information
with Graphics Design & Site Management by Forrest Geiger
& Reservation Fulfillment by 3 Licensed & Local
Costa Rican Agencies for Quality and Safety

Unfortunately, this notice has not been sufficient to alert the public and stop the complaints that were happening then, and are still continuing into the present. Therefore, and regretfully, I need to be more open to protect the traveling public, and for that reason, please read the information below.


Public Warning To Travelers or Tourism Vendors:
ICT - Tourist Bureau of Costa Rica www.1costaricalink.com is a website owned and operated by Forrest Geiger, a legal resident of Costa Rica and entitled to legally work and operate a business in Costa Rica, and owner of One Costa Rica Link, SA, which represents 1CostaRicaLink.com. Forrest Geiger contracts only with Costa Rican ICT licensed tour operators, in this case, Costa Rican Trails, Marbella Tours, and author Christopher Howard, all of which are reliable, solvent and among the most respected in the country, and all are locally owned and operated. My contract travel agencies and I ARE NOT associated in any manner with 1-costaricalink.com (dash - ), owened by Flamingo Link SA, of which Joern Malek is President.

The reason this has to be explained is that directly below are some examples of a number of credit card complaints that I have received and continue to receive on the "Contact Us" form on my website, www.1costaricalink.com. These unfortunate visitors are writing to me because the Maleks are using a credit card merchant account in the name of my website, 1CostaRicaLink, and these writers think that I am either associated with 1-costaricalink.com (dash - ) and / or Flamingolink SA, or Joern and Angela Malek. Obviously, there is a serious problem here, and I am sorry that I even have to mention it publicly, except to defend myself, and hopefully warn the tourism public and tourism service providers throughout Costa Rica. In that regard, the best, unbiased public warning would be to read through these customers' complaints below.


Public Warning - triple charges to credit card:




Public Warning - possible switching of requested hotel: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - Unauthorized credit card charging: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - switching requested hotel: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - hotel not paid when customer's credit card was pre-charged: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - prepaid car rental vouchers not honored: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - It is not necessarily easy to dispute innacurate credit card charges: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - This is NOT a "1 Costa Rica Link" credit card charge: Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com
This is a 1DASHCosta Rica Link / Flamingo Link SA credit card charge, using my Site Name


Public Warning - This is NOT a voucher from a car rental company, but from "1DASHcostaricalink" / Flamingo Link SA. This was the voucher sent
to the client mentioned directly above, who wrote that services were not prepaid. Credit card complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink.com


Public Warning - June 11, 2007
This is another recent complaint against 1DASHcostaricalink sent to me in error.



Once again, please do not confuse 1-costaricalink.com (dash - ), an unlicensed provider, with my website name www.1costaricalink.com , with no dashes, which is a different website, webmaster and owner, and uses only licensed and reputable agencies to fulfil reservation requests. Neither Marbella Tours or Costa Rican Trails have these problems or credit card charge backs, their reputations are impeccable, businesses financially solvent, and they are subject to oversight and regulation by the Costa Rican Government's Tourism Board, the ICT. My website is an advertising website for their services, many other hotels, individual vacation rentals, real estate companies, etc.. I have no merchant account in my name, and do not function as a booking agency.

My attorney and I have complained to the merchant credit card account processor of FlamingoLink SA, and Joern Malek, which is using my 1CostaRicaLink name, and they have stated that Joern does not want them to take off the 1 Costa Rica Link name off the account. This was agreed to when our partnership dissolved. He was to begin using Flamingo Link SA as the representation for the other sites. You can see some of these site logos on the voucher above. Instead, Joern bought 1DASHcostaricalink.com after we split, and built a look alike site!

Joern, an ex-partner, is apparently treating his clients not better than he has treated me. After our partnership dissolved, he went to the Prosecutor and filed charges against me, fraudulently claiming that I was an employee, instead of a partner. The truth will come out in trial, but for now, it has caused me much inconvenience, including the above problems.

I am sorry that this negative information about Costa Rica has to be posted, but the public need to know is now more important than the distastfulness of this topic. And these words are not mine, but largely those words of the dissatisfied traveling public, and this is only a representative portion, not all of them.

In closing, you will have an absolutely wonderful time in beautiful Costa Rica! There can be problems traveling anywhere in the world, and the intent of this is a cautioinary message, not an indtiement against Costa Rica or tour operators in general.

Sincerely,

Forrest Geiger

Owner / Webmaster www.1costaricalink.com

12 April 2010 - Forrest Found Innocent of False Claims Made by Malek

AM Costa Rica Online Newspaper Article - Clarification from Forrest

If you are a tourism related company and thinking about advertising on 1DASHcostaricalink, you should read this first:
ADVERTISER WARNING UPDATE MARCH 17, 2007

Click for information about untrue accusations against Forrest Geiger made by Joern Malek.

Click here for a reply to Joern's latest May, 2005 newsletter inacurracies

Travel Warnings Against 1DASHcostaricalink.com on WeLoveCostaRica.com




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