The website for jet card broker Ecojets is offline and the company hasn’t posted on its social media since the beginning of August
When Ecojets launched last year, its jet card program seemed good. In fact, in the end, it may have been too good to be true. While offering attractive hourly rates, it also gave members savings of up to 50% if they signed up for its Platinum Level, chose older jets, flew qualifying roundtrips and booked in advance. What’s more, their money would come in the form of a credit to a Mastercard or VISA debit card meaning they could use it like cash for purchases at any place that accepted the two global payment systems. It offered guaranteed availability and fixed one-way prices and even started selling its program on Amazon.
The debit card credit program was the idea of Edgar Melo Costa, who says he is a wealthy businessman from Portugal who had purchased the company with a vision for a more consumer-focused offering. Even though it traded under the Ecojets label, its website is myprivatejet.com. Both myprivatejet.com and ecojets.com, which was not connected with the company, are not working. Melo Costa would only say that Ecojets had merged with another company “using our client program and using their technology.”
In response to our questions about what company he merged with and what website is now being used, he said a press release will be coming out next week. Asked about the status of its cardholders, he added, “Ecojets is working as normal. I just asked to put the site online. All clients are being merged (until) March 2019. Ecojets platform has 1,256 members registered. All funds from members are in escrow.” The website had not been working since the middle of last week.
Recently, Melo Costa, as we’ve previously reported, has been in the midst of a lawsuit which accuses him of defrauding investors as part of a hotel project in New York, TIME Nyack. Melo Costa has said the charges are part of a “smear campaign.” Costa told a local newspaper, he bailed out his former partners, Kerry and Donald Wellington, Dean, and construction overseer John Krupa.
Costa claims he found mismanagement and alleged misappropriations in the hotel and another real estate project after investing. Costa is seeking to have the case against him dismissed with the next court day scheduled for December 17, 2018. In the meantime, it’s not clear what the future is for Ecojets. Its last post on Twitter was August 1, 2018 (above), the same date of its last post on Instagram (below). It had previously been posting multiple times per week.
On paper, a Platinum customer taking a roundtrip on a super-midsize aircraft and booking seven days in advance from pre-2000 aircraft, total credits would equate to 50% of the retail amount. As an example, for an eight-hour round trip, at the $8,800 hourly rate, the cost would be $70,400 of which $35,200 was to be deposited onto the member’s debit card making for an effective hourly rate of $4,400 plus FET and airport fees.
Whatever happens with Ecojets, it’s a good reminder that buyers should do a high level of due diligence about providers, and for privately held entities should strongly consider an escrow account if they can’t determine financial viability. Over the past two years, Zetta Jet went to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy while Imagine Air simply discontinued operations and Wijet closed its U.K. subsidiary, in each case leaving behind a list of creditors. In the meantime, Surf Air has been battling legal problems, including past due taxes and JetSmarter has been hit with six lawsuits from unhappy members since the beginning of August.