‘When you see that there is a whole community of people out there getting ripped off, it’s not fair – something needs to be done.’ – ‘Travelalot’ customer, who successfully took Martin to court yet is still waiting for her refund.
On Friday 11 May 2018 A Current Affair (ACA) reported that dozens of families who booked their holidays with Lance Martin’s business ‘Travelalot’ had holidays ‘cancelled’ at the last minute, some turned up to the airport, bags packed and ready to go, only to find that the holidays they had paid for with ‘Travelalot’ were non-existent.
The report explained that when some of the aggrieved customers attempted to get their money back, they were met with stonewalling from ‘Travelalot’. For some it required court proceedings, and for one woman, even with success in court, the refund (as of today) still has not been paid. And ACA only covered the distress of a few victims, but said that they had been contacted by ‘dozens’ of alleged victims.
Usually we would not pay a lot of attention to the tabloid media, but here they appear to have chosen an appropriate target for their attentions.
The exposé vindicates what Universal Medicine (and many others who have been targeted by Lance Martin and had their reputations unfairly harmed) have been trying to draw to public attention for six years: that Mr Martin’s tireless attempts to discredit Universal Medicine’s reputation are the work of a person who has made a career out of disinformation and spin, and this is now further supported by evidence of what appears to be unethical business dealings with Australian consumers.
If the reports on ACA are correct, it appears that the bad reviews on ‘TripAdvisor’ about Martin’s travel business, ‘Travelalot’, that we reported on in March 2018 were only a small part of what emerges as possibly a much larger scale scam.
In 2014, here on Universal Medicine Facts, we had exposed some of the concerns already raised by consumers and the risks that might be posed by Martin’s ever changing business names. However, it now appears that what we had uncovered may have only been the tip of the iceberg.
ACA has reported that Martin had possibly ‘scammed more than $500k from bookings’ and that their cyber-expert Simon Smith had spoken to 50 people affected, but he estimated there was likely at least 1000 more people, who might have suffered the same scam. Simon Smith said on the show that he believes Martin’s business runs by taking deposits for holidays or payments upfront and then backing out of providing the services promised.
If this is true, then Lance Martin’s business practices may have finally been exposed for the world to see.
It is no secret that Esther Rockett began her campaign against Universal Medicine apparently ‘inspired’ by Lance Martin. Indeed, in material that she has distributed widely, Esther Rockett has stated that she ‘had received much of her information from Lance Martin’ about Universal Medicine. She has relied upon him as a ‘reliable’ and trusted source of information. She has also said ‘she could not ask for a better friend’.
Esther Rockett has also worked for Lance Martin’s ‘Exchange Travel’ business. A business for which she provided copywriting services.
Considering the close involvement of Rockett and Martin both as friends and colleagues, not to mention her reliance upon him for information, how much did Rockett know about the string of incensed customers? About the ‘lies upon lies’ they have said were being told to consumers?
Perhaps Esther Rockett should have taken heed of the FACTS presented here in 2014?
Esther Rockett has continually dismissed the facts put forward on this site – in recent court proceedings for debt recovery against her, she suggested that attention that might be drawn to Martin’s apparently shonky business practices by UM Facts was ‘undeserved’. She suggested that Lance Martin’s companies should be protected from being exposed because Alison Greig had ‘published allegations that Mr Martin is a scam artist’ and that the reports on his alleged scams had ‘put him out of business’.
‘Undeserved’? Perhaps Esther Rockett should have considered the families who claim they have been ripped off and paid attention to the 2014 exposé of her ‘colleague’ Lance Martin? Or, at the least, investigated the online reviews of Martin’s various business ventures dating back almost a decade.
The A Current Affair headlines speak for themselves:
In 2014, we reported that Lance Martin (now also known as Riley Martin) has changed his business name frequently, although still selling what appears to be the same accommodation package deals. He had run a series of online accommodation marketing businesses that relied heavily on telemarketing to sell accommodation package deals using overseas call centres.
Lance Martin was the director of ‘Sales Paradigm Pty Ltd’, trading as ‘Hotels2go’. His previous business, ‘Hotel Marketing Group Pty Ltd’, traded as both ‘Hotel Bargains’ and ‘Bargain Breaks’. Prior to that, his business was ‘Freedom Escapes Pty Ltd’ trading as ‘My Platinum Blue’. His most recent endeavor, ‘Exchange Travel’ trading as ‘Travelalot’, was the same apparent scam with a different name, although ‘Travelalot’ appears to have added flights to the accommodation packages the previous businesses sold.
It would seem, that as one business name gets muddied by a series of bad reviews, and consequently the business falters, Lance Martin has changed his trading name or started up a new business. There are negative reviews and queries to be found online dating back to 2007 and the most recent ones about ‘Travelalot’ reveal a lot of devastated customers.
It appears a shame that the prolific online consumer reports, that Universal Medicine Facts reported on, did not encourage the relevant authorities to put Martin out of business in 2014, since it would have prevented Martin’s continued operations that apparently have affected so many.
However, in 2014, it appears that Martin simply re-created himself with a new business name, ‘Exchange Travel’ trading as ‘Travelalot’, to apparently hide his tracks and continue business as usual. His enterprise may also have been supported by a change of name from Lance Martin to Riley Martin. It is no secret that a change of name is one way dodgy operators can cover their tracks.
It appears that Lance Martin may have a long line of very unhappy customers who will be seeking answers and refunds. Although Lance Martin does not appear to be doing it so tough – in the ACA footage Riley Martin AKA Lance Martin was seen driving what appeared to be a new model Range Rover.
He has met the breaking news of his alleged scam with denials and claims that the story was a beat up because cancellations of travel bookings should be expected (apparently ‘common’ in the industry) and all customers had been refunded.
Well that is a great advertisement for your company, effectively stating: ‘Expect disappointment’!
It also appears that his protestations that all customers have been refunded is also a stretch of the truth. At least one customer who took legal proceedings to recover the amount spent is still waiting for him to pay the refund, as she stated:
‘I can’t understand why some have been refunded and not me?
I’m struggling to pay school fees and bills. . .’
We do not know how many others may be in the same boat. It took those interviewed who HAD received a refund more than a year of struggling with ‘Travelalot’ to get the repayment they were due. The time of their planned holiday long gone and, instead, an inordinate amount of time spent dealing with a company apparently resolved to make it difficult for consumers to get the refund they were due.
The fact is Universal Medicine Facts has always reported the FACTS and Esther Rockett has consistently dismissed the evidence placed before her, particularly if it contradicted her strongly held views or imaginings about her subject. Amongst the many facts placed before her were those about Lance Martin’s businesses.
Instead of considering the harm Martin’s business might be doing, Rockett has persisted in blaming the exposure of Lance Martin on Universal Medicine Facts as causing Mr Martin’s business failures and that the pair had been unfairly targeted. The history of online reviews offer a very different perspective of Mr Martin’s circumstances.
However, irrespective of this obvious fact, the pair managed to get the press on board with this story.
Lance Martin gains a sympathetic ear from Jane Hansen
Rockett’s insistence that Martin’s misfortunes should be laid at the feet of UM Facts for exposing his conduct was taken up by Jane Hansen in an ‘opinion piece’ for the Sunday Telegraph claiming that she had been ‘bullied’ by UM Facts for critiquing flaws in the stories she had written for the Sunday Telegraph. Bullying is really a misnomer for a few articles that looked at Jane Hansen’s work against her history in journalism and dissected the errors in her reports.
And there were a lot of errors. All were meticulously examined by Alison Greig of the UM Facts team.
What was true was that UM Facts had taken Jane Hansen to task over her deplorable reporting in some articles and had identified some complete falsehoods in her reporting about Universal Medicine.
It was all about media accountability.
We have to ask: do journalists cry bullying when Media Watch takes them to task?
Well, usually not.
If the media prints lies, should it be open to hold them to account?
Well, yes it should.
And, it begs all credibility to claim a small blogsite with a few hundred readers could ‘bully’ a Murdoch reporter of the Sunday Telegraph, which has a readership of over a million and the power of the Murdoch press behind it.
But there was no stopping Jane Hansen, who apparently used her position with the Murdoch tabloid for payback over her exposure, and was more than willing to create a piece that painted both Rockett and Martin as victims of bullying alongside her own extraordinary claim of being bullied to serve that agenda.
Esther Rockett was no ‘victim’ of online bullying.
When this site, Universal Medicine Facts was published in May 2014, Esther Rockett, under the cloak of anonymity, had already posted over 160 blogs under the pseudonyms ‘Darkly Venus’ and ‘Pranic Princess’. The blogs contained often salacious but entirely false and malicious claims about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, clearly intended to incite outrage and disgust. UM Facts exposed Esther Rockett as the troll behind the pseudonyms. As of today’s date, there are over 360 blogs of the same nature by Ms Rockett – all rehashing the same falsehoods.
In addition, Esther Rockett had (and still has) a McCarthy-like list online – a ‘naming names’ page – where she has posted the names of anyone or any business she considered connected to Universal Medicine with dire warnings of the risks associated with those people and accusing them of ‘cult recruiting’ or being ‘unqualified’. It is no better than a McCarthy ‘blacklist’ and evidently intended to harm those placed upon it. Esther Rockett had never met most people placed on the list, she had had no private or professional relationship with them, it was simply a means of vicious vilification of those targeted.
Rockett and Martin had spread their web of hate offline as well, with multiple complaints to the HCCC, and various government authorities, all dismissed, but not before what might be considered vile and shocking false accusations had been read and distributed widely.
By 2014 both Martin and Rockett had become what observers might assess to be serial vexatious complainants with 20 plus unsupportable complaints to government authorities all made within two years, largely repeating the same tired invective. They have continued in the same vein, adding complaints to employers of individuals associated with Universal Medicine. Rockett has also approached numerous individual’s professional associations, sending a document that both Martin and she had concocted together with malicious (and entirely false) allegations suggesting molestation, sexual abuse, grooming, and murder.
Dedicated employees and professionals were faced with their jobs threatened and livelihoods potentially being destroyed as the intention of the pair was clear – to get people sacked or struck off from professional accreditation.
In some instances, the pair have found traction with the media, reporting on the complaints as if the facts in them were proven and, when each one was dismissed, the media was nowhere to be found to correct the lies the pair had distributed.
Whatever may have been reported in the media, in all cases all complaints against Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon were dismissed in full, except one requiring a small change to wording on a website in 2012. And in almost every case the complaints can be traced directly or indirectly to the activity of Lance Martin, the man now exposed by ACA as ripping off clients.
The media’s support of Lance Martin’s campaign against Universal Medicine, including reports on the complaints he has made should be re-examined, in the light of Martin’s exposure, if the journalists who have given him and his collaborator Esther Rockett traction would exhibit a shred of decency.
It is important to remember, Esther Rockett largely founded all she wrote on what Martin had told her.
The UM Facts was an initiative of individuals who sought to address the lies spread by Lance Martin and Esther Rockett about Universal Medicine and those whom Rockett and Martin had targeted by association, and allow those so attacked and vilified to have a voice.
Lance Martin’s vendetta and the media
UM Facts exposed Martin’s vendetta – Lance Martin had had no issue with Universal Medicine, or world renowned presenter and complementary healing practitioner Serge Benhayon, prior to the final breakdown of Martin’s rocky 16-year relationship with his then-wife in 2012. But after that Lance Martin became consumed with the false narrative of his own creation, developed and primed from his dabbling in anti-cult forums, fantasising that his wife had left him under the imagined influence of Serge Benhayon whom he painted as a ‘cult’ leader.
None of it was true.
Martin took to cyber-abusing people online behind various pseudonyms and began concocting a juicy ‘cult’ story to sell to the media.
Anyone who spoke to Anna Douglass and had asked her for her reasons for leaving the marriage could have ascertained she left the rocky relationship of 16 years because Martin’s controlling behaviour had become intolerable for her. But Martin, rather than take responsibility for his part in the relationship’s demise joined an anti-cult site and engaged the media to pursue his rage.
Getting the media to cover your marriage breakdown could be considered an odd and likely unsuccessful way to deal with a relationship breakdown, however the media that took up Martin’s cudgel were more interested in spinning a ‘cult’ story than looking at the man behind the story. A ‘cult’ story after all adds the salacious edge to a story that gives an easy, albeit trashy headline.
And Martin, it appears, was the master of manipulative spin.
The journalists who had the opportunity to interview the very beautiful and gracious Anna Douglass, ignored her warnings of a man who could be very persuasive and manipulative. Every journalist ignored the warning signs and failed to examine the veracity of their source and all of them gave carte blanche to Martin’s trail of revenge.
The journalists cannot plead ignorance to the character whose story they sold. Lance Martin’s record of antipathy was available for anyone who investigated or scratched below the surface. Martin had made his antagonism known, with pronouncements about his nemesis such as:
‘Bringing you down is a commitment and it will happen’
And Martin’s agenda (as well as his business dealings) had been clearly exposed in May 2014 on this site, if any journalist had chosen to examine the facts.
Vendetta journalism: Jane Hansen and Josh Robertson give an airing to an ex-husband’s revenge
Two journalists that stand out in choosing wilful ignorance of their source’s background were Jane Hansen and Josh Robertson. Josh Robertson had jumped on board in 2012 supporting Martin’s agenda, along with his pet theme, ‘the ‘cult’ that breaks up relationships’ and has continued in supporting Martin and now Rockett’s campaign.
Perhaps now, with the truth exposed, Joshua Robertson might have pause to consider he backed the wrong horse?
Since 2012, the media bought Martin’s ‘wife left me for a ‘cult’’ story hook line and sinker, with no discernment of the veracity of their source, there was no consideration as to whether this man was reputable and trustworthy, or whether he may be a man, who, as ACA states, spins ‘lie, after lie’ – and makes his money out of doing so.
Jane Hansen took up the story for Lance Martin and Esther Rockett in 2014. Martin has been creative in concocting imagined wrongs about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine – one prong of his multi-faceted attacks was falsely accusing Serge Benhayon of shonky business dealings and he accompanied his sometimes fetid imaginings with complaints to regulators about his ‘concerns’.
His complaints to the Office of Fair Trading were investigated thoroughly with no wrongdoing found.
It appears that the shoe is now on the other foot – and suggests that Martin’s own business practices may have been a model for his own false accusations against Universal Medicine. After all, when building a fictional narrative, it is made easier when drawing upon life experiences to which you are intimately acquainted.
Jane Hansen reported on the complaint as if Martin’s concoctions were true. But a complaint is not proof of the truth of the contents of it. Martin had no evidence of harm, no evidence of the matters he had raised with the Office of Fair Trading, and the investigation found the same.
Jane Hansen, journalist for the Sunday Telegraph, ignored the evidence about Lance Martin that was readily and easily available if she had considered the veracity of her sources, and she could have outed the business scam, but she had another axe to grind and grind it she did, ignoring the signs that might have at least led to doubt about her sources.
The journalists who failed to look at the facts before them and ignored the expose on Martin’s business dealings (that was available here on this site in 2014 and by way of a simple business name search in 2012) have let the public down.
After being taken to task for her ‘reporting’ on Universal Medicine, Jane Hansen’s reporting on Universal Medicine appears to have become a way to address a more personal grudge, and has now been used to provide what appears to be unqualified support for Esther Rockett and Lance Martin.
Jane Hansen penned a sympathetic piece suggesting that Lance Martin ‘had to close’ his business because his ‘online hotel booking site’ was linked with blogs on Universal Medicine Facts suggesting he was an ‘abusive partner’ and this was the first thing that came up on Google with respect to his business.
It was highly unlikely the business failed for the reasons Jane Hansen suggested.
We ask: did Jane Hansen ever check the Google search results? TripAdvisor had plenty of negative reviews, all of them critical of Martin’s travel business, and whatever name he was using for the business, there were enough poor reviews for any discerning consumer to turn away.
To add to Jane Hansen’s caricature of her perfect ‘victim’, was the falsehood that Lance Martin had ‘closed’ his business as a result of the so called ‘bullying’. However, the business was still trading in March 2015 when Jane Hansen published her piece.
Did Lance Martin tell her it had closed and Jane Hansen simply did not check?
It turns out that the criticisms of Lance Martin’s business published here were well founded and Jane Hansen could also have looked at her source Lance Martin and provided the public with a true account of the man she was supporting. After all she had been warned about Martin by Serge Benhayon in 2014:
‘Are you in any cohort with the discredited and exposed cyber-bully and communications device stalker Esther Rockett and her co cyber-bully and informant Lance Martin? See link for the facts on this cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking gang
As for Ms Rockett, she is now re-badged as a ‘health care activist’. Be whatever name she seeks excuse in she cannot erase a 2-year digital cyber-bullying footprint, utter filth and vitriol she has penned against numerous individuals under the guise of Pranic Princess, Nobody’s bitch, and Darkly Venus. Imagining herself as ‘Esther Rockett, Health Care Activist’, will not make her lies and distortions true.
A lie is a lie Ms Hansen, no matter how many times it is repeated, or dressed.
Of these self-made detractors, we are also very aware of their various ‘press kits’ and the ridiculous accusations they make. Enticing, shocking and full of all that we do not want in society. It is not clever, it is just lying. In these ‘press kits’ and contact with MPs, media, employers etc, they use their real names. But interestingly, if you have any interest in truth, is that the only bases they can rely on are their own manufacture; their own fabricated lies dressed as public warning complaints.
Truth is what is lived, there for all to see. It is not an assembly from one’s head or lack of where a mouthpiece is concerned.’
It was not the only suggestion that Jane Hansen received that she perhaps look further than only one side of the story. Liane Mandalis had written to Jane Hansen in mid 2014 directing her to UM Facts articles for the purposes of presenting a more balanced consideration of her subject. Liane was met with the curt response that the journalist was well aware of the material she had been directed to and assured her she had read them.
One of the articles Liane Mandalis had directed Hansen to was the 2014 expose of Lance Martin in the article ‘Business Man or Business Scam?’ The journalist apparently read it but chose to look the other way.
In sworn testimony, in the debt recovery proceedings, Esther Rockett accused UM Facts of ‘attacking’ Lance Martin’s ‘business names’. As has now been exposed by the ACA story for all to see, there was no attack, UM Facts had simply drawn attention to the facts – a warning to consumers that they should perhaps beware of this man and what appeared to be a business scam.
In 2018, the truth has come home to roost. Esther Rockett’s blind faith in her valued friend and colleague appears to have been misplaced; her assertions that Lance Martin’s livelihood had dwindled because of how he had been portrayed on this site are exposed as simply false.
We can now ask: how many other lies will be exposed? Will the press take a pause and consider their sources?
Will the press finally look at the facts on UM Facts?
Esther Rockett and Lance Martin have managed to engage the press with their stories of imagined wrongs and the press have taken up their cause apparently never questioning the veracity of their sources, although there was plenty of evidence.
The latest addition to the ‘cult’ headlines arrived last week, from Joshua Robertson of the ABC, bringing all the credibility of his tabloid past with the Courier Mail with him, using none other than Riley Lance Martin as his star witness in the ‘my word against yours’ hit piece on Brisbane and Goonellabah based lung specialist Dr Sam Kim, who, for those who have had the privilege of meeting him, know him for his purity, integrity and his loving dedication to people and medicine that is simply out of this world. We will return to Josh Robertson’s curious interest in Universal Medicine in future parts of our series on ‘The Life of Riley’.
The evidence about Lance Martin was there to be found by Jane Hansen in 2014 and by Joshua Robertson in 2018. They did not look and the question is why?
The ABC failed in its Charter and abandoned the principles of good journalism when the nature of their source is exposed, by none other than ACA and the ABC’s level of reporting exposed in full for the state of rot that it appears to be in.
The media didn’t discern the true nature of Riley Lance Martin in their reporting on Universal Medicine, because they didn’t want to know.
The journalists could have thwarted what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated scam (and saved consumers a lot of anguish) had they looked at the real story.
But it is suggested that the journalists concerned had their own personal axes to grind – they could be said to have abandoned so called ‘investigative journalism’ for a ‘craft’ more aptly referred to as ‘vendetta journalism’, and that pursuit appeared to be easy in an environment where the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t let the truth get in the way of a juicy headline.
The journalists failed to look at the smoking gun in front of them, it would not have been hard to look behind the veneer of the man. It appears that they gave an airing to what could have been examined and exposed as a bitter and misplaced revenge campaign by a man whose track record in business should have drawn pause for concern – leaving Riley Martin AKA Lance Martin living the ‘Life of Riley’ for a few more years apparently at the expense of what appears to be many aggrieved customers.