One of the travel companies chosen by Glenn Beck to provide travel arrangements and tickets for his "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel has closely related businesses that have received "C-" and "F" ratings from the Better Business Bureau. Beck previously cited a company's "A+" rating as an example of its trustworthiness.
Goldline, an advertiser on Beck's radio show, TV show, and website, faced allegations of deceptive business practices and was the subject of a congressional hearing. Beck repeatedly defended Goldline, citing its "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau as proof that the allegations were false. ABC News later reported that BBB gave ratings to nonexistent businesses and raised the ratings for businesses who gave them money.
The validity of BBB ratings are still an open question, but Beck seems willing to disregard his previous position in order to promote his event.
Beck824.com is listed on GlennBeck.com as one of two "tour providers" that have tickets to the 8/24 "Restoring Courage" event. Beck's site also says, "No other travel agency operator[s] have access to the 'Restoring Courage' events" and that "If you do not purchase your travel package through one of these two tour providers you will not have tickets to any of Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Courage' events."
The link to Beck824.com redirects to Humanitarian Travel, a business whose address is in Draper, Utah. The site sells Beck travel packages starting at $4,997 per person. This travel company has apparently done business under at least four different names (Voyager Travel, Humanitarian Travel, Meridian Trips, and LDS Travel) all with the same management and business address.
In an e-mail, Brian Mickelsen (who is listed on a cached page as the president of Voyager Travel) told Media Matters that, "the business has different dba [doing business as] /web names for the specific purpose of marketing to different market segments."
Mickelsen is also the president of LDS Travel, which has the same Draper, Utah, address as Humanitarian Travel.
The Better Business Bureau website gives LDS Travel a rating of "C-" on "a scale from A+ to F."
Meridian Trips LLC is also listed on the Better Business Bureau website with the same Draper, Utah address, with "Brian Mickelsen" listed as the owner. That page lists its rating as "F" on "a scale from A+ to F."
Responding to questions about the BBB ratings, Mickelsen told Media Matters in an e-mail, "Travelers that have not made themselves aware of the terms and conditions and whom have not purchased travel insurance often have issues with the consequences. We work with them the best we can. We ask that passengers make themselves aware so as to not have missed expectations."
Mickelsen also said, "We have worked with the BBB on the few requests we have received." The BBB website lists two complaints made about Meridian Trips, with one marked as "unresolved" and the other marked as "no response."