Victim Location 29203
Total money lost $1,119
Type of a scam Other
This message is to inform and warn others of the possible difficulties and fraudulence you may encounter working with LIFE ON ISLAND LLC/Amber Gonazelz. Ms. Gonzalez is a popular youtuber, flight attendant for DELTA, and a self-proclaimed language tutor.
This has been my resort since I’ve not received absolute resolution, lack of cooperation on her part, and there is no place to leave a review about my experience…only Amber Gonzalez has the ability to post any testimonials about the service she offers.
This may be long but I implore you to indulge me or at least educate yourself before you put your hard earned money into something/someone that may not give you a positive return.
I’ve been dealing with this situation for going on 3 weeks now.
In October of 2018 I left a message in the inquiry box on https://www.lifeonisland.com, which is marketed as a Home Stay/Spanish Immersion program hosted by Amber Gonzalez in Puerto Rico or alternatively at that time a host family in the Dominican Republic.
I received correspondence, on 10/15/18, confirming the dates I’d like to attend, which was for 3 weeks, April 29-May 18 and acknowledging a possible payment plan.
We set up a Skype interview for 10/17/18, where we discussed my dates, my language goals, payment plan, my room accommodations, my food sensitivities/possible food options, and how some of her friends (another youtuber) had just recently visited.
I was ecstatic to venture into another culture for my language journey, especially with someone who motivated me through their online channel.
I initially had an issue with booking because she needed to send me the invoice but it was quickly sent after notifying her.
I made my deposit, paying more than necessary. Afterwards she informed me to let her know where I was flying from and recommended that I fly with either JetBlue or DELTA.
By January I managed to pay off the entire total of the program which, at the time, was $875.
I asked for the airport code in February and on 03/05/19 I had purchased my round trip ticket, from DELTA, with trip insurance costing me $699.94. That same day I forwarded an email to her with my flight itinerary.
On, 03/31/19, I received correspondence from Amber asking for my flight itinerary.
I obliged her and resent it. Also, informing her it could be found in the same email we were viewing providing her the date which I previously sent it being 03/05/19.
Shortly after I received an email from her stating the following:
"Your 3-week package was supposed to be for April. I didn’t realize that you would roll over into majority od may. I already have 2 students coming in May. I will check to see if one of the students already paid for her plane ticket. If she hasn’t paid, then I will have to move her to June. I wasn’t taking students in June-August because I was supposed to be in China. Especially because my wedding is in June."
I was confounded because we had confirmed my dates back in October and now it seemed as though she was insinuating that I changed the dates. I responded by forwarding from our first email with the original dates, congratulated her on the upcoming nuptials and thanked her for informing me about this possible hiccup and to let me know how she would handle the situation.
I checked my email 2 days later to find that she had sent me this message shortly after our last correspondence:
"It’s just that when you tell me three weeks in April, that is what I expected. But you coming the 29th of April all the way through the 20th of May, that means that you are here for majority of May and the problem is I already have students booked for May and do not have an extra room to accommodate."
I am hoping that one of the girls is willing to move her package to July so I am waiting to hear back from her. If she cannot, Are you able to come in July instead?"
At this point, I felt indignant, because it was obvious that she didn’t pay attention to our primary email and that she didn’t have my dates to come for the program. I requested a full refund for the program as well as the cost for the plane ticket (if i couldn’t receive a refund) because of her lack of accountability and mistrust in her intentions based off of the contradictions of dates she’d be available per her last email and her inaction.
I contacted DELTA Airlines to see if I could receive a refund for my ticket which was denied and they forwarded me to ALLIANZ whom the trip insurance was with to see if I was covered to receive a refund. I was informed by ALLIANZ that I’d have to file a claim to see if I was covered. I informed Amber Gonzalez that I couldn’t receive a refund per DELTA and would have to file a claim with ALLIANZ.
On, April 4, 2019, I received this email from her:
"If you were able to come in July, then that means that I will be back in Puerto Rico to host you.
And the invoice (via PayPal payment agreement terms), it says three weeks in April. Please check your invoice. That is why I was confused because 3-weeks in April doesn’t mean the majority of May. I actually was going to suggest that I return a full refund to you. Since you paid me in a payment plan, (not in full), you will receive your payments back in a payment plan.
Thank you again"
I was astounded at the suggestion that I’d receive my refund back in installments. Never in conducting business when attempting a refund has a professional business stated they’d return a refund in installments. She failed to acknowledge/respond to my ordeal for the plane ticket. So that same day I filed the claim with ALLIANZ and provided all the information I could.
On April 5, 2019 I filed a complaint through PayPal on all 10 payments I’d sent to LIFE ON ISLAND LLC to ensure that I had chance at receiving my money back.
On April 8, 2019 I received an email for PayPal requesting additional information on one of the claims I filed. This claim being the initial payment of $255.00 that I had sent as a deposit to LIFE ON ISLAND LLC. Amber had escalated the claim to PayPal and left this message for me through PayPal.
"The other amounts that you asked for in return, you will receive. However, this particular claim for (Case ID info) will not be refunded because the $200 fee covers the service that you receive on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at 9:01am via skype. The $200 NON-Refundable fee covers: The interview process via skype, time and administration. As indicated in the original invoice and on the site at the time of booking. The $200 fee is non-refundable because the service for that fee was completed via skype: October 17th, 2018 at 9:01am The other remainder of 55.00 that was paid in this payment will be returned. Also, the other claims will be returned as soon as possible, since you no longer coming to the Spanish Immersion program in Puerto Rico. PS: The claims department here at paypal just recieved "the proof of service" via email. Proving that the Skype interview was for the amount of $200 which was for my time.
Respectfully, Amber Gonzalez."
I provided PayPal with all of our email correspondence from 10/15/18-04/04/19 as well as the invoice she mentioned. The information I provided validated my experience and her dishonesty. On 04/10/19 I received an email from PayPal informing me that they’d sided in my favor for this claim but the amount of $155.00, which had been pending since 04/06/19, to be refunded by LIFE ON ISLAND LLC was declined by the senders bank.
On April 11, 2019 I received the $255.00 refund through PayPal and the same day I also received an email from ALLIANZ stating that my claim was denied and I was not covered for a full refund
On April 12, 2019 I called DELTA again to inquire if I could at least exchange my ticket or receive a credit. Originally I was informed that I had no option but to use it or lose it…until I informed DELTA that it was because of one of their flight attendants that I was in this predicament. I was allowed a credit to be used in a year from the purchased date but no refund. Also on this date I received $200.45, which had been pending since 04/06/19, as a refund through PayPal.
On, April 17, 2019 I received an email through PayPal stating that "LIFE ON ISLAND LLC has accepted my refund request in the amount of $150.00 USD" and just as quickly as I received an additional email stating "Your refund by LIFE ON ISLAND LLC didn’t complete" because from further inspection on PayPal, Amber, had cancelled the refund.
So in conclusion, it is now Friday 04/19/19 and I’m still going through this process of trying to receive my money back.
All the while she is promoting, on her Youtube Channel: Siempre Amber TV, that she’s booked for this home stay program until Nov. 2019 and she is now again offering personal tutoring during the evenings.
Since this ordeal has begun Amber has made several changes to her website, http://lifeonisland.com, including the plans she offers, prices, and the duration of the program to support her false narrative.
I hope that this situation, that is currently still ongoing, provides others with approaching every situation with caution. Do more research on the service/person you are interested in utilizing. Look for CUSTOMER reviews and COMPLAINTS. Don’t assume just because someone is a public figure that they are trust worthy.
Thank you for your time.