The Fine Print: The Results Are In!

The following is not legal advice. Please contact the author (alex@bachuwalaw.com) or your own attorney should you have questions.

results

Call the company. Get put on hold. Email the company. Receive an automated response. Repeat, repeat, repeat. When it is all said and done, time is wasted and nothing is accomplished. That was the experience with eBay and British, two cases presented in the Fine Print Series. (see Should You Record Your Calls for Quality Assurance? and Who’s To Blame: eBay, PayPal or Hyatt?)

In both situations, the parties involved were not looking for a payday and were not money hungry. Instead, they just wanted to be made whole again. Unfortunately, pleading with customer service was not an effective strategy in either case. Against British, I filed a complaint in small claims court for the value of the lost business class tickets. Against eBay, I, on behalf of my client, sent a letter stating my intent to seek arbitration.

Unlike TV court room dramas, the response from both companies was prompt and professional. Each launched an investigation and both, without admitting liability or wrongdoing, settled the cases for a fair amount. British refunded the cash and points and gave me 20,000 Avios points for the inconvenience. eBay compensated my client the amount of the failed transaction.

Why do claims have to be escalated to this level before they are handled by a sympathetic human? The optimist will answer that companies are massive and imperfect. As such, mistakes happen but they are corrected when they receive the proper attention. The pessimist will argue that companies stand to make millions if not billions of dollars by short-changing consumers on nominal sums of money, knowing that consumers are unaware or overwhelmed by dispute resolution processes.

Whatever the reason, companies should be held accountable whether the claim is for cash, points, or a combination of the two.

If you have questions about consumer arbitration or are looking to file a claim, contact Alexander at alex@bachuwalaw.com

Last updated on December 26th, 2016

About Alex Bachuwa

Alexander Bachuwa is a New York attorney who focuses on consumer protection. He is also a BoardingArea blogger. Contact Alex at through his website at bachuwalaw.com and visit thepointsoflife.com

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The Fine Print: The Corporate Insurgence - Frequent MilerKen BlakelyThe Fine Print: The Successful Fight Against A Citi Shutdown - Frequent MilerRecap: $30-$50 Discount On Kindle's, Two Airline Offers & The Fine Print - Doctor Of CreditKen Recent comment authors

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A

Alex – I have all but given up on dealing with front line customer service. After disasters with both IHG and Budget recently I took a similar route threatening to initiate litigation in both instances. I sent the demand letters to their in house counsel and both issues were resolved in less than 24 hours with apologies.

It’s a sad world that you have to threaten litigation to get a company to remedy a situation especially when their is no reasonable basis for their position.

Ken
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Ken

Did you need a lawyer or letterhead to finally get a favorable response?

Darth Chocolate
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Darth Chocolate

You ask “Why do claims have to be escalated to this level before they are handled by a sympathetic human?”

Simple. Too many times the company has been ripped off by people looking for a payday. When it is easier to scam a big, faceless company than getting a job, people will always find the path of lease resistance.

Why do you think many companies are restricting sign-up bonuses? Because people have taken advantage of them by churning, and the companies are just saying “STOP!”.

lopere
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lopere

Wait.

So PointsOfLife is a lawyer in real life?

The same guy that repeatedly calls people a “dick” in his blog?

Christian
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Christian

Another good post, and it’s nice to know how things have progressed. I’ve thought about going after Amex when I recently signed up for a 100k business platinum card, then got another higher offer which they agreed to honor for 150k, but then didn’t actually do so. Every time I ask about the higher offer, I’m promised a call back (which they don’t do) while they play stupid. It’s annoying as hell, but I also have to figure whether it’s worth it to risk poisoning my relationship with the company over their show of bad faith.

Mike
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Mike

Sort of hard to extrapolate how customer greed led to my six phone calls in 24 hours trying to reserve a United awards trip with miles they say I earned. I still don’t have the ticket. Fact is the airlines generally offer pretty bad customer service. If they were selling televisions, I could just buy somewhere else, and I would. But airlines are semi-monopolies operating under license as federally regulated service providers; and when their service is so bad it violates those regulations, I will get their ass every time I can. Nothing personal. Just business. We’ve had ample lessons that service improvements will come only when lousy service costs money. Make them pay.

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[…] The Fine Print: The Results Are In! by Frequent Miler. If you’re having issues, it might be worth getting in touch with Alex. If anybody does, please share your results with me! […]

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[…] client to sign a confidentiality agreement. The companies request that the attorney do so as well. As a matter of principle, I refuse to sign these agreements. Had I done so, the general public would remain in the dark. Claimants would not know that it is […]

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[…] initiated dozens of claims which have produced encouraging results for aggrieved claimants. (see The Results Are In! and The Successful Fight Against A Citi […]