- Report: #351958
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: American Airlines, Aa.com, AA
American Airlines, Aa.com, AAJuan Santa Maria Airport Nationwide Costa Rica
American Airlines, Aa.com, AA damage claim baggage airline refused lied blocked Alajuela Nationwide
2) Damage was discovered on unpacking at home the same Saturday May 29 and referring to the baggage claim policy, international claims were allowed within 7 days. Also, being that it is extremely common in Costa Rica not to remain open on weekends, no immediate action was taken.
3) The very first business day, Monday, I called the airport office and received a number for baggage claims which took a message never responded to. I called other numbers and finally reached baggage claims. I was told that my claim was too late until I pointed out that international claims permitted 7 days. I was told to bring my bag back to the airport. I re-packed the bag to its original condition and brought it to the airport.
4) On arriving at the airport (I rented a car at my own expense) I found the baggage department and after a long wait, was attended to by a baggage personnel. He never looked in my bag once, even when offered. He went to call his manager and came back saying that he could not allow any claim. When I asked persistently for a claim form, he would not give one but finally agreed to note my account and gave me the name of his manager. I believe that during this consultation with the manager, despite the fact that no one had yet inspected the bag and the damages, it was decided that my claim would not be allowed.
5) Manager Sergio Montano was not in the office as I had been directed to go. With my heavy bag I had gone up two flights of stairs in search of the office, only to be told he was working the ticket counter. He received me coldly and indicated he needed to see the bag. Sergio told me immediately on unpacking the speakers that they were not obligated to pay for broken electronics. I pointed out that these were not electronics, but a heavy-duty industrial mounting of items that were not considered electronic. He acknowledged after seeing the mounting that severe force had been applied, but went back over several different reasons why the claim could not be accepted, none of which were valid and none of which remained consistent.
6) When I attempted to appeal Sergio's refusal to continue the claims process, he by passed his General Manager, Reinaldo Vargas and told me that the only office for me to appeal to was back in San Jose and looking at his watch, lamented somewhat sarcastically, that it was now closed. I took down the number and called immediately as Sergio walked off from the area. The Costa Rica operations office was indeed closed but the secretary was there and was helpful enough to inform me that Sergio had bypassed his General Manager and gave me his name and email address.
7) I went back into the main office and realized that the secretary there was working for this same General Manager. She was cautious with me but admitted to receiving the call from me in the morning and agreed to speak with her boss who was in his office. She returned 5 minutes later with the same baggage policy I had already carefully read and argued over with the other persons. Again, the part about electronics was highlighted and she told me that was all they could do. I was not satisfied and repeated several times that there must be a claims form and I would like to fill one out.
8) Not realizing it was nearing closing time, I left my bag outside the window hoping the secretary would keep an eye on it, knowing I was going back down 2 floors to the baggage office. Because of a long wait, during which this other employee, slightly more helpful, tried to block me from signing in (I can only presume because it would be official evidence that I was present at that location).
I returned after being denied again, the baggage claim form, to find airport security searching my bag and with hands on guns as I approached to assure the security officer that it was my bag and to explain the situation. I was scolded by both officers for leaving my bag and a drama continued for some time before the security officer was satisfied there was no danger in the bag being searched. This was humiliating and would not have occurred if the employee 2 floors down had addressed my concerns directly and had passed along the information that the secretary (who had in fact called her) was leaving and that my bag was unattended.
9) I left with my bag and paid airport parking, tolls and gas and went home without resolution.
10) I wrote an account of the whole incident to the attention of General Manager Reinaldo Vargas and copying the Costa Rica operations office and sent it within 2 days.
11) I received a polite reply and an offer of a "$100 Travel Voucher". The value of such a voucher is questionable since it assumes you will pay retail prices at the airport counter and apply a $100 discount towards travel. Someone using the Internet to book flights on aa.com would see no or even negative benefit as these flights are easily found discounted more than $100.
Also, damages to the speakers were $100 repair/replacement and that did not account for labor, time lost and further travel expense. Nevertheless, I waited 2 weeks without finding any travel voucher in my mailbox and nothing visible on my aa.com account.
12) I renewed my efforts to resolve the matter and asked about why the voucher had not arrived. I was then called in the middle of another important call and rather than take the call, a message was left. In his message, Mr. Vargas was only now asking me how I could arrange to "pick up the voucher".
13) Because of the long delay and the unwillingness of Mr. Vargas to take the trouble to mail the voucher to my home address, in my next email I politely indicated my displeasure with the amount and nature of the offer and made an eaily acceptable and reasonable counter offer: $100 cash/check OR $300 travel voucher OR 3,000 aa miles applied to my account. I also provided my home address (again) and hinted that I would not pursue further actions or claims if the voucher was delivered to my home address, although I would not be happy with AA or continue to fly with them.
14) I never received a response. Two weeks passed and I sent an appeal directly to Costa Rica Ops Manager Silvia Arias with a full history of the email exchange included. I never received a response and worse, found that Mr. Vargas, who was copied on this email, had blocked all further emails from me, despite that my emails were not impolite nor aggressive.
15) I never received a response from the aa.com customer service website form, which limited my story severely (1000 words). Still, no one attempted to follow up and find out all of what happened. No one even acknowledged receipt!
San Sebastian SAN JOSE
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/16/2008 12:27 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/American-Airlines-Aacom-AA/nationwide/American-Airlines-Aacom-AA-damage-claim-baggage-airline-refused-lied-blocked-Alajuela-N-351958. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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