No comeback for reader's wallet lost in transit

Mon, Feb 11, 2013, 00:00

YOUR CONSUMER QUERIES ANSWERED:Last October, Barbara, a reader, flew by Aer Lingus to Madrid. Unfortunately, she left her wallet on board.

“I only realised this after I had arrived into the city. I got in touch with Aer Lingus the next morning to see if it had been handed in. It hadn’t.”

She checked again the next day and was told it hadn’t being found. “On my way home I checked at Madrid airport’s lost and found office and with Servisport. My wallet was not there.”

On the flight home she recognised one of the Aer Lingus flight attendants from her outbound flight and so she asked her did she remember a wallet being found. She did, as the wallet had been handed to her by another passenger.

She had looked in the wallet and saw that there was cash and an ID in it and she gave it to a “redcap” on the ground and told him to make an announcement as the passenger had only just disembarked.

According to Barbara, the flight attendant seemed very surprised that the wallet had disappeared and “she told me she would log the incident”.

“I checked again with Aer Lingus at Dublin Airport and I phoned Madrid airport several times but my wallet has not been found. Madrid told me there is no PA system in baggage reclaim at the airport, and said that the wallet should not have been given to staff there as they would have had no way of contacting me. They also said that as it was found on the plane and not in the airport, it should have remained with Aer Lingus.”

She also says that if someone had checked her booking, they would have seen that she was returning to Dublin on October 8th, or her place of work could have been contacted.

“I found it very disappointing there has been no follow-up from Aer Lingus. When I wrote to customer service, I received a reply saying that it was not their responsibility and that I should claim it through my insurance, but the excess on my policy makes that option pointless.

“I would have thought that Aer Lingus has a duty of care towards its passengers and their belongings. This has being a huge inconvenience as I had to cancel all my cards and there was €80 cash and a €100 gift card for Dundrum Town Centre in my wallet.”

Barbara wants to know if Aer Lingus is responsible as it found and then lost the wallet, or is it just tough luck? We suspect it is the latter although the airline has not covered itself in glory.

An unauthorised debit by Aviva, and the difficulty one mum had getting it sorted

We were contacted last week by a reader with a distressing story that involves Aviva Health Insurance. She describes herself as a “working mum with two little babies” while her husband is unemployed.

“I can just about afford to pay the family health insurance, which is with Aviva. I pay a monthly direct debit of €114. It is a lot, but I suppose you try to do your best,” she writes. In the first week of January, Aviva took almost €500 out of her account.

“I tried to use my card to pay for oil and it was declined, so I checked my account only to discover what Aviva had done. I immediately rang them and was told it was a blip in the system and they would return the money in 10 days. I explained that was all the money I had until I got paid in February, but of course that doesn’t register with them.”

If that was the end of the story, it would have been bad enough, but it gets a whole lot worse. “On February 1st, no money had been returned to my account, 21 days from when they took what was not theirs. I have made 11 phone calls in that time, been put on hold, passed around and spent €9 on phone calls. I have also emailed them twice and requested to speak to a supervisor but was told no. I also asked to speak to someone in the claims section and was also told no. I was told they would ring me when appropriate.”

At the time of writing, she had not received even one call or email back from Aviva. “So here I am at 4.45am, I am so angry I could cry and I have cried. You would imagine in these times that they would try to hang on to a customer and treat them with some respect and courtesy. Wouldn’t you think that someone would have found the time to even ring me? I now have four returned unpaid direct debit charges at a cost of €10 each and today I have to borrow money to buy milk and bread to feed my children. It is a disgrace. I don’t know what to do.”

Well, we knew what to do. We contacted the company. Within hours a senior executive had called this distressed woman, her money was returned and Aviva had offered her €300 by way of compensation. We got a follow-up email from this woman.

She said that while the money would come in very handy, she was still “really annoyed that it was you who made them [Aviva] ring and not common courtesy and respect. It was just the fear of you and any bad publicity this would cause them.”

We could not agree more.

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