Aer Lingus loses a bag and the customer loses his patience

Plus: The buyer of a faulty printer is not automatically entitled to a replacement

John McCaulay contacted us after having a tough time dealing with Aer Lingus. "We went on holiday on June 20th, flying into Palma, Majorca, with our three children, two of whom have special needs," his mail starts.

“As well as two large bags, we had two carry-on cabin-style bags, which the girl at the check-in desk kindly offered to put in the hold for us. We agreed. But one of the smaller bags did not make it to Palma,” he says.

“We went to the desk (not Aer Lingus, but the one we were directed to) in Palma airport to look for and/or register the lost bag. They couldn’t find it, took the details and gave us a receipt. We were told that if the bag turned up it would be delivered to us at our apartment.”

The bag did not show up and the family came home without it. They were significantly out of pocket, as they had to replace various essential items.


“After 21 days, a bag is apparently considered lost and compensation is due under the Montreal Convention. The only way to get in contact with Aer Lingus about this particular issue is through an online feedback form,” he says.

“Nobody on the end of a phone line will speak to us about lost baggage. We have submitted the details twice now – on July 26th and on August 16th – been given two automated responses with case reference numbers, but have had no contact whatsoever from the company other than that. This may not be a big deal for Aer Lingus, but it is for us.”

We contacted the airline. We were told that following our intervention, it had made contact with our reader. That was all the response said.

We did not think that was sufficient, so we asked for more detail. We asked why a passenger had to contact us in order for the airline to do anything, and we asked about the difficulty this reader had in finding someone in Aer Lingus to talk to about their perfectly legitimate concerns.

We also wanted to know what the airline wanted to do to make amends.

A company spokeswoman said: “We are very sorry for the loss of this guest’s baggage and for the delay in resolving the matter. Our guest services team are currently resolving this case.

“As with all airlines, bags are occasionally misdirected in our network. This amounts to significantly less than 1 per cent of our total bags carried. When this occurs, the vast majority of these misdirected bags are returned to their owners via the next available flight.

“In the event that this process takes longer, we offer a helpline for guests to call to inquire about the status of their delayed bag. The details are available on our website.”

The helpline number is 1890-800147.

Buyer of faulty printer not entitled to a replacement

Last October, a reader from Galway by the name of Angela McCrath bought a new printer for her office from PC World. It wasn't long before it started staining documents when printing, and producing blobs of ink. "I did the usual cleaning, but to no avail," she says. "It got way worse, so I kept samples of letters and documents where this was happening," she says.

She took the samples to PC World, but it has since closed down, so she was redirected to Currys, which has the same parent company.

“They said they will have to send it away to check if it can be repaired. This could take two weeks minimum. In the meantime, we would be left in a busy office with no printer, so this would not be possible for us. We only have one printer. As it is within 12 months, am I entitled to a replacement, without the sending-away part? I don’t have an immediate replacement option.”

The bad news for this reader is that she is not automatically entitled to a replacement printer.

The retailer does have clear obligations to the customer under the Sale of Goods Act, but the law states that, if a product proves faulty so soon after purchase, a consumer is entitled to a repair, refund or replacement. It is the retailer and not the consumer who gets to choose which of the three Rs is given.

For big-ticket items, retailers will, understandably, almost always go with the repair option, as has happened in this case.