It’s nice to ride toward the end of the week with a happy tipping-related story for a change. A waitress at a Steak ‘n Shake eatery in Indianapolis got the biggest bonus of her life when a diner left a 7,433% tip.
“I was having a hard time at another table, but kept smiling and going on,” she recalls.
At first she thought it was $46, which would have been a huge tip on a bill that was only $5.97, but then she took another look at the credit card receipt and, we imagine, her eyes popped out of her head like a cartoon wolf.
“When I looked again, I said ‘Oh my gosh Miss Jo, I’m not taking that!’” the waitress says about seeing the mammoth $446 tip. “And she said, ‘Yes, you’re taking it’ and I said no and she said ‘You need to take it’.”
The Steak ‘n Shake manager says the big tip had a carryover effect to the rest of the staff.
“You’ve seen how everyone was pepped up a bit,” explains the manager, “it just makes me feel good about humanity.”
Adds the waitress, “I didn’t think I was worth $400 but, you know, she feels I am.”
This isn’t the biggest tip we’ve ever heard of. Almost exactly one year ago, a waiter at a Houston restaurant received a whopping $5,000 tip on a $27 check when some of his regular customers overheard him saying he needed to buy a car. That’s more than an 18,500% gratuity.
After AT&T somehow convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that a couple of sentences buried toward the end of a contract that maybe .05% of customers ever think about reading was all that was needed to preempt class-action lawsuits, many large companies have rushed to pack their user agreements and licenses with clauses that force customers into arbitration. But, stuck in a battle with an industry regulator, the folks at Charles Schwab have decided to go another way, announcing that they have gotten rid of their arbitration clause… for now.
Against the advice of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private regulatory agency, Schwab moved to add a clause that would flat-out forbid its clients from banding together as a class, all the while compelling each individual complaint into binding arbitration, where the payouts are generally smaller and the playing field is decidedly unbalanced in favor of the huge investment firm and its army of lawyers.
But only three weeks after Public Citizen launched a petition asking Schwab to ditch the new fine print, the company has decided to once again recognize that it’s not always a good idea to screw your customer base over just because you can.
“Effective immediately, Schwab is modifying its account agreements to eliminate the existing class action lawsuit waiver for disputes related to events occurring on or after May 15, 2013 and for the foreseeable future,” wrote the company in a statement.
FINRA contends that Schwab’s forced-arbitration clause violates the organization’s rules against brokerage firms preempting investors from filing class-action lawsuits. In February, a panel ruled in favor of Schwab, saying that the Supreme Court ruling in the aforementioned AT&T case took precedent. FINRA is appealing that decision.
Schwab still maintains its position that arbitration is the best way to resolve customer dispute, but has decided to remove the class-action waiver “until the issue is resolved by the appropriate regulatory and/or court decisions.”
So instead of simply requiring that customers waive their right to pursue a resolution in the courtroom, Schwab has chosen to extend its existing policy of paying the arbitration fees for any client pursuing an arbitration claim under $25,000.
The Schwab decision isn’t exactly a victory, as the company appears ready to put the clause back if it wins out against FINRA, but it is an indication that clear guidance from federal regulators is needed.
“This is why it is crucial for the Securities and Exchange Commission to exercise its authority to conduct rulemaking and restore investors’ right to choose how to resolve disputes with financial firms,” says Public Citizen in a statement. “The fine print of one-sided contracts should not deny investors this critical right.”
The power button on a woman’s iPhone 4 failed, and she’s not able to turn the phone on or off. That pretty much renders it useless, so she ditched AT&T and got a new phone. But she never forgot that shiny, shiny iPhone that broke down shortly after its initial one-year warranty was up. She filed a class action on behalf of herself and other powerless iPhone users. What raised eyebrows is that she sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, accusing Apple and AT&T of conspiring together to sell expensive two-year contracts on phones that break after one year.
Customers have a few options: they could get an out-of-warranty replacement from Apple for $150, or replace the worn-out part themselves.
It sounds wacky, but GigaOM notes that using RICO statutes in class actions is becoming more popular. The suit also invokes California’s unfair competition laws, claiming that Apple gained an unfair advantage over competitors and fleeced customers by selling self-destructing phones.document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-7ac5247f77f689f59b931dde25841f19').submit();
“Wait a minute,” you say, “wasn’t there already a class action regarding the iPhone 4?” Yes, but that was almost an entire year ago, and regarded the infamous antenna problems with the first iPhone 4. Customers who didn’t want to use a bumper or other case were entitled to fifteen bucks, two years after the iPhone 4 hit the market. Also known as “two iPhones later” for many early adopters.
The saga of previously anonymous Amy’s Baking Company of Scottsdale, AZ, continues, with the eatery — which came out of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares looking like a heretofore undocumented circle of Hell — scheduling a “Grand Re-Opening” next Tuesday night and hiring a publicist known more for damage control than for shilling restaurants.
The owners, married couple Amy and Samy, who have been just as defensive and off-putting in recent days as they were on last Friday’s episode of the FOX reality hit, plan on holding a press conference, in which they will “answer falsehoods depicted on a reality television show, including assertions that the restaurant confiscates tips from servers.”
We don’t think it’s an “assertion” when you have the owner of the restaurant admitting on camera that he and his wife keep all the tips, or when one of the waitresses confirms that no tips were given to staff. Additionally, though the owners point out that staff are paid more than minimum wage, our non-lawyer understanding of the Fair Labor Standards Act is that tips belong to the tipped employee, regardless of whether or not they have a base wage below the minimum, or unless the waiters are part of a legal, agreed-upon tip-sharing pool.
That being said, because these employees are making above the minimum wage, the FLSA would allow the owners to dock the wait staff’s pay for walkouts and such, but what we saw on the show — and what Samy admitted to Ramsay on the show — was that the owners were not penalizing employees for mistakes but appeared to be enriching themselves because they felt they handled the majority of the work in the restaurant.
Regardless, that will be one of the topics Amy and Samy will likely shout about on Tuesday, along with their claims that their Facebook page was hacked.
“We are very upset by what has taken place, apologize about the acrimony that has ensued but now must fight back to save our business. We hope and believe much good can result from what has transpired. We ask the public to keep an open mind as we begin to tell our side of the story,” Samy said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the couple has hired a local publicist who has apparently specialized both in handling scandalized figured in Arizona — and who also made headlines when he was fired from his gig for the Special Olympics after he posted a Tweet unfavorable comparing fans at a Coyotes NBA game with special education students.
If anyone in Arizona manages to get a reservation for Tuesday, we’d love to hear a first-hand report!
The Amy’s Baking Company Saga Is Only Going to Get Weirder [Tucson Weekly]
Meet Amy’s Baking Company’s New PR Guy: Big-Haired, Big-Mouthed Jason Rose [PhoenixNewsTimes.com]
“They were carrying on a steady conversation throughout entire show,” Williamson recalls about the obnoxious theatergoers who were ignoring explicit announcements to not use the phone during the performance. “They had been quite loud and obnoxious the entire time. There were two groups, one to the left and one to the right who were being loud and disruptive.”
He says he filed a complaint during intermission, but that was a dead-end, as the woman next to him continued on using her phone.
“It looked like she was Googling or something,” says Williamson. “So I leaned over and told her it was distracting and told her to put it away. She responded, ‘So don’t look.’ “
He then asked her if she’d somehow received a special dispensation that exempted her from the no-phone rules. This didn’t go over well.
“She told me to mind my own business,” says Williamson, “and so I took the phone out of her hands. I meant to throw it out the side door, but it hit some curtains instead. I guess my aim’s not as good as it should be.”
He says the woman slapped him in the face, located her (presumably damaged) phone and left the theater.
Not surprisingly, the manager wanted to speak to him about the incident.
“I told him I would be happy to leave,” Williamson tells Gothamist. “They tried to keep me there. He said the lady was talking about filing charges. So I waited around for a bit, but it seemed to be taking a while. He did try to physically keep me in, and was standing in the door blocking me, telling me I couldn’t leave. I inquired as to whether he was a police officer and I was under arrest, and since I wasn’t, I left.”
While he says he doubts that the woman will file charges, Williamson says he’s ready for his day in court. “If I have to spend a night in jail, I’ll spend a night in jail,” he says. “I don’t want to suggest I’m Henry David Thoreau protesting the Mexican-American War, but I’ll do a day in jail if I have to.”
On Twitter, writer Kurt Anderson says that he was at the performance where Williamson wigged out on the woman’s phone, writing, “Only distraction for me: her huffy theatrical exit.”
Texting and cellphone use continues to be an annoyance to theater- and moviegoers. Some theaters have gone beyond merely asking people to be polite, with Alamo Drafthouse leading the way. Not only does the Texas-based chain have a strict text-and-you’re-out policy, it also created maybe the greatest anti-texting PSA in the history of history, when an ejected audience member left an incoherent rant explaining that her rights had been violated:
Last month, Consumerist voters chose video game publisher Electronic Arts as the Worst Company In America for the second year in a row. Whether the company listened or not, we have no idea, but it is doing something that will make some gamers happier.
EA has confirmed that it is getting rid of its controversial “Online Pass” program. For those unfamiliar with it, here’s how it works.
Say you bought an EA game like Mass Effect 3, which has an online multiplayer component in addition to the single-player main campaign. In order to access that part of the game, you need to enter the unique Online Pass code included on a slip of paper in the case.
Problem is, that code is not just only good on one game, it’s only good on the console or computer for which it was first entered. So even if you take your copy of Mass Effect 3 over to a friend’s house, you can’t play online because she doesn’t have an Online Pass code.
The program also effectively made used games more expensive, as anyone buying a pre-owned copy would have to pay extra in order to access the online multiplayer portion of the game. As a result, the company said it made around $10-15 million in the first year of Online Pass’s existence.
“Consumers didn’t like it and were telling us that they didn’t like it,” an EA mouthpiece explained to Kotaku. “We’re not talking about that layer of people who complain about a lot of stuff like paying for games and all that stuff, god bless them. It became pretty clear that mainstream consumers didn’t like them.”
Wired.com is cautious about lauding EA, asking, “what if EA is only killing off the Online Pass because Sony and Microsoft plan to implement some similar forms of system-wide DRM scheme across the PlayStation 4 and new Xbox?”
VentureBeat was first to report the demise of Online Pass.
I have a secret fear that I will win a huge lottery prize, but never know it because I had stuffed the ticket in a coat pocket or a drawer. I deal with this fear by not buying lottery tickets. But this actually happened to a man who lives near Chicago. He says that he had stuffed old lottery tickets in a cookie jar, then took them to the store to see whether they had maybe won a couple of bucks for hitting a few numbers. They had: one ticket won $3. Yay, he could almost buy a gallon of gas! Then another ticket in the pile won more than $4 million.
The ticket had been sitting in a jar since February: apparently the Illinois Lottery had not launched a statewide search and media blitz looking for the lucky winner. The winner’s wife told him to check through the tickets that had accumulated in a glass jar, or she was going to throw them away. When he scanned the $4 million winner, it instructed him to turn it in at a lottery office, meaning it was worth $600 or more. Old winning lottery numbers are archived online, so he found the archived numbers for February 2nd. They all matched.
In a press conference at the convenience store, the lottery presented him with a large novelty check that would be difficult to misplace.
It just so happens that as the family was cleaning out their lottery ticket stash, they were facing foreclosure on their home. In fact, they sat through a foreclosure hearing only ten days after they had won the lottery without knowing it. “I just thought, this is how God works,” he told reporters. That is quite impressive: and hey, at least this guy didn’t win for a fourth time.
Facing foreclosure, man finds winning Lotto ticket in cookie jar [Chicago Tribune]
Memorial Day is almost here, bringing with it a summer of bad 3-D movies, sunburn, mosquitoes, vacation rentals that smell oddly of grandma, people in shorts, and of course, trips to the local swimming poo.
No, that wasn’t a typo. Today, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the tiny critters floating in pool water. According to the CDC, 58% of the pool water samples tested positive for E. coli, the classic marker for fecal contamination.
Though this does confirm our worst suspicions, we honestly expected the number to be higher.
“Finding a high percentage of E. coli-positive filters indicates swimmers frequently contaminate pool water when they have a fecal incident in the water or when feces rinse off of their bodies because they do not shower thoroughly before getting into the water,” writes the CDC, which does add that none of the samples tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a strain of the bacteria that produces toxins and can cause illness.
So folks are pooping in the pool, but the E. coli won’t necessary get you sick.
What could get you sick is the Pseudomonas aeruginosa, found in 59% of samples. This stuff can cause skin rashes and ear infections, but is likely just a result of natural environmental contamination or contamination introduced by swimmers.
On the up side, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, two nasty buggers that are spread through fecal matter and which can cause diarrhea, were only found in less than 2% of samples.
It’s worth noting that the study only looked at public pools, but not water parks or residential pools.
“However, it is unlikely that swimmer-introduced contamination, or swimmer hygiene practices, differ between pools in the study and those in the rest of the country,” adds the CDC, which recommends the following to lower the odds that people are swimming in E. coli and other icky stuff:
Do not swim when you have diarrhea.
Shower with soap before you start swimming.
Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.
Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.
Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers.
Check the chlorine level and pH before getting into the water. (Proper chlorine (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power). Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.
Do not swallow the water you swim in.
Parents of young children should take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes, and diapers should not be changed poolside, where germs can rinse into the water.
In 2010, the National Consumer Law Center alerted the National Credit Union Administration — the federal agency that regulates and charters credit unions — to 58 unions that were getting around the established usury cap, mostly by tacking on fees that weren’t technically part of the APR, or by referring account holders to payday lenders (or credit union service organizations) who use the unions’ name and brand (and presumably paying finders fees to the unions) in setting up loans that fall outside of the NCUA’s purview.
Following that 2010 report, 52 of the 58 credit unions put an end to the practice, but a small number of unions persist in making, or allowing their names to be involved in, short-term loans that charge triple-digit interest to borrowers.
“The vast majority of credit unions offer responsible loans to their members,” writes the NCLC in its letter [PDF] to NCUA Chair Debbie Matz. “Unfortunately, a few credit unions
threaten to taint the rest of the industry by offering predatory loans to their members.”
The NCLC says that one credit union in California has been making 14-day loans that advertise a 15% APR, but which also charge a $32 fee. When you add in that fee, the effective APR on the loan jumps to 223%.
Then there are five credit unions in Florida, all of which allow one payday lending operation to use their names when offering short-term loans with APRs of 269%, nearly 10 times the maximum interest rate the credit unions would have been able to get on similar loans.
You can see the full list of credit unions involved in making payday loans here.
As the NCLC points out, federal bank regulators recently began considering ways to further rein in predatory lending by federally insured and chartered banks. And the NCUA has previously advised its member institutions of the problems involved with offering payday loans.
“More needs to be done,” writes the NCLC. “NCUA has clear authority to stop predatory lending by credit unions. When manipulation of the APR by federal credit unions is the problem, NCUA should use its authority under the Federal Credit Union Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act to forbid FCUs from evading the FCUA 18% usury cap by charging
fees that vastly outstrip the finance charge and that manipulate the APR.”
As for those credit unions that allow payday lenders to use the union’s name when making high-interest loans, the NCLC suggests that regulators should refine the NCUA’s finder’s fee rule to ensure that credit unions “are not incurring third party risk and profiting off of loans that are illegal for them to make directly.”
Consumerist reader Jason was cruising the aisle of his local grocery store when he spotted a deal sure to win over anyone sporting lady parts — free chocolate, just for purchasing feminine hygiene products.
But what if chocolate isn’t your time-of-the-month treat go-to? We’d like to humbly suggest, grocery stores of the world, that if you’re going to market menstrual cycle needs thusly, perhaps there could be a few options for that “free” item with purchase of products. And let’s take this very, very seriously because come on, a paltry candy bar is not going to do the trick.
Promotional items in the “Is It Your Time Of The Month Club?” could include:
• A break from the incessant, annoying coworker in the cubicle next to you who always coos shrilly (yes, that’s possible) when you’re at your crankiest : “Oooh, is Aunt Flo in town?”
• Nine bags of the saltiest, vinegary-est salt and vinegar chips that exist.
• 13 pounds of Swedish fish and other assorted gummies.
• A bottle of the pain reliever of your choice, complete with the reassurance that everyone takes six at a time on some occasions (that being said, please follow the dosage instructions on the bottles, be safe, etc.). Or maybe a mallet, if none of those work for you.
• Vicodin brownies dipped in peanut butter and dusted with pretzel crumbs (again, be safe!).
• The capability to mute your significant other when he or she treats like you’re an irrationally angry caged tiger just because the pain coursing through your body feels like a million tiny knives.
• Heating packs that won’t burn your skin off while you’re desperately clutching them to your body.
• At least four cartons of ice cream in varying flavors and with various toppings.
• Just shut up. For everyone to just. Shut. Up.
You get the idea. While chocolate is a nice idea, different strokes for different folks, right?
Two Chinese entrepreneurs came up with a brilliant business idea: they bought regular old no-name condoms from a factory in one province, and bought packaging material with the globally recognized brand name of Durex, as well as Russian name brand Contex and China’s own brand Jissbon. When all of these big brand condoms started hitting the market at cut-rate prices, the authorities noticed, as the authorities tend to do.
Since all they had to do was take existing condoms and put them in existing wrappers, the tiny workshop was very efficient. They were able to crank out 20,000 pieces a day from their debut in December of last year until they and other condom-repackaging operations were shut down in late March.
Remember, if anyone offers you a great deal on a case of brand-name anything, there’s probably a reason why. Run away.
A homeowner in Orlando is confused, and with good reason. He says he not only made his mortgage payments on time to Wells Fargo, but that he sometimes paid early and sometimes paid more than he was supposed to. And yet, the bank decided to foreclose on his home.
The homeowner tells WFTV in Orlando that Wells Fargo offered him a loan modification last year and told him that if he made four monthly payments on time, the reduced rate would be made permanent.
“I didn’t miss any [payments],” the man tells WFTV. “I overpaid.”
Then he says the bank stopped accepting his payments and started the foreclosure process. Not wanting to lose his home, he got a lawyer.
“When he came in and showed me all of the documents, it was just unbelievable,” says the homeowner’s attorney. “Who gets foreclosed on when they’ve made all payments on time?”
Wells Fargo provided the following statement to WFTV:
“For some loans, completing trial payments is a significant step toward a permanent modification; however, in this instance, the loan was part of a mortgage-backed security and in a protected pool, with specific payment guidelines. We are working with [the homeowner] to explain the guidelines and explore options that may help.”
Apparently those guidelines require that the borrower pay exactly the amount owed and exactly when it is supposed to be paid, as the bank tells WFTV his early payments violated the guidelines of the modification.
This all seems a bit off to us, so we’ve reached out to our own contacts at Wells Fargo to see if there is any further explanation.
Thanks to Lisa for the tip!
When a loved one’s health is hanging in the balance, one might think that a husband would do anything in his power to help his wife. One might think that, but in the case of a man who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing more than $530,000 in health insurance payments, he used that money on things like cars and a skid loader instead of paying for his wife’s kidney dialysis.
The Morning Call says the 53-year-old man is headed to jail for 18 months and must pay back the $532,000 or so in health insurance payments he stole from a health care benefit program.
Authorities says he simply swiped the checks issued by his insurance company in 2010 and 2011, instead of funding his wife’s thrice-weekly dialysis treatments. She passed away in 2011.
Instead of using that dough to pay for his wife’s medical care, investigators say he splashed out on a truck for $33,000; a skid loader that costs upwards of $38,000 and a 1970 Ford Mustang at $19,000. Clearly, all necessities.
He pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft from health care benefits program and three counts of money laundering. There’s no such thing as free money, people.
Man sentenced for stealing money meant to pay for his wife’s dialysis [The Morning Call]
Readers Robert and Madison are twins, so they should know better than anyone that multiple things that look exactly alike are not exactly the same. For example, they discovered on Dell’s small business website four identical versions of the exact same model of computer, but for different prices. How does that work, exactly?
In searching Dell Small Business’s laptop selection, we came across an oddity: Four completely identical Inspiron 17R laptops for four different prices. We don’t mean minor differences; they are EXACTLY alike. As evidence, we took a screenshot of the comparison page for the four laptops, which is attached as a PDF.
We can’t check their work because the Inspiron 17R isn’t available to order directly on the Small Business site anymore. You can order it from the Dell consumer site, where the different prices actually do represent different configurations.
Let this funny picture serve as a reminder that careful comparison shopping is key…even when the things you’re comparing at first seem exactly the same.
While Google has made a big to-do about its new subscription music service, it has allowed a more interesting new wrinkle go virtually unmentioned, as yesterday the company integrated its Google Wallet payment system into Gmail, allowing users to send money to each other via e-mail.
For users sending money straight from a linked bank account — or from a balance in their Google Wallet account — there is no fee. If you’re using a credit or debit card to send money, there’s a flat 2.9% fee (with a minimum of $.30).
Transactions made using cards or a Google Wallet balance will be processed almost instantly. Sending directly from a linked bank account will likely take longer and can take as long as 10 business days.
Transactions are capped at $10,000 per transaction, with a maximum of $50,000 transferred over the course of five days.
Gmail users with existing Google Wallet accounts will begin seeing a “$” icon they can click while composing an e-mail. Clicking on the icon will let the user enter in a dollar amount and select a source. The recipient of the money need not have a Gmail account.
The Gmail payment option is currently only available on desktop interfaces.
More info about the service can be found on the Google Wallet website.
We’ve all had that moment: You’re watching TV late at night and see a commercial for a product that you swear, and will tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t), that you came up with first. They stole it! You might scream at the TV, startling the cat. One man currently incarcerated in a super-max federal prison in Colorado is taking his outrage a step further, and suing Taco Bell for allegedly swiping his idea for Doritos Locos Tacos.
The observant folks over at the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park blog have brought us another gem with the tale of a prisoner currently at the tail-end of a 25-year sentence, who says Taco Bell and its gang of cohorts must’ve stolen his idea through the mail.
Back in 2006 — three years before Frito-Lay’s big idea in 2009 — he sent a notarized document he mailed to his attorney listing a bunch of product ideas. Among various plans for branded hot sauce, body oils and what have you is one key item: “Tacos shells of all flavors (made of Doritos).”
Fast forward to 2012 when the fast food world birthed exactly such a food, first with the Nachos flavor and soon enough after in 2013, Cool Ranch. Once the man caught wind of this development, it seems this outrage could not, nay would not be borne.
The prisoner wrote to the FBI demanding it investigate this thievery, checked in with the IRS to see who got paid by Taco Bell and others for an invention “submitted to them by theft and fraud” and even filed a Freedom of Information Act request to try to force Taco Bell to release any and all information it had on the invention of the Doritos Locos Tacos.
None of that worked, and so the man filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday and will be representing himself.
We’ve got to hand it to him, because usually when we realize someone else is profiting off an idea we totally had first, it’s just time to sink back into the couch, sigh heavily, and continue to ponder the cruel nature of the universe that seems intent on stealing our dreams and making our lives miserable. Good luck to you, sir.
From humble beginnings on a farm in Maine to becoming the king of frozen fish sticks at Gorton’s, as well as serving as the CEO of General Mills, E. Robert Kinney made his mark on the food industry. He passed away earlier this month at the age of 96, but will be remembered every time someone crunches into Gorton’s frozen seafood. Here’s to hoping he’s strolling along in that big grocery store in the sky. [via Bangor Daily News]
In spite of all the technological developments in logistics and air travel, passengers’ bags still get lost, damaged, or stolen. Luckily there are remedies in place for such instances, allowing the passenger to be reimbursed for his or her loss. But many travelers may not know that these protections don’t apply to all checked bags.
CBS Sacramento’s Kurtis Ming has the story of a Southwest passenger who learned this the hard way, when the airline lost her bag but refused to reimburse her.
When the passenger went to check one bag at the counter, it was overweight. So she removed a Coach-brand backpack stowed inside and decided to carry that on to the plane.
However, she says the Southwest staffer suggested she check that backpack too.
“She told me no, no, no, you can just check it in, there’s not going to be an extra fee, it’ll be perfectly fine,” the passenger tells Ming.
The employee took the backpack, placed it into a plastic bag and the passenger went on her way.
But when she landed, there was the plastic bag her backpack had been put into, but… no backpack.
“I’m looking and I’m like, that looks like my bra, that looks like my underwear,” she recalls. “It was so embarrassing.”
Though she doesn’t say it outright, this appears to have been a case of theft, as the plastic bag contained non-valuable items like makeup, but the Coach backpack and anything of value it had contained were gone.
And so she filed a claim for $690 to replace the backpack and the items that had gone missing. Southwest denied the claim and only offered her a $100 voucher in exchange.
Why? Southwest says it’s because the bag was “conditionally accepted.”
See, deep in the airline’s Contract of Carriage [PDF, page 28], it details the kinds of items it will stow on board, but for which the passenger must accept the risk of “damage or destruction.”
(1) Fragile or perishable items
(2) Previously damaged items
(3) Improperly or over-packed Baggage
(4) Soft-sided cases or unprotected/unpacked items
The airline felt that the passenger’s backpack fell under this last category, though no one mentioned that to her at the time they checked the backpack.
And we’d like to add that the Contract of Carriage refers to “damage or destruction” of conditionally accepted items. From what we can tell, the backpack was neither damaged nor destroyed, but stolen. That had nothing to do with it being soft-sided.
“I feel really violated, I honestly feel like they pick-pocketed me,” says the passenger.
A rep for the airline We reached out to Southwest. In an email, they tell us:
“Our records show we tagged her bag as conditionally accepted, and marked it as such… Per our contract of carriage, a signature is not required but is sometimes done as a courtesy.”
In the end, the airline offered her a $500 voucher, which she says she will accept.
Southwest also states that it didn’t receive sufficient information from the passenger during the claims process but did not explain what that information was.
We’ve reached out to Southwest hoping to get an explanation on why, when a passenger is liable for a missing/stolen bag when the Contract of Carriage only says the passenger assumes “risk for damage to or destruction” of conditionally accepted items. document.getElementById('wpcom-iframe-form-290dd019b2fe0d016a8d97d8f202e936').submit();
A McDonald’s employee may have left her car unlocked outside of her apartment complex overnight–she doesn’t remember. That didn’t mean that she deserved to have it stolen, though. She woke up to discover that her car was missing, then spotted the culprit…in the drive-thru lane at her workplace.
She noticed the theft that morning, and just before 3 P.M. spotted her own car at the restaurant, then called police. The 22-year-old woman who was driving the car was arrested, and her passenger released. She also had allegedly-shoplifted merchandise from Sears and JCPenney in the vehicle.
Listen, we’ve all wanted our tubs caulked or a drawer fixed here and there in an apartment, but when you really need something, like your life depends on it? Where’s apartment maintenance then, huh? Just leaving behind the most important thing on the checklist to possibly crawl out from the attic and terrify you to death while you’re tucked in bed late at night.
All your worst fears come out at night, and whoever lives in this apartment has solid proof that the apartment management isn’t taking the tenant’s monster problem seriously, as posted on Reddit.
“Caulked around tub. Fixed drawer. Vented ceiling (sp) fan Bath. Cleaned mold spots. Installed new sink cabin base. Will be back to finish drywall patch and get ahold of exterminator for monster in attic.”
Oh, you’ll be back to take care of the monster issue? What about now, huh? How is someone supposed to live a life without fear, knowing there’s a monster lurking under the same roof? Get your act together, maintenance guys, and start taking care of the tasks that are possibly life-threatening before fixing any more drawers. Because this is a total outrage.