A mostly true fish story with a truly unfortunate ending

Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Michael Patterson’s fish story is true. At least that what he says.

Somewhere between Orlando and San Jose, Costa Rica, Spirit Airlines lost a fiberglass fish mount in his checked bag that belonged to his late father. That is a fact.

(Oh I know, some of you have already sniffed, “Spirit!” But give ’em a chance, will you?)

It is also true that he had all the documentation showing the fish was worth about $4,000, he says.

Further, it’s true that he submitted a claim to Spirit as soon as it went missing, in accordance with the airline’s policies. And that Spirit left him — sorry for the pun — hanging for several months without processing his claim.

“Prior to filing a claim, I spent hours on the phone with Spirit offices in Orlando, Costa Rica and Fort Lauderdale, trying to find the bags myself,” says Patterson. “I have asked them over the phone what the outcome of their investigation is, and they won’t tell me.”

The claim was a chore. For half a year, Patterson went back and forth with Spirit, sending it photos of the fish and verification of its value. Spirit “lost” the documentation and asked him to resend it. Then it went into radio silence, which is when he contacted me.

“Please help,” he said. “I am going on the seventh month since we lost the bag, and I still don’t know any more than I did six months ago.”

Spirit’s responsibilities are clear. If this were a domestic flight, it wouldn’t have to do anything. The fish is not covered under its contract of carriage. But since it’s an international flight, the airline’s liability is governed by the Montreal Convention, which overrides any airline policy or contract.

Article 19 of the Montreal Convention says a carrier is liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of baggage, except to the extent that it proves that it took all reasonable measures to prevent the damage or that it was impossible to take such measures.

The current liability limits are $1,692. Not quite the $4,000 he was hoping for, but far better than nothing.

Oh, and one other thing: article 26 says any provision that tries to relieve a carrier of liability or to fix a lower limit than that which is laid down in the convention is null and void. Violations of the convention are a violation of U.S. law.

In other words, Spirit may have made the wrong call.

I asked Spirit if it cared to review Patterson’s claim again. He received a call from Spirit the same day.

“A representative told me that the claim had been denied, but she would not say why,” he said. “She told me to send an email and request that they send it by email, which I did, and still have not heard from them.”

A few weeks later, he received an email from Spirit that said he hadn’t filed a claim within the required 30 days and that it needed to be notarized but wasn’t. It also said that he’d given Spirit’s claims department a wrong phone number for the business that manufactured the fiberglass mount, and all but suggested that his claim was, well, a fish story.

Sigh. Of course Spirit doesn’t want to pay for Patterson’s fish. But international law is what it is.

I’m moving this into the “case dismissed” file, although I suspect our friends in the Aviation Consumer Protection Division at the Transportation Department might take an interest in this one. They’re such sticklers when it comes to breaking the law.

Who do you believe?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • Carver Clark Farrow

    This is of course hindsight, But whenever you are dealing with sketchy business, here is my recommendation:

    Send all correspondences US postal mail, certified with return receipt

    Places the certified mail number on the correspondence

    Keep a copy of what is sent.

    At that point you have established a prima facie case to support your contention that the documents were sent and received. The sketchy business (Spirit) while have the devil playing the we-never-received-your-paperwork game

    To get the OP’s money, I would sue in small claims court. Once you get a judgment, call Joe Farrell and ask him how he made an airline pay his own small claim judgement.

  • sirwired

    So, DID he file the claim within 30 days? It sure sounds like he did. And did Spirit ask it for it to be Notarized, or did it just expect him to magically know this and then turn down his claim when he didn’t?

    But yes, the FAA will likely get involved here…

  • SoBeSparky

    Priceline, hotwire, Spirit Airlines, airbnb, etc. What’s the difference?

    Buyer beware is not just a catchy phrase. The public always has a responsibility to figure out the reputation of the business with which they choose to do business. Personal responsibility, like in all decisions, comes first. No government, agency, treaty or convention is as powerful as due diligence.

  • EdB

    I would agree. This needs to go to small claims. I’m wondering if small claims could reward him the full value because of the way Spirit has acted or would it be limited to only the $1692 plus court costs? Probably would vary between states.

  • Stereoknob

    Spirit is scum. I will never fly them.

  • Steve Rabin

    Spirit doesn’t want to share the results of the investigation with him? Just as they were accusing him of making things up, he should accuse them of never actually investigating the situation, which I am sure they didn’t. I wonder if it’s worth it to pay an aviation lawyer to write a wisely-worded letter reminding Spirit of the law. (no pun intended)

  • John Baker

    I’d file a DOT complaint in a heartbeat. I don’t think that he’ll have much luck in small claims court between this being an international treaty and the deregulation act.

    I really hope that he gets his money out of Spirit but I doubt he will.

  • Deborah Orth

    Good point Carver Document and start a good paper trail. If you have to go to court the more it will most likely have an impression on a judge if your claim is well documented.

  • Deborah Orth

    Chris could you update us if he is able to recover anything from Spirit?

  • John Baker

    “dealing with sketchy business” … And the sketchy businesses within in the US file a class action lawsuit for being associated with Spirit…

    I think that’s probably the nicest complement anyone has paid Spirit today and a HUGE step up from where I would put them.

  • FQTVLR

    I believe the items are missing and Spirit is responsible. I believe that Spirit is doing its best to avoid paying him for the lost luggage. I do not believe, no matter what documentation he says he has, that a mounted fish is worth $4000.00. Does not make sense at all.

  • Deborah Orth

    I did a little research on line about the cost of mounting a fish. Cost of course depends on the type and the size of the fish. This is what I found out on average the cost is about $8.00 per inch. That must have been one very huge fish to be worth $4,000 Since the fish had belonged to the OP’s deceased father maybe he is attempting to collect for some emotional “value” as something that really can’t be replaced. Maybe he should have had it shipped instead?

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    Sorry about dad’s fish, but a claim for 4 grand? REALLY!? It’s interesting to imagine the scenarios where someone is travelling with a dead fish. Hope he has a photo of it, this is a ridiculous story. I don’t think airlines should have to pay for “sentimental value”, even tho they acted like dopes … as usual this could have been easily rectified if someone at the airline’s customer service department had used their brains in the first place.

  • bodega3

    Carver, I thought this would be the way to handle something you need to know was received, but I encountered a problem with it. When you send to a business, ‘someone’ signs for it, but if you can’t read the signature and the item you are sending ends up missing, then what? You can’t prove it was received at the business it was intended for and who the person was who received it.

  • Alan Gore

    This is definitely a case for Small Claims. Legally, Spirit is probably not liable for more than the statutory $1692, but to stipulate that they would have to appear in court. If they simply don’t show up, our fisherman gets a default judgement for the whole $4,000.

  • rwm

    I have a mounted 6 ft, 75 lb sailfish that I caught off Puerto Vallarta. The total cost for mounting and shipping came to just over $1000. So, for $4000 it is either a very large fish, or he was ripped off by the mounting service.

  • emanon256

    I do believe the OP 100%, and sadly, I could tell you what Spirit would do before I even read the story. Sorry Chris, I won’t give them a chance. In an industry of poor service, they are heads and tails (pun intended) below the rest.

    What I still always wonder is why do people put valuable items in their checked baggage. If I have to carry something valuable, it goes with me at all times, or gets shipped and insured.

  • Deborah Orth

    Congratulations on what must have been a very special moment for you on vacation. It sounds like a pretty large fish, so I agree with your observation, or it might be that the OP is trying to attach some sentimental value to his fish.

  • emanon256

    You can send it with Restricted Delivery, that ensures it must be hand delivered to one specific person, and that person must provide positive ID that they are the named recipient.

  • EdB

    They also have to PRINT their name on the return receipt. If you are sending something that important registered, you will also want that green return receipt as proof of acceptance.

  • rwm

    If it is a marlin, they can be as large as 12 ft and weigh considerably more than a sailfish. I wish the OP had said what kind of fish it was.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s not correct. The certified mail is tracked. The you can verify online that it was delivered to the address on such and such date. Who actually signed for it is generally irrelevant. The point is that even if the business loses it, you have made an adequate showing that the items was sent and received. It shifts the burden of proof to the receiver to show that it was never received, e.g. the address listed on the certified mail receipt is not the recipient’s address.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The beauty of small claims is that it generally ignores such issues and will render a judgment

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Chris says in the article that the OP has documentation that the fish was worth the $4,000, so it sounds like he’s asking for the actual cost and not attaching sentimental value. But for it to have been included in checked baggage, it couldn’t have been all that big–not like a full-grown swordfish that would fill a wall–so I’m left wondering how it could possibly be that expensive. Did Ernest Hemingway catch it or something?

  • John Baker

    Sorry but this whole part of the conversation really isn’t relevant. The OP stated that he provided the required documentation to Spirit that it was worth $4000. Maybe he grossly over paid. Maybe it was done by the top fish artist in the US. Maybe its one of the new mountings that’s carved by hand based on pictures. It really doesn’t matter. He provided the required documentation that the mounting was worth $4000. Unless any of us have proof otherwise, you’re accusing the OP of fraud.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    +1

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Yes, but the article says the fish mount was lost from within his checked bag. It sounds like it was in regular baggage and not even a separate item. That would make it pretty small. My only thought is it was like a museum piece. Very rare species, caught by somebody famous?

  • Deborah Orth

    Check Spirit’s checked baggage they have a limit of 80 linear inches 12 ft. marlin should exceed that limit if you paid $16.00 AN Inch multiplied by 144′ comes to $2,304.00 Spirit implied that they thought his documentation was a Fish Story. By the way on-line I learned that the average to mount a fish was around $8.00 an inch my calculation uses double that average.

  • Michael__K

    If you dare to walk in a bad neighborhood and get mugged, then take personal responsibility for it?

  • Deborah Orth

    This story is becoming more and more like an onion. The more you dig into it, the more layers you find and the more questions you come up with. The average cost to mount a fish from what I have seen is around $8.00 an inch. even using a figure of $16.00 an inch and a 12 ft. long marlin that is $2,304.00. It sounded like his father caught the fish. Toward the end of the story Spirit implied that they thought his documentation was a fish story. If the fish was worth that much to him he should have shipped and insured it not trusted it to a discount airline.

  • Deborah Orth

    No you are not responsible for getting mugged. The mugger is! You are responsible for using good judgment being aware of your surroundings and not putting yourself in areas of high risk if you don’t have to. ALL CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES!! Which is basically what I think SoBeSparky was implying.

  • bodega3

    Yes it can be tracked, but the signature means NOTHING it they can’t identify who the signer is. In our case, we were instructed to mail to a certain address by the company, no specific person was needed to receive it. The signature by the person who signed it, wasn’t legible and the company name was not included in the signature, so there was no proof it was delivered to the correct address and no identify person to follow up with. We have had this happen several times at our office building when the office the item is to be receiving it isn’t open and the mail person has the office next door sign for it.

  • bodega3

    Yes, I have learned this since our lost registered mail never was found.

  • bodega3

    UPS enters the name on their hand held machine, but US Mail doesn’t have you print, just sign. I have sent documents by mail for years and I get the green card back with just a signature….and often not the signature of my client!

  • TonyA_says

    I agree with you. Small claims court is the way to go for the OP.
    He has the Montreal Convention to back him up. Go for it.

  • TonyA_says

    Smart man!

  • Michael__K

    I had a similar issue once where a business denied receiving my certified mail and denied that the signer was anyone who worked for them.

    I suppose they could also deny what was included in the contents.

    If all you are sending is paperwork, I’ve found it effective to also fax the paperwork using a machine that prints a timestamped confirmation that includes reduced-sized images of the pages sent. Or use an online fax service and use screen recording software to record what you are doing.

  • EdB

    I just got one back and there is both a printed and signed name. But as Carver pointed out, just having that proof it was delivered is enough. Otherwise, any business could set up a store front and have a “non-employee” sign for all that type of mail and the sender wouldn’t have any proof of delivery to reply on.

  • Deborah Orth

    Carver wouldn’t the airline claim that a State small claims court does not have jurisdiction to rule in this matter and petition to have it sent to U.S. circuit court and effectively make it financially impossible for the OP to pursue this matter?

  • bodega3

    No, getting the green card back isn’t proof that a company received it. Just that someone received it. As I mentioned in another post, I have used certified mailing scores of time for documents and I have received the card back with a signature that isn’t my clients. Fortunately the clients have received it, but someone else answered the door and signed. So bottom line, don’t assume it is delivered to the right person! Heck, I have signed at the agency for someone’s packet.

  • EdB

    Unless you send it restricted delivery, anyone at the address can sign for it. It provides proof it was delivered to that address and who signed for it. As long as the address is valid for the business, it is considered as received by that business. If the carrier is getting someone at a different address to sign, they are either not following regulations or the business has signed a waiver allowing their mail to be delivered to that address. In the later case, it will still be considered as properly delivered.

  • SallyLu

    I work for an investment firm and we receive certified letters pretty regularly. The recipient is suppose to sign and print their name, but its really up to the mail carrier to make sure this gets done. Ive receive letters in ghe mail with tbe green card still attached. I always sign them and send them back, but i could just as easily throw them in the trash.

  • Deborah Orth

    So if a court renders a judgment in a case where they do not have jurisdiction What good is it. Do you just walk away with a moral victory. As a friend once told me That don’t put no pork chops on my table!

  • EdB

    If the US has signed the treaty, then US courts would have jurisdiction in the enforcement I would guess.

  • Michael__K

    I generally agree with what you wrote, but I don’t see the relevance you do. If the issue here was shoddy service, then absolutely.

    If the issue is a business brazenly disregarding the law (as alleged here) in a situation that affects fewer than 1 in 200 passengers (a lost bag) then, I emphatically disagree with “Personal responsibility [by the passenger], like in all decisions, comes first.

  • EdB

    Even if they fail to show up and there is a default judgement, in California, they could appeal to the Superior court.

  • bodega3

    I now send to a specific person at a company, not just to a company. But our packet of personal medical records, xrays, doctors letters were signed for, but since the name couldn’t be identified due to the signature, it wasn’t considered delivered to the right place, burden was on us and we had to resend everything…but this time to a person at that office that had to sign for it. BTW, this was to our medical insurance company providing proof of treatment that they said they wasn’t covered, which with these documents, was! What a fight!

  • Deborah Orth

    U.S. courts Small claims courts are state courts. I doubt if they would have jurisdiction, but then I am not an attorney. It would be nice to have input from an attorney with experience in these types of cases. Sadly it might be atoo big a hassle to chase after $1,692.00 which as Chris stated is the limit of liability. As good as a moral victory might feel, it doesn’t pay the bills.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Sorry, but you are misunderstanding the law. If the OP sends a certified letter to Spirit at the correct address, and he has a green return receipt, the question of whether the OP send the claim in within the time limit has been completely resolved. Further, the OP has made the prima facie case that it has been received by Spirit.

    To rebut the prima facie case, Spirit would have to show that it maintains logs of ALL incoming mail and that the logs do not show a correspondence by the OP.

    Even then, Spirit would not be able to deny the claim based on the grounds that the OP did not file it timely.

  • EdB

    Was that a judge that said it wasn’t considered received or the company? Because in a situation I had where the business tried using that type of excuse, the judge told them I was not responsible for their mail room screw ups and they were properly notified.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    As I stated earlier, small claims courts will generally ignore that sort of issue and render a judgment. Airlines and cruise ships have tried to argue the jurisdiction point to no avail. I believe our own Joe Farrel has availed himself of this to great effect and humor.

  • rwm

    That price per inch is about right. That’s about what I paid for the mounting of my sailfish. But the shipping cost was easily the same amount. The box is wooden and has to be hand made. The fish is cradled on supports inside the box. It was shipped FedEx international.

  • Deborah Orth

    Or the small claims court MIGHT just tell the OP Sorry we do not have the jurisdiction to rule in this matter. The rules in small claims court do vary from state to state. Finally it would be nice to know what Spirit feels is fishy about the OP’s documentation!

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Deborah and Edb

    Yes, a small claims court decision can be appealed to a higher court. However, to do so, the business will incur substantial legal fees as they mus hire an attorney licensed to practice in the destination jurisdiction.

    For the little amount of money involved that would be cost prohibitive.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’d need to know more than you are probably willing to share in an open forum to speak intelligently on this.

    But speaking without knowledge, my guess is that this wasn’t in a court and that the recipient company was merely using this as an excuse to deny claim.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s amazing that the green card is still attached.

  • Deborah Orth

    So then we can rule out the OP having a sailfish. I don’t think for a moment any airline would take something like that as checked baggage. You even said you had yours shipped FedEx and I bet you paid to have it insured as well

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Business lie all the time. :(

    As far as the contents, that’s why you place the certification number on the correspondences and keep a copy. When dealing with sketchy people and business, I also include a letter with an itemized list of the contents, and of course that letter has the certified number prominent displayed.

    That way, if the business claims that something wasn’t included, the judge is not inclined to believe them.

  • Deborah Orth

    For the amount of money involved does it pay for the OP to hire an attorney to represent him in a higher court?

  • Ann

    I hope you have given Mr. Patterson the information he needs to file a claim with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division and I hope you update us on what happens after he files the claim.

  • Deborah Orth

    Carver I found this on web site called Flight/Mole.com Under the Headline Montreal Convention the 1st line reads ” Most qualified lawyers will find this specialized area of international law as alien as the average passenger.”

  • $16635417

    Tried this once. Sent something to a doctor at his office and since he was unavailable, his office manager signed for it. I specifically wanted the doctor to receive it…not anyone else in the office. The post office claimed that since the doctor was with a patient, they couldn’t wait and are allowed to deliver to someone else.

    Don’t know it that policy is true…but that’s what happened.

  • emanon256

    Sounds like a shady excuse to me. That was the service you paid for, and they failed to deliver it. At least I bet you could get a full refund on the service. I sent one once to an insurance company and the receipt said it was delivered to “Adjuster”, not the named person. I filed a complaint with the post master general’s office and received a personal phone call from someone who told me that the letter carrier was not doing his job and would be dealt with. I was given a double refund for the failed service, and to pay for it again. It worked the next time I sent it.

    P.S. I asked if I could send letters to celebrities this way to get their autograph, and they told me that I can not, that most likely the agent receiving the mail will refuse delivery in those cases.

  • bodega3

    All has been settled and taken care of. But the lesson I learned is that certified mail isn’t all it is said to be.

  • bodega3

    Yes, the date on his receipt is important here.

  • bodega3

    I have encountered this, too. Certified mail isn’t as good as many think it should be.

  • bodega3

    Having had to just send something insured, I had to handle this at a mail desk with a security camera filming the transaction. Too many scams out there where something is said to be inside an envelope or package and isn’t.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Not a chance. If he walked into my office, I’d refuse. He’d spend more money on me in the first day then he could ever recover.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Huge difference between small claims and regular court. It’s like night and day

  • TonyA_says

    WOW !!!

  • Deborah Orth

    A picture is truly worth a thousand words. Have you ever had it valued for insurance purposes?

  • SoBeSparky

    My point is the same as Chris’ when he says, “(Oh I know, some of you have already sniffed, “Spirit!” But give ‘em a chance, will you?)”

    Of all the airlines in the world, I would hazard that Spirit is number one in complaints to Chris, even though it may only barely make the top ten U.S. airlines in terms of revenue miles flown. Its reputation precedes it. If it is so lacking in customer services of all types, I would not trust it in any respect, especially laws to protect the consumer.

  • Brian

    It looks like Mr. Patterson is a Florida resident (and guess what, so is Spirit). Florida doesn’t have small claims court, per se. Instead, it has a small claims process within County Court for claims of less than $5000. County Court in Florida are courts of general jurisdiction. If they have personal jurisdiction over the defendant (which they do because Spirit is a Florida resident), they can hear the case. Spirit could try to remove the case either out of the small claims process (good luck) or to federal court claiming federal question jurisdiction (because of the treaty) but in either case, it will cost them way more than the $1700 they owe Mr. Patterson.

  • Michael__K

    # of tagged articles on elliott.org by airline:
    United Airlines: 103
    American Airlines: 98
    US Airways: 86
    Delta Airlines: 68
    Continental Airlines: 55
    Southwest Airlines: 54
    Spirit Airlines: 31
    Jet Blue: 22

    Not every tagged article is a complaint, but no way Spirit is even close to #1 in total complaints to Chris. Though they are probably #1 relative to the number of passengers they fly.

    And yet plenty of commenters defend Spirit in all those other complaints — which are mostly about fees and draconian, deceptive policies and atrocious customer service.

    This complaint is in a different category, and Spirit’s defenders seem to be strangely silent this time.

    http://elliott.org/tag/united-airlines/
    http://elliott.org/tag/american-airlines/
    http://elliott.org/tag/us-airways/
    http://elliott.org/tag/delta-air-lines/
    http://elliott.org/tag/continental-airlines/
    http://elliott.org/tag/southwest-airlines/
    http://elliott.org/tag/spirit-airlines
    http://elliott.org/tag/jetblue/

  • $16635417

    I didn’t realize it until after the reason I sent it had been settled.

    The doctor had stopped by the house that night to discuss the matter, which we then put behind us. Since it was not related to his practice, I did not want his staff involved. Since I knew he was always at his office, that’s why I sent it there.

    A couple days later I received the signature and knew it wasn’t his, that’s when I took it to discuss with the postmaster. Since the matter was settled, I didn’t pursue it anymore, but let him know it was BS.

    As a side note, within a couple of years of this, the amount of complaints about the post office led to a candidate for US House promise to replace him if elected. He won and the guy was gone shortly after.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Ok. I’ll be the one to speak out.

    In this case, Spirit appears to be 100% wrong and I was the first person to make that assertion, implying that Spirit is “Sketchy”. That is neither here nor there. Spirit, like Ryanair, serves a specific market. If it were a financial institution it would be a subprime lender. When you transact business with the Spirits and Ryanairs of the world, you must be very diligent with your research , having a clear understanding of what you are purchasing, else you will undoublted get “snakebit”

    The defense that I and others put out is against those people who opine that there is never a reason for anyone to fly Spirit. That is of course simply false.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Absolutely not.

  • flutiefan

    #1 reason no one ever has to endure jury duty (unless they want to): summons are not sent certified mail nor restricted delivery. can’t prove summons was ever received…

  • EdB

    Yeah. Good luck with that excuse.

  • flutiefan

    um, seriously? you realize that the courts literally CANNOT prove you ever received a summons, right? and they CANNOT prosecute you for failure to appear, right? right? ask any lawyer worth his salt. Carver? Farrell?

  • Cam

    What is a fish mount?

  • bodega3

    I’m good with that excuse :-) It could work here as we often get our mail weeks late.

  • Michael__K

    Carver, I concede your general point, but if you’re implying that the OP didn’t do diligence or research or a have a clear understanding of what he purchased then I disagree that we have information here which points to that.

    If he submitted his claim promptly as he says and followed up repeatedly and provided all the necessary documentation, but can’t get the outcome he’s legitimately entitled to without going to Court, then this goes beyond consumer research or diligence or understanding the terms of the purchase.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Michael, please read my post more carefully

    I begin by stating that Spirit is 100 percent wrong. That leave no room to blame the OP. Further, none of my posts have suggested, directly or indirectly that the OP bears any culpability in this matter. Thus no one should be confused or wonder if I was blaming the OP.

    My post was directly in response to your comment about “Spirit Defenders being strangely silent”. That point is borne out from the inception of my post and the use of the word “speak out” in contrast to you use of the term “silent”

    The entire post is then summarized by the explanation at the end, to wit:

    “The defense that I and others put out is against those people who opine that there is never a reason for anyone to fly Spirit.”, which does not reference the OP directly, nor can an inference be made that it references the OP as he cannot be one of those folks as he just flew Spirit.

  • EdB

    I never said they would prosecute you for not responding to the first mailed notice. And if you do a little googling, you will find plenty of stories of people who tried this and eventually got in trouble. While ignoring it my delay jury duty for awhile, it won’t necessarily get you out of it. Depending on the county and the court procedures, they can issue a bench warrant for failure to appear. If you are brought in on that, they will probably hand you the summon right there. If you fail to appear after that, then you will probably find yourself getting prosecuted.

    Like I said. Good luck using the excuse you didn’t get the mail.

  • rwm

    No, I would just value it per the receipt at $1000. It would be covered under personal property on my homeowner’s insurance.

  • Deborah Orth

    But I bet to you it’s priceless! How long did it take you to land that Bad Boy. Must be something you will never forget!

  • Raven_Altosk

    Oh.
    Spirit.

    That’s your problem, right there, pal.

  • Michael__K

    Sorry for misreading your comment.

    Normally I would indeed assume that stating Spirit is 100 percent wrong leaves no room to blame the OP. But in the context of this thread — you responded to my reply to Sparky, and I think Sparky is saying that OP should take personal responsibility because they chose Spirit — even if Spirit is 100 percent wrong in their handling of this incident — I suspended what would be my normal assumption :)

  • rwm

    It took about 1/2 hour to land the sailfish. It definitely was a memorable moment for my wife and I, as we were still dating and it was our first vacation together. But I still don’t think I would inflate the claim for sentimental purposes.

  • flutiefan

    been using it for nearly 30 years in 3 states. thanks!

  • Guest

    And thank you Flutiefan for being such an upstanding citizen by fulling your civic duties. Oh wait. No. You just admitted to being a criminal didn’t you?

  • EdB

    My thoughts exactly. Breaking the law and proud of it.

  • $619498

    I believe Michael ,but it is his fault for flying a company like Spirit.

  • pauletteb

    I just lost what little respect I ever had for your comments!

  • flutiefan

    terrific!

  • flutiefan

    yes, let’s go with that!

  • Grant Ritchie

    How nice. Please let’s not start beating each other up.

  • Grant Ritchie

    How nice. A down vote on a request for civility.

  • rybashka

    In California, Evidence Code section 641 states that “[a] letter correctly addressed and properly mailed is presumed to have been received in the ordinary course of mail.” The presumption is rebuttable but the burden to do so is on the other side.

    http://law.justia.com/codes/california/2010/evid/630-647.html

    For non-legal items where I just need to show that I sent a company something, I often rely on this presumption and just buy a Certificate of Mailing for $1.20. If I need a signature proof, I may use FedEx since people are used to signing for FedEx without getting suspicious.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Like Carver, I would sue immediately in small claims court. Put all the documents and notes in a loose-leaf notebooks in plastic sheet protectors, in the order you will present your evidence so when you are presenting your case, all documents are in order and at your fingertips. Get judgment. Send certified letter to Spirit Airlines with ten day payment demand and say if the money is not received in ten days you will take legal steps. On 11th day if you have not received payment, try State Attorney General’s Office for consumer affairs and explain problem, send copies of judgment by certified mail. They will contact the airlines for you, and if no response they can issue injunction that Spirit can not land planes in the state, or file judgment with court and have constable slap a lien on a Spirit plane which means they can not fly it away from airport until judgment is satisfied. You can have fun with this. Always send all correspondence via certified mail, add costs of mail to your request for payment in small claims court and you will collect that money also. You can have a lot of fun with this, the victim has been too patient and too agreeable, no wonder Spirit feels comfortable ignoring the claim. Two months is long enough for asking for payment, after that I’d just file and see the case to the happy conclusion.

  • Karen Kinnane

    Yes, of course you have proof that the item was received by the company. It is not your worry whether the person who got the letter actually got it, you did due diligence sending the letter to the company, and sending a regular surface mail copy also. Keep the white receipt with green printing, and you will either get back the green card indicating item received or the item returned. Either satisfies the court that the item was delivered. The executives of a company NEVER sign for things, the mailroom grunt signs.

  • Karen Kinnane

    It doesn’t matter if the green card is returned, as long as you keep the green and white receipt that you sent it.

  • EdB

    I don’t believe States have authority on if an airline can land in the State or not.

    Not sure about other States, but in California, the State AG office does not perform judgment enforcement. I doubt any State does. Sometimes, the problem with small claims court can be in collecting a judgement. Each State has their own laws on what can be done to collect.