The government maintains a “no fly” list. Car rental companies keep “do not rent” lists. Hotels sometimes blacklist guests. So it probably makes sense that your favorite consumer advocate has a “do not mediate” list.
And since, ahem, I am your favorite consumer advocate, let me admit that I do, in fact, keep such a list.
I’m not afraid to share it with you, either.
The timing of my confession couldn’t be better — or maybe I should say, worse. The word “no” is being thrown around a lot in Washington these days, where everyone from your Tea Party congressman to the House Majority Leader, to the president, seem to be stuck on the word. So our government remains shuttered and we’re racing toward a debt-limit induced recession.
Before I get to the details, here’s a little good news: my list isn’t based on who you are, but on the solvability of your case. In other words, I won’t turn you down because it’s you. I judge all requests not by the color of your loyalty card, but by the content of your question.
(I do have a separate “do-not-quote” list for sources, but I’ll share that with you next week. I’m sure it’ll make a lot of people unhappy. All the more reason to tune in, my friends.)
Here’s my list, and the reason why I can’t help:
Visa or passport problems that led to denied boarding.
Proper paperwork is your responsibility, and yours alone. Even if a travel agent, airline or cruise line gives you bogus advice, it’s still your responsibility.
Missing loyalty points.
Loyalty programs are addictive and expensive for the average consumer. What’s more, they encourage companies to quietly remove necessary amenities and services from ordinary, non-elite customers. If your points were expired or confiscated, then thank the company for doing you a favor, cut up your card, and don’t look back.
Recently lost or misplaced luggage.
“Help us find our luggage” is one of the worst kinds of complaints, but also unresolvable by an advocate. Think about it. Am I going to tell the airline or cruise line to look harder? I wish I could.
Compensation for delays that resulted in lost vacation or work days.
No, you can’t apply the car rental industry’s “loss of use” principle to your work or vacation. If you missed a day of your hotel stay while you were transiting through foreign airports, write it off as an adventure.
Airline seat comfort issues.
Can of worms, that one. If you’re complaining about the comfort of your economy class seat, I have just one question: Where did you find the time machine that took you here from the ‘70s?
Asking a company to honor an obvious price error.
People who intentionally book “fat-finger” fares are trying to steal. Normally, the passengers who buy them by accident and are offered a refund have absolutely no problem with it. I won’t become an accessory to theft.