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Frequent flier takes British Airways to court and wins

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Ron Melton

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Frequent flier goes extra mile, takes British Airways to court and wins
July 2, 2004 Amber Bollman @PensacolaNewsJournal.com

Ron Melton's repeated telephone calls to British Airways didn't do any good.

Neither did the faxed copies of the Pensacola businessman's credit card statements and receipts.

"I called four or five times and talked to supervisors, and it got me nowhere," said Melton, 51, who learned earlier this year the airline erroneously voided 115,000 frequent-flier miles he had racked up over the years.

"They stonewalled me every time I called. And finally, it was almost like they were saying, 'Sue us.' So I did."

Melton filed a lawsuit against British Airways in Escambia County's small claims court on June 3, seeking $3,775 -- the amount it would have cost to purchase those miles from the airline -- plus court costs, Escambia County court records show.

Airline representatives told Melton, who has been a customer for at least 11 years, that his British Airways Executive Club miles had been canceled because his account had been inactive for at least 36 months.

Although Melton faxed receipts and other documents showing that he had stayed at one of the airline's partner hotels within that three-year period, customer service personnel refused to give back his miles.

Until he took them to court.

"When companies try to pull these stunts, a lot of people might just back down and feel like they haven't read the contract right, or it would be too expensive to take the case to court," Melton said. "But I have a lot of faith in our small claims system, and I knew they were treating me unfairly."

On Wednesday, an attorney for the airline traveled to Pensacola for a pretrial mediation session with Melton. After a brief discussion, he agreed to restore Melton's 115,000 miles and pay his $117 in court fees.

"And he apologized," Melton said. "That's the first apology I've gotten from them."

Melton plans to use his newly restored miles for a trip to Bali. His case, he says, should encourage other consumers who feel that they've been ripped off.

"Keep your receipts. Keep your paperwork. Keep your contracts," he said. "If you have the documents, you can get the treatment you deserve, even from a very large corporation." ©The Pensacola News Journal July 2, 2004


http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com...18B188794.shtml
 

redrat

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Ron Melton said:
"I called four or five times and talked to supervisors, and it got me nowhere," said Melton, 51, who learned earlier this year the airline erroneously voided 115,000 frequent-flier miles he had racked up over the years.
Ron, at what point did you realise you were out 115k points? That's a huge number to all of a sudden discover you're missing. Unless it's the way the journo's wrote up the story. :?
 

redrat

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I just realised (before I could stop the post) that the story said 'voided' not 'avoided'.
Just ignore my ramblings...
 

Ron Melton

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Jul 7, 2004
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Re: Frequent flier takes British Airways

The airline had warned me in an e-mail that my miles were about to expire, then later retracted its e-mail stating, “ …we sent you an e-mail that stated your BA Miles were due to expire…. This message was sent to you in error, and we assure you that your BA Miles balance is secure.”

However, after their letter assuring me my miles were safe and before the miles expired I stayed with an hotel partner of BA. The hotel stay miles had not yet been transferred over when BA cancelled the miles. I promptly called BA and sent them my Hyatt Hotel receipts. They continued to stonewall me. I filed suit.

Thanks for your interest.

Ron Melton
 
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