Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Fight Is On Again

Why is it necessary to fight for your rights all of the time with major corporations? The David and Goliath story over and over again gets draining. We flew to Istanbul in March purchasing our tickets on Lufthansa and giving them our frequent flier numbers for United Airlines, both being part of the Star Alliance. We flew from Budapest to Munich and from there on to Istanbul. The latter leg was a code share with Turkish Airlines, but with a Lufthansa code and flight. Our return was the same in reverse. When I checked our miles on, they had given each of us 500 miles for the first leg of the journey, but nothing for the Munich to Istanbul portion. I checked the list of United's partners and sure enough Turkish Airlines was listed as a full fledged partner. Checking on the Star Alliance web site, I found that Turkish Airlines is listed there also as full fledged partner also. Thinking that both Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines both being partners, we should have received miles regardless of whose plane we flew on. I submitted the form for missing credits. A day later, I received an e-mail from United stating that our flight did not qualify for miles. No explanation was given, no apology for our misunderstanding, but best of all, no "Thank you for contacting us. We value you as a customer." I would rather nothing at all than a phony apology. I was 20,000 miles short of getting both of us tickets to Australia, but have enough for another trip to Africa assuming they don't go out of business or raise their mileage rates before December of 2009. I want those miles! I try to book flights that will garner us miles. I wrote to Christopher Elliot, the travel ombudsman about this. He suggested I write to the higher ups and gave me the addresses for various airlines. I have yet to write, but will as soon as school is out this next week. Issue two is Bank of America yet again. I keep saying I hate this bank, but the more I hear about other banks, the problems with others are similar. I was looking at our statement online. They charged us $6.50 service fees last month. We have not been charged service fees for over a year. I wrote to Customer Service an oxymoron if there ever was one. Although polite, I said there must have been a mistake and would like it rectified. They responded within 12 hours stating it was due to our "linked" accounts falling below the minimum balances for the month, but I should be happy to know that since we have direct deposits, we did save $2.00. Well I had to admit that our checking account did run with about $500. as a balance, but our regular savings account has over $5,000. in it, but if that is still not enough, we have a CD account with a hell of a lot of money in it that is well over their minimum standards. I wrote back explaining all of this, but in return received yet another emotionally inflaming e-mail stating this could not be handled over e-mail and I would have to call customer service. That would mean waiting 6 hours later than normal for their office to be open due to the time differences, then pray I reached one of their numbers that accepted collect calls, and finally found someone with enough brains to overcome their scripted training to tell me there is nothing they can do. All of their e-mails end in "We value you as a customer and appreciate your business." Well they have a hell of a way of showing it. I know, I just know that when I call, they will tell me that the CD account was never "linked" to the other accounts and therefore we incurred the charge. "Linked" is a magical way for banks to carve more fees from their customers' hard earned money. Hey, I did not send you my house keys because I could not pay my mortgage, so don't try to make up the losses by screwing with me. I know full well this "linked" trick and I made sure I had all of our accounts linked when we opened this new account. Thanks to a comment posted to this blog on a previous rant about Bank of America, I have the address for the president. Excuse me now, I have a long list of letters to write.

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