What should we do about this $20,000 claim against Apple Vacations?

The circumstances of Michelle Melcher’s claim are common, but the sum of her claim isn’t. She — or, more precisely, her client — wants $20,000 after returning from an Apple Vacation.

“I have a client who doesn’t feel they’re getting appropriate help from Apple Vacations for a lost bag that contained all their valuables,” she says. “I have worked through my resources without much luck.”

Whoa. Twenty. Thousand. Dollars.

You’re kidding, right?

No. Not kidding.

“The client would like to contact the corporate office but I don’t see [contact information] for them, and they don’t list this in their brochures or websites,” she says.

This is an interesting case. Apple Vacation’s executives are pretty easy to find. They use the following highly intuitive format: first two initials of first name+full last name@applevac.com (so I’d be chelliott@applevac.com, if I worked for the company). If Melcher wants to contact them, she’s more than welcome to.

But here’s a newsflash for Melcher and her client: Good luck with a $20,000 claim!

I mean, have a look at any cruise line ticket contract or airline contract of carriage, and you’ll see there’s no way (short of taking them to court) that you’ll recover a claim for $20k.

No way, nohow.

But beyond that, who takes $20,000 worth of valuables on vacation? What kind of travel agent tells a customer that’s acceptable? I’m giving Melcher the benefit of the doubt; I’m assuming she didn’t advise this client to bring the valuables on this trip.

Now that the items are lost, she’ll need to give these customers some tough love. After making a claim on their travel insurance – they do have insurance, right? – she needs to inform them they have no claim with Apple, the airline or cruise line.

Related story:   "It was the worst airline experience I have ever had"

This raises another question: Should the client be able to file a $20,000 claim against a company for lost or misplaced luggage? Actually, I think Melcher and her client are right in this regard — they should be able to file a claim. If you accept someone’s luggage, you should accept the responsibility for it, at least up to some reasonable limit.

These absurd adhesion contracts, with their take-it-or-leave it clauses that strip away your basic rights, are no good for customers. Even the ones who take $20,000 worth of valuables on vacation.

Especially them.

What should we do about this $20,000 claim against Apple Vacations?

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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 check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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