Our advocates don’t generally hear from consumers after rejecting their cases. But when they told David Goldblum “no,” he made it clear that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
Goldblum asked for help four additional times after our advocacy team turned him down, insisting that he needed to speak to someone by telephone. However, our advocates communicate with consumers only through email, because they require written evidence to support the cases they mediate. And unfortunately for Goldblum, the type of case he wanted the team to take isn’t one that they could advocate.
His request for help involved his American Airlines AAdvantage account. According to Goldblum, an employee of American Airlines gave him incorrect information about his account. This person accused Goldblum of violating the terms of the AAdvantage program. Says Goldblum: “I did not know what she was talking about.”
Then American Airlines closed his AAdvantage account. Goldblum claims that he was being treated unfairly because had no opportunity to speak to anyone at American Airlines who was authorized to resolve his case and reopen his account.
He then asked our advocates for assistance.
But, as we point out in our Frequently Asked Questions, our advocates don’t handle cases involving “missing or expired loyalty points,” which include frequent flyer miles.
The FAQs also contain our email-only rule: “We need a written record of your grievance in order to mediate a case.”
Our advocacy director Michelle Couch-Friedman explained to Goldblum:
Unfortunately, this is not the type of consumer problem that we would typically advocate because this is a free program. I really don’t think that a phone call will change the situation. But I can offer you our American Airlines contacts if you wish to escalate your complaint with the airline.
Won’t take no for an answer
But Goldblum didn’t take no for an answer:
I believe that if I spoke with you, you would understand the high degree of unfairness. I would like to know who else I could contact. If you could give [me] a specific person in Corporate Security that may help. They have just said email Corporate Security where they don’t respond. However, please allow me the opportunity to speak with one of you!
Friedman reiterated that Goldblum should write a short, polite note to the American Airlines executives listed on our website requesting that they review his situation and that she would not be able to directly help.
Still not giving up
Goldblum wasn’t deterred. Friedman soon heard from him again:
I feel I need to speak with one of you, since I had been jerked around by their customer service department. I also wanted to inform you that I checked with the Better Business Bureau in Fort Worth and they received a Failed rating. Please allow me to speak with one of you!
I feel that I am not wise enough to deal with American Airlines by myself, given the extent to which I have been jerked around by their customer service and relations departments. I believe that it was deliberate given that they have told me to contact Corporate Security many times without a response from them. So I believe that I will need some leverage to the point where they will be at least semi-reasonable with me. I believe that if I had the chance to discuss this with one of you, preferably Chris Elliott, that you would see that this is worth looking into.
Friedman attempted to explain one final time:
We do not advocate anything over the phone because that makes it impossible to document the case and its facts.
A frequent flyer program is a voluntary and free program. It comes at no cost to you, and if you look at the terms of the program, you will see that you have no recourse if the company decides to revoke your membership.
Unfortunately, our advocacy team can’t take every case it receives. This request must end in the Case Dismissed file. We just wish Goldblum would take no for an answer.