Reader Jake says a TSA agent dropped his laptop, smashing it in several places, then threatened him with arrest when he asked about filing a damage claim.
From Jake’s blog:
I wasn’t happy about this… I was rather upset! I approached the TSA guard who dropped my laptop and I asked him what he was thinking. He didn’t even apologize to me. Then I asked him how we could resolve this matter. And he told me that there were too many people waiting to get through the line, and I should move along as not to hold up the screening process. So I asked him again, where can I file a claim to resolve the damage done to my laptop. That’s when the supervising TSA guard walked over and told me that I should gather my belongings and move on to the departure terminals and if I create a scene, he would arrest me.
So what am I left to do??? I gathered my belongings, surveyed the damage, and went on to the departure terminals. When I arrived at my terminal, I approached the information counter and ask them what I could do in my situation. They told me I needed to go back to the TSA security checkpoint and talk to the supervising guard that’s standing in the middle of the checkpoint. I told the info lady that he was the one who threatened to arrest me, and that going back would surely result in me missing my flight. She then proceeded to tell me that there weren’t any other options in my case.
I waited a few minutes so I could eat some breakfast (and cool down), and I vented to my dad on my phone. After venting, I approached the check-in attendant and asked her for the PIT TSA phone number. She asked me what I needed it for, and I told her my situation — she was impressed that I was calm after what had happened — she said she probably would have flipped out and gotten arrested. The TSA phone number she gave me which turned out not to be any good, so I’m left to do some research.
In this day and age of our corrupt law enforcement officers who’s into tasing anyone and anything at any chance they get — I think I did the right thing by not raging and creating a scene; which would have caused me to get arrested.
Yep, Jake. You did the right thing. The TSA is liable for your laptop and you have two years to file a claim.
Here are some instructions on how to do it. The TSA says:
Once TSA has received a sufficient claim, you will be sent a letter of acknowledgement and a control number. Please recognize that there is often a 3-week delay for mail sent to Federal facilities due to screening requirements. Claims that are faxed will receive a quicker response. Either way, TSA will attempt to resolve your claim as quickly as possible (often within 90 days), however we may require up to six (6) months to fully investigate your claim before we can make a recommendation to approve, deny, or offer a settlement. After six (6) months, you have the right to file suit in U.S. Federal District Court. Small Claims Courts have no jurisdiction over Federal Tort claims. Please refer to the Federal Torts Claim Act for more information.
You can go to the TSA’s Claims Management Office’s website for more information.
To file a complaint about the agent who threatened you with arrest rather than give you this (rather basic) information, contact the “Claims Management Office Customer Service Manager.” Call the Contact Center at (866) 289-9673 or email the office at email@example.com. We’re sure they’d love to hear about it. Accidents happen and the TSA has a claims process in place to deal with it. That guy was a total jerk.
TSA Damage Report (w/ photos) [Jake Rhymes With Cake]