UPDATE: Delta Finally Refunds Man Who Tracked Down And Got Prosecuted Baggage Handler Who Stole His Camera

Remember our reader, Charles, who got his camera stolen by a Delta baggage handler? And how Charles found the camera on eBay and got the guy tracked down, fired, and arrested? And how Delta didn’t give a shit and wasn’t going to refund Charles any money? After we ran his story, the fine folks at the PeterGreenberg radio show stepped in, and Delta agreed to reimburse Charles for the full cost of his original flight. Here’s what they said:

Because of the circumstances surrounding Mr. M’s situation and subsequent actions taken toward employees involved, Delta unfortunately lost contact with him.

However, we look forward to not only offering our apology, but also reimbursement for his lost property.

It is true that, according to our policy, Delta does not offer reimbursement for lost or stolen camera equipment.

However, a key component of good customer service is recognizing exceptions to a rule and handling those cases accordingly. The employee who originally handled this issue is no longer a member of Delta’s customer care team.

Mr. M, we regret this inconvenience and look forward to working with you toward a resolution — which we hope will win you over as a Delta customer for life.”

Betsy (Delta Representative)

It’s great that Charles got his money back, but this is bullshit. The problem wasn’t that Charles misplaced his camera, it was that Delta employed someone who stole it. A “we don’t replace lost or stolen equipment” doesn’t apply when it’s your own employees stealing from your own customers. Secondly, how can Delta say they “lost contact” with Charles? He sent them letter after letter, several of which we posted. Lastly, and this is the biggest reason why this is bullshit, is that Delta only did this because the radio show got involved, not because they realized the error of their ways. Their tactic here was to placate and shut up before it became a bigger PR problem.

So that’s how you want to do it, corporate multinationals? It’s only when something looks like it’s going to damage you that you’ll do the right thing? No problem, we can play that game, with relish. — BEN POPKEN

PREVIOUSLY: Man Tracks Down And Gets Prosecuted Baggage Handler Who Stole His Camera, Delta Still Won’t Refund


Edit Your Comment

  1. webwbr says:

    A wise old man told me “You’ll never go wrong doing the right thing.”

    Delta — you *finally* did the right thing, but you still suck!

  2. ArntorFTL says:

    Agreed. This is simply lip service and the throwing of a bone in a poor attempt to fend off some very bad PR.

    At least Charles will get some satisfaction in receiving monetary reimbursement from Delta – even if it is an empty gesture on their part.

  3. Falconfire says:

    Wasnt it Delta who ALSO said it wasnt one of their baggage handlers but one of Newarks? So in the end Delta DID hire this guy and lied once it came out he was a convicted criminal?

    Whats worse, not only did Delta originally lie about the employer of the handler, but they also fired the customer care specialist who was likely only doing what her or his manager ordered them to do!

    Here is a thought Delta… since your so quick to throw around blame… why dont we fire the MANAGER of that customer care specialist, the MANAGER who hired the criminal, and the MANAGER who was in charge of him and not supervising him when he stole the property…. oh thats right we protect our managers and only fire peons to make ourselves look good.

    Fucking cocksuckers.

  4. ColoradoShark says:

    @: Falconfire: You’ve assumed the phrase “is no longer a member of Delta’s customer care team” means he was fired. Maybe he was upstanding guy, couldn’t take it anymore and quit.

    Delta may also suck because they used this ambiguous phrase to make it sound like they fired the guy.

  5. karimagon says:

    I agree, this stinks. What mostly rankles me is the fact that they fired the employee who was just doing his job, in accordance with company policy. And yes, it’s possible that he quit, the wording of this letter strongly suggests that Delta fired him. Instead of owning up to their poor hiring practices and unfair policies, they decide to use that employee as a scapegoat. It’s despicable.

  6. HawkWolf says:

    why do companies even provide customer care if a) they don’t care, and b) they aren’t going to fix problems unless they have to? They still have to pay for it, even if they outsource it to bangladesh or wherever, where people will work for water and air (figuratively)?

  7. Sam Glover says:

    I like how they think “we are not responsible for lost or stolen equipment” in their baggage handling “contract” means they aren’t responsible for equipment that they stole.

    Respondeat superior.

  8. Anonymously says:

    @Sam Glover: Exactly what I was thinking. “If you fly with us, we reserve the right to steal any of your property if it’s totally sweet. There’s nothing you can do about…nah nah nah.”

  9. Sudonum says:

    @ColoradoShark: You and Falconfire are assuming that he no longer works for Delta. They just said he “is no longer a member of Deltas’ Customer Care Team”. What if they moved him to a department that wasn’t involved in “Deltas’ Customer Care”. Which in this case could mean he’s still at his same old desk, since there was obviously no “Customer Care” to begin with.

  10. Bourque77 says:

    @HawkWolf: Because it looks good on paper to say you have a customer care team I guess. Every major company has one and 99.9% of them are worthless as everybody knows.

  11. Papa K says:

    At least they came around right? Because after all – “We are not responsible for lost or stolen equipment.”

    That kind of covers their ass, which is idiotic, because that means they could just not deliver anyone’s luggage and point to the sign “we’re not responsible!”

    I need to make a shirt that says that, so that way I can just steal everything and point to the shirt and just say “Hey, I’m not responsible.”

    Delta – lack of responsibility, lack of respect. What a company!

  12. falcon241073 says:

    My favorite excuse id the TSA and the Patriot Act. I had an item come up missing and when i called the Customer care line I was aksed if my bag was searched by the tSA, I said it was and had the card in the bag saying so. The CSR said then I should call them as they must have taken the item. I said they didn’t as I could see the TSA agent search my bags from the Customer check in area. I was the only one there at the time and she went straight to my bag while I watched. This crap that we can not lock our bags anymore sucks. I have hear more people grip about missing items when they fly than I ever did before these stupid placating laws were put in place. And now the airlines do not have to own up to their responsibility to protect our items when we check bags.

    Me and my bottle of water will just drive everywhere I want to go in the U.S. from now on. Unless I am going over seas, I no longer fly.

  13. Jason-Ryan-Isaksen says:

    I’ve never understood why the major airlines don’t crack down on this with a sting operation. They can easily put notebooks or cameras with the guts replaced with a GPS transmitter to follow whoever steals it to their home, or even better to the fence they sell it to.

    With margins and competition so fierce, if one carrier did a huge crackdown and didn’t plea bargain or settle with even one defendant (they wouldn’t have to) I’d feel a lot better travelling on that airline. It’s easy to plant former police as baggage handlers to find out who’s looting our luggage, it’s a bargain compared to dealing with stolen claims all the time for them too.

    I’ve heard that most airports have their own police stations, and what better way to train people for undercover work by assigning them to something like that for a few months to get them used to it? Probably no safer way to get their feet wet compared to sending them in on drug dealers their first day.

    There’s a lot of ways to put a stop to it, but I’m sure some Airline bean counter saw it as an expense and not the savings and good publicity, they often don’t see the big picture and press they would get, it’s good will exposure a corporation can’t buy in TV spots. Mandatory polygraph tests for all baggage handlers? I don’t know what a polygraph machine costs, but it can’t be that much to a billion dollar company with probably millions in claims paid each year. Maybe if we email CNN we can get Lou Dobbs to cover this for a week and shame them into acting.

    Jason Isaksen

  14. synergy says:

    So why is this Delta’s fault? Did they forget to do a criminal background check or something? Has he been previously arrested for theft? They should fire the guy for stealing while on the job, but I don’t know about having to pay for his thefts unless they knew he was a thief.

  15. Matthew says:

    As I’m sure people said on the original post, an unfortunate side effect of this incident is that it makes it harder for flyers to suspend their disbelief the way you have to if you want to really enjoy the “security” pageant the airlines put on these days.

  16. Falconfire says:

    @synergy: Yes they ignored a background check of the guy, and yes he had been previously arrested for theft (AND arrested for the theft of this very camera)

    Delta refused to admit it was one of their employees going so far as to say he was hired by the Port Authority of NY/NJ. Finally they admitted they hired the guy, but still refuse to take blame for the thefts.

  17. Buran says:


    Can I get a job where you work, if it’s “just doing your job” to steal from your customers?

  18. MeOhMy says:

    @synergy: Any GOOD company should take responsibility for the actions of its employees.

    Obviously Delta is not a good company.

  19. suckonthat says:

    It’s easy to plant former police as baggage handlers to find out who’s looting our luggage, it’s a bargain compared to dealing with stolen claims all the time for them too.

    See, that’s the sad part, the bargain is the way they deal with it now. Put their hands up and say “we can’t be responsible for things that you have no choice but to put in our care” and then in the rare opportunity someone goes through an unreasonable amount of hastle to catch them red handed AND get publicity for it, give them a refund of their ticket. They have us by the balls and they all know it.

    Oh and as for all the commenters who chide people for putting valuble things in their checked luggage, I have a friend who has had NBA basketball jerseys and moderately expensive shampoo stolen during separate flights.