Dave Carroll Says No To Guitar Hush Money From United

We officially love Dave Carroll now. Not only is he cute and a good singer, but he’s classy (check out how he defends the United employee in this video response) and has principles. The best part is at the end he encourages us to stay tuned for song #2. United hoped it could pay for the guitar and put an end to the bad publicity—but it looks like you’re not getting off that easily, United. Check out the full video response below.

Update: Transcript!
Thanks to our commenter Alexander Saites, here’s a transcript of the video:

Hi, everybody. I’m Dave Carroll, and I’m coming to you from an undisclosed warehouse somewhere in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to everybody in the world who’s been supporting United Song One the way you have, which is more than I ever could have hoped, especially after two days.

United has been in contact with me, and they have generously, but late, offered us compensation, and I’m grateful for that, but like I said before, I’m not looking for compensation. And if they would chose to give that money that they were thinking I might want to a charity of their choice, I’d be very happy to see that happen. I’d only ask that they’d share that news with us as to where that money went.

I’d also like to mention Ms. Irwig — she was mentioned in Song One, and through many of the posts I read, she may be being treated a little unfairly. And in my experience, she was a great employee, and unflappable, and acting in the interest of the United policies that she represented. So, I think she deserves a bit of a break, and one day, I hope to have a good laugh with her about [aboot] all this, because in Song Two, I feature my dealings with her a little bit better, in a very lighthearted way. So, stay tuned for Song Two, everybody. It’s coming very, very soon. Thanks.

“United Breaks Guitars – A statement from Dave Carroll” [YouTube]

“United Breaks Guitars”


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  1. pdxguy says:

    Kudos to Dave Carroll. It’s sad though that United has (former?) customers with more class and integrity than United itself could ever muster. Used to be an elite flyer with them in the pre-bankruptcy days, but haven’t flown on them since. The name is the same but the company is entirely different. Amazing, but tragic, that an airline could go from one of best to one of the worst. I’m looking forward to song #2.

    • RB_Bhoy says:

      @pdxguy: he’s only so nice cuz he’s a canuck haha

      • anduin says:

        more like because hes a nova scotia, most canadians are assholes (Alberta here) but yea, United sucks bad, I flew to hawaii with them a few weeks ago and it was just so rough, their 767 had less leg room than their united express carrier (both are economy class). And loved that they sad us RIGHT by the bathroom door where those pleasant smells could hit us each time someone walked out, I don’t even get how that’s acceptable. The ticket should be half price if your taking a seat by the shitter.

  2. Ubert says:

    Dave is really a class act. Not only does he not care about the money, and would like to see it donated to charity, but defends and complements Ms. Irlweg by saying she was only doing her job. Dave is a stand up guy. Really looking forward to song #2.

  3. tjfraz1 says:

    As soon as I saw the first post of this video, I knew hits were gonna skyrocket. Leave it to the Consumerist to actually get stuff done. Hopefully things do work out for him. Being a musician and very careful about my possessions, I would have been on the warpath had anything like this happened to me.

    Dave Carroll, you are a classier man than I, and I both commend your efforts and wish a satisfactory conclusion to all of this for you.

  4. ogremustcrush says:

    This is actually pretty smart for him. Why stop the publicity for his music now? Even if United sucks at PR, why should he? Kudos.

    • GMFish says:

      @ogremustcrush: “Why stop the publicity for his music now?

      Hadn’t thought of that. Good point.

    • Shoelace says:

      @ogremustcrush: And the more publicity he gets, the more publicity United gets – double win.

      Wonder what United’s next move is going to be.

      • dohtem says:

        @Shoelace: The publicity United is getting is not the kind they’d like.

        • sonneillon says:

          @dohtem: Don’t they say there is not such thing as bad publicity? Well here’s a hole pile of no such things.

          • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

            @sonneillon: In my current iteration as a PR flakker, I can tell you there IS such a thing as bad publicity. Unfortunately, A) United is a huge corporation and this will be a minor sting at best and B) this will not affect their brand greatly as it’s already in the toilet.

            My guess is that right now, their PR team is simply rolling their eyes and cheering at the extra billable hours (if any) that this will earn them.

  5. tjfraz1 says:

    Just an add-on, check the related videos, apparently CNN has covered the situation as well. Awesome!

  6. David Eckert says:

    Hmm, I smell a rat. If he doesn’t want compensation, what does he want then? Why doesn’t he state that in this video? I think he’s just dragging this out for his own PR now.

    • pattiesmart says:

      @David Eckert: “I think he’s just dragging this out for his own PR now. “


    • Airjoe says:

      @David Eckert: He wants people to understand how badly United screwed up. The point is, it’s too late for them to just cut him a check now, because they didn’t do it until this was all made public and now they’re just trying to save face. And you know what? If he gets some good PR out of this whole thing, more power to him. I’d certainly like to see his album sales make up for the money he lost repairing the guitar than it coming from some stupid PR move by United.

    • katstermonster says:

      @David Eckert: I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s dragging it out to make a point, and a good one: airlines need to institute a policy and culture shift so that things like this NEVER happen again.

      And if he gets his own PR out of it, so what?

    • jblack says:

      @David Eckert:
      Perhaps he is hoping to get United to say that when it comes to to the property of their customers, that “They’re Taking it Seriously”.

    • waffles says:

      @David Eckert: What’s wrong with making sure that other people don’t have to go through the same thing? It does people no good if he gets compensation and United goes and messes up someone else’s stuff by being stupid.

      • GMFish says:

        @waffles: “What’s wrong with making sure that other people don’t have to go through the same thing?

        You honestly think that because this guy refuses to take the money and writes another song that suddenly every passenger who has their luggage damaged will get what they deserve? Seriously? One more song? Two songs?

        Speaking of air travel, can I interest you in a time-share in Florida? You seem the gullible type, er, the type of person who loves vacationing in the sun!

        • Landru says:

          @GMFish: If everyone did what they could, even it’s only write a little song put it on YouTube, it would make a huge difference. And every viewing on YouTube counters one of their “friendly skies” ads. They will take notice.

          • GMFish says:

            @Landru: “If everyone did what they could…

            Oh, so if every person who had their luggage damaged, similarly refused to take compensation and accept an apology, it will stop happening. For some reason. That I don’t completely understand. I get it. Sort of. Not.

            • Shawn Sansom says:

              He’s given them credit for making a donation in the sum of $3000. i.e. he has accepted the apology to whatever extent it was an actual apology.
              However he did promise them three songs well before they were making ANY effort to apologize or be reasonable, he will be keeping that promise, and that shows a certain amount of character and perseverance that deserves respect.
              Yes, if EVERYONE or even a good 5% of complaining parties had this same level of perseverance, your damned right it would make a difference.

        • katstermonster says:

          @GMFish: United has already asked to use his video and story to train employees on how to properly handle situations like this.

          So it’s for his own PR at this point…so what? The video was pretty funny, and I bet the next one will be, too.

        • frank64 says:

          @GMFish: Probably not, but that is a real cynical view that, if followed would mean we should just accept every injustice?

          Besides, it is good to show United and other companies at there IS a cost to treating customers shabbily. Maybe it won’t change United, but maybe another airline? Or another company in a different industry? Worth a shot.

    • JennQPublic says:

      @David Eckert: It’s the principle of the thing. What happens to the next person whose property is destroyed by United, but who isn’t talented enough to make a cute music video about it. I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of people have already been screwed by United.

      They didn’t take care of him when they should have, and I’m glad he’s not taking their hush money. Guess what, United? You can’t always throw money at a problem to make it go away. You need to do the right thing the first time around.

    • Tim says:

      @David Eckert: Actually, at this point, it sounds like the point of it has become artistic. He’s found some really good inspiration, and he likes writing songs about it.

    • redkamel says:

      @David Eckert: Its called principle. United had a chance to fix the problem, and they were told they would get these songs if they didnt. Well, things happened just as they were warned. Now they want to play ball? Too bad.

      Maybe he is dragging it out for his own PR. But its still United’s fault.

    • GMFish says:

      @David Eckert: “I think he’s just dragging this out for his own PR now.

      I have to agree. United screwed up. He protested. They want to apologize and give him what is owed. Now he’s the one dragging it out. For what purpose other than more attention.

      To me the “classy” thing to do when someone wants to apologize is to accept it.

      • frank64 says:

        @GMFish: It looks like United dragged it out for about a year, so I think you should give him more than two days!

      • diasdiem says:

        @GMFish: To me the “classy” thing to do when someone wants to apologize is to accept it.

        But they don’t want to apologize. They want this bad PR mess to go away. They’re not sorry about not compensating him for his guitar. They’re sorry they’re getting called out for it. They had plenty of opportunity to make it right. Now they have to face the consequences. He promised three songs, they’re getting three songs.

        And if he gets good exposure for his music, good for him. Something’s got to make up for his $3500 guitar getting smashed.

        And ultimately it’s for the better. Companies will never change their ways if the people they screw over always take compensation to go away after the public’s starting to hear about it. I say hang the money, shout out as loud as you can to anyone who will listen about how you’ve been wronged for as long as they will listen to you. They won’t believe they’re doing things wrong until their customers disappear and their stock price goes in the toilet.

        Sure, you don’t get compensated for your loss, but you get the satisfaction of royally screwing someone who has it coming to them. You can’t put a price on that.

      • BrazDane says:

        @GMFish: There’s nothing classy about hushing up or being quiet now, knowing that United only did this because he was able to generate enough bad PR to make this the wiser business decision. WHile it was only him that was feeling pissed off and mistreated they couldn’t care less. Now that he is gaining sympathy, they suddenly reverse their decision.

        So United are NOT apologizing, they are conducting business as usual and trying to throw money at a problem to solve it, instead of solving the cause of the problem – horrible customer service.

      • Anonymous says:


        Speaking of gullible. Cmon. United doesn’t want to apologize. They want to avoid another PR hit. If they’d wanted to apologize they had 9 months of Dave trying to get his guitar repaired to do it in, instead they were more interested in giving him the runaround because they figured he’d go away.

        When you reap what you sow, you reap MORE than you sow.

    • halothane says:

      @GMFish: Perhaps he wants them to do more than just fix this one mistake and be done with it. United shouldn’t just be compensating Dave for his broken guitar. They need to change their compensation policy as well as educating their baggage handlers so that others don’t get shafted in the future. Not everybody can write some cute little ditty whenever an airline breaks something of theirs.

      Apologizing for something means nothing if you’re just going to turn around and keep doing things as usual.

    • supercereal says:

      @David Eckert: To go against the general consensus, I’d say now he’s just attention whoring as much as humanly possible. He can’t take the money and still get away with making annoying videos on the internets.

    • ThinkerTDM says:

      @David Eckert: He’s doing it to be a thorn in their side. He’s doing it to show them that it is much easier and cheaper for them to train their employees to do it right the first time, than to simply let undertrained monkeys work there.

      • David Eckert says:

        @ThinkerTDM: Also, @most previous replies

        We don’t know exactly what United said to him when they offered the money. They may have profusely apologized for what happened to him. Also, we don’t know United’s story. Those baggage handlers may or may not even work for United, they may be general airport employees, I have no idea. From what is sounds like, he didn’t follow the rules on making a claim. There are rules to follow and deadlines to meet, and companies aren’t responsible if you don’t. Read the fine print.

        The point is, we don’t know if United was just being nice to offer to pay, even though legally they weren’t required to. This guy is just dragging this on to keep his name out there and give him an excuse to make more videos; as was mentioned above, he can’t make videos about how much United sucks if he’s made nice with them. If he was really the bigger man, he’d accept the apology and move on. But he’s not. And I hate f@%#ing country music anyway. :P

        • Android8675 says:

          @David Eckert: Dude, really?

          If they want to apologize I believe there’s a press release channel called the Associated Press. If they want to apologize (and not throw money at the guy in hopes the problem will go away), I think they need a good wakeup call.

          Sucks you hate country, I personally could take it or leave it, but that seems like a poor reason to disagree with his POV.

        • frank64 says:

          @David Eckert: We do know it was brought to the attention of United’s employees right then and there. We do know that he alerted them that the baggage handlers were throwing baggage around. We do know there was complete indifference. We do know it took 9 months to get the final answer. We do know they responded ONLY to the video going viral, when they FIRST responded to the video they still were not going to pay.

          There is really nothing you can say at that point that really is adequate, it is like someone caught after continued stealing or cheating and says sorry? The problem is institutional and sometimes things like this have an effect.

    • Android8675 says:

      @GMFish: Well if a LOT of people said “Hey, United damages bags and doesn’t care.” Maybe more people would leave United for some other carrier, then United wouldn’t have any baggage to damage, RIGHT?

      They may not stop doing it, BUT THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS LESSEN THEIR WORK LOAD!

      Do good work, get paid! Do bad work… lay off people.

    • DovS says:

      If I understand David correctly, the lesson to be learned from this is clear:

      If your property is damaged by United, the correct course of action is to write a song and create a music video about it which will then become an overnight Internet sensation. Since this avenue is available to all United customers, there is no point in Mr. Carroll turning down the hush money he was offered by United.

      I also acknowledge that his observation that Mr. Carroll is not the “bigger man” is certainly correct since, in order to be the bigger man, he would have to be 135.7 feet tall in order to have a greater volume than the 48,500 employees who make up United Airlines.

      This supports David’s claim that Mr. Carroll is looking for personal PR since Mr. Carroll is obviously trying to compensate for not being 135.7 feet tall.

      • David Eckert says:


        Seriously, WTF are you talking about?

        • twophrasebark says:

          @David Eckert:

          I think Eckert kind of treads heavily in his assessment, but I mostly agree.

          Carroll made a great song. United agreed to compensate him. I am a little confused as to Carroll’s comments or why this is continuing…

          • diasdiem says:

            @twophrasebark: They only agreed to compensate him after the song went viral and the mainstream media started to pick it up. If they were really sincere about doing right by him, they would have done it a lot quicker than 9 months.

            He asked for compensation, and gave an ultimatum. They refused. Now he’s acting on that ultimatum. It’s sort of like accepting a better offer. It’s too late to buy him off with compensation for a busted guitar, because he’s probably going to get much more value from these three songs and the publicity they generate. As a added bonus, he gets back at the company that did him wrong, and if it causes United to maybe improve their policies (either for baggage handling or the handling of customer grievances), we all benefit as consumers.

    • notgoodenough says:

      @David Eckert: Its been 12 months since United smashed his guitar. Did yo see the video? He has another one now, and he is using it to teach United a lesson, so obviously the offer of a replacement is meaningless, and, the lesson here for United is invaluable. If i ever decide to travel from Australia to the US, United can rest assured that they will be at the bottom of my list for domestic travel, and their name will probably be written in invisible ink just to make sure.

    • UnnamedUser says:

      @David Eckert: @David Eckert:

      I could imagine that United offered to buy him any guitar in the universe, but he’d have to remove the song “United Breaks Guitars” from YouTube.

      With the publicity he’s getting from the Video (I’d pay to see him live somewhere), there’s no reason for him to accept their “offer”. United just wants to do Damage Control.

      Revenge is sweet. The publicity helps.

    • anduin says:

      @David Eckert:
      lol a rat, thats what you are ! *ends juvenile rant*

    • Shawn Sansom says:

      @David Eckert:
      He made a promise to Ms Irlweg (sp?) and United that he would write not just one, but three songs. He spent nine months running in circles trying to get his due compensation. They gave him loads of material to write three songs and he’s going to keep his promise. It’s as simple as that.

      So lets say he gets credit for making the Airline industry take their customers’ complaints seriously. And lets say he receives some exposure as a musician in the process… doesn’t he deserve every bit of it? He’s done the work! There’s also a decent chance he could bring about some real policy change at United and other airlines.

      People sit around like lumps, they complain, and moan about all sorts of really annoying “hard-to-solve” problems, but Dave goes out and does something about it.

  7. Roy Hobbs says:

    Ten years after the Cluetrain Manifesto came out, how is it that companies are not prepared for stuff like this?

    • Pixelantes Anonymous says:

      @Roy Hobbs: Well put.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Roy Hobbs: I am extremely happy to find that this is the name of a real book.

      • Roy Hobbs says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: And for those of us who see the Internet as the Great Leveler in relations between companies and customers, it is an invaluable read. I keep 4 or 5 copies in my office whenever people from the home office come by and ask what our secret to great customer service is.

      • my secret identity says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: @Roy Hobbs: Hey thanks! I’m just about to buy this book. I would have already, but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of another book I was going to order anyway.

        From what I read of it on Google Books, it looks like a good read.

    • Nighthawke says:

      @Roy Hobbs: Oh bravo!

      Let UAL stew on their mistakes until the meat falls off their bones. They rightly deserve to know how badly they need to correct their wrongs and start seeing the passengers at they are instead of numbers.

  8. Elvisisdead says:

    It’s rare that you see folks taking the high road these days. However, don’t give Dave that much credit. He stands to benefit from this stretching out…

  9. econobiker says:

    I still default to http://www.untied.com for all the customer horror stories about United Airlines…

  10. katstermonster says:

    He’s adorable, and his accent makes him extra bangable.

    Also, the song and what he’s doing are, you know, great.

  11. PsiCop says:

    Wait, I must have missed something here. If the guy doesn’t want financial compensation, then what — exactly — does he want?

    • Airjoe says:

      @PsiCop: I really didn’t think it was that hard to comprehend. Read the above comments by myself and katstermonster in reply to David Eckert.

      • PsiCop says:

        @Airjoe: If he wanted to make a point, he’s already made it. His point has been archived for all eternity on the Internet, in the form of his Youtube video and blog postings such as the one here. His refusing to take cash does not change the fact that he’s made his point, and it doesn’t change that it will continue to be made available in perpetuity.

        So saying “he wants to make a point” does not rationally explain his refusal to take money.

        This leaves me to ask — again — exactly what it is that he does want? It’s pretty clear there’s something else going on here. I’m just asking what that is.

        • knacko says:

          @PsiCop: Do you think he really cares about the money? He’s mad about the complete indifference the airline had towards handling his guitar and how the situation was handled after it had been broken.

          How many posts do we see every week about the exact same thing? It’s nice to find someone who won’t just take the money and run. I’d rather he not stop until all the airlines change their policies to avoid this type of situation instead of just paying off people who get wronged in some manner.

          • kariokie says:

            @knacko: Totally! Speaking as someone with a decent amount of experience in this realm, United is just trying to look like good people who made a simple mistake. They fork over some cash and solve one guy’s problem, shutting him up. They won’t make any policy changes that matter because they are potentially far too expensive.

            Now, if this bad PR keeps up for a while, it becomes more expensive than the policy changes. That’s when we might see something of substance happen.

          • PsiCop says:

            @knacko: Again, taking the money or not, cannot change the fact that he has already made his point.

            So again I ask, why wouldn’t he take the money? Why is it so hard to get a cogent and rational answer to this question?

          • thesadtomato says:

            @knacko: Yeah. He’s clearly not pissed off about the *cash*, or the chorus of the song wouldn’t be “United breaks guitars,” it would be “United owes me $1500.”

            He told them they damaged his guitar, they acknowledged that the incident occurred and when he asked for recompense “[Ms. Irlweg] said the final answer was ‘NO'” The money is no longer at issue, the treatment of him as a passenger whose stuff was damaged by nothing more than careless employees and an uncaring airline.

            The video’s goal was not to get $3500 for a new guitar, which is pretty clear if you’ve seen the video.

        • redkamel says:

          @PsiCop: Money isnt what everyone wants. Maybe he sees the world in the sense that people/companies get chances, and if they don’t take them, there are consquences. I would think most people would willingly lose the money for one guitar/valuable item for the chance to put the screws on a company that wronged them in the first place.

          Making a point to United that you can’t ignore, then buy off, customers, might be more important to him than a guitar.

          • PsiCop says:

            @redkamel: Again, taking the money or not, cannot change the fact that he has already made his point.

            So again I ask, why wouldn’t he take the money? Why is it so hard to get a cogent and rational answer to this question?

            • supercereal says:

              @PsiCop: He won’t take the money because apparently his 15 seconds of internet celebrity has made him self-centered and irrational. Why settle for being righted when you have folks inexplicable watching your cheesy YouTube videos?

              • Cyberxion101 says:

                @supercereal: Wow. Could your jealousy issues be any more transparent? Methinks your issue is not that the guy is seeking internet fame, but that he’s more likely to attain any sort of fame at all than you will ever be.

                • supercereal says:

                  @Cyberxion101: From the makers of Internet Lawyerâ„¢, it seems we now have Internet Psychologistâ„¢.

                  But no, not really — based on what I know about him, I’m more successful at being an engineer than he is at being a musician. With work that’s been in space, I’m already pretty content with myself. I really couldn’t care less about the “fame” he achieves on the internet.

                  In general, I’m oh so envious of the exclusive club that includes Numa-Numa kid, Star Wars kid, Fred, and the United guitar guy. Somehow, voicing annoyance at pointless videos makes one jealous of them?

            • superberg says:


              “Again, taking the money or not, cannot change the fact that he has already made his point.”

              If the point had been properly made, you wouldn’t be asking the question.

              He’s saying “enough is enough.” Not “pay me to stop.”

              Why is it that people get so bent out of shape when others try to fix a serious problem? All this negative publicity will keep them honest. Sadly, it seems it’s the only way to keep any company honest these days.

              • PsiCop says:

                @superberg: “If the point had been properly made, you wouldn’t be asking the question.”

                I’m asking the question because IT IS NOT RATIONAL for him NOT to take the money at this point. He has ALREADY gotten his video out. He has ALREADY been discussed all over the ‘Net. All of that has ALREADY happened. His taking money, or not, CANNOT CHANGE THAT.

                • jamar0303 says:

                  @PsiCop: That’s where the flaw in your logic is. If it was me in that situation, all rationality would have been tossed out the window after the first day, let alone a whole beepin’ year. Screw the money, let them BURN! Also, most cash settlements require confidentiality or some form of silence on the victim. I don’t think he was willing to stand for that.

            • Ubik2501 says:

              @PsiCop: Pressure. It doesn’t take very long for something to fade into the background these days, especially on the internet. If he keeps making these songs and doesn’t let go of the principle of holding these companies accountable for their actions and policies, it’ll keep it in the public attention longer and might encourage action by the airlines instead of the usual “here’s your money, now shut up.”

              The principle of forcing the airlines to take action instead of just complacently taking his money and running is one more consumers should adopt to force them to own up to their mistakes and change their policies.

              Money is not the sole arbiter of value for most people, you know.

              • PsiCop says:

                @Ubik2501: “Pressure.” Huh? What part of “He has ALREADY made his point and been heard around the world” did you miss? What more “pressure” can be brought to bear by not taking compensation?

                If he’s looking for United to “take action,” then tell me precisely what “action” he demands of them? I’m not aware of his “demand.” If you know what that demand is, then why won’t you tell me?

                As for money, whether he takes it or not, DOES NOT MATTER. His point HAS ALREADY BEEN MADE. His problem is KNOWN, all around the world. If he takes money or not, that CANNOT CHANGE THIS FACT.

                • kariokie says:

                  @PsiCop: So you are saying if a lot of attention is brought to a subject for two days it somehow equal in motivating change as if a lot of attention is brought to something for two weeks? And you are saying a company is just as motivated to change its behavior if something happens for two days and blows over as if something garners a lot of attention for two weeks or more? I don’t think that is accurate.

                  Pressure to change consumer perception (“Hey United has a bad policy!”) has to do with duration and repeated exposure to the message, not just with initial impact. If you know anything about consumer behavior, you know that. By changing consumer perception of a company, you then change consumer behavior (“Hey, I keep hearing United sucks! Maybe I should fly with someone else.”) you then have the opportunity to change corporate behavior (“Wow, I think all these potential customers think we suck because they keep hearing it, maybe we should do something about it!”)

                  Not everyone can write a song when their belongings get broken. Right now United would give any one of them the same runaround this guy got — and they would have little recourse. By holding United’s feet over the fire this guy does everyone who flies United a favor. People who have the power in situations in corporations should use it to help people who don’t get that kind of leverage.

                • Julius_Seizure says:

                  @PsiCop: What has United done to guarantee that this sort of mistreatment of customers and their possessions won’t occur again? How many other people are going to have to get national news coverage just to have their grievances with an airline resolved in a reasonable and just manner? The man had witnesses and he still had to go through all this just to get United to acknowledge that they were liable.

                  United finally deciding to compensate a customer because their name is getting dragged through the mud isn’t an adequate response. Holding their baggage handlers responsible and taking responsibility for the actions of their representatives in general is an adequate response. What more can the airlines do? Install cameras in baggage handling areas and hire loss prevention specialists to review footage. Press charges against unethical employees. It won’t put an end to the problem, but it definitely will do more to prevent further issues than what’s already being done.

        • katstermonster says:

          @PsiCop: Since you seem to be on the “there’s another reason” path…what could it possibly be? We’ve offered a number of reasonable discussions of why he isn’t taking the money. Convince us otherwise. Saying over and over again that we’re wrong is just annoying.

          Also: have you ever felt personally victimized by a company that ignored a reasonable request on your part? It’s frustrating beyond belief. Maybe he wanted to make United feel that way, ya think? No matter what they do (in this case, offer money), he’s going to persist…the way they persisted in denying his claim.

          • PsiCop says:

            @katstermonster: “We’ve offered a number of reasonable discussions of why he isn’t taking the money.”

            No you haven’t. What you’ve “offered” is something that has nothing to do with wju he’s refused to take the money.

            Your position so far is, he’s refused the money in order to make a point. The cold fact is that he HAS ALREADY made his point. Even if he were to go into eternal silence on the matter tomorrow, his point HAS BEEN MADE. It is OUT THERE on the ‘Net and now completely out of his — and United Airlines’ — hands.

            Whether or not he takes money from United, WILL NOT CHANGE THAT. It can, in fact, NEVER change that.

            So again, I am asking for a reason he won’t take the money, which makes sense. Saying he’s refusing in order to “make a point,” makes NO sense, because HIS POINT HAS BEEN MADE.

            There is, of course, at least one rational and sensible explanation I can think of, which DOES explain it. And that is, by refusing the money he’s assuming an air of moral authority and can continue to exploit the fame he’s already earned, by appearing sanctimonious about it. Of course, his sanctimony has nothing to do with the facts.

            Another possible explanation is that no one at United actually did anything to his guitar, he cooked up whole thing for publicity; his acceptance of money might be contingent on United investigating the episode and — potentially — discovering this is the case.

            Put another way … if United had genuinely broken his guitar, and if he were genuinely entitled to compensation for it, there is NOTHING immoral or wrong about him taking that compensation. In fact, that’s how things ought to be done in the real world … people/companies/whatever screw up and/or make mistakes, they acknowledge them when confronted, and make it right through compensation.

            In other words, his acceptance of money, or not, CANNOT sully his message.

    • Fishy007 says:

      @PsiCop: He won’t take the money because a condition of taking said money will be for him to cease playing that song. The song is worth so much more than the money.

    • DadsterNC says:

      @PsiCop: I understand that Dave feels victimized. I agree that he is in the right and that United has acted horribly.

      But: they broke his $3500 guitar. He no longer wants compensation? What’s up with that?

    • Anonymous says:

      The pricip;e is that he gave them a chance to do the right thing and pay for it. Them paying him for it is no longer an option even as they beg and plead. They are already paying for it because they did not do the right thing in the first place.
      Dave deserves his pound of flesh why are you all wrapped up in the whole they are willing to pay for it now thing? That ship has sailed.. get over it. And for those who think he is only into it for something.. We are all into whatever we are doing every day to get something. What makes you any different? He is enjoying getting his pound of flesh. If a bit of success comes with it then he should be able to enjoy that too. He is a 41 year old Musician. He has already paid his dues there. Moreso than any teen sensation at the top of the charts now.

  12. Anonymous says:

    After a year of trying to get them to pay for his guitar I would not accept the money either. I would release the single to get my money and the rest would be donated to charity. United had plenty of opportunities to make this right with him and refused to. so they deserve all the bad PR and Dave deserves to milk it for all of the PR that he can get out of it.

  13. lannister80 says:

    Why the hell does it have to be a video response? At work, can’t view. How about a transcript?

    And that guy is cute? Really?

    • BuddyGuyMontag says:

      @lannister80: He looks like Alexander Ovechkin with a better stylist.

    • katstermonster says:

      @lannister80: It’s 30% looks and 70% accent. Canadian accents are adorable.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        @katstermonster: Heck, just him being Canadian makes him all the more awesome! Now I can hope for him to get a gig opening for Great Big Sea, and then wish for tickets and a non-United flight to see it!

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      @lannister80: Well the snapshot makes him look weird, but hes good looking otherwise.

    • Alexander Saites says:

      @lannister80: “Hi, everybody. I’m Dave Carroll, and I’m coming to you from an undisclosed warehouse somewhere in Nova Scotia, Canada, and I would like to express my deep gratiude to everybody in the world who’s been supporting United Song One the way you have, which is more than I ever could have hoped, especially after two days. United has been in contact with me, and they have generiously, but late, offered us compensation, and I’m grateful for that, but like I said before, I’m not looking for compensation. And if they would chose to give that money that they were thinking I might want to a charity of their choice, I’d be very happy to see that happen. I’d only ask that they’d share that news with us as to where that money went. I’d also like to mention Ms. Irwig — she was mentioned in Song One, and through many of the posts I read, she may be being treaded a little unfairly. And in my experience, she was a great employee, and unflappable, and acting in the interest of the United policies that she represented. So, I think she deserves a bit of a break, and one day, I hope to have a good laugh with her about [aboot] all this, because in Song Two, I feature my dealings with her a little bit better, in a very lighthearted way. So, stay tuned for Song Two, everybody. It’s coming very, very soon. Thanks.”

    • ohenry says:

      @lannister80: He looks like Elijah Woods.

    • greyer says:

      @lannister80: He’s not cute, he’s adorable.

  14. Skater009 says:


  15. bilge says:

    Has it been determined what type of case he used and what sort of damage happened to his guitar?

    • razremytuxbuddy says:

      @bilge: At this point, it doesn’t matter whether he packed it in a hard case. A witness saw the baggage crew intentionally abusing the guitar.

  16. oneandone says:

    Any chance of a transcript? It’s not that long a clip – maybe you can put one up soon?

  17. Imaginary says:

    What a stand up guy! I wouldn’t take their money either. It’s good to know that there are people out there who are willing to not just stand up against immoral corporate practices but refuse to back down when the big bad corporation comes to shut them up. Keep the songs coming!

  18. satoru says:

    Well as an artist the publicity from this whole thing is worth far more than the compensation from United. He’s wise to milk it for all it’s worth!

  19. Chris W James says:

    I’m glad he’s getting some good publicity. As a musician, I never fly with my guitar anymore because I don’t want anything happening to the guitar my uncle gave me. I either ship it out beforehand or buy a cheap one online and have it shipped to where I’m playing.
    I hope he stretches out the PR and winds up on Oprah, I don’t blame him one bit. And it’s great he’s bringing awareness to a cause. ANY valuable luggage/equipment can be destroyed by baggage handlers and they take no responsibility for their actions.

  20. Bryan_E says:

    This guy is great! Oh how wonderful it would be to have the money to not have to bother with resolving a problem and just screw with the company that wronged you.

  21. BillyShears says:

    To everyone asking “Well, what does he want then,” the answer’s simple. He wants to publically shame United for as long as humanly possible. They’re apologizing because they’re getting bad PR, not because they finally realized it was their fault.

    He speaks for all of us that have gotten our luggage lost and/or trashed that don’t have the talent to so beautifully tar and feather a company in such a public manner.

    • twophrasebark says:


      Well, there’s such a thing as accepting an apology gracefully.

      • twophrasebark says:

        (I’m not sure making another video fits into that).

      • BillyShears says:


        You’re assuming the apology is sincere. Given the sequence of events, I highly doubt that.

        • twophrasebark says:


          I think you feel that United deserves to be punished. I don’t get the sense that anything could convince you the apology is sincere. And it may not be. But I think it’s important in life to not race to match someone else’s poor behavior. United’s business practices are weak. Carroll’s first response was witty and smart.

          He is now heading into making himself look less than stellar by promoting himself.

  22. JustinSane07 says:

    These articles need text for the YouTube impaired.

  23. Dave says:

    So the guy sees his guitar cases being thrown but doesn’t file a damage claim report in Omaha within the 24-hour window which is required by United. If I don’t follow the rules I can make a video about the injustice done to me right? Coming up next on YouTube… a funny but snide video about Barnes and Noble and their 14 day return policy.

    • superberg says:


      What, are we supposed to have to check every bag and rigorously inspect every package the instant it is handed to us? Why do I have to take responsibility for their poor training and lack of control over their employees? If we all take thirty extra minutes at the baggage claim, airports are going to get mighty crowded…

      Airlines are about saving time. If time wasn’t an issue, we’d drive everywhere.

    • notgoodenough says:

      @Dave: You obviously didn’t watch the video very carefully. He tried to complain to three staff as soon as he got off the plane at O’Hare.. Waste of pixels mate.

    • humphrmi says:


      If I don’t follow the rules I can make a video about the injustice done to me right?

      That is correct. And, for that matter, United can make their own video too, if they want.

      Frankly I think it’s a good thing. Just because they are “the rules” doesn’t mean that they’re right. So lets say you plan a weekend getaway for you and your spouse, and then just because the ramp monkeys throw your bags around for fun, you have to spend half of your getaway weekend filing claim paperwork?

      It’s not right, it should be made fun of, and kudos to this guy for doing it.

  24. MightyCow says:

    It’s nice to see people who will stand up for their point, instead of just giving up as soon as the paycheck comes. Sometimes a minor slip happens, and all you want is your money, and that’s fine.

    When the policy of the company is to treat customers poorly though, it’s awesome that he’s going to keep at them until they change the policy. Maybe they won’t, but they ought to think about it, as it’s probably cheaper than all the bad press.

  25. Anonymous says:

    While I feel that United is unquestionably liable for Dave’s guitar, I don’t understand the latest video. United is offering to pay for the guitar but Dave won’t accept the payment? Isn’t that the whole point? Or is this situation being used for some other goal now?

  26. SacraBos says:

    United screwed up, and he called them out on it. Now that he has the upper hand, they want to make nice. Until that point, they basically told him he was SOL.

    So is he now milking it? This is America, the land of opportunity. United has given him one, and he appears to be taking advantage of it. You go, dude!

    So is he doing this on the principle? Paying him off now, after all this, isn’t “taking it seriously”. It doesn’t do anything to correct an institutional policy of it’s not our problem, just silence a particularly effective critic. On principle, he should continue until many more customer are treated fairly – the FIRST time.

  27. ElizabethD says:

    That Canadian accent!!!

    *is dead*

  28. Tian (www.tian.cc) says:

    ANY publicity is better than NO publicity.

  29. BrazDane says:

    I applaud Dave for doing what he promised to do and not taking United’s hush money.
    Their response is so typical. “Ooops, this customer we screwed actually had a means to generate some interest in his case and now we better pretend to be nice.” Yes, it has become a PR disaster for United, and now they need to feel the full brunt of their punishment – this isn’t a civil court case where you can settle your way out of things with enough money.
    And if Dave gets some publicity from this, good for him – he deserves it with all the aggravation and wasted time he has had with United. I wish we could all be this effective when a business decides to ignore our rightful claims.

  30. Ilovegnomes says:

    So he complains about not getting compensated to repair his guitar and then he turns down compensation when they finally offer it?

    On principle alone, what message are they sending to United? Keep making it hard for people to collect on their claim because they are going to turn it down anyway.

    • Cyberxion101 says:

      @Ilovegnomes: Did he complain about not being compensated, or was his message more about how United didn’t bother to acknowledge him at all until he raised awareness about the problem?

    • jamar0303 says:

      @Ilovegnomes: The message would be “Don’t screw your customers- you never know when one of them might be a musician capable of generating instant bad PR”.

  31. bobert says:

    Carroll tried to get compensation through United’s normal channels for NINE MONTHS. If you read the account on his website, he followed all their rules, and clearly spent hours and hours dealing with their Kafka-esque system, calling and faxing the same information over and over again, and getting shuffled from person to person and office to office. What I found most bizarre were the repeated demands that he fly his broken guitar to various distant places for inspection after United’s code-share partner had already inspected it and filed paperwork agreeing it was damaged. In the end, United pretty much told him to stuff it.

    Paying for repairs cannot make up for this waste of time and energy. Time for revenge. Carroll is grinding United’s face into the dirt, and I hope he just keeps grinding.

    Maybe enough public mockery and embarrassment will teach United to treat their customers like the folks who pay their salaries rather than a nuisance, although I’m not holding my breath.

  32. MostlyHarmless says:

    @supercereal: That is what happens when you do not read the whole thing. He is NOT taking the money. He said, give it to a charity if you really want to, but I dont want any of it.

    It _would_ have been a VERY d-baggish move if he took the money AND went ahead with the songs. But he is not.

  33. David Eckert says:

    So you’re saying United needs to prepare a press release and send it to the AP every time it apologizes to a customer?

    Again, he never states in his song *why* his claim was denied. We know nothing of United’s side of this. But what the hell, let me grab my pitchfork and join the mob, because they are an evil corporation and this guy is just so cute! [*barf*]

  34. HogwartsAlum says:

    I watched the video last night. I don’t like country music but I liked this. It was very funny.

    United are being dicks.

  35. consumerd says:

    I wonder if you can buy the song on amazon.com yet?

  36. cete-of-badgers says:

    He’s definitely cute, and I’m glad they’re getting publicity. United can suck on their bad publicity!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Why does someone have to do this for something. Maybe he is just trying to get his point across so that the next time this happens, united may choose to do the right thing.

    We are just to cynical to see that not everyone is a greedy, self serving tool. Some of us just do the right thing because…I don’t know…its the right thing to do?

  38. Anonymous says:

    I would guess that it’s likely that United offered to pay him now, after his video went viral with some sort of stipulation (i.e. don’t make any more videos)

    He promised that he’d make 3 when he received the final “no” from them, and now they’re effectively trying to buy his silence.

    Good for him for keeping his word to United and going through with creating all 3 songs.

  39. David Eckert says:


    What if United didn’t *owe* him the money legally (because he didn’t follow proper procedure)? They owed him morally, perhaps, but that doesn’t get the bills payed (I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just sayin’). They spent 9 extra months reviewing his case after they already knew they didn’t legally owe him a cent. That’s not dragging it out, that’s a lot of extra service. Again, we don’t know United’s side to this. They didn’t make a song about it. We don’t know all the facts, and God forbid any of you ended up on the jury if this ever went to court.

    • scoli83 says:

      @David Eckert:
      Just because United refused Carroll’s claim doesn’t mean that it didn’t legally owe him compensation.

      Insurance companies refuse valid claims frequently, knowing that most people will not fight their refusal. It’s a business tactic.

      You are making a lot of assumptions in your arguments…

    • frank64 says:

      @David Eckert: You spun 9 months of stonewalling and indifference to “9 months of extra service!” Well done.

      You are splitting hairs with the legal vs moral issue. Even if they United was able to use a procedural reason to absolve legal responsibility is that supposed to be enough that a customer can’t get upset? In your scenario a legal loophole trumps morality? Not a good way to run a life. And more reason to put out a video!

      “We don’t know United side of this” United tweeted their response and they did not dispute the facts. They can respond in any way they see fit. This is not a court of law. One reason this has struck a cord is the amount of people that this type of thing has happened too. If this wasn’t standard procedure for United there would be more people defending them. Maybe even United would defend itself, doesn’t look like they have a leg to stand on.

      • David Eckert says:

        “United tweeted their response”

        You got their entire side of the story from 140 letters? Are you serious? Some PR guys saw things crashing down and shot out a response. This is no way indicative of what’s been happening the last 9 months. Again, I’ll say, I don’t know if United is legally in the right or not. What I *can* say for certain is that this singer is now using this for his own publicity. Don’t dare be stupid enough to think he’s doing this for the “good of all passengers”. He wants to turn his 15 minutes of fame in to 30, that’s it.

        • frank64 says:

          @David Eckert: Your right 140 letters is not an adequate response. This in itself should say something. I think they should respond if they feel they have something to say. They have not.

          It looks like he was treated unfairly and wants to state his case, at some point when this happens it got beyond the value of the guitar. I think a reasonable person might feel that way.

          That it might be good publicity for him is true, but you don’t know his motivation. You seem to be putting a negative spin on only his actions, not United’s.

          Do you disagree that United has customer service issues that have been ongoing and that management has been totally unresponsive? Do you think there is a better way to get United to start treating people a little better?

          You seem to be focusing on a small issue compared to the bigger issue of a complete customer service breakdown for many passengers of United, as evidenced by many more incidents than this.

  40. David Eckert says:

    @David Eckert: @scoli83:

    “You are making a lot of assumptions in your arguments…”

    THAT’S MY POINT! Everyone here is making assumptions that this guy is right and United is wrong, end of story, even though we don’t have all the facts. I am *not* taking United’s side on this. I am merely pointing out that another side to this story exists, and what that side might be. Maybe they are totally wrong. Who knows? God knows *nobody* posting here does.

  41. frank64 says:

    One thing to think of now, is how many millions does United spend in advertising a year? How do you think this will negate much of the advertising? I think these types of videos have much more of an effect than the commercials we see telling us how great they are. I think if you look at it in those terms this was an expensive incident. I don’t know how it fits into their big picture though. Wouldn’t it be beneficial for them to fix some of their customer service issue?

    How much more expensive would it be for them to treat the bags better?

  42. Serenefengshui says:

    If United is willing to compensate Dave for his guitar (to the tune of $3500), he should take it. It’s the right thing for United to do and it’s OK to accept the $. What would not be ok would be for United to insist that he take down his song video since, hello, United screwed up. And, they need to re-educate (and maybe pay more salary to) their baggage folks.

  43. Riley T Pacheco says:

    Well, word is they donated $3,000 to the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz. I went to [www.monkinstitute.org] and looked at their site. Guess which airline is named “Official Airline of The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz” on the front page. I am guessing it didn’t take much effort for them to make this donation. I am sure it will be lumped in with all their other tax breaks.

  44. David Eckert says:

    @David Eckert: @frank64:

    I’m only putting a negative spin on his actions and a relatively positive one on United simply because no one else is. In old Roman courts, if a jury came back with a verdict of unanimously guilty, the defendant was let go; if a man didn’t even have one friend, the fix was obviously in.

    Again, my point is, we don’t have all the facts. United is under no obligation to divulge the details of this publicly – in fact, they may be legally bound not to, for all we know, without this guy’s permission. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE OBLIGATED TO DO, AND WHAT THEIR RESPONSE IS TO EACH OF HIS POINTS. I’m simply saying his view is not unbiased, and in fact, he now has incentive to *not* resolve this anymore, no matter what United offers. He accuses United of treating him unfairly, and in response does the same to United. Does United deserve it? Maybe they do. But that make him as bad as them, so what is he complaining about? You reap what you sow.

    • frank64 says:

      @David Eckert: I think it is great that you are around to stick up for that little guy UNITED AIRLINES against the Goliath bully Dave Carroll with his powerful music videos and what not. Don’t you think everyone should just accept United’s procedures as the legal gospel and get on with there lives? LEAVE UNITED AIRLINES ALONE(deep sob).

      • David Eckert says:


        I’m not saying that United is the little guy. But at this point, I know who the bully has become. This guy says United has wronged him. Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t, I don’t know. FOR THE TENTH TIME, WE DON’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS TO DETERMINE THAT. What I *do* know is that now he won’t let them make it right. So what does he want? Publicity for himself. Is it fair? Probably. Is it right? Not to my moral code it isn’t, but to each his own.

        And BTW, I don’t fly United much, but I’ve never had a problem with them. Where are these legions who have been screwed by United? And what are their *full* stories? I’m not saying they aren’t legit, but I haven’t heard them yet. I guess I should go over to Unitedsucks.com or something.

        • frank64 says:

          @David Eckert: I was kind of having fun with that little guy thing.

          I don’t think a reasonable person could say anything Dave has done has come anything close to bully like. All he is doing is putting out a few songs with his description of what happened. He even defended the CS person as just doing her job. His tone has been very reserved and always with a touch of humor.

          Like your spinning the 9 months of stonewalling to 9 months of “extra service” you seem to be spinning the lack of a statement from United as a reason for him to drop it. He should just say, well United won’t come out with their side so I should just be fair and not release the songs? Life has never worked that way, ask any politician. If that were to happen all allegations would just be ignored, and then they would be forced to die? Doesn’t make sense.

          Not responding is a response, in fact and in public opinion, just the way PR works.

  45. Geblah187 says:

    This man should be the official troubadour of the Consumerist. Make it happen, Ben!

  46. Major-General says:

    I’m curious: did he declare a value for the guitar with the subsequent insurance payment as per the contract of carriage?

  47. DadsterNC says:

    Where does the stuff about “hush money” come from? Is United offering money on the condition that Dave not sing the song anymore? Even Dave doesn’t claim that. Did Consumerist make up the “hush money” part to create a good headline? The “hush money” isn’t mentioned in the body of the story, either.

  48. WB says:

    Oh hell, someone could have warned me that it was a country song. Now I have to soak my head in Motley Crue to counteract it.

  49. chazcarr says:

    I am amazed he didn’t go for the payoff, it was a nice guitar that I would want replaced. I’m curious which one of us here went after the United employee. The only US airline I can stand now is Continental and even they are starting to get ridiculous.

  50. Brenda Little says:

    I agree Dave Carroll is classy and I hope he makes something better for someone else…


  51. Anonymous says:

    As to why Mr. Carroll is doing this, it was clear from the beginning. He originally wanted to be compensated for fixing his guitar, and to get an apology. He gave them a year to do this. They gave him the run around. That’s a year of his time he will never get back. During the final conversation in which they said there was nothing they would do ever, he told them that was fine, but he was going to make three songs about the experience, and they said “whatever dude.”

    He’s a man of his word. He said there will be three songs, and there will be three songs, and United will stand by their claim that they will not be paying for anything and that is the final word.

  52. jenjen says:

    Eventually doesn’t this turn into libel?

  53. Tyler Waldman says:

    United gave the $3k to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, so good on them.

  54. Buck Quayle says:

    If United had immediately paid David Carroll for breaking his guitar that would have been the end of it.

    But apparently now, after nine months of trying to be reimbursed, they want to pay to shut him up. He’s right in refusing them. He’s right in dishing out the shame “for as long as humanly possible”. And he is right for reaping huge public relations for himself and his band.

    Now, with Utube, you don’t have to be a reporter to get even.

    Ok Dave. You said you would write and produce three songs on video about this United Breaks Guitars incident. We are waiting.