Wednesday 22 November 2017

Smart Consumer: Who should we claim from for items lost out of a broken bag?

Nuala contacted Smart Consumer about a piece of luggage her daughter purchased.

The handle broke but was replaced by the shop, but then on collecting the bag at the airport, she noticed that the bag had broken and was open. Inside a coat was damaged and a make-up bag was missing.

Nuala and her daughter informed the airline who claimed "not to cover broken zips", so they went back to the store where the bag was purchased.

The store fixed the zip again, but Nuala refused this offer as she says: "I felt I could not trust this bag again".

The shop then offered a replacement bag but not compensation for the damaged coat and lost make-up.

Nuala writes: "In my opinion the bag should have been fit for the purpose it was bought for, which included a seven-year guarantee. However, it broke after two uses within six months. As a result, we are left with a brand new damaged coat which cannot be worn that cost €300 and I had to replace my make-up which cost €468."

She is now trying to claim under her travel insurance "but with great difficulty" and wonders if the shop and the luggage manufacturer should be responsible for their loss.

Nuala suffered a big loss here, and the question is, was the bag faulty or did the airline damage it, or was it a mixture of both?

The luggage had already proven to be faulty. It's impossible to know whether the bag was damaged in transit due to having a faulty zip or being man-handled, but if it was faulty, the store is responsible for remedying the situation.

They offered Nuala a replacement bag but she would be entitled to a refund, if she prefers, in that instance. However, the shop is not liable for any consequential loss, in other words for the damaged coat and lost make-up bag.

The airline is responsible for damaging luggage and should award compensation accordingly, so should not have told Nuala it was not.

The problem here is that under the terms of the Montreal Convention, which covers baggage, you have to claim in writing within seven days for damaged luggage, so it is too late for that now.

So, as the shop has shown they are willing to remedy the problem with the bag, I suggest accepting the replacement or asking for a refund.

In relation to your financial loss, I'm afraid claiming on your travel insurance is your only option, unless it is covered under your manufacturer's guarantee.

Irish Independent

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