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Copa lost baggage compensation?

Sydney, Australia
posts: 2
reviews: 20
Copa lost baggage compensation?

Hi - have been trying since April to get some sort of compensation from Copa after they did a horrid job on my luggage. First they lost my bag (I went from sunny panama to wet and cold Ecuador with just the clothes I had on for the next 30 hrs or so), then returned badly damaged (pull handle broken in half, wheel damaged, fabric tears), then took it away for another 24hrs+ supposedly to replace it with equivalent but instead returned it with the handle now cut in half - apparently this was a repair. I filled out the compensation claim forms they supplied at each stage (and kept copies) but haven't heard or received anything. I've tried sending many emails (as home in Austraila now) but hardly got any replies and no action or funds. Can't find an address to send a letter to either... don't want to give up as it was an expensive experience... any ideas?

8 replies to this topic
Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,612
reviews: 71
1. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Hi,

Baggage matters fall into two base issues-- lost and damaged..

Lost means just that-- lost and never recovered.. Lost bags in most all cases START OUT as delayed baggage matters, but if not found within 21 days then become lost baggage..

Damage is just that.. damaged..

In your case, you've got a damage matter, not a lost matter.. While it WAS DELAYED to begin with, there's usually little "rights" to compensation for delayed bags as compared to lost bags.

However, you don't say what your actual ticketed and travel was.. and when it comes to lost baggage matters, where you started and ended DO matter a great deal. as this can impact what international convention applies, or if it was wholly domestic travel, then national rules apply.

Since your matter is a damage claim, you'll most likely be governed by Copa's Contract of Carriage which will spell out what they're liable for, and to what amount.

Copa:

copaair.com/sites/cc/documents/contrato-tran…

A read of their CoC here tells me that section 15 deals with this issue.. I'd take a few minutes to read it, carefully, as it does fairly well spell out their maximum liability to you under several different travel scenarios and limitations, timelines, etc.

I'm not able to see what the issue is. but as a base-line statement, I think you're going to find that IF they do compensate (to include repairs) the amount will not be what you might be expecting or the like; and that there's commonly a list of things that are excluded items that they won't cover from a damage standpoint.

I'd first read the CoC, section 15 specifically and see what are the exact rules that apply to your case...

Travel Safe,

Edited: 9:59 am, November 24, 2012
Sydney, Australia
posts: 2
reviews: 20
2. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Thanks.

The trip was from Panama City to Quito, Ecuador.

The forms I was given to fill out (different at each stage - firstly at the airport, then when the bag was returned damaged, then when it was returned in its sad state the final time) asked me to nominate the requested compensation amount, etc, itemising everything (eg. I had to stay an extra night at the hotel waiting for them to return my belongings).

I don't see what the point was if they never intended to do anything... I think at this point the lack of response irks more than the money. The luggage cannot be repaired - they caused further damage through the shoddy attempt at a repair (literally, just cutting the handle in half then screwing it back in wrong... had to drag it around south america that way until I could find a good replacement - it was a samsonite).

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,612
reviews: 71
3. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Hi,

"I don't see what the point was if they never intended to do anything... "

==> I don't know that it's their intention not to do anything .. We'd have to be "inside" Copa to know that... The processes for lost/delayed/damaged bags DOES require some leg work and back-office processing.. but I do think you have every right to expect a reply-- one way or the other.

"I think at this point the lack of response irks more than the money. "

==> I agree.. I think even if it's a 'no' you deserve to be informed of that.

What I *suspect* will be the end result is that they'll first determine what the actual damage is--- next they'll filter that documented damage thru whatever is listed in their CoC's as excluded items... Whatever remains will then be deemed a valid claim..

Many carriers will also factor in a depreciation schedule/rate to you bag, in part to recognize that notion that it does have a defined life span and as it ages, the value of it drops. A parallel is your car-- it's value drops in line with it's depreciated value, so any claims take this depreciation factor into account.

Not all carriers do this, but many do.. So IF this applies, they'll reduce your settlement by some factor to account for this.

At this point, what I would do, (as noted in #1) is make sure you know what is and is not the rules that pertain to your case.. Be sure you read for any exclusions and the like.. Next gather your supporting documentation (repair receipts, comparable new suitcase prices, etc)

Next, I'd reach out, in print, to Copa's Central Baggage Office (CBO)-- most airlines have one, and most call it just that.

I'd ask them for a status update on your claim (this does assume you've filed the proper paperwork for a claim and done so timely)..

Commonly if the claim is still in the process, investigation or settlement stagest, it will be handled by the CBO staff.. If the matter is closed and just waiting for settlement funds disbursement, that's usually done by their accounts payable department or accounting.

Do remember that most CBO's and other back-office functions aren't 24/7 operations.. So you may have to factor in weekends and holidays when you consider the timeline for awaiting a reply.

Be persistent and keep everything in writing-- be that email or print. These kinds of cases are all about documentation and what does their CoC say. So be sure you know what's applicable in your case and that you have all the necessary documentation to support your claim.

Travel Safe

Salisbury, United...
posts: 2,282
reviews: 62
4. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Do you have travel insurance you can claim on? this may be easier. I presume you had insurance.

5. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

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Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Air Travel, Business Travel
posts: 6,921
reviews: 77
6. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Or how about instead of paying money to the place Mike is promoting in his every post, Just create an email account for the trip or that you only use to identify your bags or otherwise to keep anonymous... for free. It takes less than two minutes to do that on Yahoo.com or Google or many other places.

7. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

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Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds
posts: 6,779
reviews: 104
8. Re: Copa lost baggage compensation?

Questionnaires are not allowed I'm afraid.

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