Avianca lost luggage

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Apr 19, 2021
6
0
On Dec 12 2020 I flew with Avianca airlines.
I paid $175 for the oversize bag that never arrived to the destination. When I did not get my stuff at the airport I filed a claim with Avianca staff.
After that it became absolutely impossible to get hold of anyone at Avianca who spoke english to find out what happened to my bag. I even drove to the airport and spoke with personell there, who "went looking" but found nothing. Eventually they stopped answering my calls.
I filed a complaint with department of transportation. (https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm)
After that avianca emailed me back and after 2 months of "looking" for my bags, responded that they did indeed loose my luggage.
They offered me compensation in form of their miles that can be used to purchase upgrades and pay for their luggage fees in the future in the amount of about 25% of the cost of the lost stuff. I responded to that email that I am not very thrilled by their offer of getting their miles instead of compensation for the stuff they lost, but the line went radio silent again and I received nothing at all.

Then I went to my credit card company to file an insurance claim. They sent me over to eclaimlines.com, the consumer part of VISA that deals with such claims. They requested a lot of info and documentation, all of which I was able to provide, except "verification of compensation by the airline". The airline is impossible to get hold of. I have spoken to their reps on the phone 9 times at this point over the last three months. Each time they just reposnd "we need this document to proceed". They also say they tried to reach the airline and could not get hold of them. Indeed. So did I. But without this document they refuse to proceed.

So bottom line, I paid $175 to get my luggage lost and no one is compensating me.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,051
13,252
San Francisco
On Dec 12 2020 I flew with Avianca airlines.
I paid $175 for the oversize bag that never arrived to the destination. When I did not get my stuff at the airport I filed a claim with Avianca staff.
After that it became absolutely impossible to get hold of anyone at Avianca who spoke english to find out what happened to my bag. I even drove to the airport and spoke with personell there, who "went looking" but found nothing. Eventually they stopped answering my calls.
I filed a complaint with department of transportation. (https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm)
After that avianca emailed me back and after 2 months of "looking" for my bags, responded that they did indeed loose my luggage.
They offered me compensation in form of their miles that can be used to purchase upgrades and pay for their luggage fees in the future in the amount of about 25% of the cost of the lost stuff. I responded to that email that I am not very thrilled by their offer of getting their miles instead of compensation for the stuff they lost, but the line went radio silent again and I received nothing at all.

Then I went to my credit card company to file an insurance claim. They sent me over to eclaimlines.com, the consumer part of VISA that deals with such claims. They requested a lot of info and documentation, all of which I was able to provide, except "verification of compensation by the airline". The airline is impossible to get hold of. I have spoken to their reps on the phone 9 times at this point over the last three months. Each time they just reposnd "we need this document to proceed". They also say they tried to reach the airline and could not get hold of them. Indeed. So did I. But without this document they refuse to proceed.

So bottom line, I paid $175 to get my luggage lost and no one is compensating me.
Ugh, how annoying. What verification by the airline are they talking about? You paid the airline, they didn't compensate you. Nobody would expect a pax to obtain anything at all out of Avianca at this point in the lockdown. This strikes me as a lazy move on the insurance company's part.

Obviously speaking to 9 reps on the phone is not working. Compose a concise, polite email and send to the CC insurance people. Explain that the documentation is not available and you are requesting they proceed without it. Do not threaten them at this point, but know that a valid complaint to the Insurance Commissioner usually gets their attention immediately. While you're awaiting a response, have a look at other forum threads to gain a little intel.

Now, having said all this, if you are asking for compensation over and above the limits, you probably will be ignored. Look up their baggage policies are and what limits they have placed upon lost bag compensation before you proceed. Come back to us if you continue to experience resistance. Good luck and please let us know the outcome. We would also like to know which CC's insurance covers your travel.
 
Apr 19, 2021
6
0
Thanks a lot for the pointer about the Insurance Commissioner. I will look into that.

VISA says they are a "secondary insurance" and hense require either proof of compensation by the airline, or denial of the company to compensate to process the claim. And in this particular case the company is just impossible to reach, so everything is at an impasse.

I did not require any specific compensation. So far I provided the actual receipts of the items lost to both companies (VISA and Avianca), I think the total value of goods (~5k) is above the International limit for compensation, which is ~$1800. But feels wrong that either party so far have provided $0.
 
Apr 19, 2021
6
0
Update:
I reached out to the assigned DOT agent again. Still radiosilence on both fronts.
Meanwhile, the credit card insurance issued me an approval to compensate in the amount of $300. The value of goods lost was ~$5k
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
25,902
29,092
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Airlines will not refund the full value of lost items. They prorate the value - were any of the items brand new that you still have a receipt for? Were you able to prove exactly what was in the luggage with a photo of the suitcase as is was packed?That's the dilemma and they all have a top limit on compensation for lost luggage. And credit card insurance is usually secondary to what the airline is supposed to compensate you as the primary refund.
 
Apr 19, 2021
6
0
Indeed, you are correct. I think the international regulation caps the compensation for lost luggage at $1800. But I received $0 from the airline.

I did provide receipts for purchases of all items to both VISA and the airline. So they do have all the details, its not just "my word against theirs".
VISA did explain that they are a secondary insurance. But even so, $5000-$1800=$3200. So they are compensating at 10% of the possible difference of the value of the lost goods.
 

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Administrator
Staff Member
Executive Director
Sep 19, 2015
551
1,248
Avianca is currently under bankruptcy protection. We don't typically see an airline make any cash refunds or compensation payments while under that status (that's likely why you were offered miles as reimbursement). The DOT also can't force a payment from a bankrupt airline. But you may use the bankruptcy information to appeal your case with your insurance company.