It has been an interesting two weeks. My primary care physician is here in Traverse City and I schedule my annual physical with him every summer. This year at 60, I was due for the stress test and colonoscopy. And they scheduled them back to back, Monday and Tuesday.
I made it through the stress test winded, but finished the full time frame. My results were to be transmitted to me the next day. If there was a problem, Dr. Tom would call me. Off to the Go-Lightly and colonoscopy the next day.
I passed the colonoscopy “clean as a whistle.” And when I didn’t hear from Dr. Tom, I thought all was good with all the plumbing. Not the case. A day later he called and said I flunked the stress test. He wanted to see me, re: a possible heart attack since my last stress test in 2009. Needless to say, the Frugal Travel Guy was shaken up. I’m overweight (lost 20 pounds but have more to go) and out of shape. Too much time hanging out with you guys online.
After the consult with the Doc, it was time to schedule with the cardiologist — and I’m freaking out. They scheduled me three weeks out but our primary care doctor got us in right away since we were leaving to return to South Carolina at the end of August. We got in and one day later had the heart catheritization scheduled.
When one’s health is involved, miles and points become just that again: miles and points. My heart cath showed the stress test to be a false positive, but life came back into focus again. The cardiologist said 20 pounds was not enough and I needed to further modify my diet and get some exercise. The message has been heard.
The rest is just miles and points. Just miles and points.
If you have not seen the 110+ page thread on Flyertalk Milebuzz forum about the 83,000 miles for a $3 purchase at the AAdvantage shopping mall, check it out. The deal is dead and the speculation is rampant. I suggested in a post that we hire a contingent fee attorney to take one third of the miles awarded to represent us all. I was half joking as I don’t think it will come to that.
I did get a nice email from Greg of Austin, Texas. Greg is a JD, MBA and said I could include his sample letter to AAdvantage Shopping (below). If you are so inclined to modify and send one along to their ever growing pile of emails, it may help. Some of you will claim it was an obvious mistake, and I can see your point of view. Others believe vehemently that it was so clear-cut — the offer for 83,371 miles on multiple products — that it had to be real.
Only time will tell what the ultimate result will be. You can find the email address on the AA shopping website.
First and foremost I want you to know I am a loyal AA customer and have been for quite some time. I just flew AA from Austin to to Maui and the service was impeccable as always. I look forward to a continued relationship with your airlines and it is my sincere hope this matter can be resolved amicably. I am traveling to Paris on AA in March 2012. My American AAdvantage number is xxxxxxxx.
I recently purchased two items from the AAdvantage eShopping website last night. I purchased them from Verizon through the AAdvantage eShopping website. The items were two Display Protectors – Glitter Border SILVER w/screen wipe. The Verizon order number is xxxxxxxxxxx. Each item was advertised as receiving 83,871 miles for each item purchased, which totals 167,742 mileage points for my order. This was quite a lucrative offer and I was delighted to receive the screen wipes at such a good price and with a considerable bonus. My assumption for the large bonus miles offer was an attempt to sell a surplus of these items.
I have attached a copy of the screen shot for the advertisement, which appeared on the American AAdvantage eShopping website.
I want to receive your assurances that this offer will be honored. My thoughts are that deceptive competition and innovation in markets around the world has given consumers access to a huge range of choice in goods and services. No matter how a business communicates with its customer, whether it is through websites, emails, packaging, advertising, logos, endorsements or sales pitch, the consumer has a right to receive accurate and truthful messages about the goods and services that they/we buy.
I believe it makes no difference whether the business intended to mislead or deceive me, the consumer. It is how the conduct of the business affected my thoughts, beliefs, and motivation to purchase the advertised product. My primary motivation for ordering the items was to receive the generous offer from American Airlines.
Puffery is a term used to describe wildly exaggerated, fanciful or vague claims for a product or service that nobody could possibly treat seriously, and that nobody could reasonably be misled by. Since I have always held American Airlines in a high regard and trusted them for many years, it never occurred to me that the attached advertisement was puffery or an exaggeration.
If the overall impression left by an advertisement, promotion, quotation, statement or other representation made by a business creates a misleading impression in the consumers mind—such as to the price, value or the quality of any goods and services — then the conduct is likely to breach the law.
Could you please tell me when I can expect to receive the points? I am planning a trip very soon and need the points to post as soon as possible. I have screen shots of the items and advertisement for verification if needed.
I know you are very busy and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my letter and the attachment.
Greg R JD, MBA
We should hire Greg to write all our reconsideration and customer service letters. A new cottage industry, Greg?
My Personal Position on Glitter Gate
I’ve got $180 in play with 3 headphone orders. My perspective is different than someone with $5 in play and someone with $5000. I have not received an email from anybody.
I’m trouble by whoever or whatever ran that promotion on the AA shopping portal. There was no requirement to visit the details of purchase page where the disclaimer that accessories didn’t count was supposed to be, and the 13 miles per $. I saw 83,781 miles and buy it now. Hell yes. I’ll buy that now. In light of the promotion being removed then back on the website with more items at 83K and it lasting all day, I think it was deceptive and false. When they removed it the first time, that should have been the end of the story, but three days later others find it on Priority Club and Delta websites with big (not as big) mileage numbers and by each accessory again, something is just not right here. And this time the disclaimer about the miles not being awarded on accessories was required reading. You had to see it. With AA you did not. I never would have risked $180 if I saw or knew about the no accessories included clause. You can believe me or not. that is your choice.
In the Flyertalk thread I posted the idea of a contingent fee lawyer stepping up that was willing to take his one third fee in miles. That offer has not been forthcoming and leads me to believe the case has big holes in it,or no attorney wants to earn millions of miles for handling the case. Data point #1
Data point #2: I have suggested a middle road resolution that each AAdvantage account that made an order be awarded 83,000 miles once and only once. This precedent was set back in the Priceline/ La Quinta Resort and Spa episode several years ago. The companies accepted responsibility for their actions and the greedy were held in check with the one and only one award.
This thread and issue will go on for months. Some will undoubtedly sue, others, including me, will not. I do think the initial offer of 2500 miles to some purchasers, ignoring others and continuing with the promotion in a manner I consider deceptive is insufficient compensation for the practice undertaken by Caterra, Verizon or AA whoever is responsible for placing a mileage award of 83,781 miles directly next to a “Buy it Now” button. The issue is not if I knew. The issue is if Joe Average American saw that offer of miles, with little or limited knowledge of their value and a Buy it Now button, would that advertisement induce them to make a purchase.
Disagree if you want and comment as well. All will be welcome here unless they get nasty. We are and will all see this one differently.