Monday, 11 August 2014

A story of numbers and a lost bag (to be continued)

Aug. 10, Amsterdam Schiphol. 10:00 hours local time
The nice Air Transat check-in clerk requests that both (2) panniers (saddle bags) be strapped together with packing tape to make one (1) piece of luggage.  I comply and she attaches one (1) luggage ticket to the handle of one (1) of the bags.
Le velo in Schiphol Airport

Side comment: I would bet some of the people STARING unbelievingly at the bicycle BOX on my buggy became so emotionally disturbed that they probably walked into metal poles within 10 seconds of the encounter. NO, it is not a clandestinely hidden bomb!

Aug. 10, Vancouver International Airport; 13:30 hours PST

One (1) bag arrives on the conveyor belt with one (1) luggage ticket attached.

15:30 hours PST

One (1) slightly inconvenienced and exhausted (0) Air Transat passenger finally leaves the airport with one (1) bag after having spent two (2) hours with four (4) very charming and sweet but slightly incompetent (three out of four (3/4) were in training) Air Transat lost luggage clerks (at some point ALL staring at one (1) computer screen, giggling).  I had to explain four (4) times (once to each clerk) the reason for my complaint, namely that one (1) bag is presently caught in Limbo somewhere between Amsterdam and Vancouver. Many (infinity symbol) obstacles had to be overcome, one of them being that none (0) of the clerks knew before what a bicycle pannier bag was. Now that number ranges between none to four ( 0 - 4), hopefully being closer to four (4).  After one (1) hour, all four (4) clerks had finally understood after repeated questioning about the size and colour of the second (#2) bag, that bicycle pannier bags usually are employed in matched sets, so that yes, the second (#2) and missing bag would indeed be the same colour as the one (1) I was holding under their noses, and that indeed it would be of the same size (Really?  YES!  10/10! )

August 11, Vancouver, 05:50 hours

Problem. In addition to my electric toothbrush, said one (1) saddle bag contains one (1) lithium battery for the electric bicycle and one (1) charger for said battery.  Good thing the bike is broken already, otherwise the inconvenience level would be a bit higher (infinity symbol), and I would be much less calm (@#^#$$&*T&*&!).

August 12, Vancouver 07:30 hours

Consulting the reference card that the lovely ladies at YVR gave me reveals ythat I can check the status of my luggage search on the Air Transat web site.  Easy, eh?
NO.   lost luggage is not on the menu and a search of the web site reveals no hits.
Then I call the 877 number.  Some bla about call another number and it will be $5 to call.
Then I call the 514 number (another number of the lost luggage department). A person answers only to forward me into a waiting line. "All our agents are busy". Great!
After 10 minutes of waiting, a recorded messages says "Please record your name, number, and file reference and we will call you back".  
I've waited 10 minutes for that?  
How much luggage are these people loosing every day?

August 13, Vancouver 09:30 hours

No one has called me back yet.    Good job, Air Transat !

August 26, Hope 10:10 hours

Air Transat never called me back.  Today I call again but actually get someone on the phone.  As I had half expected, and as was confirmed by the clerk, they are not even looking for the bag.  But now they are sending me an e-mail with information how to start a claim.  Oh Joy.

September 1-4, Roberts Creek & Vancouver

Since Air Transat is not looking for my bag and I now own an e-bike with one (1) battery and zero (0) chargers for said battery, I have made inquiries on how to get that state changed to approach a 1 to 1 or even a 2 to 1 ratio.  The helpful guy at Evolution Bikes in North Vancouver already knows how things are in the world and advises me to buy a charger directly in Germany because Bosch would just give him the run-around.  So I contact e-motion technologies in Cologne. Not only do I understand their accent but their store is also within driving range of a trusted friend of mine, who could aquire the merchandise in person, if they would be unwilling to mail it.  
The e-motion staff is SUPER friendly!  They listen to my problem with compassion on Monday.  I ask them to look up the cost of charger + postage for me so that I can give them my credit card number on Tuesday and the charger will start flying.

I call back on Tuesday and nothing has happend yet. But they tell me that there is no chance that they can mail me a battery, because it is classified as 'Dangerous goods'.  At the same time they tell me if my friend would pick it up, then my friend could mail it because it is 'completely harmless'.  Fine.  Let's deal with the charger first.

They are closed on Wednesday.

I call back on Thursday. Nothing has happened yet. But they take my phone number and assure me that they will calculate a price and call me 'right back'.  That was ten (10) minutes ago. Memories of Air Transat start invading my consciousness ;-(

They still haven't called after one (1) hour.

September 5, 2014, Vancouver 07:18

They never called back.  Turns out, they lost the number with my phone number. Do I need to comment on that?
The charger will cost me 170 Euros and shipping will be 50 Euros. That's $300 CDN for a friggin charger. This is Germany of course, so paying by credit card would have been MUCH too simple.  I am to send them ANOTHER e-mail (they can't find the original one anymore), so they can send me an invoice, which then must be paid by WIRE TRANSFER.  
I should be very very skinny by now considering all the hoops I have been jumping through lately ;-)

September 6, 2014, Roberts Creek 10:50 

They did not send me an invoice. They are closed now and the earliest I can call them is Monday, exactly 7 days after my first phone call.  What is wrong with these people?

September 10, 2014 Roberts Creek 10:55 

I give up.  The E-bike competence centre in Cologne is not so much characterized by a slight lack of competence, but rather by an utter and complete absence of competence.  No contact, no message, no invoice, no battery charger.  That's what you get when you have employees being the only customer contact in a store.  It's 4:50 pm?  I'm off in 10 minutes; no point dealing with that now. That is the mentality.  

At Evolution Bikes in North Vancouver, one at least has a chance of dealing with the owner, and since he actually cares what happens in his business, he offered to order a charger for me.

September 11, 2014 North Vancouver 7:35
I have to swallow my tongue. I received an offer for a charger from the bike store in Germany.   They offer to ship the charger to me as soon as they receive a wire transfer.

September 27, 2014, Burnaby
I finally have all the documentation requested by Air Transat. I e-mail them scanned invoices and the offer for the replacement charger.  I receive a reply e-mail 2 days later.  "Please allow 8 (eight) to 10 (ten) weeks for review and settlement of your claim."  By now I am used to the rest of the world grinding very slowly and at least I can look forward to receiving a cheque from Air Transat around the time of my birthday.

October 6, 2014, North Vancouver 6:24 am
I am eating a Burger at Denny's.  What is wrong with me?
The Wire Transfer to the E-Motion bikes in Cologne has been completed last week, but an e-mail requesting a confirmation of payment and shipment has not received an answer.  I call them, and am informed that the store clerk sent an e-mail to his boss in the matter and that I will receive an e-mail from them once they officially have received the money.
tic toc, tic toc.

October 16, 2014, North Vancouver
After e-mailing E-Motion, I am informed that they did mail the charger and just forgot to send me an e-mail confirmation. 

November 1, 2014, North Vancouver
A parcel from Germany has arrived.  After initial confusion on my part, I am relieved that they did send me the correct charger for Le Velo after all.  Life Lesson: It pays to double and triple check one's facts before complaining.  While I erroneously and  regrettably told a lot of people that the German bike store had sent me the wrong charger, at least I had the sense to double check before confronting the senders.  So my complaining was more a reflection of the state of the world, or my estimate thereof, than the incompetence of a German bicycle store.  Mea Culpa. Mea maxima culpa!
to be continued ....

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