Our rules only apply when we say!

This particular Arsehole had reason to fly from the US to a few places in Europe (and back) and identified quite an excellent deal being offered by Turkish Airlines for all the major cities that needed to be visited. After maximising the value of the purchase in terms of credit card rewards, the Arsehole was happy in their securing of the set of tickets on offer.

Alas, it all started to go somewhat wrong.

The first leg of the trip departed from the sixth worst airport in the entire world, LAX. The excellent Star Alliance lounge at the Tom Bradley terminal served as a wonderful refuge from the terminal prior to boarding, however this particular Arsehole soon learned that announcements for boarding were not a matter of procedure in this lounge and passengers needed to ensure that they were at the gate for boarding without prompting for Turkish Airlines flights.

With this information, the Arsehole headed to the gate to observe a complete omnishambles in progress. The gate in question featured shiny new biometric scanners that weren’t used, staff who decided to complain in the general direction of anyone asking why boarding was delayed and changing the configuration of the boarding lines every few minutes out of either catharsis or confusion.

Eventually, boarding happened and I was very impressed by the crew and the way they took care of their passengers – uniforms were immaculate, attentiveness was present and unobtrusive and the handling of requests was very exceptional.

And then the flight landed

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is a very interesting place. Many aircraft land at remote gates, there’s quite a lot of congestion and jet bridges have a rare configuration for deplaning passengers involving well-dressed airline employees standing at the threshold, directing passengers up a ramp to the departures level for connecting international flights or down a different ramp to customs and connecting domestic flights. This is where things started to go quite wrong.

Somehow, the flight from LAX to Istanbul had managed to lose about an hour in the air, so the connecting flight that Turkish Airlines had sold me had since buggered off to Bucharest with precisely zero fucks given. In cases such as these, it is the responsibility of the airline to rebook passengers such that they get to their destination without having to resort to hitchhiking or hiding in someone’s luggage and I was directed to the Turkish Airlines rebooking desk. Which is in the domestic section of the airport for some incomprehensible reason.

A brow-beaten bloke looked at my boarding pass, muttered something unkind about Bucharest and then gave me a new boarding pass that would see me arrive more than 6 hours later than my original itinerary promised. This made me a very sad panda, but things only got worse. 

Upon finally boarding the flight to Bucharest, it became apparent that an equipment change had occurred and no Business Class seats were present. In an example of gross egregiousness, I was subjected to flying in Economy! 

Thankfully the subsequent legs around Europe were without incident, with an expectation of dealing with the late arrival and downgrade of my Istanbul-Bucharest leg once I was home. Alas, I was about to be grossly disappointed.

As originally booked, my flight to the US would see me have over 3 hours to meet a connecting flight at San Francisco airport (which is the 5th worst airport I have ever been to). Yet, for some unknown reason, Turkish Airlines decided to alter my itinerary such that I would have less than 90 minutes to clear immigration and customs, recheck my bags, change terminals and be molested by the TSA. To add insult to injury, the incoming flight was ordered to come to a halt and wait for a bloke named Keith to tow the 777 to quite a distant gate.

Upon getting through immigration, Turkish Airlines staff had tried to be “helpful” and moved my bag off to a storage area which they proceeded to forget the location of. After administering hypnosis and deploying my personality in the general direction of the staff, my bag was suddenly found and I was told that I would be delayed by another few hours and I would have to endure the unrelenting pestilence that is Economy for my connecting flight.

Up with this I shall not put

So in summary:

  • My arrival in Bucharest was delayed by over 6 hours
  • The Istanbul-Bucharest leg was downgraded to Economy
  • The San Francisco-Seattle leg was changed without notification or justification
  • The rebooked flight arrived hours later than scheduled and was downgraded to Economy

I wrote to Turkish Airlines, expressing my concerns and was told to fuck off in the second most polite way I’ve experienced to date. After laying out all the facts, the airline refused to do anything about the issues encountered even though their customer rights document laid out exactly what they should be doing.

In the end, I ended up invoking my favourite C word in their general direction and let American Express deal with them. Oh, the fun that was had:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

Thank you for bringing the issues you encountered during your journey with Turkish Airlines to our attention. We have reviewed the documentation and evidence you have provided and agree that the airline is refusing to act as is detailed in their customer rights document.

To that end, please be informed that a credit of 1,200 Euros will be applied to your account whilst we recover the funds from the airline.


American Express

But this is not the end of the story

About 6 months later, I received an e-mail from Turkish Airlines with regard to this incident. I was expecting the message to allude to attempting to claw back the funds in some fashion, but surprisingly this was not the case:

Dear Mr Arsehole,

We have reviewed the manner in which your case was dealt with and agree that it was unacceptable. As an apology, please find attached a voucher valued at 168 Euros for use on our airline when we next welcome you aboard.


Turkish Airlines

Victory! Twice!

UA vs VA – 2018 – a trend presents and an outcome occurs

There’s a worrying trend that continues to become apparent in various organisations – the touch points involving customers are deprioritised in terms of cost, training and focus.

This was the case when I represented my family when taking issue with many issues caused by VA’s gross incompetence.

There were many discussions, however they were all completely unproductive:

  • My computer says that the correct outcome is X, and I’m incapable of reading and/or understanding the analysis of the Terms and Conditions VA has published and made public.
  • Our application of the published terms and conditions is incorrect, but that’s what our management says should be done so no other discussion will be entertained.

After being poorly amused by the idiocy on display, a missive was sent in the general direction of VA and their CEO’s inbox:

Dear VA,

The level of ineptitude and disempowerment of the staff your company has decided to deploy in response to the issue I have raised has given me cause to take this matter outside of your resolution process.

American Express will be instructed to issue a chargeback for all tickets issued by VA and VA’s partners given the refusal of VA to adhere to the stated Terms and Conditions.



I was expecting this missive to result in dismissive behaviour, but I was thankfully incorrect. Less than 12 hours after this foretelling was communicated, a mildly competent person from VA did contact me (very insistently in fact) and afforded my family the full allocation of points stated in the program terms as well as a compensation in points to address the refusal to understand and address the issue initially.

The old man wins.


We can’t be arsed, go away

Every now and then, some idiot organisation decides that they can completely ignore customer questions in relation to them failing to deliver a product as advertised.  Of course, when this occurs certain Arseholes such as myself object.

Subsequently, a subset of said organisations attempt to further frustrate the addressing of these objections by assigning the handling of whatever issue they’ve created to their in-house equivalent of Ralph Wiggum.

In September 2017, I rented a car from Hertz. The booking was made online, confirmation was provided and all appeared to be sweetness and light. Alas, this was not to be. Instead, things went something like this:

  • The pickup point I’d selected was actually closed at the specified pickup time.
  • Calling the Area Manager resulted in being directly lied to, stating that there were no scheduled pickups for the day.
  • An alternative pickup point was arranged, approximately 2.5 km from the original pickup point with a promise that staff would be waiting for us upon our arrival.
  • Upon arriving at the alternative pickup point, no staff were waiting for us upon our arrival.
  • The car provided was very different from the car requested (in every way).
  • There was very little fuel in the car upon pickup.
  • Upon drop off of the car at the conclusion of the rental, the Area Manager simply responded with “These things happen” when presented with the issues encountered and a request for consideration.
  • The final invoice (sent via e-mail several hours after the car was returned) was 25% higher than what was quoted initially.

Clearly, up with this I could not put! A delightfully balanced message was sent to the good people at Hertz:

Dear Hertz,

A number of issues were encountered with regard to my recent rental (agreement #123456). As you can see, the requested vehicle was not provided, the pickup location was unstaffed, significant time was spent on my part to compensate for Hertz process and/or system deficiencies and I have now been charged 25% more than what was originally quoted.

Please confirm that the 25% overcharge will be refunded immediately and the manner of compensation Hertz will be affording me for the issues outlined.



Unfortunately, Ralph had seemingly glued his head to his shoulder and was thus unable to address my request in full:

Dear UA,

The location was unstaffed at your time of attendance as scheduling was done after you made your booking. For this reason, you were required to go to our other depot. I trust this addresses your concerns.

Sod off,


I was less impressed with this response than I was with my cat’s last selection of places to vomit, thus I took to Twitter to ask that a proper reply be constructed by someone not high on tar fumes.

Low and behold, I received The same response via e-mail 6 hours later, featuring the impressively unhelpful line of “Your invoice is correct” tacked on the end with no further explanation. When I again queried this response along with invoking my favourite C word I was again told that a more complete response would be “forthcoming”. I suspect that the lack of timeframe and lack of signs of this response had me experience something in common with some of the doomsday nutterists who ask for donations occasionally.

As no parsnips had been buttered by this futile exchange of pleasantries, I was left with no option but to chargeback the transaction. Expecting this to result in some additional communication from Hertz was misguided, as the only subsequent, related events that occurred were:

  1. The entire rental amount being credited to my account as a result of the chargeback being settled in my favour
  2. A bunch of bonus frequent flyer miles being deposited due to a promotional code I’d used

All in all, victory!



No, I will not pay your parking fine!

One weekend I had to bugger off to another city to hit some servers and network gear with a hammer, so another Arsehole decided that they’d crash at my place and buy a bunch of questionable stuff online (including Savage Garden’s entire discography).

In exchange for this rapacious exploitation of my abode and internet connectivity, it was agreed that this other Arsehole would arrange for some professional cleaners to be admitted to my abode such that they could delouse my apartment in my absence.

Upon my return, I was greeted by a very clean apartment and the news of “Those cleaners are idiots. They parked in a no parking zone and asked who was going to pay for it.” I suspected that the spotlessness of my home was about to be offset by a quagmire of stupidity on the part of the cleaning company. Much to my disgust, my suspicions were correct.

I received an e-mail with an invoice attached. This e-mail explained that the amount charged as $125.00 higher than the amount quoted because of the parking fine that was incurred when the staff parked their vehicle “where I told them to.”

We are not amused!

Suffice to say, I was not going to put up with such impertinence.  I responded to said e-mail thusly:

Dear Dodgy Cleaning Company,

The parking fine was levied by the council that administers the area and was applied due to the rules of the area not being followed by your staff and said staff choosing to park illegally. I do not endorse illegal behaviour and neither suggested nor enabled it in this instance (as I actually was not present). You are not to take a payment from my card for this amount and any attempt to do so will result in all amounts deducted by your company being subject to chargeback requests.



At this point I would have settled for acknowledgement and agreement on the issue of the parking fine, however I was clearly dealing with someone who was certain they were right, like those nutters that reckon the Earth is younger than the fossil fuel products sloshing through their Falcon’s oversized engine whilst insisting petrol would be cheaper if their racist views on immigration were made law.

Dear UA,

Your representative told our staff where to park, therefore we have decided that you are responsible for the parking fine.

Yours in Cricket and Cheesecake,

Dodgy Cleaning Company (DCC – part of the Fully Half Dodgy Group)

I spoke with my fellow Arsehole, and they recalled their conversation with DCC with wonderful alacrity.  They stated that their words were, “I don’t live here, I don’t drive, I don’t know the parking rules so I can’t really help you out beyond looking at the street signs.” How exactly this translates to telling someone where to park puzzled me, but I was concerned that providing this information to DCC would be as helpful as using 700mL of vodka in place of Viagra. With that in mind, I took the logical path:

Dear DCC,

The fine has been levied to the registered owner of the vehicle as the empowered enforcement officer involved determined that the party in control of the vehicle had committed an offence. Your company and their representatives have no legal (or other) basis for determining that another party is responsible for the illegal conduct of your staff.

For the avoidance of doubt, I will be issuing chargebacks should these words be ignored.

Say hello to your mum for me,


Some brilliant prole at DCC decided that they’d escalate to a bloke named Igor to try and deal with me, still insisting that they were correct.


This issue has been escalated to me. I am the General Manager of Operations here and have a very nice office under the stairs and one of those newer model C64s to send e-mails with.

It is my job to determine who is responsible for the fine and thus who will pay it. Why should you not pay this fine?

I think there’s a splinter in my buttocks,


One thing that makes me laugh and cringe simultaneously is the thought of an issue being escalated to someone who claims to be important and said person not knowing a single thing about the situation they’ve been asked to resolve. I decided that I should actually check my account to see whether the “good” people at DCC had been as dodgy as their parent company’s name would indicate. It turns out that a charge was present for both the cleaning service and the parking fine amount.

Advantage: Arsehole! Chargeback FTW!

I wrote back to Igor in a very balanced, considerate fashion.


I would have expected that someone with your lofty station properly equip themselves with an understanding of the issue they are attempting to address prior to making contact with a customer. I have explained the way law actually works and I am disgusted by the idea that your organisation conducts business in a fashion that is grossly unprofessional and fraudulent. Your only course of action should you have a concern with the levying of the fine against your staff is to appeal the issuing of said fine with the council.

Additionally I have noticed that my instructions have been completely discarded by your staff and a payment was processed by your company for both the cleaning service and the parking fine as a single amount. At no point did your representatives relay this, instead focusing on paltry attempts to have me accept responsibility for your staff having a blatant disregard for law and/or an inability to read.

As originally stated, I have instructed my card issuer to commence the chargeback process for the transaction initiated by your company. The fees involved and the increased MSF that will be levied against you should serve as timely reminders of the grossly inappropriate conduct that your organisation has decided to engage in.



At this point, my mobile rang, my desk phone at work (!!) rang, a rambling SMS landed on my phone and another e-mail from Igor landed in my inbox:


Please do not be raising the chargeback. We will talk to the driver about the parking fine. You are a valued customer and we do not want to have to deal with chargebacks.


At this point, poor Igor had failed to grasp that it was too little, too late:


I provided a specific, detailed response to the initial statements by your staff with regard to this issue and have been ignored at every turn. Your company’s ingrained malfeasance has been appropriately recognised by the chargeback process being initiated.

Do not contact me again unless the time that I have already spent on this issue is going to be paid for by your company (2 hours at $200 / hour, but I charge a 4 hour minimum) and additional recompense provided to accompany your company’s written apology.



Igor begged some more whilst completely failing to comprehend the actual issues and was told to kindly bugger off lest I raise chargebacks for the previous services his company had provided to me whilst encouraging my friends (yes, I have friends – don’t laugh!) who I had referred to his employer to do the same.

Igor did attempt to dispute the chargeback that was raised. Igor did not succeed. Igor’s company had to change banks.

And this particular Arsehole got their house cleaned for free. Victory!