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Call Kurtis: Airline Wants Original Receipts to Replace Lost Luggage

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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STOCKTON (CBS13) — Many of us worry about an airline losing our luggage — but how many of us have receipts for all the stuff in our bag?

Many airlines have policies that set forth a specific dollar amount, but Thai Ly of Stockton said JetBlue wanted receipts proving the value of what was inside his mother-in-law’s luggage.

Ly said JetBlue wouldn’t reimburse them without original receipts.

It was time to Call Kurtis.

Ly’s mother-in-law said JetBlue lost her bag during a Thanksgiving trip from New York.

“Totally, completely lost,” Ly said.”

Ly’s mother-in-law has since returned home to Vietnam — the reason Ly has taken on her case.

After filing their claim for $3,500 to cover the clothes, medicine and valuables in the lost bag, JetBlue responded saying, “We are unable to process your claim” and “please provide your receipts.”

But Ly said his mother-in-law doesn’t have receipts for all her stuff.

“To ask for the original receipt is just ridiculous,” he said.

Sure enough JetBlue’s Contract of Carriage, which explains an airline’s agreement with a passenger, said it will reimburse up to $3,400, but said “actual value for reimbursement … shall be determined by the original purchase price,” minus depreciation.

Call Kurtis checked policies for several other major airlines — most limit your reimbursement to about 3,000 dollars — but found Southwest and Delta have similar provisions to JetBlue’s.

“Really, that means a receipt,” said Trudy Flores of The Travel Store in Sacramento.

Flores said while similar wording is in some contracts of carriage, she’s never actually seen an airline require receipts for reimbursement.

So if you can’t find your receipts, how do you prove what’s in your bag?

“Give them as much information as you possibly can,” Flores said.

She thought photos should help.

Call Kurtis reached out to JetBlue which said, “Just like in a court of law, a list of proven damages must be provided.”

“If there are no receipts whatsoever, we will attempt to reach an amicable solution,” a company spokesperson said, “which may include flight credits roughly equal to their fare.”

After we got involved, Ly said he accepted JetBlue’s offer of about $1,800, factoring in depreciation of the clothes.

The whole experience has soured them on JetBlue.

“Once you have a bad taste in your mouth, it stays with you for a while,” he said.

Ly said most importantly, he’d just like the luggage back.

The best advice is perhaps not to pack anything very valuable, just in case something happens. Bring a garment bag on board or stuff it in your carry on instead.

If you have to pack it, and don’t have receipts, it may be worthwhile to snap some pictures of your stuff as you’re packing.

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