Lost luggage in 2016

Here is a post a made a while back when my luggage was first lost. I posted this to flixbusses Facebook page multiple time until they stopped deleting it. Since then probably at least once or twice a month I get messages from people who have encountered similar situations. In the end flixbus ended up trying to give me 150 euro or so and I did not accept it, I lost over 2000 dollars worth of things and it set me far back financially due to replacing most of my belongings. I am sending this website to those who have contacted me in hopes that we can have legal representation.

This is the saga of how a flixbus lost my luggage and how they refuse to pay me for my losses. I am pretty lost on what to do at this point. I lost too much to do nothing about it and I do not want to become the victim of being taken advantage of by another terrible company. Sorry if I give too much information, I figure more is better. In short flixbus lost mine and two other people’s luggage on the same trip. After months of prodding them they agreed to pay me back only if I had receipts for the items in the bag. They would not compensate me for the items that I had to buy to replace the lost luggage.

Here is a lot of background. This summer, my boyfriend and I went on a trip around Europe for three months. For the whole trip we mostly used a coachbus company called Flixbus. We thought this company was pretty good compared to the other bus companies because of its amenities, but we were mistaken. On the last leg of our trip on September 19th, we were travelling overnight from Paris to Amsterdam. When we got on the bus, my boyfriend watched the driver place our bags right next to each other. They did not have any sort of system in place to keep track of whose bag is whose other than placing them in a certain section for where their destination was. When I woke up in Amsterdam, I went out of the bus to gather our luggage. I got my boyfriend’s luggage (which was just a smaller version of my suitcase) and waited for mine. It wasn’t there…

I felt pretty empty at that point. There were two other people whose luggage got lost as well. I approached the driver and told him that my luggage wasn’t there and he said, “oh this happens all the time.” How comforting to someone that just lost most of their worldly possessions. I remained calm and asked the driver what to do at that point. He said to call customer service and file a lost and found form online. I took a picture of the driver and the license plate number of the bus. I couldn’t believe that I had just lost all of my clothing, my laptop (with the past 5 years of pictures, BACK UP YOUR COMPUTERS RIGHT NOW!!!), my special edition animal crossing 3DSXL, games, Multiple boots and shoes, all of my toiletries, and souvenirs from my travels for family and friends. The bus driver also told me that I should have gotten out at every stop the bus made to check to make sure that my luggage wasn’t taken off. Oh yeah, I am going to wake up in the middle of the night for the ten other stops to make sure that the bus driver is doing their job. How could this happen to me let alone two other people on the same bus? I am guessing that they left it on the side of the street at a previous stop thinking it was for a previous stop. Or it was stolen by someone claiming my luggage was theirs (this is unlikely since it happened to two other people). I was in shock.

We went to our airbnb and our host let us use her telephone. I talked to a customer service representative and they were pretty unhelpful and told me to fill out the lost and found form on their website and told me that there was nothing that they could do for me other than their famous line, “we ask you to be patient.” They would not even give me an answer to if I was going to be reimbursed. I filled out the lost and found form and I started to try and get answers the only way I knew how, complaining on the internet. I pretty much channeled an angry mother complaining to a manager at the store and tweeted, instagrammed, and facebooked on their social media platforms in hope for a response. I began chatting with the representatives on their social media accounts and they were not much help either. (The full conversations that I had with them on private messages and emails are in the attached album)

Eventually I got one of the representatives to tell me to file a police report and to keep all of my receipts for the items that I bought to replace my belongings. I asked them how long I could expect to hear anything back and one told me at least thirty days and another told me a maximum of thirty days. After enjoying my first day in Amsterdam, I went to the police station to file a report. The woman at the police station was a beacon of hope. She was one of the sweetest people I had ever met. She had me file a lost and found report at the central station in Amsterdam and then filed a police report with a list of the belongings that had been lost. She said that the other two people had also filed a report already. The police officer filed my luggage as missing and not stolen because they said that it was likely Flixbusses fault because two other’s luggage was missing as well and it was unlikely that three people’s luggage was stolen at once. I contacted flixbus again and they told me all that I could do is wait.

The next day, one of my boyfriends friends that is a lawyer saw my facebook post and reached out. She said that she found a case involving flixbus for a similar situation. According to the lawsuit (Amtsgericht München, Urteil von 08.12.15 – 284 J’s 5956/15), flixbus is to be held liable for gross negligence when they lose luggage. In this case flixbus was held liable because they did not have any means of baggage check in order to verify the luggage of customers (they did not on my bus as well). I sent this to flixbus in hope that they would be receptive to me knowing about this case. A sassy representative sent me back a message with the terms and conditions for flixbus, one of them being “20.4.2 Liability shall be excluded in cases of the loss of baggage items unconnected to an accident involving the bus, in addition to the mix-up or theft of the same, except in cases of intent and gross negligence.” This statement pretty much sums up that they were liable for the items in my luggage. After this I decided to take matters into my own hands and asked for the name of all the locations that the bus stopped at along my route. I individually contacted each station that I could and none of them had seen it.

At this point I was pretty pissed. I had no belongings, I was running short on cash and would have to start dipping into my credit card to pay for the rest of my trip. I was not going to let this ruin my vacation, I started looking at this as a blessing for getting a new winter wardrobe since I would be moving to Minneapolis when I got back home. In the end it was actually a really good lesson in realizing that I am way more than my possessions. Now it was time for the waiting game.

After a month passed I was back at home in California and I contacted flixbus again because I hadn’t heard anything on my luggage. They told me that they have a lot of lost and found inquiries and that they said it would take at least 30 days to get back to me from initial point of contact. This was weird because I initially had been told it would be a maximum of 30 days and a minimum of 30 days. I began to ask for a representative or an email of someone at the lost and found department. They told me that they couldn’t for some bullshit reason and that I’d have to keep waiting. In late October they finally got back to me saying that they were unable to locate my luggage and to send the receipts for the items in the luggage. I was confused at this point and figured there was a language barrier because it would make no sense to send them receipts for the items in the luggage. How could someone have the receipts for all of the items in their luggage?

I sent them all of my receipts for the items that I had bought as replacements. For the most part I had gotten the basics. I got underwear, toiletries, a few shirts, pants, and shorts, a new piece of luggage. I also found a pair of the same exact all white doc martens that I had lost at a reduced price of $55! And I waited some more.

After a few weeks I contacted them again because I still hadn’t heard back from them. Customer service told me that they have a lot of inquiries and that it could take a while. I waited some more and on December 8th almost three months after my luggage was lost I got my final response (see the pictures above for the email they sent me). They told me that none of the receipts were valid because none of them were from before the date they lost my luggage. They wanted me to send them a receipt for every single item that was lost in my luggage… How does that make any sense. If I didn’t know better, this is how they get around the clause in their terms and conditions saying that they are liable in cases of gross negligence. They recognize that they are responsible, but say that they need the receipts for the items that were in the bag to get around paying people because who has receipts for all of the items in their bag? They also told me that they would not pay for the replacement of my laptop because it should have been stored in my handluggage because it is an expensive item. I am sorry that I don’t expect my luggage to go missing on a coachbus. It’s not like there were transfers or anything. It’s not an airplane.

This is finally the end of my post. Thank you for reading my woes and taking part. Where should I move from here? I just want to get some sort of compensation, I had to take out a good amount of debt rebuilding my wardrobe and it is really annoying not having a computer since I just moved to Minneapolis and I have to walk 15 minutes in zero degree weather to go to the library. This case is pretty weird because I am an American whose luggage was lost in either France or The Netherlands by a German company. I do not even know where to start. Is it even worth pursuing legally or should I just accept my losses? If worst comes to worst I plan to start a go fund me page to at least get something back. If you could please share this post, It would mean a lot. Everyone needs to know of flixbusses injustice and their negligence and disrespect towards their customers.

TL;DR: Flixbus lost mine and two other’s luggage. It has almost been three months and they took a long time to get back to me. They told me that they won’t compensate me because I did not have receipts for any of the items in the luggage and that they would not compensate me for the items I bought as replacements. What can I do in modern times other than post an angry post on facebook and have everyone share it?