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Trial Begins in United’s Suit Against Founder of Complaint Site Untied.com

A 20-year feud between United Airlines and Jeremy Cooperstock, a McGill University Professor, is coming to a head today in Montreal, Canada, The Financial Post reports.

United Continental Holdings Inc. is suing Cooperstock over his customer complaint website, Untied.com. The company wants the professor to delete contact information for its management and lawyers, but Cooperstock has refused.

It all started in 1996, when Cooperstock was traveling to Japan with his family and felt that he wasn’t treated to the best of services from the airline: “a gate was changed, he and his wife were not seated together and a suit was crushed when a flight attendant put a stroller on top of his garment bag.” He then wrote a letter to the company, which went unanswered. He complained again and was upset when he only received back a generic response.

So he decided to take matters into his own hands and posted the letter online, at the then-popular AltaVista. Soon enough, he started receiving complaints from other passengers — and even employees — and posted all of them. His website, Untied.com, soon became the number one site in search engines when people looked up United Airlines.

“I was irritated at that point and felt I was being ignored by a company that I had given several thousand dollars to and I was going to make a stink about it until they took notice,” he explained.

Since then, the site has posted over 25,000 complaints, and Cooperstock added the names and contact information for vice-presidents and managing directors, warning passengers to avoid the customer complaint department.

United Airlines says they just want Cooperstock to remove the names and contact information for their senior employees. Erin Benson, a United Airlines spokesperson says that making that information public is interfering with their ability to respond to customers in a timely manner. United Airlines spokesperson Erin Benson wrote in an email to the Financial Post: “We have always maintained that we are not looking to shut down the website.”

But Cooperstock says the airline is trying to intimidate him, and launching the lawsuits is an attempt to shut down Untied.com.

“They want me gone,” he says. “They won’t admit that because to admit that means acknowledging to the court that what they’ve done is brought a strategic lawsuit against public participation … Somebody’s got to stick up for the little guy. Somebody’s got to put their foot on the ground and say ‘I’m not going to go away until you guys get your act together and do things right.’”

[Photo: United Airlines]

Comments are Closed.
PilgrimsProgress April 18, 2016

Every day there is less reason for United to continue. Hats off to Untied!!!

alphaod April 17, 2016

Although they aren't the worst airline in the world, in the US I have to say they are about the worst. All the other airlines are improving, whereas UAL just seems to go backwards.

chx1975 April 17, 2016

This is interesting -- is there any legal ground for a company to ask for the removal of any contact information of their employees?

cyber1k April 17, 2016

Where can I donate to Untied.com's defense fund?

Sabai April 16, 2016

How "friendly" of United, the worst major airline in the US