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US Customs (?) damaged luggage- how to proceed

US Customs (?) damaged luggage- how to proceed

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Old Aug 6, 19, 1:24 pm
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US Customs (?) damaged luggage- how to proceed

I have a new Samsonite bag with a TSA-approved lock.
The bag was delayed and arrived on a later flight from Germany. When I went to pick it up at the baggage office in Boston it was obvious that someone had taken pliers to the suitcase and cut the tabs from the zippers.
When I tried to file a claim with LH I was told that this was a common occurrence at BOS and that only TSA has keys to open bags, not US customs.

Given the boorish nature of the lot at Logan it wouldn't surprise me in the least but at the same time I can't prove it.

Thoughts on how to proceed?
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:41 pm
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You are basically screwed because TSA would do that if the bag was to go on an onward flight but as BOS was your final destination it would have gone to Customs for clearance. And given you were not with the bag, it was inspected. So Customs took a hammer, err pliers to it. Customs has no damage process that I know about except to file a tort claim in the courts.

I know that this statement is in hindsight but it is not worth putting locks on anything except a gun case.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
You are basically screwed because TSA would do that if the bag was to go on an onward flight but as BOS was your final destination it would have gone to Customs for clearance. And given you were not with the bag, it was inspected. So Customs took a hammer, err pliers to it. Customs has no damage process that I know about except to file a tort claim in the courts.

I know that this statement is in hindsight but it is not worth putting locks on anything except a gun case.
What would be the basis of a tort claim? Surely, U.S. Customs has the right to examine incoming baggage. If the baggage is locked, what would you expect Customs to do?
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
What would be the basis of a tort claim? Surely, U.S. Customs has the right to examine incoming baggage. If the baggage is locked, what would you expect Customs to do?
Not to damage the suit case ... they should be competent enough to cut the locks off without damaging the zipper pulls. From what the OP described they could not do that. No different than the the TSA. See the attached picture from years ago when just after TSA started their asinine lock requirement. They could not cut the lock and could barely succeed in cutting the zipper pulls. They were so incompetent they even cut part of one zipper pull that no effect.


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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:32 pm
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Ha so here is the fun- and asinine part.
There was no lock on it. It was the Samsonite suitcase with a TSA mechanism with two zipper pulls that fasten into a notch with a combination that keeps them in place. All they did was take pliers and cut the zipper pulls off- nice.

When I asked in picking up the luggage they told me that this happens all the tome. That while TSA has keys, US Customs says it doesnít because itís a different agency. Pardon my French but that is a big W&F
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Old Aug 7, 19, 10:01 pm
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So you are saying that the suit case was unlocked and pulls were just in the notch to keep them from coming apart? In that case, being that you are in BOS make an appointment to meet with the head of Customs at the airport. You probably will not get anything more than an apology. But who knows.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 10:33 pm
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No. The suitcase was locked as in the photo here... IMHO it would be way faster to just use a TSA key and open the suitcase rather than take the time to cut the zipper clip at its base, which is what they did. But humility isn't in their vocabulary...
Quite frankly these days lodging a complaint is a complete and utter waste of time- in fact, it probably is detrimental. It would probably be put in your file and lead you to secondary inspections for being a "difficult" traveler. A losing battle with the bullies.
When I asked how to proceed I guess I was asking if anyone knew of remedies... specifically reimbursement for damages caused by them.
My hunch is that it's a waste of time but I figured I'd ask since the community collectively has more experience than my singular experiences.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 8:22 am
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Old Aug 8, 19, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by bostontraveler View Post
No. The suitcase was locked as in the photo here... IMHO it would be way faster to just use a TSA key and open the suitcase rather than take the time to cut the zipper clip at its base, which is what they did. But humility isn't in their vocabulary...
Quite frankly these days lodging a complaint is a complete and utter waste of time- in fact, it probably is detrimental. It would probably be put in your file and lead you to secondary inspections for being a "difficult" traveler. A losing battle with the bullies.
When I asked how to proceed I guess I was asking if anyone knew of remedies... specifically reimbursement for damages caused by them.
My hunch is that it's a waste of time but I figured I'd ask since the community collectively has more experience than my singular experiences.
CBP doesn't have access to the TSA key. TSA will not lend or issue keys to CBP.
Filing a tort claim doesn't take much effort. I've filed multiple responses to tort claims, almost always in support of the traveler. Damages claimed ranged from a bottle of liquor falling out of the bag onto the floor to luggage that had the handles torn off when lifted off of the floor.
I can't speak for BOS, but CBP at LAX is not encouraged to cut locks. The air carrier is compelled to do so when necessary due to being on the hook for having luggage available for inspection.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Taker Park View Post
I can't speak for BOS, but CBP at LAX is not encouraged to cut locks. The air carrier is compelled to do so when necessary due to being on the hook for having luggage available for inspection.
Not?! I had to stop them from cutting the straps around our suitcase once. No locks involved.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 11:36 pm
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You should file the claim with the airline instead.

Even it is presumed that CBP was the one making the whole mess, your baggage still, nevertheless, under the possession of the airline.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Not?! I had to stop them from cutting the straps around our suitcase once. No locks involved.
During a face to face inspection or left over luggage situation?
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Old Aug 14, 19, 7:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Taker Park View Post
During a face to face inspection or left over luggage situation?
Face to face. He saw the straps and immediately reached for his blade without asking.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Face to face. He saw the straps and immediately reached for his blade without asking.
I wish I would have been there, just to ask him WTH he thought he was doing.
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