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United mistakenly gave me an extra travel certificate...

United mistakenly gave me an extra travel certificate...

Old Jul 30, 22, 2:36 pm
  #16  
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They have auditors and may come looking for it later. If you use it, be prepared to give it back.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 2:50 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelerMSY View Post
They have auditors and may come looking for it later. If you use it, be prepared to give it back.
United is a merchant, not a bank.

By law a consumer is under NO obligation to return unsolicited goods, including those delivered inadvertently by the merchant.

They may be able to remove the certificate electronically under terms of the account, but they have absolutely no legal recourse to claw back anything if he spends it.

Believe it or not, no competent legal department would allow auditors to force action against the recipient.

It's a trivial amount and not worth the expense and potential negative press.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 3:51 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by lancelot21 View Post
I am someone who points out to restaurant staff when they underbill me. But I am still a little inclined to agree here. You sent a note to UA, they can do something with it, or not. I wouldn't force the issue. If it's something buried deep in the IT, it may be costly for United to figure out and fix. And the staff doing the fixing won't appreciate it.

You can always just not use the credit if you feel strongly. Or donate it to a good cause, or to someone who can't afford to fly but would really like to?

By the way, one thing I'm sure you checked is that you did not, in fact, get charged on a credit card for the trip you thought you used your previous credit on?
A restaurant miscalculation is something I would also point out, as most restaurants are small businesses, and in many cases, the staff can be charged for the mistake. So I always point out those issues.

But in this case we have a large public corporation, and the OP owes no duty of honesty or fair dealing to that corporation. Rest assured the corporation would do everything possible to get the maximum value from the OP, so I don't see a problem doing the same in return. Every one of us who took a mileage run or otherwise worked the system to our advantage has nothing to feel guilty about either.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 5:23 pm
  #19  
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I'll take the contrarian view, and say go ahead and use it for normal travel you'd book anyway (so you're not too bummed out if they figure it out and bill you later).

At UA's scale they make a lot of one off errors for you and against you, so may as well take the upside as the downside is unavoidable.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 7:16 pm
  #20  
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Ghoulish -

I never knew that! That's great information - thank you!
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Old Jul 30, 22, 7:23 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by seacliffs View Post
United mistakenly gave me an extra travel certificate...
Enjoy it. UA doesn't make misteaks.

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Old Jul 30, 22, 7:27 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by seacliffs View Post
Ghoulish -

I never knew that! That's great information - thank you!
It's law in all US states, and by FTC regulation. In the UK it's a criminal offense for a merchant to demand payment for unsolicited goods.

Here's an example from Washington state law:

"If unsolicited goods or services are provided to a person, the person has a right to accept the goods or services as a gift only, and is not bound to return the goods or services. Goods or services are not considered to have been solicited unless the recipient specifically requested, in an affirmative manner, the receipt of the goods or services according to the terms under which they are being offered."
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Old Jul 30, 22, 7:35 pm
  #23  
 
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I would wait a bit and then start using it on tickets you would be willing to pay for anyway. The worst that happens is they come back to you requesting a credit card payment instead.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 9:13 pm
  #24  
 
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Agree--and your situation is not unique

Originally Posted by Ghoulish View Post
You will be left with nothing but regret, at best, by attempting to "Do right" by this enormous corporation.

There is no organizational sentience that will recognize and reward your "honorable" behavior.

You will, at best, cause mild annoyance to a staff member and supervisor who'll have to deal with an unorthodox, troublesome situation that will, once resolved, unnoticeably re-enrich a corporation that genuinely couldn't care less if you lived or died.

At worst you'll prompt a review that will end up costing you in some unexpected way.

You might, perhaps, get a passing and insincere thank you from a staff member who'll very likely prefer you hadn't bothered. They'll probably
have a laugh at your expense, so you can take comfort that your sacrifice brought some joy into the world

You attempted to reach them. IMO that's sufficient. You were only thwarted by the immense delays their self inflicted (by misusing covid aid) staffing shortages caused. Unless your time is truly worthless, stop expending precious resources on this.

When they screw up we spend uncompensated hours seeking a resolution, I'll be damned if I'm going to chase them to make sure their daily accounting rounding error is a little smaller.

This is a soulless, mindless machine. Front line staff are not equipped or authorized to show "gratitude" for your largesse, and this is small enough it won't be reaching upper management's attention, so no special treatment from them either.
Completely agree-you made a good faith effort. Also let's just say it's not the first time I've heard of such a situation (though not for myself).
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Old Jul 30, 22, 9:17 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Ghoulish (Post # 17) View Post
United is a merchant, not a bank.

By law a consumer is under NO obligation to return unsolicited goods, including those delivered inadvertently by the merchant.

They may be able to remove the certificate electronically under terms of the account, but they have absolutely no legal recourse to claw back anything if he spends it.
Originally Posted by seacliffs (Post # 20) View Post
Ghoulish -

I never knew that! That's great information - thank you!
Originally Posted by Ghoulish (Post # 22) View Post
It's law in all US states, and by FTC regulation. In the UK it's a criminal offense for a merchant to demand payment for unsolicited goods.

Here's an example from Washington state law:

"If unsolicited goods or services are provided to a person, the person has a right to accept the goods or services as a gift only, and is not bound to return the goods or services. Goods or services are not considered to have been solicited unless the recipient specifically requested, in an affirmative manner, the receipt of the goods or services according to the terms under which they are being offered." [Emphasis added.]
Query:

As a matter of law, does an erroneous monetary credit equal "goods or services"? Or is the "service" what you would be seeking to obtain with the ill-kept credit?

The legally safe course of action would be to let the credit expire unused, even after reasonable steps to inform UA.

Should you desire to proceed otherwise, you should seek competent legal advice, from an attorney familiar with the law not only of your jurisdiction, but that applicable to UA contracts.

It is never prudent to accept "legal advice" from anonymous commenters, and this post is not intended as such.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 9:39 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer View Post
Query:

As a matter of law, does an erroneous monetary credit equal "goods or services"? Or is the "service" what you would be seeking to obtain with the ill-kept credit?

The legally safe course of action would be to let the credit expire unused, even after reasonable steps to inform UA.

Should you desire to proceed otherwise, you should seek competent legal advice, from an attorney familiar with the law not only of your jurisdiction, but that applicable to UA contracts.

It is never prudent to accept "legal advice" from anonymous commenters, and this post is not intended as such.
In theory, every matter could benefit from legal advice. But I wonder if the absurdity of spending thousands of dollars seeking out a highly specialized attorneys in this case is intentional sarcasm, or simply your way of expressing distaste at the poster keeping this unexpected gift.

The "legally safe" option is to return the credit? Are you sure? What if it's not necessary? What if it causes some unexpected problem by triggering a review of his account?

You seem quite comfortable offering legal advice.

What's your basis for insisting that the rights he appears to have under consumer law should be summarily waived to the benefit of UA?

Last edited by Ghoulish; Jul 30, 22 at 9:47 pm
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Old Jul 30, 22, 9:57 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Ghoulish View Post
You seem quite comfortable offering legal advice.

What's your basis for insisting that the rights he appears to have under consumer law should be summarily waived to the benefit of UA?
I am an attorney, and was quite clear that I was not offering legal advice. My rationale was stated in Post # 25 above. One would have to research, among other things, whether the credit falls within the consumer ambit of "goods and services".
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Old Jul 30, 22, 10:30 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer View Post
...It is never prudent to accept "legal advice" from anonymous commenters, ...
As a Moderator, I wish to second this. This forum is not a place to seek or give legal advice. If wants such formal advice, seek it in the proper way.. Most professionals, regardless of their profession, will usually be quick to assert they are not providing professional advice in these forums. We exchange anonymous opinions, here, not professional advice to be dependent on.

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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 30, 22 at 11:00 pm
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Old Jul 30, 22, 10:52 pm
  #29  
 
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Fascinating to read the responses here. I think one of our challenges as a nation (USA, but maybe this applies globally) is our equating of legality with morality. Big mistake in my book. Sometimes, as they say, the law is an .... But that's not a discussion for this forum, though I'm intrigued by the potential legal considerations in this case.

To the OP - personally I think you've done the right thing, but more importantly, you should do what allows you to sleep well at night. I was issued a double refund once, I emailed UA, and they cleaned it up. And sent me a thank you email, but I neither asked for nor expected anything else, nor did I receive anything else. Worked for me.

My personal view is that one should play it the same on all sides of the equation.

Option 1: If I'm willing to take something erroneously given to me, then I should accept when I receive less than I expect by mistake as well.

Option 2: If I'm going to fight for what is correctly due to me when I'm given less, I should give back what I didn't earn as well.

I'm an option 2 person. That's my view of integrity. Each person has to figure out their own - certainly not for me to preach or judge, and I don't presume that my way is right other than it being right for me.
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Old Jul 30, 22, 10:56 pm
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by Ghoulish View Post
United is a merchant, not a bank.

By law a consumer is under NO obligation to return unsolicited goods, including those delivered inadvertently by the merchant.

They may be able to remove the certificate electronically under terms of the account, but they have absolutely no legal recourse to claw back anything if he spends it.

Believe it or not, no competent legal department would allow auditors to force action against the recipient.

It's a trivial amount and not worth the expense and potential negative press.
Let's not forget when it comes to the MP program United is the sole judge and jury per the rules of the program. If they decide at their sole discretion that someone has abused the MP program they have the right to terminate the account. No legal action needed. We've read many such stories here on FT.

If United discovers the error, asks for the money back and does not get it, I can absolutely see them taking this step.
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