Craigslist gave me up to AAdvantage

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I received a message from AAdvantage customer service that Craigslist HAD NOTIFIED THEM of an ad to sell AAdvantage miles, a violation of their program rules, and all 200,000 miles in my account would be deleted as a penalty. It appears that AAdvantage matched the names and e-mails on the CL and AAdvantage accounts to find my AAdvantage number (and CL facilitated this). While I (naively) did have an ad which suggested I had BA miles for sale, and I mentioned who their partners are, I did not post an ad (nor have any intention) to directly sell AAdvantage miles. This leaves me thinking I actually have not violated their program rules. Customer service refers me to the “security analyst” on the account, who hasn’t answered his/her phone, nor returned my multiple messages on their generic answering device. He/she did respond to one of my e-mails acknowledging my denial of culpability (and explanation that I hadn’t even logged into my account in weeks), but reiterated the penalty would stand and the case was closed.

Any ideas (besides the obvious excoriations for amateur behavior on my part) on how to get my miles back would be appreciated. Note that I am a member of the Hyatt Legal plans through work, so I may be able to get a letter written on my behalf …

Member Summary
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Just an update here. Lawyer sent a letter, and got a response 10 days later saying the same thing that the Customer Ser... (more)

AAmiles1 (Aug. 22, 2011 @ 1:26p) |

Thx for the update keep us posted

SUCKISSTAPLES (Aug. 22, 2011 @ 1:31p) |

And just think how many trips to the bank to dump your dollar coins were wasted. Thanks for wasting all those tax dollar... (more)

delzy (Aug. 22, 2011 @ 6:04p) |

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I think you most likely have learned a not-so-fun lesson. This should be a prime example of why selling airline miles/hotel points etc is usually a bad idea.

Id go after CL...Are they an agent of AA or have a responsibility to them.

Face it you got caught selling miles or trying.. Press the issue more and more then likely you will just get banned from air travel with them.

Sorry, for your loss OP. But very interesting story.

I thought this was going to be about alcholics anonymous.

I love the explanation. Reminds me of the 'I did not inhale'.

So, just for kicks, what DID you intend with that CL ad?

I can only tell you one thing for sure: You won't get the miles back.

So what is your real screen name?

Someone probably reported your post to CL and then CL passed on the info to AA. The AAdvantage program rules allow AA to take your miles and CL privacy policy allow them to release information to third parties, so they probably were both within their rights.

Excerpts from the AAdvantage program rules:

At no time may AAdvantage mileage credit or award tickets be purchased, sold or bartered. Any such mileage or tickets are void if transferred for cash or other consideration. Violators (including any passenger who uses a purchased or bartered award ticket) may be liable for damages and litigation costs, including American Airlines attorneys fees incurred in enforcing this rule.

Fraud, misrepresentation, abuse or violation of applicable rules (including, but not limited to, American or American Eagle conditions of carriage, tariffs and AAdvantage program rules) is subject to appropriate administrative and/or legal action by appropriate governmental authorities and American Airlines. Such action may include, without limitation, the forfeiture of all award tickets, and any accrued mileage in a member's account, as well as cancellation of the account and the member's future participation in the AAdvantage program. In addition, American Airlines reserves the right to take appropriate legal action to recover damages, including its attorney fees incurred in prosecuting any lawsuit.


Excerpt from the CL privacy policy:

Circumstances in which craigslist may release information

Craigslist may disclose information about its users if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to subpoenas, court orders, or other legal process.

Craigslist may also disclose information about its users to law enforcement officers or others, in the good faith belief that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to: enforce our Terms of Use; respond to claims that any posting or other content violates the rights of third-parties; or protect the rights, property, or personal safety of craigslist, its users or the general public.

Is this one yours?

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tix/2525976533.html

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105K ba miles airline miles - $2000

Date: 2011-08-02, 11:46AM EDT
Reply to: sale-twwee-2525976533@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

105K british airways miles for sale. good for international travel.



one world partner american may work as well or any other one world partner

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 2525976533

I think the OP means he was trying to sell some BA (British Airways) miles and then listed Americna Airlines as one of the partner airlines that you can use BA miles on. But then he's using too many acronyms. Maybe they were BadAss miles or Bollywood Appreciation miles.

CL doesn't do a lot of the policing, but I'm guessing that someone else selling miles wanted to get a leg up on the competition. Either that or someone who works for AA was browsing CL and decided to make your day worse.

davef139: have you ever heard of someone getting banned from an airline for this sort of thing?

SpeedingLunatic : do you ave anecdotes of this happening ? Have you ever heard of one getting the miles back? There are potentially extenuating circumstances here (I didn't attempt to sell any Aadvantage miles).

mespin : I read those rules too, but I didn't attempt to sell any Aadvantage miles. (It was a different program) ... I think you are probably right though, about a respondent as a stooge.

sfvera said:   I love the explanation. Reminds me of the 'I did not inhale'.

So, just for kicks, what DID you intend with that CL ad?
Not to defend the OP, but I often will feel out the PM market in different cities with ads to sell bullion on Craigslist that I may not even be holding.

Since the OP claims they did not actually sell or transfer these miles "for cash or consideration" he would not be in violation of the TOS as posted above. Doubt that will make a difference, but it seems he is a victim of the thought police.

AAmiles1 said:   mespin : I read those rules too, but I didn't attempt to sell any Aadvantage miles. (It was a different program)
If your defense to AA is "I was actually trying to sell BA miles" then you'll probably end up with BA taking those miles too.

Call you Hyatt lawyer and ask him to draft a letter to American Airlines that explains that you were not violating their terms and conditions but were instead violating the terms with one of their alliance partners. You'll probably get an apology letter with your miles back when they realize the mix up.

In all seriousness, you are only out a couple of credit inquires and maybe an annual credit card fee or two for the miles. Just walk away with a cheap lesson. You should probably change your email address on record with BA before that link is made and you lose those miles too.

Wait, so your credit line didn't give you adverse action?
Now I'm really confused....

I guess I'm too much of a Boy Scout. I never thought about selling miles. You can't transfer them from one account to another, can you?

You have to pay to xfer. Selling them really means you will book the reward ticket in the buyer's name thru your own account.

Cl probably didn't report you . Did you include any personally identifying info in the ad such as an email address connected to your ba and aa accounts? Cl could have only been the reporting party If there was no identifying info in the ad

Did you get any emails from people pretending to be interested in the miles, where you responded using your linked email name etc? If so, some angry cl competitor or AA itself saw the ad, replied to your ad and got your info that way.

You can and should use your free legal plan benefit to state you were not selling Aa miles and are in compliance with the Aa miles program- whether it's worth pushing past that initial letter is dubious

I'm incredibly surprised those acronyms meant what I first thought they did.

To OP, I doubt you have recourse here. I find it odd and surprising that such a "hands off" company as CL would partner with AA in this fashion. Obviously AA won't give them back since you violated their terms. You might be able to sue CL for something or other but I'd doubt you'd be successful. Doesn't the law see airline miles as having "no value" for tax purposes and the like?

Moral of the story: always use a separate email for important accounts!

***

I think SIS is probably right. I know you say they got your info via CL, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was CL admins who aided them. Also, you didn't say if you had advertiesed anywhere else or if a AA got their info from elsewhere, ie from a previous buyer.

The question I have is why the hell would you use a real name on CL and the same email address you use for anything else. That's just stupid.

TheManWhoExcaped said:   Is this one yours?

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tix/2525976533.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
105K ba miles airline miles - $2000

Date: 2011-08-02, 11:46AM EDT
Reply to: sale-twwee-2525976533@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

105K british airways miles for sale. good for international travel.



one world partner american may work as well or any other one world partner

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 2525976533


Wow 100k miles is worth $2000 ?!?!?!? Tempting...

Updated the title.. yes - lesson learned about separate accounts for separate activities (I guess it's like retitling assets ... there should be a thread about this whole idea - no? - like how do you organize and remember what e-mail is for what ... boy does that make for a complicated life - like having 2 families who don't know about each other). I learned that for this stream of posts ... but even now - I have to keep looking to see how I'm logged in.

The only advertisement was on CL, but I did respond to a number of people - it could easily have been from one of them - I was way too careless with responses too - and then it would have been easy to link e-mail addresses.

Acid Spectrum: Why would a previous buyer give up info like that? It's a possibility, but I can't figure out why anyone would want to turn their source in.

By the way, no I don't think they're worth anywhere near $2k for that many miles. Closer to 1.5 per. That wasn't my ad - but maybe they were upset with undercutting price competition.?

Lol, you used a "real" email address with CL?

AAmiles1 said:   Updated the title.. yes - lesson learned about separate accounts for separate activities (I guess it's like retitling assets ... there should be a thread about this whole idea - no? - like how do you organize and remember what e-mail is for what ... boy does that make for a complicated life - like having 2 families who don't know about each other).
This is pretty simple if you own a domain name. I use target@ for Target stores, WalMart@ , aa@ or americanair@ , usair@ , Delta@ .... I think you get the drift by now.

Very rarely does a business get my actual email address. They nearly always get an alias.

If you were trying to sell BA miles, AA has no cause, unless they claim that BA and AA are the same company. At that point you can forward that claim to the Justice Dept.

200k miles would be conservatively worth 4k, so I'd say you have a decent incentive to pursue the matter.

cstring said:   TheManWhoExcaped said:   Is this one yours?

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tix/2525976533.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
105K ba miles airline miles - $2000

Date: 2011-08-02, 11:46AM EDT
Reply to: sale-twwee-2525976533@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

105K british airways miles for sale. good for international travel.



one world partner american may work as well or any other one world partner

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 2525976533


Wow 100k miles is worth $2000 ?!?!?!? Tempting...


Well, the actual cost of a business class ticket that could be redeemed for 100k miles is often $5,000 or more if purchased. So yes, many people would gladly pay $2,000 for 100k miles. That's why airlines frown upon it...and utilize whatever methods they can to prevent it.

OP - post to FlyerTalk, they have more expertize on the matter and will be more sympathetic too...

I realize that the OP was trying to do something that violated the precious TOS with AA but I still think AA is being a piece of #$%^ for not even giving him the chance to defend himself. It's as if they are saying, we see the opportunity is there to rob you therefore we shall. Our TOS, which you agreed to by default, allows us to.

Something similar happened to me on FleaBay. This has been a few years ago when I had a SWA account. I advertised a voucher for a free round-trip flight. The auction was cancelled and I didn't think any more about it. Then I got a letter in the mail from SWA saying that "our investigation has lead us to you." Basically the letter was saying if they suspected I was trying it again they'd cancel my FF account and keep the miles. Ticked me off to be honest because I didn't feel it was any of their business what I was doing on FleaBay (and yes I know their rules say it is). From that point forward I made up an alias (first and last name) and an alias email address to go along with it and I use it for most things without worrying that some company somewhere is going to zap me for violating one of their agreements.

AAdvantage Rules said: At no time may AAdvantage mileage credit or award tickets be purchased, sold or bartered.

OP did not purchase, sell, or barter miles.

He may have attempted to do those things, but he did not actually do them. To paraphrase a great American, "Attempted bartering? Now, honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel prize for attempted chemistry? Do they??"

AAmiles1 said:   

The only advertisement was on CL, but I did respond to a number of people - it could easily have been from one of them - I was way too careless with responses too - and then it would have been easy to link e-mail .

If you're selling a high dollar item
On cl you should have either just posted a google voice phone number or required respondents to include their phone number. Serious people call, losers and fraudsters email

AAmiles1 said:   By the way, no I don't think they're worth anywhere near $2k for that many miles. Closer to 1.5 per. That wasn't my ad - but maybe they were upset with undercutting price competition.?

Then you should be happy you didn't sell them because you would have gotten taken for that low of a valuation. I booked First to Australia on QF for 145K miles, with the ticket face value making the points worth over $.15 a piece. Sure, $.015 for domestic coach, but if you're redeeming points for that you're really not optimizing your rewards.

I don't think using a ridiculously priced first class rate truly represents how much miles are " worth ", since you would have likely never really paid the cash price
For that ticket.

It's like when you book a room on Priceline for $50 and the rack rate is $450. You didn't "save" $400 when you would gave never paid that rack rate

Except that there is no other way to get first class tickets for less than their price, while you certainly could get that room for less than the rack rate without Priceline.
I think that first class tickets are a reasonable price comparison.

Skipping 60 Messages...
And just think how many trips to the bank to dump your dollar coins were wasted. Thanks for wasting all those tax dollars in factoring fees and shipping. JP Morgan Chase FTW.



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