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June 4, 2010 9:44 AM   Subscribe

My Dad is on a European tour, and yesterday in Paris, someone broke into the tour bus and stole quite a bit of loot from all of the tourgoers. This seems a bit shady, but regardless, is there any advice for this situation? It doesn't sound like the company is owning up to anything.

The tour is run by an American company, if that makes a difference. I'm not sure what kind of insurance these companies should have for this situation, or who covers what. Does it compare to auto insurance here in the US, where it sometimes covers stolen possessions?

I'm in limited contact with him, so I don't have all the details, but I thought I'd ask for any advice that I could pass along to the group. Thanks!
posted by jsmith77 to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's the contract between the tourgoers and the tour company say? Best bet is to find the email address or phone number of the CEO or other higher-up in the tour company and petition him or her for a remedy. Look at consumerist.com for examples of this working in other contexts.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 10:04 AM on June 4, 2010

ALso, if he charged the trip on a premium credit card, he will probably be entitled to some reimbursement from them on their automatic trip protections plans.
posted by metahawk at 11:56 AM on June 4, 2010

Home Owner's Insurance MAY cover him while he's on vacation - my parent's covered mine when my college dorm was broken into, since I was technically still "living at home" while in college.
posted by GJSchaller at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: I've previously worked as a rep for what was essentially a package holiday company, on the ground dealing with customers.

The best thing that your dad can do is to get all relevant paperwork together ASAP, from both the company and the gendarmerie (I'm assuming the theft has been reported?). This is stuff he can do now, where he is.

The company may well have various forms that their reps can fill out (we called them Incident Report Forms) - these are for their use, but you can request that they forward them to your insurer at a later date.

The thing is, any insurance claim you or the company make at a later date will rely on this sort of paperwork. So you need to set up a paper trail that you can come back to at a later date, because it's unlikely that either their or your insurer will be able to sort this out quickly.

He should also be recording the time and date of any conversations with any company representative along with their name, position etc., and the contents of the conversation (do this after the chat though). Saying "on the 4th June I spoke with Chris at midday, and he said that the company would compensate me" will be a lot more effective than "The guy with brown hair said you'd pay me back".

He should make a list of what was stolen, and try and quantify the value. He shouldn't say what he thinks everything's worth to the company though, because a) if he later realises he's had $expensive_thing stolen, it's going to look shady and the personnel will think he's trying to pull one over on them; and b) it won't make a huge difference to how they process the claim at this point. They'll have to work out their policy, contact the insurer etc. Money talk comes later.

He just wants to make them aware that he's been affected, and ask them to get their act together, get him info on their insurer. If they must have a figure, see if he can list each item and their approximate value (give a range). Be honest, say he can't remember the precise value.

At this point in time, you don't know who's going to end up paying. He'll want to look at the Terms and Conditions of his tour, see if liability is excluded (but don't say anything to the company - he wants to put the onus on them to prove to him that they shouldn't have to pay), and maybe quietly call his insurer to see if he's covered regardless.

Also, he should keep all receipts of stuff he has to buy to replace his stuff from now on, and any related paper trail stuff. Again, this may come in handy later on depending on who pays and what for.

Finally, don't be demanding or pushy on the foot soldiers. They'll be far more helpful if he's sympathetic to them (bus load of angry people? Zero fun) and the fact that, hey, they're all in this together. The higher-ups work slowly compared to what's happening on the ground - it's routine for them, it's not urgent. He should feel free to bombard them as much as he likes, because they can do something, but all the guys at the bottom can do is send stuff up the chain and report back (in fact, if he can circumvent them, all the better).

One problem he may have later on is that any insurer may demand receipts (I know - who keeps receipts?). I've had some luck in a completely unrelated matter with a printout from the website with the price, and he may be able to negotiate for "you pay the value of the replacement" (but this shouldn't be a starting point). But the claim stuff is later on - for now, get all your facts and paperwork together.
posted by djgh at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, thanks all, especially djgh. I've passed along the info. One problem is that the tour zips through different countries, so by the time I learned about it, they were in the Netherlands. But hopefully the tourists there will be able to recover something.
posted by jsmith77 at 9:15 PM on June 5, 2010

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