Businessman threatens to sue CAL over missing packages

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A Caribbean Airlines plane about to take off. – File photo

A business owner is threatening legal action against Caribbean Airlines’ skybox courier service Jetpak over missing packages.

Attorney Richard Jaggasar, who represents Rehin Burke, owner of cellphone retailer Burke Corporation Technologies Ltd, wrote to CAL’s general counsel and corporate secretary Nalini Lalla on April 4, with a settlement proposal.

He said his client was prepared to accept US$15,576 (to be paid in US currency) and an additional $50,000 for his distress.

“Only in this case will the intended claimant continue to be a loyal customer of the intended defendant.”

According to the letter, in October 2022, Burke bought three boxes of cellphones online. He notified Jetpak of the intended shipment. He received notification that his packages had been shipped to Trinidad and would be ready for delivery in two business days. The fees for each package were: $277.20; $209.95; and $743.07. He paid $1,230.22 in total.

The letter said two of the boxes contained 27 cellphones at a cost of US$11,682 from one supplier and the third was from a different supplier.

Burke received an e-mail from Jetpak that one of the boxes was ready for collection. But when he inspected the box, he allegedly discovered seven cellphones were missing from the shipment.

Jetpak told him to file a complaint. However, the letter said the complaint has not yet been resolved. The letter said after several weeks, he received no further information about the other two boxes.

It said Burke was eventually told that Jetpak did not receive the two boxes in Trinidad and were deemed lost. He was again told to make a complaint, which has also not been resolved.

The letter said in the ensuing months, he was told the packages had been received at Jetpak’s Miami warehouse, but were lost in transit to Trinidad.

“It therefore accepted full liability for the loss, (regardless of callously suggesting otherwise in later e-mails). Despite accepting full liability at this stage, the intended defendant has taken the untenable stance to propose as a final settlement the sum of US$2,950.50.

“The proposal is refused.”

The letter further described the offer and a subsequent, slightly increased offer as “unreasonable.”

Jaggasar said his client intends to argue at trial Jetpak was in breach of the contract, since Burke paid the required fees for delivery of packages.

“ In this instance, the amount was pre-paid to the intended defendant…

“As of now, the intended claimant has not received the two boxes with a cumulative value of US$11,682. “

Jaggasar also said his client was entitled to damages for his loss, since Jetpak accepted liability.

Burke also intends to seek compensation for loss of income for the time and effort he spent dealing with the repercussions of the missing packages.

He also intends to seek compensation for the “ negligent handling of the shipment by Caribbean Airlines Cargo and Jetpak,” which, the letter said, resulted in significant emotional distress.

“The frustration, anxiety, and disappointment stemming from the loss of valuable merchandise, coupled with the dismissive attitude of the defendant’s agents, inflicted undue emotional hardship on Mr Burke.

“The failure of Caribbean Airlines Cargo and Jetpak to fulfil their contractual obligations reflects poorly on Mr Burke’s business reputation. As a businessman operating in the retail industry, the inability to deliver promised goods to customers due to the defendant’s negligence tarnished Mr. Burke’s professional standing and eroded trust among his clientele.”

Burke’s losses were quantified at US$15,576.

The letter offered Jetpak some business advice. “The intended defendant is a customer-service-based company run by a state appointed board. It is meant to generate income and assist the financially failing Caribbean Airlines Ltd, which currently and for some time now has operated at a loss.

“The intended defendant ought to show proper care and attention to customers and ensure their satisfaction or else (it) will not be able to build its customer base.

“This is especially important in the infant stage of the company’s development when public perception is significantly important.

“Having found itself in a position where a customer is dissatisfied it ought to operate expeditiously.

“However, it operated with delay and bad faith; unreasonably and unnecessarily prolonging the matter possibly in the hopes that the intended claimant would eventually go away.”