This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
If you’ve ever tried to navigate the red tape of airline complaints (say, tried to get reimbursement for lost luggage) then you know how excruciating and hopeless that process can be. But what if you could hire someone else to fight your good fight… for free? That’s the promise behind Service, a new app that deals with—you guessed it!—your customer service battles.
Service’s origin story is a familiar one. “I was traveling on a brand new 737, and the guy sitting next to me had bought a GoGo Wi-Fi pass,” explains founder Michael Schneider. “Unfortunately, the power ports on the plane were broken; he wasted the last 20 minutes of his battery life trying to get someone at AA.com or Twitter to pay attention to his problem.” Thus Service was born.
Users begin by sharing the name of the business they’re having issues with. Then they’re presented with possible complaints that are tailored to the appropriate industry (hotels, airlines, cable providers, etc.). The final step: entering your desired compensation, whether that means a full refund or a couple of meal vouchers. If what you’re asking is reasonable, Service will pursue your case, at zero cost to you.
What’s the catch? There isn’t one… yet. “The easy way to make money would be to recover a percentage of a customer’s reimbursement,” said Schneider, “but that didn’t sit right with me. Charging would add insult to injury.” The goal, he explains, is to keep Service free for consumers, and capitalize off the service being provided to the companies fielding complaints. “If you can resolve an issue quickly, it’s a huge victory for the brand,” he adds. “Our job is to help temper consumers’ anger, and hopefully deliver a much happier customer for return business.”
Since launching in July, 40 percent of complaints registered on Service have pertained to travel, and among those, 80 percent have related to airlines.Delays, lost bags, and cancellations rank among the most common grievances. That’s not terribly surprising. What is surprising is how successful Service has been on delivering a settlement.
Based on case resolutions so far, here’s the average amount you can expect to get back (either in dollars, points, or vouchers) as compensation for the most common airline and hotel snafus:
Average Compensation for Airline Complaints
Flight cancellation: $779
Excessive flight delay: $209
Missing, Delayed, or Damaged Baggage: $559
Rude personnel: $124
Average Compensation for Hotel Complaints
Incorrect bill charges: $284