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Same, same, but different (bag)

Mark flew with his family to Fiji for a 2-week holiday. Mark and his family had flights booked from Wellington to Auckland and Auckland to Fiji. Due to cyclone Winston, their Wellington to Auckland flight was delayed around 2 hours. This meant when Mark and his family arrived in Auckland they were very short of time and had to run through the airport to catch their international flight. The family had to quickly collect their luggage from the baggage carousel to put onto their next flight to Fiji. One family member picked up a bag that was identical to Mark’s, but it was not his.

For the first 24 hours in Fiji, Mark thought his bag had been lost as it did not arrive at the baggage carousel in Fiji. JetStar later called Mark asking why his bag had been left behind in Auckland, and at that moment he realised what had happened. Mark assumed his bag would be sent back to Wellington so he bought some clothes and toiletries in Fiji. However, the Fiji airline sent Mark’s bag to Fiji. Mark made a claim to the insurance company for $108 for the clothes and toiletries that he had purchased.

The insurance company declined the claim on two grounds:

  • What happened was not outside of Mark’s control
  • There was a general exclusion for not acting in a responsible way to protect your property

Mark complained to FSCL.



Mark felt strongly that he should be compensated due to his genuine mistake. After discussing the file with the insurance company, they agreed to make an ex-gratia settlement offer of $50 to Mark. We explained to Mark that this was a fair and reasonable settlement offer, as the mistake was avoidable on his part, however in the interests of expediting a resolution, the insurance company were prepared to settle. Mark agreed and accepted this as full and final settlement.



We were never required to undertake a full investigation of Mark’s complaint, or make a decision. However, if we had been required to make a decision, we would have most likely upheld the decision of the insurance company identifying the reasonable person test to the circumstances.