Lawsuit: Customer Called United, Got Sexually Harassed. For 48 Minutes.

Calls are recorded for quality assurance. Of course airlines can pull up calls when it suits them, they don’t do it on demand for customers, and when we push those calls often can’t be found or recordings are corrupted. A subpeona could change that.

William J. Dicks is suing United over a phone call to reservations. He claims the agent commented on his last name. Dicks.

The male reservations representative allegedy:

  • Asked if Dicks was alone, and what he’d do to the agent if they were together.
  • Asked if Dicks used “protection” with his girlfriend.
  • Asked Dicks’ girlfriend’s age.
  • …Asked where might find pictures of Dicks on social media

What I don’t understand here is that William Dicks stayed on the call for 48 minutes. The lawsuit tries to explain this away by claiming he needed to “gain[..] his necessary flight information.”

Implausibly, to demonstrate damages he says “the experience brought back the trauma of childhood teasing over his name, made him fearful the agent might appear at gates when Dicks traveled” and “his self-worth suffered to the degree that he broke up with his girlfriend.”

Let’s repeat that for emphasis. A phone call to United that he willingly stayed on for 48 minutes made the man break up with his girlfriend.

My theory is this was mind control gone bad. The agent is Scott Baio and this is a science experiment at United intended to force customers to buy up from Basic Economy and like it and this agent used Scott Kirby’s new great power for his own amusement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m sure bringing a lawsuit against United will make those childhood traumas of his last name being made fun of go away.

  2. Imagine a woman named Ivana Humpalot went to a restaurant. Upon learning her name, the waiter asked her for 48 minutes while serving her if they were alone, and what she do to the agent if they were together, if she used “protection” with her boyfriend, what her boyfriends age was, and where he might find pictures of her on social media.

    Instead of immediately leaving, Ivana stayed for 48 minutes.

    Would you wonder why she stayed? Would you criticize her for charging harassment, noting that her suit will bring more harassment?

  3. Perfect situation for HUCA.

    @hooterbif – Yes, if “Ivana” didn”t leave – or bet yet, find the manager and raise the issues – I’d consider a lawsuit equally as absurd as this one. Not sure what your point is…

  4. This guy and his repressed childhood trauma of being taunted about his name needs to either figure out a way to deal with it (HUCA), demand a supervisor or become adept at taunting back.

    This is a grown man for God’s sake.

  5. It will make a nice test case for if a customer can force call recordings to be made public…but I agree, hang up. Still doesn’t make it right though, if the agent says it.

  6. This is no laughing matter. Every Tom, Dicks and Harry has the right to harass an airline reservations agent for 48 minutes unmolested.

  7. If the guy was so traumatized by his last name, he could have changed it the day he turned 18 for less than $500.

    He sounds like a real dick…

  8. Perhaps Mr Dicks should invest in a recording device and record the conversations he has with airline reservationists and others who are likely to harrass him verbally. What’s sauce for the goose…

  9. This guy is a grifter looking for UA to pay him to go away. I’m guessing his attorneys are with Dewey, Cheetham & Howe

  10. He needs to get over it. I am from the North east . There are a number of surnames here that can be a problem. My mom worked with a Richard Soares she used to call him Dick until she said his name out loud. then there is a relative called Mike Hunt. Even know one parent who named their son “Sierra Leone” he got into trouble big time about that ., How about Pussy Galore. too

  11. This isn’t newsworthy and instead probably causes more nobodies to go for their 15 minutes of fame.

    Having said that, do people still call phone sex hotlines? If so, this man could BILL.

  12. It seems all the responses, except mine, are from men.

    Why should he have ti hang up?
    Why should he need to call back and hope to get another agent?
    Are you guys going to ask if his pants were too tight?
    Ask if maybe he was flirting with the agent?

    The agent and by extension United are responsible for the customer’s discomfort.

    Calls are recorded and/or monitored for quality control. An agent would never, ever talk to a customer like that unless they somehow knew they weren’t being monitored or the agent knew who was doing the monitoring and knew he was safe to treat the customer in that manner.

    I wouldn’t have stayed in the phone, either but it is ultimately the responsibility of United and that agent for the agent’s sexual harassment.

  13. @Maureen Flynn

    My comment above, in which I flipped the genders, was supposed to demonstrate that it is not the *victim* who is supposed to make accommodations for the perpetrator. I thought that it would have been easier to understand this if the woman were the victim in the story.

  14. @ hooterbif – no, the victim shouldn’t need to make accommodations, but he’s also not supposed to stay there for almost an hour (??!!).

    @Maureen – I’m a female and I think this is ridiculous. If I were spoken to like that, I’d probably start recording the conversation for a couple of minutes, then hang up and report the employee. And it’s totally possible he was flirting, but agree that bottom line it was wrong if the agent. Regardless, he looks like an idiot claiming ptsd and girlfriend problems.

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