After ruining my BRAND NEW piece of luggage (a privilege for which I paid $25) here is the reply I received from the friendly folks at United Airlines today:
Dear Mr. Thornton,
It is of utmost importance to us that the service extended to our customers should be to their complete satisfaction, thus, I deeply regret the inconvenience you experienced due to damage baggage.
Mr. Thornton, baggage is designed to protect its contents; some scratches or dirt may appear despite care in normal handling. United does not assume responsibility for damage to or loss of protruding baggage parts such as zippers, straps, pockets, pull handles, hanger hooks, wheels, feet, locks and oversized or over-packed bags. For this reason we are unable to offer reimbursement for your loss.
We are sorry that we gave you reason to be disappointed with United, and regret that our response could not be more favorable. We are confident that your future flights will be satisfactory in every respect.
I am equally confident that my future flights will be satisfactory in every respect because I will avoid your airline like the plague — at least until my bitter grudge against you mellows with time.