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United Breaks Guitars

Updated on August 30, 2017
United Breaks Guitars
United Breaks Guitars | Source

Frustrated With Customer Service, Dave Carroll Makes YouTube Video 'United Breaks Guitars'

United Breaks Guitars is the name of the YouTube video that went viral after Dave Carroll of the Nova Scotian band Sons of Maxwell's experience travelling to a concert tour on March 31, 2008.

A fellow passenger cried out, "My God, they're throwing guitars out there."

Sure enough, it turns out that the guitars were thrown into the luggage compartment and that one was severely damaged.

The video United Breaks Guitars was the result. It shared the nine month struggle that ensued as Dave Carroll pursued compensation for the damage done to his guitar.

On this page find the first YouTube Video entitled United Breaks Guitars and a second video which is a statement acknowledging the response from United Airlines.

This is the story of a customer service gaffe on the part of United Airlines and "The power of one voice in the age of social media."

Click here to read more about United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media on Amazon.

Frustrated With Customer Service? Take It To YouTube!

United Breaks Guitars Posted on YouTube July 6th, 2009

United Breaks Guitars Had 3,014,082 Hits July 16th, 2009

Dave Carroll's Story

The story of how United Airlines and Mrs. Irweg dealt with him.

On March 31, 2008 the Sons of Maxwell band, of which Dave Carroll is a member, flew via United Airlines to Nebraska for a tour. While sitting on the tarmac, passengers on the flight witnessed the guitars thrown by baggage handlers in Chicago and damaging Dave Carroll's $3,500 Taylor guitar.

Dave Carroll's immediate concerns to the staff at hand were dismissed. It would take him nine months and a lot of run around to sort the matter out. He spoke with several employees on the day of the incident. After that, he would speak with staff in Halifax, Chicago, Omaha, New York and India. (You really should read the whole article at Dave Carroll's website to appreciate how ridiculous the system was.) Eventually, he dealt with Ms. Irlweg who finally said, "No."

At this point, Mr. Carroll realized that he had been fighting a losing battle all of this time. The system seemed to work to frustrate the customers so that they would simply go away. However, he decided to take what he knows best (music) and use it to his advantage. He wrote to Ms. Irlweg and told her that he would be writing three songs and videos about his experience.

"I promised the last person to finally say 'no' to compensation ... that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world."

~~ Dave Carroll

United Breaks Guitars YouTube Video - July 11th, 2008 Over 2,000,000 Hits

Dave Carroll's Taylor Guitar

His guitar has been repaired but I have read that Dave Carroll says it will never be the same.

Dave Carroll's guitar was more than just another piece of luggage. The cedar-top acoustic Taylor 710 CE guitar was something he saved for for three years when he was dreaming of becoming a professional musician after he graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa. He saved everything that he could from local gigs and from living inexpensively. Eventually, a smart investment doubled and he was able to purchase his $3,500 guitar. His Taylor 710 CE 'spoke' to him after he tried a number of guitars at Steve's Music in Ottawa. It is said that it was " love at first strum." And it featured a "reddish top and a nice, warm baritone." He bonded with it instantly because it matched his tenor-baritone.

Do you have a special bond with your musical instrument?

"Taylors, for the uninitiated, are akin to the Rolls Royce of acoustic guitars." ~~ Lou Carlozo

Dave Carroll Shares His Thoughts - About the success of the video United Breaks Guitars.

Taylor Guitars Book - The story of Taylor Guitars, covering 30 years of a new American classic.

Taylor Guitars 30 Years of a New American Classic
Taylor Guitars 30 Years of a New American Classic

"This gorgeous, premium book tells the story of how Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug took a small San Diego guitar-building company and transformed it into an industry leader that produces more than 70,000 high-quality guitars a year. Features dozens of full-color photos of many rare guitars, including instruments Bob Taylor built before the company's founding, standard production models (including the acoustic bass and the new nylon string series), custom-built instruments, and special celebrity models." ~~ Amazon

 

United Airline's Response After 50,000 Views On YouTube?

"We're Working To Make What Happened Right."

Better late than never?

What have YOUR experiences with United Airlines been like?

See results

Will Carroll's video help the rest of us when we deal with United Airlines or any other large company? What do you think?

United Breaks Guitars is an interesting video but will it actually cause United to deal more fairly with all of its customers when they complain? If not what does that mean? Do we have to post a YouTube video to get results?

Dave Carroll's Goal:

To get one million hits this year and he has far surpassed that. So much time had passed that Mr. Carroll was no longer angry and he and the others involved with the video had a great time putting it together.

Dave Carroll's Final Message:

"Thanks United! If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I'm glad it was you that did it. Now sit back and enjoy the show."

Sons of Maxwell Music CDs - If you like the sound of the Sons of Maxwell in the video, you're probably going to enjoy one of their CDs.

Sons of Maxwell Benefits From UBG Experience

"It's nice to have a light-hearted chuckle at things." ~~ Dave Carroll

Dave Carroll created this video as a lark not realizing that his band would receive more exposure than than they have ever received, the kind of publicity that cannot be purchased. He has been working for 15 years as a solo artist and a member of this band and this song is proving to be an incredible boost. (He is not seeking compensation from United Airlines.) He thinks that people like the song because it is about the airlines and because it is light-hearted and fun. So far, United Airlines seems to be handling the publicity in good form and using it (and the video) as a lesson.

As an aside, the song and the video really ARE good. (But you already know that if you watched the video. If you skipped the video you might want to go back and hear it now.) The tune is catchy and well done but unfortunately, I'm stuck with that line, United Breaks Guitars, running around and around in my head.

United Breaks Guitars Lyrics

(A taste of them! Once you've heard the song in the video, you're going to keep hearing the line 'Cause United Breaks guitars.)

United, United

You broke my Taylor guitar

United, United

Some big help you are

You broke it, you should fix it

You're liable just admit it

I should have flown with someone else or gone by car

'Cause United breaks guitars

Dave Carroll Profited From United Breaks Guitars - Well, it has definitely helped his bottom line...

  • More than 3.5 million YouTube hits.
  • More than 400 CDs sold.
  • Offers to do gigs here and abroad.
  • Possibly the top YouTube music video in Canadian history.
  • Possibly a record-setter in Australia.
  • A new guitar from Taylor Guitars.

United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media - Order your copy of the book today.

United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media
United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media

United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media tells Dave Carroll's story. Amazon says, "Songwriter Dave Carroll wasn’t the first person abused by an airline’s customer service. But he was the first to show how one person, armed with creativity, some friends, $150, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down. United Airlines had broken Dave’s guitar in checked luggage."

 

"A real life guitar hero." ~~ Lloyd Robertson, CTV

Stay Tuned For United Breaks Guitars Song 2 and Song 3

What was the biggest error United Airlines made in this situation? - And what do you think of the Sons of Maxwell and Dave Carroll's video response?

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    • TreasuresBrenda profile image
      Author

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      @Ohrana: You might be able to buy the song for your MP3 player from Amazon even though you are in Russia. Just click on "United Breaks Guitar By Dave Carroll Is Now Available For Your MP3 Player." I don't believe the song is available on a CD. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.

    • profile image

      Ohrana 8 years ago

      How can i bay it if I in Russia now? it's realy?

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      My husband has traveled the world with his bass guitar, and knows a few musicians who will pay for a second seat for their guitar. Bad move on United's part. Nicely done... Squid Angel Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I'd say...don't mess with a man and his guitar! No, seriously this was awful and I'm glad you wrote about it.

    • Pmona LM profile image

      Pmona LM 8 years ago

      Good video, great lens! 5*

    • MsSnow4 profile image

      Carol Goss 8 years ago

      I like this lens it shows the power of the squeeky wheel lol

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I saw this video a few days ago. I love it, I love it that he was able to do and have sooo many people view it.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a great lens, telling an amazing story. I had also had an issue with United a while back, got no satisfaction from customer service so I filed a complaint with the FAA which ultimately resulted in a law change, then UAL took notice.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      I had a very bad experience with United once, as a young adult--not as costly as Dave's, but still--bad. Of course the co. should have compensated him for the broken guitar. But it seems customer service in general has taken a hit over the past couple years. Remember when banks actually seemed to appreciate having your accounts? Sigh. I hope this video helps others. It's certainly entertaining! 5* and nice work on this lens.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      United Airlines should have "manned up" and repaired the guitar in the first place. It's a shame that people are so irresponsible in their duties (the baggage handlers need to learn the Golden Rule) but also a shame that many people will run directly to a lawyer. I love Dave's response; he seems like a great guy. Love the band's music, too! (Thanks for including my Obama lens, Brenda!)

    • Lou165 profile image

      Lou165 8 years ago from Australia

      What a great idea! That is what I call payback.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Too many companies have "Customer No Service" as Clark Howard says. I do not like to fly but I try to avoid it at all costs. I've had bad experiences with airlines.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Brilliant way to deal with absolutely abysmal "customer service" by United. I too have had a horror story luggage problem with them. and I never have travelled with them again because of it.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Love the video! And, hey, they're good! I wish I could say "I can't believe how they were treated"--both the guitars and the band--but, unfortunately, I CAN believe it. It's just disgusting. But I love the way these guys have handled the situation and stuck it out.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

      Wish we could all channel our frustrations as creatively as Dave did!

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