It all started when Hasan Sayed took a business trip in Europe, and the airline apparently managed to lose his bags. When the situation wasn't resolved to his satisfaction, he took to Twitter and started complaining.
In a subsequent tweet, he acknowledged that he was paying to make sure the airline's followers saw what he thought of the shoddy customer service. On Tuesday, he revealed the extent of his campaign: He'd spent $1,000 to promote his tweets, in the process reaching more than 76,000 users.
It's not uncommon for individuals who have clout on social media to use it to escalate a customer service complaint. In fact, one of the most famous customer service disputes of the last few years involved a musician who cut a music video railing against United Airlines for breaking his guitar. But this is the first time we've seen someone pay to promote their posts -- a tactic usually only employed by businesses.
Not everyone can afford to promote their posts every time they have a beef with a company. But this is yet another weapon at consumers' disposal, and businesses are officially on notice: Angry customers can advertise, too.
British Airways eventually responded to Sayed, explaining that their response was delayed because their Twitter feed wasn't manned 24 hours a day. And while it's unclear if Sayed got his luggage back, he's declaring victory in this tussle.
I got what I wanted. I win.- (@HVSVN) September 4, 2013
Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.