Limo company takes months to return deposit

December 15, 2011 7:55:37 PM PST
Renting a limo or party bus is usually reserved for a special occasion. So when the need arises, you want to make sure everything goes as planned, but that didn't happen for an Aragon High Senior in San Mateo, so 7 On Your Side got involved.

Eric Torres made arrangements to rent a party bus for his senior prom. Torres now in his first year at UC Santa Cruz has fond memories of his years in high school.

"There's just a whole four years of spending time with friends that you kind of grown to know, love and care for," said Torres.

He wanted something special so he made arrangements for 20 or so friends to go to the prom together. He rented a party bus from Bay Limousines on Colby Street in San Francisco, but the group grew too big for the bus, so he cancelled 72 hours later. That was four days before the deadline to get out of the contract without penalty.

"They told me a few days later after trying to contact them that I would get my deposit refunded within a week," said Torres.

An email from Bay Limousines in April promises to give him his down payment the next week, but months went by and the refund never came.

"I made a few more phone calls and at one point, my cellphone number got blocked and then I thought to myself, 'that's the last straw,'" said Torres.

The California Public Utilities Commission regulates limousine companies.

"A lot of times what we find is that we have companies operating without license, with a permit and if they don't have a permit, then we have no way of knowing if they have the minimum requirements under the law for their liability insurance, workers compensation insurance," said Cindy McReynolds from the CPUC.

Without that insurance, party goers won't be covered by the bus company, in case of an accident.

"Bay Limousine does not currently have public liability and property damage insurance and it was canceled on December 8 and so their permit was suspended December 8 of this year," said McReynolds.

The license suspension came well after Torres rented his party bus. But he contacted 7 On Your Side concerned about his refund. We contacted Bay Limo and the company refunded the $250 deposit.

"Finally I've gotten it back after months, months of waiting. So I can't thank you enough for that," said Torres.

Bay Limo did not return our calls for comment. We have a link the state website where you can find out if a company is properly licensed, along with tips for hiring a good limo company.


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