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A Warning for Parents Who Rent Limos for Prom Night
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by Jennifer Hines
on May 21, 2008
Parents beware--Limos are all the rage for transporting stylish, savvy teens to the prom, but they can also be more expensive than you ever imagined. Recently, my sister-in-law experienced a regrettable prom night to remember. Upon the pleas of her daughter, she and her husband acquiesced to renting a limousine (actually a party bus) for their daughter, her date, and 20 of their daughter's closest friends. I shall not name the limo company--let's just say the name is synonymous with The Large Event. She put the limo rental on her credit card with the understanding that each rider would pay an equal portion of the fare, and they all did. When the limo arrived on prom night, my sister- and brother-in-law signed the contract and took a quick tour of the bus. The bus was very impressive with neon lights, leather seats that wrapped around the entire cabin, and a 42-inch plasma screen television. Although she did have trouble scraping together enough money for the limo driver's tip from the other teen's parents that night, my sister-in-law was under the impression everything was accounted for. Imagine her surprise, when, upon dropping her daughter and friends off at the end of the evening, the limo driver informed her that there was damage to the 42-inch plasma, three scratches in the lower left-hand corner of the television's screen, and that she would be liable for the cost to replace the television. The next day, the limo company contacted her and told her it would cost her $2,700 to replace and install a new television, and they preceded to charge her credit card for that amount. To say that she was upset about the revelation would be an understatement. The contract stated that the limo company has the right to charge the rental party for any damage to the interior contents of the limo at their sole discretion. My sister-in-law rebutted that the limo driver should have given them a "walk-thru" of the bus with a check list for noting the condition of it's contents, and, besides, how did she know that the scratches weren't there before the kids even got on the bus. Needless to say, she is fighting the charge through her credit card company, and it is currently being investigated. Regardless, she is now facing a whopping $2,700 eye-opener, and, if the credit card company denies her claim, spending a day in small claims court (in San Jose) suing the limo company (not to mention all the stress and anguish). So parents, beware--do not rent a limo for your kids unless you know and understand your responsibilities and rights fully, and you realize that it can cost you a lot more than you bargained for. Some advice: let someone else's parents put the limo fee on their credit card, or, in the least, make sure you do a thorough walk-through of the limo noting any and all imperfections before signing that contract. I hope this post prevents any unwitting parents who want to make their teen's prom night special from facing the same plight as my sister-in-law.
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