PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — A Placerville woman paid good money for a limo service to take her to and from the airport. But after getting stranded on the return trip home she called Kurtis Ming. Shirley Bath waited for hours for the car to show up, but it never did. She was later promised a refund, but that never came.
Living in Placerville, Shirley decided to hire a limo to take her to and from Sacramento International Airport for a trip in February.
“The lights at night on the highway blind me. So I have to have a service,” says Shirley.
She used California Sweet Rides in El Dorado before and had no hesitation this time. She paid $179 up front for the round-trip.
“He was very nice. He helped me, carried my baggage,” Shirley recalls of the driver.
Shirley got to the airport fine, but a few days later when she returned to Sacramento, the driver was a no show.
“I called from the baggage area when I was there and I got the answering machine,” says Shirley.
After leaving multiple messages and waiting for three hours, she finally called her daughter for a ride.
“Irritated! Very irritated!” says Shirley.
She says days later, after leaving more messages and writing a letter, the owner called, claiming she was hospitalized. Shirley says the owner promised a full refund, but the check never came.
We took the case and learned the company lost its license to operate in March. The website for California Sweet Rides is still up and running, yet the phone numbers have been disconnected. We were able to get a hold of a former partner in the company. He tells us California Sweet Rides is out of business and says the other owners owe him money too.
Before hiring a limo, it’s always good to check with the Public Utilities Commission to see if they’re licensed. It may sound strange, but the CPUC oversees limo and bus companies. Also get the plan and price in writing, even if it’s just an email. And don’t pay everything up front. If the company has your money, there’s no incentive to pick you up. And if you pay by credit card and you have an issue with the service, your credit company will fight to get your money back. Shirley booked over the phone and paid by check up front.
“I’m looking for somebody else the next time I’m going to the airport,” says Shirley.