TUALATIN, Ore. -- It was a glitch that nearly stole Christmas until the On Your Side Investigators stepped in to help.
After a Tualatin couple was stood up by a limo company, KATU helped them receive a refund and a $1,000 future limo rental.
It all started when Kevin and Shelley Childs splurged on a special treat for their family this year. They wanted a tour of Christmas lights in the lap of luxury - a limousine.
"I thought we could have fun in a limo," Shelley said.
Shelley spotted the deal for G-Limos on a discount website called www.pdx50.com, similar to Groupon. She bought six coupons for $234 through the site and spent and extra $81, specifically at G-Limos, to fill the spare seats and secure a private ride.
"I paid the extra money to have our own limo," Shelley said.
The total cost? $314.
The reservation denoted that the limo driver would pick up the family at their home in Tualatin and take them on a tour of Christmas light displays along Peacock Lane - a street in Southeast Portland known for its fully decorated homes - as well as the Portland International Raceway, which transforms into a massive holiday light show.
The On Your Side Investigators confirmed the Childs made a reservation with G-Limos on Nov. 20 to be picked up on Dec. 5. Shelley said she later changed that date to Dec. 22 to accommodate her family's changing schedule.
Fast forward to the night of Dec. 22: No limo. The family was all dressed up with nowhere to go.
"It was a big night. I mean six people in a limo to go see lights? It was going to be fun," Shelley said.
"And we had sandwiches and we had drinks and all of our stuff packed into a cooler," Kevin said.
Frustrated, Shelley said she called G-Limos but never heard back.
"I thought it was a gimmick," she said.
The On Your Side Investigators finally tracked down G-Limos owner Erik Foster. He confirmed Shelley received the first confirmation but said the new date of the limo ride was later "cancelled" without explanation.
In a phone interview Tuesday Foster explained, "I just want to say that it's probably a clerical error and I'm more than happy to accommodate Mrs. Childs in any way that she sees fit."
KATU confirmed Foster then sent the following email to the Childs:
"Again, please accept our apologies for the miscommunication (sic) regarding your run on 12/22. It is never our policy to intentionally cancel a run. Please accept the full refund of $234.00 either by PDX50 or in the event they refuse, by G-Limos. In addition, for the inconvenience, please also accept $1000.00 credit towards any private rental redeemable now through December 31st, 2014."
Foster said he only took over the company three months ago and blamed any frustrations on growing pains.
KATU found there are a lot of frustrations.
On G-Limos' Facebook page, several people voiced concerns about not being able to contact anyone at the company.
Sandie Pope-Jensen wrote "In the last month, I've left two messages on your Reservation line (no one ever answers) and I've sent an email to email@example.com . . . all to NO AVAIL!!! Maybe this will get YOUR ATTENTION???"
Teri Huff wrote "My suggestion to all of us that bought the special through CAN"T get a hold of G-Limos is complain to the Better Business Bureau ... This is NO way to run a business. I think they just took our money.. I hate Thieves..."
In response to a flurry of Facebook comments, Foster posted this message on the G-Limos’ Facebook page:
Good afternoon, My name is Erik and I'd like to introduce myself as the new owner of G-Limos as of last Monday, October 14th. Judging by the content on this page, there is a lot of negative feedback in regards to communication and scheduling. In regards to these concerns, I'd like to extend an apology to all those affected by this. It is not and never will be a practice of our company to offer sub-standard service to our consumers and if those of you who have experienced this in the past would like to give us the opportunity to prove this to you, we'll gladly accept the chance to exceed your expectations. Thank you for your time, we understand there still might be concerns in the minds of you, the customer. In an effort to alleviate those concerns, I will provide my personal phone number to those who privately message me through this page. To further emphasize our commitment to you, those who like this status over the next 48 hours will receive one free hour on a future reservation.
Also, G-limos has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau. Foster said they are all problems he inherited from the old owner but promised to take care of all his customers.
"I'm not in the business of taking people's money," Foster said.
For those customers who are unhappy about the service or cannot reach the company, he said to call his personal phone number (503) 545-1788.
Kevin thanked the On Your Side Investigators and added, "What you do is absolutely wonderful because people don't have avenues to pursue things like this in the way that you're able to do and we are most appreciative. I can't thank you enough."