Kimberly King, NBC 5 News
The Andrews planned a birthday party on Lake Grapevine, but when they arrived at the marina they were told the toilet wasn't working on the boat they rented for 40 friends. NBC 5 Problem Solver Kimberly King helped them get their deposit back.
A North Texas couple says it took weeks to get a refund after the boat they reserved had a broken toilet.
Dustin Andrews rented the boat from Just For Fun Watercraft Rental for a get-together on Lake Grapevine for his wife's birthday. Her friends organized the party for 40 people in September.
They put down a $330 deposit on the $600 rental of Club Fred, a double-decker boat.
But when the group arrived at the dock at Silver Lake Marina, the rental company told them the toilet was broken.
Brooke Andrews said the group included four pregnant friends who were not excited about the possibility of going on the lake without a working bathroom.
"We had carted all of our supplies down to the lake," her husband said. "And on top of that, they didn't even call us or let us know in advance. We got here to the lake and, five minutes before we were departing, they let us know the boat bathroom was broken."
His wife said they couldn't reschedule the party; the guests were 20 were couples who had gotten babysitters.
Just For Fun told the couple they could either reschedule or take the boat out and receive a 15 percent discount.
"It wasn't an option we were interested in, because you would have to keep coming back to shore," Brooke Andrews said. "We chose to see if we could get our deposit back since the bathroom was broken."
But getting a refund turned out to harder than they expected.
"We placed several calls to the office and left the owner messages," Brooke Andrews said. "We placed a call to the owner, John Lemley. He does not answer the phones at the office at Lake Grapevine Marina. They give you cell number, and it goes straight to voice mail. We never received a return call at all."
The Andrewses said they had signed a contract but thought any reputable business would gladly return their money.
“We rented that boat specifically because it said it had a toilet," Brooke Andrews said.
Her husband wrote a letter to Lemley in a last-ditch effort but still not receive a call back.
But when NBC 5 stopped by the marina and left a business card, Lemley called within an hour and promised to refund the Andrewses their money.
"We asked the staff at Lake Grapevine," Lemley said. "This is the first time they'd heard of this. We're sorry this gentleman had to go to these lengths to call NBC 5. This was a misunderstanding. The money was authorized to be returned."
Lemley said he received the couple's letter but didn't explain why he didn't answer.
The Andrewses said they are happy to finally get the deposit back but remain upset at the lengths they had to through.
"This is a customer-service-oriented business," said Lemley, who runs rentals out of three marinas at Lake Lewisville and Lake Grapevine with Laura Lemley. "We run hundreds of groups and boat rentals each year. Some are extremely pleased with our service and others, sometimes, are not."
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