Question (from anonymous in New York):
“We rented a limousine bus for a wedding and when it arrived the air conditioning did not work and temps were around 100 degrees.: They called the morning of the wedding to confirm the details and did not mention anything about the broken A/C. The driver informed us that it was broken since the day before. This same scenario happened to friends for their wedding two years ago (same company and same limo bus).”
Response (from Attorney Rob):
I’m sorry to hear about the lack of A/C. It’s my understanding that you guys are having record high temps lately! [editor’s note: this Q was answered in July] I’ve been a similar situation (in Las Vegas!) and it was not a pleasant situation.
Your best bet is to contact the limousine company via certified letter, explaining what happened, politely, and request a refund of a certain percentage (25-30%, or higher. 100 degrees is hot). Should they fail to respond to you, then your only option would be to file a suit in small claims court.
Unless the terms and conditions of service that you executed with the limousine company states that they will not provide AC, or are not responsible should the AC go out, then a reasonable person would expect AC in a limo bus. As such, they have breached their agreement in failing to provide AC.
The next question will be, what are you entitled to? Because the limousine company did drive you guys around, you at least received some value. It will be up to you to argue that lack of AC should entitle you to as close to a 100% refund as possible. You will probably need to bring with you the contract and a witness that was present at the time. The fact that this happened to your friend in the past will be irrelevant.
You will need to determine whether filing a claim in Small Claims Court will be worth your time and energy. Once you have made that determination, I would suggest you reach out to an attorney (through AVVO) in your location.
Moral of the Story: When talking to clients that are contemplating whether to file a lawsuit, I always make them sing the chorus to “The Gambler,” by Kenny Rogers. “You have to know when to walk away….or sue.”