Getting a marina refund after a stroke

Seven On Your Side
August 12, 2009 2:56:56 PM PDT
When a local couple signed a contract for a boat slip, they planned on using it together. But when one of them had a stroke and couldn't use the boat slip, they tried to get out of their contract. They weren't having much luck, until they got Tappy Phillips and 7 On Their Side. The woman's husband had a massive stroke in May of this year. Now, their medical bills are mounting. And the least of their concerns was the fact that they will not be able to use their boat, probably ever again. But the marina where they paid to dock their boat would not give them a refund.

"We have been coming down to Lavallette since we were kids," Kathy Caputo said.

But this year, everything changed for Kathy and Mike Caputo. In May, Mike had a devastating stroke, and the road back has been a struggle.

Tappy: "You like being out on the boat?"
Mike: "Yeah, every day."

That was Mike's passion. His job was a worldwide sales manager, so he was always on the road. And when he came home, the water was his safe haven.

Mike had already paid $3,500 for the rental of a boat slip at a marina for the whole summer in advance. But now, the Captain of la Dolce Vita is still moored at another marina since Mike could not pilot a boat this winter. And his wife needed the money back.

"I have bills to pay, and I'd like the money to help me," she said.

The first time she asked, Kathy says she was promised a refund. But that was months ago. The problem was that the contract says there will be no refunds. But Kathy was just asking for a little mercy.

"I just want them to be humane, you know?" she said. "I just want them to have a heart."

When Eyewitness News went to the marina, the Caputo's slip was not empty. It was occupied by another boat. A worker called the owner, and he had good news for the Caputos. He said a refund check had been written the day before.

The Caputos got half the money back, which they felt was more than fair. The dock owner didn't say why there was a delay or why he finally decided to give the refund.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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