CHICAGO (CBS) — Candice Burns tried to sell her boat at Cal Side Marina last year, but she said the marina is now holding it hostage, after claiming she owes thousands of dollars more than she agreed to pay to fix its engine.
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker digs deeper into problems with the marina, which also is accused of holding another woman’s boat hostage after she paid thousands of dollars to buy it from Cal Side.
Burns sold her beloved party boat last July. It has two bedrooms and two full bathrooms.
“I had the $27,500. I had a signed bill of sale,” she said.
But on the day the buyer was supposed to get it, something happened with the engine.
“I felt kind of obligated, because that’s just who I am. I just wanted to make good on the sale,” Burns said.
Although the boat was sold ‘as is,’ Burns agreed to have Cal Side Marina manager Tommy Long fix the boat.
“He promised me that he was going to take care of everything,” Burns said.
Burns said she was told the bill came to $10,000, but she never received any paperwork. Her insurance paid $3,000 for the repairs, and she paid $7,000.
She kept the voice mail messages Long left her in May 2019, when he told her the work was completed, and the engine was running again, and he would test it so it could be turned over to the buyer.
“Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I’ll put it in the water,” Long told her. “I’ll drive it for a day or two and he can have it back before the weekend.”
That never happened. Instead of the buyer getting the boat, Burns was told she still owed $8,000.
“He calls me the day that they’re going to drop it in the evening, saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to drop the boat.’ I was like, why?” Burns said.
She said Long told her the owner claimed she still owed a balance on the repairs, but Long couldn’t explain why.
Long slammed a door in Tucker’s face when she tried to find out.
Burns called marina owner Steve Brown, but she said that conversation didn’t go well.
“He just outbursts. ‘Shut up. Shut up. Shut up talking to me. Your bulls***,” she said.
Burns said, eventually the managers at Cal Side Marina sent her an estimate, not a bill, showing $10,000 paid and $8,000 owed. It was dated May 1, but wasn’t sent until May 31.
She refused to pay any additional money, and claimed Brown threatened he wouldn’t release the boat to her.
The buyer has sued Burns to get his boat or his money back.
“It’s stressful,” Burns said. “I’ve done everything I could possibly do, and I’m not getting anywhere.”
Burns blamed Cal Side.
“To me, they’re crooks. They’re crooks,” she said.
She has filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and Burnham police.
The Better Business Bureau closed her complaint after Cal Side didn’t respond.
Right now, it’s buyer beware for boats nationwide. Since 2011, some states have passed a “Carfax for Boats” law, requiring the titles to be marked for boats that have been damaged. It’s an effort to alert buyers of problems.
Only four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the law. Illinois has not.