On our wedding day, September 3, 2011, our wedding party was picked up by a limo we had
booked with Le Grande Affaire. We were in the car for no more than 15 minutes when we notice a horrible smell and smoke billowing from the rear of the car. My husband to be, Bob, asked the driver to pull over. The driver hesitated and asked how much farther was it to
our wedding site. Bob told him it didn't matter, pull over now, the car is not doing well. The driver did as we requested and pulled over. We all exited the car. Within seconds, my son/photographer Nick, spotted flames coming from the engine compartment and yelled
for us to get away from the car. Nick asked the driver, Eddie, if there was a fire extinguisher. Eddie replied that if there was, he had no idea where it would be. Approximately 30 to 40 seconds from exiting the car, the front of the car was engulfed in flames and a series of explosions began, catching first one side of the road on
fire and then the other side. [continued below]....
We were on Mt. Umunum Road in Los Gatos, which dead-ends, so there
was only one way out and that was on the other side of a wall of flames.
As we watched the firerace up the side of the mountain, we realized we
could be in a verydire situation. There is very spotty cell service up there, so we
had to hike up the very steep road until we finally found a signal
and were able to call 911. It was a very hot day and we had Bob's 80
year old parents with us. Our only option to get away from the fire
to relative safety was to hike up that steep hill in the heat. Bob's
mother is sensitive to heat stroke and his father had a knee
replacement earlier this year. Our situation was not looking good at
About that time we heard a
helicopter, which dropped in about 10+ fire fighters just above our
location on the hill and then preceded to start dropping water which
it retrieved from the reservoir located just below us. It became an
amazing operation with so many fire vehicles and fire fighters
swarming the hillside, that I lost count.
Finally, after being
trapped on the hill for an hour and a half, we were escorted past the
burned out hull of our car. We then had to hike down the very steep
road to the lower parking lot to pick up the 2nd limo that
was sent by the limo company to take us back home.
We never made it to our
wedding site, which had been planned for a year and was very special
to us. We had to get married on the side of the road to the sound of
helicopters, while fire fighters tried to contain the fire caused by
the limo sent by Le Grande Affair. When we reached the second
car and I told the company representative that clearly the car had
some very serious problems and I am not at all happy. He replied,
I know, I know, it's an ugly old car and we keep trying to tell
him, but he won't listen. I found that an interesting response.
Le Grande Affair
never tried to contact me to see if anyone was hurt, apologize or ask
if we had lost anything in the car. A week after the fire I called
them to express my dissatisfaction and request a refund of the $325 I
had paid to have the car for 3 hours. The Customer Service manager,
Sue, said, Why? Accidents happen. No one was hurt. We sent a
second car. You made it to your destination (we had in fact not made
it to our destination). I explained in great detail our ordeal. She
said she could not give me a refund, that it had to go to the
board for approval. I was later told that the board had decided
to turn it over to the insurance company. The insurance
company never contacted me nor will Le Grande return my calls. I read
their YELP reviews after the fact and see that this is not unusual
behavior for this company. I would like my refund.
Action Line has even intervened, but Phil still contends that "They received 100% of the service they paid for". I don't recall paying for a car that was in such bad repair that it would catch fire in 15 minutes and ruin my wedding day. What part of "We never made it to our destination" does Phil not get??
Now, had Le Grande simply
called me and expressed some sympathy and maybe offered a trip the
the airport or something, I would have been happy. This was an
example of very bad business sense and horrible customer service.