My 13-year-old son signed up for baseball with the Dunedin Youth Instructional League this fall. We were told games would be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The day before the first game we picked up his uniform and schedule and found to our surprise that the times had been changed to 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. The coaches said they had no forewarning of the schedule changes either.
In our family, grades are a priority. A's and B's only or no sports. What's more my son paid the $40 fee out of money he earned from cutting lawns.
These new hours make it virtually impossible for a 13-year-old to get the proper rest and maintain a high grade average so he will not be able to play.
The league president, Mr. Crawford, explained that the city of Dunedin and the Dunedin/Toronto Blue Jays also use the playing field and they changed their hours. That's why his league's hours were changed. He flatly refused to refund my son's $40.
I think it is amazing that he cannot stand up for children against the city, but he can keep a 13-year-old boy's money.
Response: You must keep in mind first of all that small-town baseball fields are chronically in short supply, and we've never heard of a playing schedule that didn't make somebody mad.
In Dunedin, according to Youth Instructional Baseball League president Tracy Crawford, the Blue Jays lease the playing fields from the city and his league gets to use them when the Blue Jays are not using them. So he is in no position to make demands.
He did plead his case, however, and since you spoke to him has gotten the times changed to where the boys will play on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m.
As for refunding the money, that $40 went to provide a uniform and insurance, he says, and the budget for this non-profit organization is tight. But he will discuss a refund with his board members as to whether to make an exception.
Under those circumstances would you consider letting your son play? Maybe even volunteering your own time? Thirteen-year-olds are resilient. If your son kept up his good grades, baseball could provide an excellent character builder.
New work on roof likelier than refund
Can you intervene for me with a local house painter?
I hired Florida Restoration and Painting to paint my house and roof. The owner, Thomas DeCleene, seemed to be very professional and I paid for the paint upfront. When he finished, he told me I had 63 broken tiles on my roof and would need to pay an extra $203 to have them replaced.
The other contractors who gave me estimates had said nothing about broken tiles but I decided it would be worth it in the long run to have a perfect roof.
When he finished that job, DeCleene asked for the balance of the money. I said I hadn't had a chance to check the work. He guaranteed that if I wasn't satisfied he would return.
A week or so later the walls looked great. But the roof was a mess. The paint did not cover the tiles, there were many broken tiles, some with large chunks missing. It had not looked that bad before.
I called DeCleene. He came and agreed the roof looked very bad. He said he would replace all the broken tiles and repaint the roof but it has been a month since that conversation, he has broken several appointments and now is not returning my calls.
I have lost confidence in his integrity and would prefer a refund so I can get someone else to do the job.
Response: Thomas DeCleene wrote to say he still plans to fix your roof but would be unable to do so for several weeks because he has run into financial difficulties and has had to file for bankruptcy.
He says if you push for a refund, he will regretfully have to name you in his bankruptcy and wash his hands of the problem.
It is now well into October. If he has not contacted you as yet to finish the job, our advice is to pick up a Proof of Claim form at a stationery store and file it with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa. You will be added to the list of creditors and get notices of hearings, etc.
Because you will have an unsecured non-priority claim, it is unlikely you will ever get your money back.
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