HARTFORD, April 26 -- Perhaps more than any other season, spring is a time when a great proportion of Connecticut families are planning and preparing for proms, graduations, weddings, picnics and other special events. In light of the special expense and concerns often involved in these exceptional occasions, the Department of Consumer Protection offers these reminders about limousine service and serving alcohol to guests at your home.
Luxury transportation to and from a special event is sometimes an important consideration. Before renting limousine service, consider the size and type of vehicle you want and decide how many hours you need. Visit websites of local limousine and livery companies to view their vehicles and packages. Prices may or may not be posted online; either way, call the company to confirm prices and availability. Check with friends and family for names of reliable companies.
“Reputable livery businesses will be licensed to work in Connecticut and fully insured,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “Ask for the company’s Connecticut permit number and then check with the Department of Transportation at (860) 594-2868 to verify that the company is in good standing. If you are traveling by limo to an out-of-state location, your operator needs an interstate permit as well.”
Verify the year and make of the vehicle you'll be getting, its condition, and any complimentary amenities. If at all possible, visit the limousine workplace in person to view and choose the exact vehicle you want. Ask the company for references and call them.
When reserving your vehicle, you and the company should mutually agree and understand the ending time for the rental. While some companies define the ending time as the exact time your last passenger gets dropped off, others calculate it as the time their limo driver arrives back at the company. You may want to also find out if there are extra charges, for example, for getting dropped off at location other than where you were picked up.
If possible, use a credit card for your deposit and payment. Paying by credit card may afford you some protection if unexpected problems arise.
“Parents of teens attending a special formal event may find themselves in uncharted territory in many ways,” Rubenstein said. “It’s a good idea for prom-goers’ parents to meet at one person’s home before the bus or limousine arrives, not only to take pictures but to collaborate with other parents in reinforcing your rules and expectations when everyone is together. It also allows one or more parents to speak with the limo driver and outline the terms and expectations for the evening.”
On the appointed day, if the limousine that arrives is not what you requested, ask for a refund of your deposit. There have been instances in which livery companies sent vehicles that were unsuitable for the event.
Special events sometimes involve alcoholic beverages, and of course, teens and adults need to be aware of, and comply with, the State’s laws regarding liquor.
“The minimum drinking age is 21 in Connecticut because we know it saves lives,” Rubenstein said. “So if the after-party is at your place, don’t permit teens to drink anywhere on your property. Families that bend the rules are breaking the law and will pay the penalty for putting others in harm’s way.”
Commissioner Rubenstein reminded party hosts to never serve persons who are already inebriated, plan ahead for designated drivers, and to always have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand.
The Department of Consumer Protection, which administers the State Liquor Control Commission, also engages in ongoing collaborative efforts with local police departments and the Governor’s Prevention Partnership to identify and take enforcement action against businesses that sell alcoholic liquor to minors.
“We have a strong presence in local communities and will increase that presence as the spring and summer unfold,” Rubenstein said. “We expect Connecticut liquor retailers to help assure that this year’s prom and wedding season will be filled with happy moments and not be marked with tragedy.”
The Department works to ensure a fair and equitable marketplace, safe products and services for consumers in Connecticut. For more information, visit the Department of Consumer Protection’s website at www.ct.gov/dcp.