Ithaca family searches for answers after spending nearly $50,000 on van they never received: Your Stories

Published 02/07 2014 11:24PM

Updated 02/08 2014 12:43AM

Ithaca (WSYR-TV) -- An Ithaca family says they were taken for a ride after spending almost $50,000 on a handicap accessible van they never received.

NewsChannel 9 tracked down the company that made the van to finally get some answers for the family.

It's been said that time heals all wounds, but for a woman, who we are only identifying as Jane Smith, the pain of losing her brother Michael, still runs deep.

He was paralyzed at the age of 39 when he fell down a flight of stairs. That's when a handicap accessible van became Mike's lifeline.

"That van was Mike's way of doing things. He could only move his head and we had it fully equipped for him, which let him enjoy the things he did," said Smith.

The family purchased the van back in 1996 from Craftsmen Mobility Systems near Binghamton.

They were very satisfied with the outcome and decided to buy a newer one in July of 2009, which was supposed to be delivered that September.

"We consented to purchase one for $47,000 approximately, waited and waited, the van never showed after six months and it's been five years now," Smith said.

And still no van. The family has all the paperwork documenting their payments. They later found out the owner filed for bankruptcy and plans for Mike's van were pushed back.

But unfortunately Mike never saw the van - he died at the age of 58.

"We're not out to get the money at this point and we can't get the van, but just the whole gets you to the bone, it robs your heart," said Smith.

Jane and her family said the owner of Craftsmen Mobility ignored their calls for almost two and a half years.

But then NewsChannel 9 stepped in, and now, almost five years later, the owner, Thomas Egan, finally took action, calling the family and giving us this statement:

"We deeply regret the situation surrounding our customer Mike [Smith] and his purchase of the van from our company in 2009. Mike was a longtime satisfied customer of ours for over 10 years prior to this purchase. This occurred at a very difficult time in the history of our company, however we take full and unequivocal responsibility for our failure to provide what the [Smith] family was promised. Mr. [Smith] and his family will be issued a full refund immediately along with our sincerest apologies for this incident."

Mr. Egan told us that he hopes to grant that refund in whatever form the family can accept - by the end of next week.

We will certainly follow up with him and bring you any update on NewsChannel 9 and

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