(WSVN) - It sounds like a good idea: pay to advertise your restaurant on a small Christian radio station. But the radio station didn’t hold up their end of the deal, which is when the restaurant owner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Rafael Acosta, Kendall restaurant owner: “Our famous Puerto Rican pasteles.”
Rafael is from Puerto Rico. Naturally, he loves good Puerto Rican food.
The problem is he wasn’t happy with South Florida’s Puerto Rican restaurants.
Rafael Acosta: “I looked at everything that was lacking in other places. And told my wife, ‘Let’s open a Puerto Rican restaurant,’ and the rest is history. We’re here.”
Isla del Encanto was born and when you look at the crowds in Rafael’s Kendall restaurant. It’s clear he is dishing out good food and more.
Rafael Acosta: “The music is amazing, the ambiance, the service, the prices, the quality.”
Then one day, a customer had an offer for Rafael.
Rafael Acosta: “And I was approached by a fellow from the church, who’s talking about doing a radio show and advertising, and I said, ‘Yeah.'”
Rafael paid the radio station, WRAZ-FM 106.3, $1,500 for 60 commercials and a one-hour show each Saturday. The first show went well.
Rafael Acosta: “It was very good. It was very lively, and we talked about music and food and heritage.”
But Rafael says the radio station never ran commercials for his restaurant.
Rafael Acosta: “No advertising, no promos! Nothing!”
And the next Saturday, Rafael was told they couldn’t do his show.
Rafael Acosta: “That was it! There were no producers for the shows. There were no engineers for the show. They were not paying the people.”
From his busy restaurant, Rafael called the manager of the Christian radio station, who also happened to be the pastor of a local church.
Rafael Acosta: “‘I’ll make it good for you. Don’t worry about it. We’re good, don’t worry. God bless you. Everything was, ‘God bless you, God bless you.’ You know, and ‘my brother, my brother, God bless you.'”
Rafael thought they’d keep their word. They didn’t, really surprising him.
Rafael Acosta: “Because you’re Christian, and I thought it would be something that would evolve, with all of us working together.”
So Rafael asked for his $1,500 back. They didn’t do that either.
Rafael Acosta: “I mean, it’s $1,500. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s money, and regardless if it’s 10 cents, you have an agreement. You should honor your agreement.”
Well, Howard, legally, what can Rafael do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “From a legal standpoint, this is simple. Rafael paid a radio station to advertise his business. They either have to do it or give him his money back. That’s all there is to it.”
The people Rafael dealt with didn’t own the radio station, but were leasing airtime. The pastor who managed the station told us that he would air the commercials Rafael had paid for, but he never did, because after we talked to him, the radio station shut down and WRAZ-FM went off the air.
Howard Finkelstein: “Now it’s complicated for Rafael. The people who will put the station back on the air do not have to air his commercials. Rafael has to get the money from the people who used to run the station. If they won’t return his money, he has to sue them in small claims court.”
Rafael Acosta: “In the long run, it worked out good.”
Rafael didn’t get what he paid for, but things turned out OK because, not to brag, but way more people will turn on Channel 7 than would have heard him on that radio station.
Rafael Acosta: “In essence, it worked out better than the little local Christian station versus the exposure of Channel 7 and Help Me Howard.”
It’s a different way for us to help Rafael. Now, Howard said, if someone owes you money, sue them in small claims court to get the judgment against them. But before you do, make sure they have a few dollars, ’cause you can’t get a dime from a penniless person.
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