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2 LI snowbirds detail woes with car transport broker

Robert Connolly and Arnold Ruderman have at least two things in common: both are Long Island-Florida "snowbirds" and both say they had bad experiences with A-Blue Knight Inc., a car transport broker.

"It was a nightmare of an experience," said Ruderman, 59, a semiretired plumbing supply business owner who lives in Merrick and West Palm Beach.

Co-owner Marquerite Cermola of A-Blue Knight in Bayville denies any wrongdoing in both cases.

Ruderman and Connolly paid A-Blue Knight to ship their cars from Long Island to Florida. Said Connolly, who is 75 and lives in Melville and Bradenton, "We have an old car down here, but we wanted to take trips down to the Keys and didn't want to take a chance with the old car."

Both men say that they were promised delivery in four days but that the cars didn't move for weeks; Cermola says she estimates but does not promise delivery times and she attributed the delays to snowstorms, the breakdown of two trucks and the loss of one trucker's license.

Connolly said that A-Blue Knight had his Buick Lucerne picked up Jan. 4 from Melville and that he got it back only after his son, a retired police officer, tracked it down and retrieved it for him from a storage lot in Kings Park - on Jan. 23. He said he demanded and got his $630 fee back from A-Blue Knight.

Ruderman said his car, an Acura RL, was picked up Jan. 3 and delivered Jan. 24 or 25 after he got state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office involved. He said he paid the company $1,200 for transport south and a deposit, $300, for a return trip in March.

Attorney John Pedranghelu, representing A-Blue Knight, said, "My clients do not guarantee when the cars will arrive. From the get-go, the consumers are advised that they are merely a broker, not a transporter."

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