Troubleshooter: Children's book author gets deposit back

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Daryll Packer has been waiting patiently for his vision of a children's book series to become a reality.

He wrote the books several years ago while he was in Afghanistan working.

"We named it Logical Lamar," he said. "It's about a little second-grade kid who asks a lot of questions. He asks questions other kids want to ask or are afraid to ask and the book is set up to teach other kids it's OK to ask."

Logical Lamar is a second-grader who asks a lot of questions.

In 2014, Daryll found Renne Gibbs of Cranberry Quill Publishing to publish his four books.

"She said 'sure, I can do the books, I can do the books,' and I was excited. So I wrote the check, here's your initial deposit."

Daryll put down $6,394 as a non-refundable deposit. The contract states the books will be ready in 10 months. Daryll says it was tough to get updates on the progress. He said he paid another $3,100 toward the publishing costs, thinking if he paid more to Gibbs, more work would get done.

At the 10-month mark, the books still weren't done. Daryll's wife, Pam, said Gibbs told them she was dealing with family health issues.

"Life happens," Pam said. "So my husband and I talked and said let's give her more time, because we honestly felt like she was the right one that she could get it done."

A new contract was signed and because of the delays, Gibbs did refund $3,100 of the $9,000 they paid so far.

Daryll says he was hopeful work on the books would progress. But he says that hope went unfulfilled.

"For first six months after this new contract, we ain't got an email, a phone call, an update, and I had trouble reaching her," Darryl said.

He said he went to Cranberry Quill Publishing to see Gibbs.

"She just overcame with guilt - 'I'm sorry, give me another chance,' " Darryl recalled.

Daryll gave her some more time, but nearly two years after hiring Gibbs, still no books so Daryll just wanted to part ways with her. However, he wanted the $6,394 non-refundable deposit back, something Gibbs wasn't willing to return.

"It's non-refundable when you produce a product, but you didn't produce a product, so where's my money?" Darryl asked.

Daryll got in touch with me and I got in touch with Renee Gibbs. She said contractually she doesn't owe the Packers any money since the deposit is non-refundable. But she added that she wanted to do what is right and fair, and admitted that the communications were not the best they could have been when the project was delayed because of her family crisis.

She agreed to refund Daryll $4,400 of the non-refundable deposit since some work was done. She said she couldn't refund it all right away, but would do it in installments that would take six months.

Daryll agreed to those terms and each month Gibbs kept to her word and sent Daryll a refund check. The final check arrived with a note, "Final Payment! Praise God."

Final payment

Daryll said he's happy it's behind him and that he got his $4,400 back. He is now moving forward with finding a publisher for his books.

His wife, Pam, adds: "I'm thankful that you took us on and were able to work through this with us. I do not believe we would have resolved this without you, so thank you, thank you, thank you."

The best advice when you come across a contract that states the deposit is non-refundable, is to get that wording removed if you're not comfortable with those terms. And add a line in the contract that states if progress is not made or a project complete by a certain date, the deposit is returned.

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