car-wash-owning
Unnamed
TalkCarWash Stats: 5669 users, 3547 posts, 14501 replies, 1308 classifieds, 3976 pictures, 2.5 Hours of Video
← Back to Car Wash Association Talk

Car Wash Claim Need Feed Back to fight in court

10 replies created over 4 years ago
posted by Worcester over 4 years ago

Customer is taking me to court on a damage claim 1999 SUV. Customer states she heard very scraping noise upon exiting. She examined the vehicle and saw it had been scratched in numerous places. It was reported to store manager. I asked customer to file with insurance ? She Refused. Estimate to repair 2,000.00 Mach 30, 2012 She Retained Attorney They both want payment refused payment. Now in court fighting claim
Snow and salt on roads in the market
We washed 100 cars that day. No other claims denied claim. I stated that the wash does not scratch.
Manager walked the wash looked and found nothing
I stated the the scratch were not from wash process. Now I am in court
Please review said damage need additional professional opinions for small claims court

Right_side_1__2_

Replies

reply by pjhuzz over 4 years ago

Not enough information...Location of scratches? What type of equipment do you have. What equipment touches that area of the vehicle? What type of cloth do you use? What type of vehicle? Do your brushes spin in opposite direction of scratch? Could be from ice scraper or people tend to drag broom on the surface to get snow off.

reply by Robert Roman over 4 years ago

“Customer states she heard very scraping noise upon exiting. She examined the vehicle and saw it had been scratched in numerous places. It was reported to store manager.”

Did the manager investigate and thoroughly document as in preparing a carwash incident report?

“I asked customer to file with insurance? She Refused. Estimate to repair 2,000.00 Mach 30, 2012. She Retained Attorney….They both want payment…..refused payment….Now in court fighting claim.”

I would have filed small claims against you also because this incident is now over two years old and unsettled.

Based on photograph provided and experience as auto body technician, the paint damage appears to have the erratic characteristics of a key scratch, a form of vandalism.

I would consider forensics to confirm this. One method is tool-mark comparison results.

Here, you would take various tools and try to duplicate the marks on a similar painted surface or the actual damaged panel.

I would chose ignition key, piece of coat hanger, pen knife and similar instruments that a person could easily concealed in the hand and yet act as a stylus able to penetrate clearcoat surface.

I would compare these results with the scratching capability of items that routinely come into contact with painted vehicle surfaces during wash process like water and soap, brush material and wiping towels.

If you make a convincing argument for vandalism, then you have the question of did the incident occur off site or on site?

Highway Loss Data Institute finds car vandalism occurs more often on holidays, weekends and during the summer = kids. Typically, mall parking lots provide cover but the driveway can also be a good location for key scratching (disgruntled neighbor).

In other words, there is enough evidence to show that key scratching typically does not occur at commercial carwash where value proposition is to clean, shine and protect customers vehicles.

reply by Worcester over 4 years ago

Thanks

Roman

Right_side_1__2_
reply by Jimmy Jaffa over 4 years ago

The attorney is in it for your insurance. Never respond to an attorney, never. They are bottom dwellers scum suckers. Do not give them your insurance company information, if you do you have lost. Let them take you to court and prove that the car wash damaged the car. Our friends who are attorneys (good guys) have advised us on this approach, they will not go to court.
Spinning car wash equipment can not make a straight line, unless there is catastrophic failure, and you could not wash a car till substantial repairs are made.

good luck, beat those bums!

reply by Earl Weiss over 4 years ago

>>The attorney is in it for your insurance. Never respond to an attorney, never. ........ Do not give them your insurance company information, if you do you have lost. Let them take you to court and prove that the car wash damaged the car. Our friends who are attorneys (good guys) have advised us on this approach, they will not go to court.
Spinning car wash equipment can not make a straight line, unless there is catastrophic failure, and you could not wash a car till substantial repairs are made. <<<

This may not be the best advice. Some attorneys are used by insurance compnies as "Subrogation' Attorneys. The owner's carrier paid for damage and now seeks to collect.

Have rec'd corspondence for what I consider BS claims and even one recent suit . Have responded laying out facts and in the last case photos. Even offered to meet the attorney at the location to observe the process first hand. I then advise them that if they proceed and lose I will seek fees for a bad faith action because altough I believe they took the claim in good faith, now that they have all info proceeding would be bad faith. As a result, several claims did not proceed any further.

reply by newtunnel over 4 years ago

You need to instal cameras. I have the N-spec cameras and that would have showed up. I have never paid a claim using this system.

reply by PanamaJim over 4 years ago

Are these scratches on the hood or roof?
Would they align with your curtain movement?
They appear to go up then return down is why I ask, much like
a curtain moves.
If they are on the side Jimmy is right. No car wash equipment can draw
a verticle line while the vehicle is moving. Neither can it draw a continuous line down the side of a vehicle, parallel to the ground.
But! Have you had anything like a fishing lure get stuck in your curtain?

It appears the depth of a someone using a key but not the typical pattern. Most key incidents are continuous down the sides or an arch on the hood.

Fishing lures will create a ball of mitter material that could do this roll over and not scratch the rest of the vehicle. We pick them up from truck beds.

Another possibility in snow country is someone used something(plastic snow shovel) to scrap heavy snow off the hood before they got on the road and never saw what they did. That movement could make this pattern.

I call this postmortem scratch CSI.

reply by Robert Roman over 4 years ago

This is why it’s called a “claim” and “alleged” damage from carwash.

Besides possible causes mentioned, this scratch could have also come from push-pull motion from shopping cart, bicycle, trailer hitch, etc.

Likewise, certain causes could be eliminated like sawed-off circular drill bit (which leaves particularly nasty scratches) or center punch (leaves small dents rather than scratches).

Bottom line, this is not going to be like Jodi Arias trial.

It is “small” claims court presided over by magistrate with the power to administer and enforce law as well as applied logic like the reasonable man rule.

Small claims is a "people's court" and a lawyer is not required. For example, a great many of these cases get resolved by going from pre-trial to mediation.

In the final analysis, it comes down to whether you are in the wrong or not.

If you are not, then it is up to you to make a convincing argument of why not.

Likewise, the claimant will have to make some argument for the former and you will have the opportunity to rebut it.

This is why I mentioned documentation. You will need to have certain documents relating to your cases like receipts, photographs, carwash incident report, correspondence (letters, e-mail, etc.), law enforcement reports, standard operating procedures, etc.

reply by asjaffa over 4 years ago

You will have to tell the judge that unless the customer can prove exactly what scratched their vehicle, then it is all conjecture. Anyone can say that they heard a noise and saw a scratch. Without proof of what caused the damage, there is no way that you can be held liable.

The only time that we have been taken to small claims court, that was my argument. The judge threw it out and told the customer that he did not have a leg to stand on.

Basically, there has to be some evidence besides "I heard a loud noise"...which is pretty much all the time in a car wash. Instead of you defending your equipment by trying to prove that the car wash didn't scratch their vehicle, turn the argument around and make them prove that it did. There is no possible way that they can show this to be the case that the car wash would just scratch only their car in the middle of the car. Plus the car is over 15 years old. Good luck.

reply by CarWashATL over 3 years ago

How'd the court case go?

You could leave a reply if you were logged in.
car-wash-operating