My new car was to be washed and cleaned inside and out. The service left my car with greasiness all over, and scratches on paint and on window tint.
*My wife was the one to take the vehicle, as I am a Wounded Warrior, in a wheelchair and cannot drive. She wrote the following statement, however, I am the owner of the car.
The incident took place after 6:30 pm on Saturday December 8th, 2012
My family and I had gone to see see separate movies. Mine let out about 45 minutes before theirs did, so I decided to go have my brand- new Toyota SUV cleaned inside and out. Mind you,I had only had the car for a week. I paid about $30 to have the car washed on the outside, tires and rims cleaned along with the the wheels armorall'd (sp?). I specifically told them not to armorall the inside as my car is brand new, it didn't need it and I hate the smell and the greasy look and feel. When my car was done, I walked over and opened the door and noticed the inside had hardly been wiped down and the doors all had water in the jams when opened. It was dark out and even without good lighting, i could still see issues with their work. The windows looked greasy, there were swirl marks on the car paint. I called one of the employees over and he handed me a dirty towel and we both proceeded to clean the car. After a few moments, I looked over and noticed he was armoralling the inside! I immediately told him to stop and I began wiping up the mess he made with it. He didn't even put it on evenly! He and another guy started working to clean the windows and the outside of the car, which all looked greasy, to no avail. I finally told them to stop. They didn't have clean towels to use and they were just making it worse. They didn't even vacuum the whole car out! I went across the street to pick my husband and kids up and had to get out of the car since my husband is in a wheelchair, to put his wheelchair in the back of the car. We were under a street light and that's where we really noticed the scratches and swirl marks. There was a very long scratch mark on the back of my car . One of the kids got in the backseat and noticed the tint was scratched as well, about an inch long! Well, my husband and I were irate so we went directly back over and asked to see a manager. We spoke with xxxxx who said he was a manager. He acknowledged the scratching and and greasiness all over. He told us on a black car, after the first wash, you will always see scratches and swirl marks. He asked me what did we want him to do. I was so upset, I brought in a brand-new car, that had been washed at the dealership before I drove it off the lot and it wasn't all scratched up, and all I wanted was it washed and cleaned! He said he couldn't do anything but that he would send the information to "xxxxx", the area manager. He went inside to get the information on it to give to us. My husband, who was severely injured in the war is suppose to only use his wheelchair, however he has crutches for transfer, got out of the car to follow him because he was so upset. I had to help him back in the car, meanwhile, since it was night and they were closed, all the employees it seemed, were just standing around watching. We received no call from either manager on Sunday and with no call by Monday noon, I called and was told xxxxx was gone and xxxxx was not in. I left a message for xxxxx to call me; he did not return my call. My husband called for xxxxx at 5:30pm on the same day and was told xxxxx was handling a situation. My husband was placed on hold and after 10 minutes, he got tired of waiting so he hung up and called right back. He was told by xxxxxx, the assistant Manager who had first placed him on hold, that xxxxx had just left. I guess they think if they ignore it, the problem will go away. This is not how you do business! Not how you treat the military and certainly not how you treat someone's investment! I've taken pictures of everything
To have the scratches fixed by a professional and the tint in the back window fixed professionally to match all other existing tint by companies of my choosing.
Business' Initial Response
We are annual winners of the reader's choice awards, because customers are important to us and this is evidenced by our winning. Military is very important to us, we are a family business who are military dependents. My father a World War II vet, who died young and my step father who died from Agent Orange. The other owner's father is retired military. We honor our heritage and our town, by participating annually in the free wash program of Grace for Vets; and being in a military town we wash more vehicles free than most participants across the nation participating in this program.
I am sure you feel adamant about the swirl marks discovered on your vehicle. Although I feel certain that you honestly believe the damage happened here, I feel just as strongly that it did not. A car wash uses high water force and moving cloth to clean the vehicles. Our car wash equipment is used by automobile manufacturers and dealers and the force needed to properly clean vehicles is extensively safety-tested for all vehicles by numerous car wash manufacturers. If you visit a car lot selling new vehicles at night under the lights you will see swirl marks. It is how all cars appear, and is more noticeable in dark color cars. It has nothing to do with the cloth or wash process.
The towels that are used to clean the interior of a vehicle are not abrasive in any way and will not scratch the interior or tint. They are rinsed after each use. The scratch in the tint pointed out by your child is where the child sits in his safety seat. Every window was cleaned with the same cloth and in the same method; there is nothing we did to cause this scratch.
On Saturday evening, when the incident occurred, xxxxx asked you to bring back the vehicle Sunday so that it could be seen in the light to address your concerns, about the cleanliness of the vehicle. He also offered to take care of your vehicle on Sunday, personally until you were satisfied with the cleanliness.
The site manager contacted the area manager as he said he would in regards to your concerns with the service provided. The area manager was off on Monday that is why you did not get an immediate response to your claim. The site received two threatening calls from you on Monday; he was instructed at that time not to communicate with you any further. We take our business and employee's safety and well being very seriously.
As a company, we try to always help a customer with a problem even when we know that problem was not caused by our wash process. We inspected the tunnel and found nothing that could have caused the scratches. We cannot and do not accept any financial responsibility for your claim.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Once again, the owner is trying to pass the blame off on anyone or anything rather than accepting that his employees were in fact, the only cause of the damages made to the vehicle. Damages and mistakes are going to happen no matter how long you have been in business, how many cars you allege to wash per day or if you have won a subjective award in the past.
The facts are 1.) This was a BRAND NEW car, in my possession for a week. The car really didn't even need to be cleaned, it had barely been driven. With it being brand new, I can assure you, the car had been looked at over and over that week by myself, my family and many friends. The car had NONE of the deficiencies in question prior to it being washed by employees of TLC the night of this incident. 2.) The swirl marks that are now on the vehicle are not the result of a normal wash, but rather being wiped with the dirty rags I myself handled and too, witnessed being used over and over while I was on the premises. These swirl marks are not consistent all over the car. If it was normal of the dark paint, as you mentioned, it would be all over the car, not just in a couple of spots . 3.) I did not ask for Armorall in my car and in fact I was very vocal about not wanting it. The employees however, used it and did a horrible job applying it. It's now streaky and very obvious. The areas that it was applied, were not rubbed in so you see all over where spots were missed. 4.) The GLASS on my rear driver side door is scratched, not the tint. The glass has a factory tint and putting tint over it will not fix the problem and the scratch will probably only scratch any tint placed over it. 5.) The scratch on the bumper (closer to the gas tank) that is so deep it has to be repainted, is on the drivers side, not on the back. Taking anything in or out of the back of the car would not hit this area. You have to stand on the side of the car to even see it. My husband sits in the front passenger side seat of the car as he is not cleared medically to drive and that seat is the only one with enough room for him to comfortably sit. The wheel chair goes from the very back of the SUV straight to him at the front passenger side door. The chair never even goes to the side of the car with the deep scratch. 6.) Again, I'll point out the Rain-X I paid extra to have put on my windshield that never was.
I really feel that this owner is reaching; using my husbands disability and his functioning medical aids(wheel chair), fictional infants in safety seats, etc., to try to cover up the fact that his employees and therefore, TLC Autowash, is at fault.
I understand he is offering to wash and wax my vehicle, however, if you go back to his first response to our claim against him, he claims the following; (taken directly from his response)
" The site received two threatening calls from you on Monday; he was instructed at that time not to communicate with you any further. We take our business and employee's safety and well being very seriously."
If the owner and his employees were telling the truth about us making alleged "threatening" calls and/or feeling threatened, then what all the sudden has made them not feel "threatened"? If they feel the need to protect themselves, why do they now feel okay interacting with us in person so that they can wash and wax our car? It makes no sense!
The fact remains that this business damaged my brand new SUV, and they are trying to confuse, redirect and pass blame. $50 to put tint over scratched glass is not acceptable and I refuse to let TLC, it's owner or any of their employees touch my car as I feel I should have the option to take it where I want to take it to have it detailed and repaired. My original demands have not changed and if the owners do not see fit to make this right, then we have no other option than to file a complaint in small claims court.
Business' Final Response
We can go back and forth with he said, she said but none of that really matters. We have been in business for 20 years and know how to wash a car. Most people don't pay attention to their car until after they have it washed, and that is in fact what our car manuals tell us to do; to inspect our vehicles after it is washed, see the dents and scratches of life the dirt has been hiding; and to then take any necessary measures to correct them.
Swirl marks are something you will deal with for as long as you own a dark vehicle. That has something to do with paint not something the wash process has anything to do with.
xxxxxx the manager offered for you to come back the very next day to clean the car for you until you were satisfied and you were not willing to do this.
The scratch on the rear bumper is usually from people taking things in and out of the back, and might have been caused by the wheel chair which you mentioned.
We washed more than 200 cars that day at that location without incident. What we are willing to do is replace the tint on just the window that the tint is damaged at a place of our choosing or a place of your choosing with no more than a max of $50 as a gesture of good faith; even though we feel certain it was not caused by anything we did. We will also rewash the vehicle and hand wax on it as well.