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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > Car wash totally scratched up my car. What to do?



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      05-13-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
Debaser
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Angry Car wash totally scratched up my car. What to do?

Took the car to a self-serve car wash station. My first time at a self-serve. I washed the car, rinsed it, and took it outside to vacuum. While doing so, I noticed that the car had been scratched up all over - from hood to trunk. Many of the scratches can be felt with the fingernail. There must be at least two dozen of them.

I lodged a complaint with the manager and after lots of arguing he offered only a 20% discount at his own detail shop. He told me the scratches were likely caused by the foam brush at the washing station, which often contains sand/silt/rocks from previous washers. He told me I should have sprayed down the brush with the high pressure hose as the instructions indicated.

I didn't spray down the brush and I acknowledged that the instructions posted inside the station mentioned doing so. But nowhere was there a warning that failing to do so would run the serious risk of scratching the vehicle. As far as I was concerned, ensuring the proper maintenance of their washing equipment - so as to not damage other people's property - is the responsibility of the car wash company. My responsibility was to pay and to use their equipment in a reasonable fashion, which I did.

In any case, I'm at a loss of what to do. I took the car to a reputable detail shop run by a friend and they quoted me $200 for a full day's work of washing, waxing, a complete buff job, cleaning and re-washing/waxing. On top of the scratches, they wanted to detail out the swirl marks that are typical on the black BMWs (in other words, they want to do more than just buff out the scratches).

The detail shop promised the car would look like 95% new again, but told me that some of the scratches would still be there if I looked closely enough. There's just nothing they can do about some of them.

I called the car was company owner and explained my situation to him. I told him I would be preparing a case for small claims court and that I would write the local newspaper to indicate my poor experience. I'm currently in a very small town where reputation matters. He told me to prepare for a counter-suit in libel.

What to do?

Any lawyers in the audience?

My poor, poor car!
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      05-13-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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So he's getting fiesty?

Ok.. so is the type of car wash where you insert the quarters and use their little brush to scrub your car? If it is, those things are notorious for being filthy, sand ridden pieces of crap. Whether you have a case or not, I think it was dumb to use one of those in the first place. Protect your baby!

Hopefully someone can help you out.
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      05-13-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
Took the car to a self-serve car wash station. My first time at a self-serve. I washed the car, rinsed it, and took it outside to vacuum. While doing so, I noticed that the car had been scratched up all over - from hood to trunk. Many of the scratches can be felt with the fingernail. There must be at least two dozen of them.

I lodged a complaint with the manager and after lots of arguing he offered only a 20% discount at his own detail shop. He told me the scratches were likely caused by the foam brush at the washing station, which often contains sand/silt/rocks from previous washers. He told me I should have sprayed down the brush with the high pressure hose as the instructions indicated.

I didn't spray down the brush and I acknowledged that the instructions posted inside the station mentioned doing so. But nowhere was there a warning that failing to do so would run the serious risk of scratching the vehicle. As far as I was concerned, ensuring the proper maintenance of their washing equipment - so as to not damage other people's property - is the responsibility of the car wash company. My responsibility was to pay and to use their equipment in a reasonable fashion, which I did.

In any case, I'm at a loss of what to do. I took the car to a reputable detail shop run by a friend and they quoted me $200 for a full day's work of washing, waxing, a complete buff job, cleaning and re-washing/waxing. On top of the scratches, they wanted to detail out the swirl marks that are typical on the black BMWs (in other words, they want to do more than just buff out the scratches).

The detail shop promised the car would look like 95% new again, but told me that some of the scratches would still be there if I looked closely enough. There's just nothing they can do about some of them.

I called the car was company owner and explained my situation to him. I told him I would be preparing a case for small claims court and that I would write the local newspaper to indicate my poor experience. I'm currently in a very small town where reputation matters. He told me to prepare for a counter-suit in libel.

What to do?

Any lawyers in the audience?

My poor, poor car!
I don't think there are any Canadian barristers here.
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      05-13-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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Yeah...I don't use those for my bimmer, but with my old car I made sure to throughly rince the brush out. Glad they're putting signs up now. People often take their cars to those when they're REALLY dirty...like 4x4's, snow plows, etc. People also, as I found out, wash their engines at these places. The LAST time I used one of these (~5 years ago), I rinsed my car to find it COVERED in greasy smears. It took forever with solvent to clean it off and rewax, but I guess this wasn't too bad considering your problem. The attendent basically said "tough luck". That's the crappy thing...until the damage is bad enough to make legal action a viable option, most car wash/quick lube/etc. places will just tell you to piss off.
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      05-13-2009, 01:29 PM   #5
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I feel for you that that happened, but you should've known better.

do you expect the self-serve car wash brush to be cleaned for you after a customer uses it?
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      05-13-2009, 01:36 PM   #6
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I feel for you man ........

If ever I find myself having to use a "do it yourself" wash then I'll have a bucket, soap, wash mit and chamois to use. Using their pre-wash and rinse is all I'll use. Basically a $3.50 wash that I feel pretty good about.
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      05-13-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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i dont think ur gona win if u take this to small claims...

there are instructions obviously posted and you even admitted to the manager that u didnt follow them

u shouldve known... I still go to those places but I dont even touch that brush sitting in the corner.

Just by looking at the brush should scream dont use me
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      05-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
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User error. Lesson learned.

Lawsuit? You f'ing kidding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
I didn't spray down the brush and I acknowledged that the instructions posted inside the station mentioned doing so. But nowhere was there a warning that failing to do so would run the serious risk of scratching the vehicle. As far as I was concerned, ensuring the proper maintenance of their washing equipment - so as to not damage other people's property - is the responsibility of the car wash company. My responsibility was to pay and to use their equipment in a reasonable fashion, which I did.

What to do?

Any lawyers in the audience?

My poor, poor car!
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      05-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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I never use those foam-brush on the car painted surface. I only use them to clean my tires and rims. Just take the offer and learn from this experience.
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      05-13-2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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User error. Lesson learned.

Lawsuit? You f'ing kidding?
i see American ideals are creeping into Canada-land.
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      05-13-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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Write to the paper, I'm sure they'll publish your piece in the Joke/Humor section.

Next time use some common sense before you do something; what did you think would happen when you use a brush (that has been used by many other people before you) to wash your car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debaser View Post
I called the car was company owner and explained my situation to him. I told him I would be preparing a case for small claims court and that I would write the local newspaper to indicate my poor experience. I'm currently in a very small town where reputation matters. He told me to prepare for a counter-suit in libel.
(
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      05-13-2009, 01:45 PM   #12
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Cool

Cough up $300, get a polish and don't do it again. Is this really worth a lawsuit?
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      05-13-2009, 01:48 PM   #13
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Cough up $300, get a polish and don't do it again. Is this really worth a lawsuit?
Exactly. And you get the 20% discount.

Edit: use your friend's detail shop.
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      05-13-2009, 01:54 PM   #14
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local news
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      05-13-2009, 01:55 PM   #15
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So you wanna file a case against the owner due to user error?
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      05-13-2009, 01:59 PM   #16
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+1 use your friends detail shop. You could do it yourself but you would spend that much on supplies and unless you have done detailing before I wouldn’t recommend learning on a bmw. Lawyers???? That’s just sad that that’s the first thing people think about these days for anything, there was a sign posted, it won’t work. My .02
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      05-13-2009, 02:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
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+1 use your friends detail shop. You could do it yourself but you would spend that much on supplies and unless you have done detailing before I wouldn’t recommend learning on a bmw. Lawyers???? That’s just sad that that’s the first thing people think about these days for anything, there was a sign posted, it won’t work. My .02
1. Lawyers > bringing gun to place of business and shooting everyone

2. It isn't the op's friend. The owner of the car wash probably owns the detailer (LOL)
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      05-13-2009, 02:04 PM   #18
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Any lawyers in the audience?
Yes. And they can tell you that you scratched up your car and that you'd be wasting your money on legal fees. Pay the $200-500 to get it polished and sealed, and consider this a lesson learned.
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      05-13-2009, 02:05 PM   #19
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sucks that you come here looking for help/sympathy/advice but truth is, there's nothing you can do about it and hopefully you did learn your lesson. your bmw deserves better and you do get what you pay for. only time i take mine to machine wash is during the winters just so they can get the salt off the bottom, and that's only at the end of winter.
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      05-13-2009, 02:11 PM   #20
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consider this a lesson learned.
And you have done a service to this community (seriously). This is the kind of thread that people will read and take heed of. I have.
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      05-13-2009, 02:13 PM   #21
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I grew up in Ottawa and I can tell you I used those self serve bays quite often, but I would never use their brushes. I would do as a previous poster said, own bucket, own washmitt, own chamois. Those brushes are never clean and you really don't know what the heck is on them. Even if you did as the sign said and sprayed it before using, I still wouldn't trust them. Don't forget in the long winters up there, some people get the undercarriage, lower sides oils sprayed. Then in the spring/summer, those brushes are used to remove the oil spray, so the dirt never leaves the bristles and you end up sandpapering/oiling your paint's finish.
Unfortunately, your car is black, so visible scratches are unavoidable. Just keep it waxed/detailed frequently and it won't be as visible.
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      05-13-2009, 02:13 PM   #22
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Saw a commercial for "Scratch Dr." the other night. And no its not a new mechanism to scratch your ass for you. The way they presented this scratch removal on tv = TGTBT
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