Customer blames car wash for damage to vehicle

Customer blames car wash for damage to vehicle

(WWBT) - A man says he drove in for a $5 car wash and came out with $601 in damages to his Lincoln Aviator.

Phillip Thomas says he called 12 for help after the company's manager told him the car wash was not responsible.  NBC 12 talked with both sides and got results.

Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Thomas called 12 and said he had a check in his hand. This damage dispute had been ongoing since July 14. Thomas says it wasn't until 12 got involved that he was allowed to even talk to the owner, who had the authority to make a decision about his damage claim.

When Thomas pulled into NBC 12, his Lincoln truck had already been repaired. He showed me pictures of the damage that he says happened at Q.Q. Express Car Wash on Mechanicsville Turnpike.

"My panel back here to here was torn and ripped off. He had to stop the car was, open the grate to the conveyer belt and we just saw pieces of my panel, flattened, crushed in the conveyer belt," said Thomas.

Thomas says he got estimates and paid for the repairs, thinking he would be reimbursed based on conversations he had with the manager.

"I fixed it because this is my baby, and I'm thinking this is cut and dry. I sent in the paperwork with my estimate, and I went back that Wednesday and gave them a picture of the damage too. Everything they asked for, I gave it, so to me, I'm thinking in my head, it's going to be taken care of," said Thomas.

It unraveled, Thomas says, when he asked for reimbursement.

"I talked to the manager, and he basically hung up on me. He basically told me that they were not going to cover it and I could call a lawyer. But who has lawyer money," said Thomas.

We were able to do what Thomas couldn't.  We got the car wash owner on the phone. NBC 12 had three different conversations with owner Jin Chung and that helped clear the air after some acrimony between Thomas and the manager.  Chung questioned if the panel had been glued on, and initially said the car wash was not responsible.

He later agreed to meet with the unhappy customer. They met from 2:30 p.m. until well after 4 p.m., and Thomas came out of that meeting with a $601 check.

Owner Jin Chung says he's been in the car wash business eight years and says most of his customers are happy because he's fair. He also said based on his knowledge of the car wash equipment. He doubts the machine caused the damage.

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