Rachel Spencer, 45, suddenly heard an “almighty banging” as she used the car wash machine at a BP petrol station last month. She was horrified to find the spoiler on the back of her Mini had come off, leaving her with a hefty bill.
Rachel, a business coach, spoke to an attendant, who told her to raise a complaint with Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which owns the car wash in Gosforth, Newcastle.
But last week, MFG told Rachel there had been no faults in the machine and there was “no evidence” the damage could have been caused by using the carwash correctly.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, the motorist said: “I had done everything you should do, I’d taken my aerial off, I’d followed the rules. I’m 45, I’ve been in car washes before, I know what to do and I know I didn’t do anything wrong.
“At no point does it say that there is a risk of the car wash taking off part of my car.
“I went into the car wash as normal – I know that I followed all the rules, I didn’t move the car.
“I just heard this almighty banging and kind of clunking noise, and I just thought ‘oh my god, what is that?’. I was in the car wash so I couldn’t find out what it was, so I waited to the end and drove out and stopped as soon as I could.
“I drove it out and looked at the back and saw a part was missing. I had to go into the car wash to get the part that had been ripped off.”
After its investigation, MFG reminded Rachel that use of the car wash was “at owner’s own risk” and initially told she’d need to contact her insurers for cash to fix the damage – with a garage telling her would be just over £400.
But Rachel, from Gosforth, doesn’t believe car wash users are warned there’s potential for this level of damage.
A spokesperson for MFG initially declined to comment when approached by Chronicle Live.
However, the day after the company was contacted, Rachel said she received a new message from MFG, informing her that the company had “re-evaluated” the complaint and would offer her £402.60 “as a gesture of goodwill, with no admission of liability”.
Rachel said: “I’m really pleased, but I do feel that it’s a shame I had to battle to get them to do the right thing.”
Last year, hundreds of car washes across the UK were forced to close days before Christmas under tough Tier 4 lockdown rules.