Solve it 7: Car Wash Calamity

MILFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Tricia Skerry drove into her neighborhood car wash with her vehicle in perfect working condition, but part of it came out shattered.

“There was a hole in the rear window and water was pouring in!” she says of the moment she realized something was wrong.

Surveillance footage from inside the car wash shows Tricia’s rear window getting completely blown out right as she drove through the high-velocity dryers.

“Glass was flying,” says Tricia of the moment her three minute trip through the car wash turned into a much more dramatic ordeal. “That finally stopped and I just kind of peeled out and drove back around to the beginning and was like, ‘Look at my car!’”

The car wash catastrophe started when Tricia decided to get her 2013 Honda Crosstour cleaned after her beloved dog got his fur all over the car’s interior. She vacuumed the upholstery then made her way through the automated car wash to clean the outside. But the car wash ended up inside her car!

The Milford resident says at first she heard a cracking sound and moment later, the big break. Surveillance footage shows her rear window shattering and glass and water getting violently blown into her car.

“I went in with a full window with no issues and came out without one!” Tricia said. She says the person she spoke with at the company had her fill out an incident report and told her a manager would call her. When the call came, she was shocked to hear the manager say they weren’t responsible and there must have been a defect in the window.

Needing her car fixed to get to and from work, Tricia contacted her insurance company and they replaced the shattered glass. But there was more damage done – scratches to the outside of the car and dings and divots on the paint and around the back windshield, plus the glass and water inside the car. She got an estimate: $1,300 to fix everything. Tricia kept calling the car wash to try to work something out, but they didn’t call her back.

Frustrated and unsure of what to do next, she reached out to Solve It 7.

“My car should be the way it was the three minutes before it went through that front door,” Tricia said.

Our legal expert agrees. Lawyer Bob Harnais says a person has a reasonable expectation that their car will come out of a car wash in the same condition it went in. Signage on the outside of the company saying they are not liable for damages, doesn’t necessarily cover them for unexpected damage.

A few days later, Tricia’s troubles were washed away. The car wash agreed to send her a check covering the cost of the repairs to her car.

“You guys worked your magic and [I] got a call saying they were going to cover everything,” says a smiling Tricia. “So, it worked.”

If you have a problem you can’t seem to solve on your own? Give us a call at 617-367-7777 or send an email to SolveIt7@WHDH.com.

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