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Damage claims can be a tough thing for the owner or manager of a car wash for many reasons. You don't want to pay for things you didn't do and you don't want to lose a customer over damage they think you caused. In this month's tip I am going to let you in on one more thing you can add to your arsenal of tools. Additional damage claim information can be found in the February 2010 tip on www.CarWashCollege.com.
It's busy at the car wash and the day is going great. The next thing you know a customer is yelling at you about damage to her car. The lady starts to hysterically tell you about how your car wash has pulled the corner of her bumper away from the car. After spending a few minutes calming her down, you look at the video of the car entering the wash. After reviewing the video footage and finding nothing out of the ordinary, you begin to think "Did we cause the damage?" I mean, you see the car came in fine, then see the car exiting the wash with the bumper damage. After going back to the car to have one more look for previous damage, everything looks fine. What's next? Most operators know that at a car wash anything is possible, so you agree to pay for the damage and now your previously profitable day has been ruined by a $1,500 claim.
What if there was a way to find out the history of the car that your customer was driving? There is, and I am sure you've heard of it, but like myself never thought of using this service for this reason. It's called CARFAX™. The service is most commonly used by people purchasing used cars to see the history of the vehicle. Below is the history for your customer's 2003 Chevy Suburban where allegedly, the car wash damaged the right front bumper.
|Structural / Frame damage reported|
|Accident / Damage reported|
|2 Previous owners|
|9 Service records available|
|141,116 Last reported odometer reading|
|$1,280 Below retail book value|
|Report Date||Mileage||Vehicle Location||Description of Incident|
|Vehicle inspected after an accident or other incident.
Damage to right front.
Damage to right rear pillar.
A vehicle inspection completed by your dealer or professional inspector is recommended.
Had you been armed with this information you could have reminded the customer about the existing damage to the front of the vehicle. Or, if it was a new owner of the vehicle, let them know about the damage from the previous accident. You could of also taken a closer look for damage and maybe found that missing clip that was replaced with a screw during the repair. The service is about $45 for five reports but is worth its weight in gold if it can help you resolve questionable claims.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.