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That this is not our fault?

(145 Posts)
lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:13:04

I own a valeting business. With every valet we include an air freshener with our logo on that we hang from a rear view mirror. One of our customers has returned 5 days after leaving, removing the airfreshener but leaving it lying on the centre console and it has caused damage to the lacquer.

We always offer great customer service but in this instance I strongly feel this is his fault, and his attitude is not helping as he is trying to tell us we are breaking the law hanging them up in the first place. A quick Google shows that the highway code states windscreens should not be obstructed but no law as such.

He's coming up tomorrow to speak to our manager but will want to speak to me when he gets no resolution. We don't have a warning on the air fresheners although we do have a disclaimer about checking vehicle before leaving the premises.

So AIBU? Although we placed the air freshener in the vehicle, as stated on our boards (often people who don't like them say not to bother), we didn't put it on his centre console or leave it there for 5 days. This is the first time this has ever happened

minibmw2010 Tue 04-Aug-15 07:17:53

If your air freshener has damaged his car and you don't have any warnings printed on it to warn against leaving it against paint etc as this will stain/burn (or similar) then I'm afraid in this instance it is your fault but may be an expensive lesson to have learnt.

TheWitTank Tue 04-Aug-15 07:19:18

In a similar (not the same) business here. We also use logo air fresheners, but I realise that some people don't like them/having them hanging up/the fake smell, so I leave them in the packet on the dash or centre console as an option for the customer.
I do think he has a point. There is no warning on the product. You need to rectify the situation.

softhedgehog Tue 04-Aug-15 07:20:39

I'd be wanting you to pay for the damage, sorry. If it's likely to damage the car then it should have a warning on it. Horrible stinky things!

cashewnutty Tue 04-Aug-15 07:21:15

Let me get this right. You put and air freshener in the customers car hanging on the mirror? He has taken it off himself and left it lying on the car console? And now he is cross that the air freshener has marked the console?

If that it right then how is this your fault? If he didn't like the freshener he could have removed it and put it in the bin, or asked you to remove it before he left? It was his actions that caused the damage, not yours.

yogababymum Tue 04-Aug-15 07:21:57

Sorry I think you need to take responsibility for the damage as other have said.

Altinkum Tue 04-Aug-15 07:22:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

callamia Tue 04-Aug-15 07:25:17

I don't think it's the customer's fault. It's an accident, but I'm
Not sure that is expect something left in my car by a possessional car valeting company to damage it. I think good customer service would be to suck it up and cover it on your insurance. Maybe save yourself some money and stop the air fresheners too?

QforCucumber Tue 04-Aug-15 07:26:20

I got my car valeted the other day and was given the airfreshener in a little packet.
The airfreshener has the address and phone number of the valeting place on it and then underneath says do not allow to touch plastics or synthetic surfaces. Does yours have a similar warning?

MidniteScribbler Tue 04-Aug-15 07:26:44

If it's such poor quality that just leaving on a dashboard for a couple of days can actually cause damage, then I think it is your fault. You need to test products thoroughly before giving them to your customers, and you should include a warning.

Things shouldn't be hanging from the rear view mirror either, they restrict the view out of the window.

Perhaps stop putting them in the cars after cleaning, and just offer one to the customers when the pay at the end if they want one?

Nikinakin00 Tue 04-Aug-15 07:30:26

I agree that his actions (putting the freshener down) caused the damage.

Might be fair to offer some compensation, as a good will?

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:31:16

Obviously, AIBU! If he decided he didn't like the tyre dressing on his wheels (a blackening oily liquid) and he tried to rub it off and it ruined his clothes would we still be at fault? Obviously there is no warning on the tyres....

Notasinglefuckwasgiven Tue 04-Aug-15 07:31:33

I think yanbu. I hate this culture of I can't think for myself, please put instructions on EVERYTHING or I'll damage things, fall over, walk into doors. It hangs up for a reason. To keep it off surfaces. No air freshener is designed or recommended to be sat directly on a surface. Has he never come across one in his life before?
I may be more invested in this as in my job everyone tries to sue constantly ( unsuccessfully usually ) for stupid things. When did we get so stupid we needed our life to be dictated by instructions? angry

Nikinakin00 Tue 04-Aug-15 07:32:21

And I'd Ditch them all for the future...!

HennaFlare Tue 04-Aug-15 07:33:51

Can he pursue the manufacturer of the air freshener, or do they have warnings on their packaging (removed by you...)?

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:35:56

We would normally offer something as goodwill but I don't think we're responsible to pay for repairs.

I'm not afraid of paying out money to resolve something that is our fault - one of our staff dropped a customer's key in another customer's car, who then drove away before first customer came back! We paid for taxis for the customer to collect her spare key, obviously waived the cost of the valet and paid for a new key despite hers being returned a couple of days later. That was obviously our fault! I really don't think this is although can sort of understand how I would feel as the customer

LilyMayViolet Tue 04-Aug-15 07:37:14

I'm not sure. I'm not precious about my car, always have old bangers but I think I'd certainly inform you if this happened. Don't think I'd expect you to pay but I would suggest you had a warning on it for others and I would be surprised you put these in cars if they can damage them.

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:37:44

The packages are completely clear. I also hate this blame culture notasingle!

featherandblack Tue 04-Aug-15 07:39:33

Well obviously it's far less likely to happen with the tyres. This is more akin to suspending a tyre from the windscreen where the driver would be likely to move it eventually.

I'm afraid I agree with others that there should have been a warning on the air freshener. There is nothing negligent or reckless about putting an air freshener down on the console. In fact he may have seen it as a safety issue and felt obliged to do so. If this was going to put his car at risk you should have foreseen the possibility and warned him.

I'm actually surprised it hasn't happened before.

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:39:54

LilyMay, this has never happened before. We have customers who don't like them hanging so keep a bunch of them stuffed in the centre console or door pocket and we've never been made aware or noticed any damage before

minibmw2010 Tue 04-Aug-15 07:40:01

Do your fresheners have a warning on them to specifically say they will/can damage lacquer if left on them? If they do then you should be ok, if they don't then sorry but yes you do seem at fault. It doesn't matter whether it just seems like common sense etc / world gone has mad with warnings, you put the freshener in his car.

QuiteLikely5 Tue 04-Aug-15 07:40:30

I would offer a gesture of good will. Legally the product should have carried a warning which is why I believe most other products do.

So legally he has a point.

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:41:22

Feather, are you saying we are reckless and negligent by hanging the airfreshener?! Something that you see in every other car on the road?

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Tue 04-Aug-15 07:42:26

Did the air freshener come in a packet with a warning on?? If the company that makes them warns people then they clearly think a warning is necessary. If you did not pass that warning on then I think you do have to take some responsibility.

I would probably offer to pay half of the amount. If you had passed on the warning, he wouldn't have left it where it was. Its not obviously damaging like your example of removing the tyre dressing.

lanbro Tue 04-Aug-15 07:42:44

Feather, the tyre example is relevant - we have added something to his car that is standard with all our valets and he didn't like it, so removed

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