An Alberta driver is battling with a car wash company over costly damages to his vehicle. Damages he told Global News were caused by the business, but which the company disputes.
Trevor Cazemier, of Edmonton, purchased a used vehicle this past November.
Shortly afterward, he decided to get it washed and headed to the Mint Smartwash location on 63 Avenue/Argyll Road, near 99 Street in south Edmonton.
He said the wash went fine and he went on his way. But about 20 minutes later, he noticed a problem.
“I’m at my bank and I come out and there’s paint stripped off both of the doors along the driver’s side of my car.
“At first I wasn’t sure what had happened and then it clicked in that I’d just been through the car wash,” he added.
Cazemier said he returned to Mint to show attendants what happened but was shocked at their response.
“They said the paint on my car was failing prior to my entering their facility. There was no paint failing on my car prior to me entering.”
Cazamier asked Mint for photo evidence, which it ended up providing. Photos and video show his car going into the car wash, and the company also highlighted some spots it believed were a result of previous damage.
But Cazamier said he also has a photo of the car — taken just one day before — showing no damage.
“You can see this side of the car in that photo and there’s paint on my doors. There’s no rust spots. There’s no clear coat failing.”
Global News reached out to Mint Smartwash in Edmonton and was redirected to the company’s president in Calgary.
Chris Friesen told us the company launched a “detailed investigation” into Cazamier’s complaints. Friesen added the results of that investigation revealed Mint was not at fault and the car entered the Edmonton facility “damaged.”
“In this case, you can actually see pieces of the bumper, you can see holes, you can see rock chips in the video and the still photographs as the car is entering our wash,” he said.
“There appeared to be pre-existing damage from our interpretation on that person’s vehicle.”
He suggested it could have been damaged before Cazamier bought it, and he possibly didn’t even realize it. The car wash could have brought them to light, he added.
“I think the average consumer is not aware of the condition of their vehicle. If you have existing damage on your vehicle, potentially with the car wash it can add to the effects of having pre-existing damage on your vehicle.”
Global News asked if it was possible the water pressure at the Edmonton facility was perhaps too strong, which Friesen also dismissed.
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“To be honest, I don’t think it is possible,” he said. “We wash millions of cars every year across all of our locations, so the reality is we’re very familiar with how our process works.”
Cazamier said he has had very little response from Mint, adding he was first told by a manager that there are no guarantees for any vehicle 10 years or older.
Friesen acknowledged that was company policy in the past, but no longer, and that staff training may need to be done. However, he said the company is not willing to shell out the $2,000 quoted for the paint job.
“You can’t pay for everyone’s car if they think there was damage at our wash,” he pointed out.
“That is just not acceptable business practice.”
Mint said it is willing to get its insurance involved but Cazamier told Global News because it is an older vehicle, he did not get comprehensive coverage.
He said he wished he had heeded the sign out front of the business to “enter at your own risk.”
“For a $10 car wash — I end up with a $2,000 bill. I don’t think that’s right.”