When you hand your car over to a valeter for them to clean and detail, it goes without saying that there is always some form of risk involved when it comes to paintwork, due to the strength of some products that they can use at times, however, one lingering question surrounds what actually happens if a vehicle is damaged by a valeter during a detail, whether it be a scratch mark, discoloured paint, or damage to lacquer. This becomes even more apparent if the Valeter does not have a specialist Valeters Insurance policy; as you may need to exhaust legal avenues – but we’ll get to that.
Strong car shampoos, wax and clay bars all have potential to cause some damage, when not done correctly of course, however one known reason for dreaded “swirl marks” and minor scratches is actually use of a sponge – they can very easily collect dust and small stones when left around for a while. Some valeters use something called the “two-bucket wash method” which uses one bucket for soapy water to clean the car with, and the other for rinsing the sponge/cloth in so you aren’t using dirty, gritty water to clean the car with. Use of this method minimises the chances of swirl marks and scratches.
Unfortunately, despite the above, there is not a direct answer on who is to blame or responsible for setting things straight when damage occurs to a vehicle – it’s between you and the valeter/company involved to sort it between yourselves, however if they are denying all liability when you are certain that the damage was not there beforehand, then it may have to go further up to the point of court action if necessary. The problem with that being that it’s very difficult to prove it was a certain person who caused the imperfections.
A lot of the time, damages caused by valeters and detailers, can be fixed by other valeters and detailers – getting the culprit of the damage to try and correct it could lead to even more headaches and complications. Make sure you take down as many details as you can from the company/valeter that carried out the wash or detail and try to rectify the problem as amicably as you can. Going forward it should be in your best interest to check your vehicle before leaving it with anyone so you can be sure that they were definitely to blame.
From the other side of the fence – a valeter’s point of view – it’s best to always be honest with your customers. If they discover damage a few days after you have done your job, as opposed to being told and apologised to on the spot, they will be undoubtedly more irate. It will prove a better standpoint to honour your mistakes, admit when you’ve made one, and try your best to rectify it to the customer’s content. That way you can move forward with people respecting the fact you’re honest, which despite mistakes being made, can actually lead to positive feedback.
Every situation is bound to be different, with the damage ranging in severity, and the customer and valeter’s opinions and attitudes being different. As long as both parties go about solving it as professionally as possible, then not a lot can go wrong.