A Gosforth woman faced a £400 repair bill after driving her car through a £6.99 car wash.
Business coach Rachel Spencer was using a car wash machine at the BP petrol station on Newcastle's Great North Road on October 29, when, suddenly, she heard an "almighty banging".
Horrified, Rachel discovered the spoiler on the back of her Mini had come off while using the machine, leaving her with a hefty bill.
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Rachel said: "I went into the car wash as normal - I know that I followed all the rules, I didn't move the car.
"I just heard this almighty banging and kind of clunking noise, and I just thought 'oh my god, what is that?'. I was in the car wash so I couldn't find out what it was, so I waited to the end and drove out and stopped as soon as I could.
"I drove it out and looked at the back and saw a part was missing. I had to go into the car wash to get the part that had been ripped off."
Rachel instantly went to speak to an attendant, who told her to raise a complaint with Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which owns the car wash.
The company told her it was "investigating" her complaint, but on November 23, informed her there had been no faults in the machine and there was "no evidence" the damage could have been caused by using the carwash correctly. She was reminded that use of the car wash was "at owner's own risk" and initially told she'd need to contact her insurers for cash to fix the damage - with a garage had told her would be just over £400.
Rachel said she was shocked at the response, as she had followed the instructions of car wash staff, who didn't raise any concerns about her car going through the machine, and doesn't believe car wash users are warned there's potential for this level of damage.
She said: "I had done everything you should do, I'd taken my aerial off, I'd followed the rules. I'm 45, I've been in car washes before, I know what to do and I know I didn't do anything wrong.
"At no point does it say that there is a risk of the car wash taking off part of my car."
When contacted by ChronicleLive, a spokesperson for MFG declined to comment.
However, the day after we contacted the company, Rachel said she received a new message from MFG, informing her that the company had "re-evaluated" the complaint and would offer her £402.60 "as a gesture of goodwill, with no admission of liability".
Rachel said: "I'm really pleased, but I do feel that it's a shame I had to battle to get them to do the right thing."
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