Beware of Sainsbury’s automatic car wash.
Just before Christmas 2014, my mum had borrowed my car to do a spot of shopping at Sainsbury’s in Rugby. Whilst she was there, she decided to do me a favour and put the car through their automated car wash. Unfortunately, that idea must be filed under the heading “No good dead goes un-punished” as the car-wash managed to do a fair amount of damage to the car. So much damage, that it was touch-and-go as to whether the insurance company would write the car off.
After the incident occurred, when went into Sainsbury’s Filling Station in Rugby to report the incident. We did this to a gentleman called Glenn, who came out and looked at the car – and the car wash to check it for damage. He filled in an incident form and asked how the accident happened. My mum explained that she had entered the car wash and driven forward until told to stop by the machine, applied the handbrake and turned off the ignition. The wash then started and my mum was horrified when the carwash hit the car. When it became apparent what had happened, she hastily started the car and reversed out of the wash to prevent further damage from occurring.
Glenn wasn’t at all happy that she had reversed out of the wash as it may, he claimed, have caused damage to the machine. Had the car remained there, substantially more damage would have been done – both to the car and the car wash. We asked at that point if there was any CCTV of the car wash to explain what had happened and were told that there wasn’t – that the only CCTV footage was the security camera that alternates between different views of the filling station. We were also told that this footage would not be released to us. Glenn promised that the completed form would be handed in and that someone would be in touch the next day. Nobody from Sainsbury’s got in touch….
On the 29th December, my mum went back to Sainsbury’s in Rugby to see what was happening. It became apparent that nothing was happening as nothing had been done with the paperwork. The gentleman my mum dealt with took charge of the issue and promised that someone would call the next day. In fairness, he was good to his word and my mum did receive a call telling her that the incident would be investigated.
Today, we learned the outcome of that investigation and, Sainsbury’s deny any responsibility. Apparently, according to the CCTV (which we were told at the time was non-existent) my mum had parked the car with a tyre on the guide-rail, which damaged a sensor. This caused the machine to fail and to hit the car.
Now this strikes me as a design failure – surely it should fail safe? My mum entered the carwash and drove forward, under instruction from the machine until it told her she was correctly located. How can it make sense for the car wash to assume that if a sensor has failed then everything is OK? Why were we told that there was no footage of the incident, if the footage does exist? Why was the paperwork not dealt with in a timely manner?