Elderly woman says auto detailer damaged the paint job on her car

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - An elderly woman contacted 23ABC after a mobile auto detailer damaged the paint job on her car.

In January, Evelyn Rhoads was at the Big Lots parking lot in east Bakersfield when she was approached by an auto detailer offering to remove the scratches from her car.

After they negotiated a price, Rhoads agreed because she saw the company working on a Mercedes-Benz that was parked next to her. Rhoads ended up paying $120 for the service.

"When the guy finished the work there was still some foam covering the scratches. He said wait four hours and have my car washed," said Rhoads.

However, when she washed the car, the scratches remained but the paint was removed.

"I tried to call his business number and the gal on the phone didn't know who or what I was talking about," said Rhoads.

She asked a family friend, who is in law enforcement, if there was anything else she could do and was told to chalk it up as a learning experience.

"I was frustrated and knew I was taken advantage of, but there was nothing else I could do at the time," said Rhoads.

On Wednesday, while she was at the Big Lots in Oildale, she was approached by the same individual offering to remove the scratches from her car.

"I recognized him from his bad acne and said, 'look what you did to my car.'  He said, 'are you sure it was me?' and I said, 'I am positive it was you,'" said Rhoads.

As Rhoads was in the process of showing him the damage to her car the man ran off and got into the auto detailing pickup truck and took off.

Law enforcement says at this point it's a civil matter, because Rhoads entered into a verbal contract with the alleged business.

Law enforcement also says it's not necessarily against the law for a vendor to be operating in a parking lot if they have approval from the property owner.

"The issue for us would be if the person has a business permit to operate a business," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs with the Bakersfield Police Department.

The Better Business Bureau says buyer beware. You should research any company before you hire them to do any improvements on your car.


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