Is a Business Responsible For Damage? - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Is a Business Responsible For Damage?

Posted: Updated:

If you take your clothes to a dry cleaner, use a valet to park your car, or take it to a car wash, they have signs and receipts that say they are not responsible if they damage your property. But is that true? It's why one South Florida woman put in a call to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

WSVN -- Helene Harris: "And was a beautiful car, still is a beautiful car."

This is Helene's car and since she has owned it for 10 years, to her it is more than a vehicle.

Helene Harris: "I like my boat. It sails very very well. Everything is good, battery is good, tires good, it's been taken care of."

A nice, 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis with 60,000 miles on it and when it got dirty a few days ago, Helene took it to a car wash.

Helene Harris: "I didn't think anything of it. Sitting there reading a magazine, look up and there comes a car with the whole top flying around."

Now Helene's vinyl top was not in perfect shape and was clearly starting to show its age. But she counters, it was in one piece and looked nice to her. Till it came out of the car wash shredded and flapping like a birds wing in the breeze, an employee walked over to her.

Helene Harris: "He said our blowers are very strong and probably just blew the top away and the water but it's an old car, your insurance will probably cover it."

Helene said her insurance wouldn't cover it and shouldn't have to cover it. That the car was the car wash's responsible...

Helene Harris: "I said you must have insurance, we are not doing anything. Asked him to give me the name of his insurance company, he said no."

The employee said they were not responsible for the tops ripping open. Repeating what a sign at the entrance to the car wash says, that they aren't responsible for everything from antennas to loose molding to damage due to negligence.

Helene Harris: "He said probably it was cracked or whatever and it couldn't take the blower. If you looked and saw something you shouldn't have put it through your machine, that to me is my logic."

The car wash refused to give in and pay. Helene refused to give in and give up.

Helene Harris: "I would like them to make some type of settlement with me. Admit responsibility. Say you know what probably shouldn't have put it through."

Neither side will budge, so let the law decide. Howard, the vinyl top is ten years old and not in perfect shape but it was not shredded when it got to the car wash. So if a car wash damages your vehicle, who is responsible?

Howard Finkelstein: "Legally, it depends. The law calls this abalement and that means when you give your property to a business, they must use reasonable care to protect your property and if it gets damaged, the law presumes they are responsible. But in this case, if they can prove that the top was defective or worn, then they are not responsible at all."

We talked to the owner of the car wash who told us the vinyl top was clearly showing its age and he didn't think he should have to pay the $1,200 to replace it.

However, he's obviously a good honest business owner. He offered to give Helene half, $600 to buy a new vinyl roof.

Howard says that's fair.

Howard Finkelstein: "And the reason I think it's fair is because that top was 10 years old. If you went to court, a judge might rule it was not the car washes fault and Helene gets nothing. So half is better than taking a chance and maybe ending up with zero."

Helene Harris: "My next step is to have it repaired. Replaced."

Helene will take the $600 from the car wash owner to replace the vinyl top to keep her old treasure, looking good.

Helene Harris: "All of you and your team, you helped me. I am happy with what I have."

Patrick Fraser: "Now the car wash, like many businesses, has a sign that says they aren't responsible for almost everything. Howard says, that in most cases, the sign doesn't matter and won't protect the business. Just because they say they aren't responsible doesn't make it so.

Hopes of solving your problem getting washed away? Don't want things to go down the drain? Let us clean things up and leave your future nice and shiny.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)|

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN

  • Out for JusticeMore>>

  • Guerline Noel

    Guerline Noel

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:48 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:48:21 GMT
    Guerline NoelGuerline Noel
    She was a wife and mother who liked to help people, but one night she was brutally murdered in her own home. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a year has gone by, and the case is cold, but detectives are still determined to find her killers.
    She was a wife and mother who liked to help people, but one night she was brutally murdered in her own home. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out for Justice, a year has gone by, and the case is cold, but detectives are still determined to find her killers.
  • Heather Riggio

    Heather Riggio

    Friday, August 8 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-08-09 03:45:59 GMT
    Heather RiggioHeather Riggio
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
    She was only 19 years old and made a mistake that many young people do: She started hanging around with the wrong crowd. The next thing her family knew, she was gone. What happened to her? Here is tonight's Out for Justice with Patrick Fraser.
  • Alfred McCormick

    Alfred McCormick

    Saturday, July 26 2014 1:00 AM EDT2014-07-26 05:00:26 GMT
    Minister Alfred McCormickMinister Alfred McCormick
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
    He was a man of God, but early one morning Minister Alfred McCormick was gunned down in the street like a criminal. Maybe because a crook thought he was a crook he was looking for. As Patrick Fraser tells us on tonight's Out For Justice, detectives are determined to find his killer, but they need your help.
  • Carmel on the CaseMore>>

  • Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Bad Romance: Criminal Casanova Arrested

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:54:12 GMT
    Frank Amanti Frank Amanti
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
    Two women say they've been used by a seasoned South Florida felon known for breaking hearts and the law. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
  • Paver Projects at Trash Sites Raise Questions

    Paver Projects at Trash Sites Raise Questions

    Tuesday, August 5 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-08-06 02:41:41 GMT
    It cost Miami-Dade County $768,062 to put these pavers in three of the county's 13 trash sites. It cost Miami-Dade County $768,062 to put these pavers in three of the county's 13 trash sites.
    WSVN -- Miami-Dade County is looking at deep cuts to balance the budget, so why was money spent to make dump sites look better? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
    WSVN -- Miami-Dade County is looking at deep cuts to balance the budget, so why was money spent to make dump sites look better? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case.
  • Taxing Trouble

    Taxing Trouble

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:38 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:38:09 GMT
    WSVN -- By this time of year, most of us have paid our taxes. Some of us have even had refunds. But what happens if a tax preparer made a mistake on your return? Here's Carmel Cafiero with a special assignment report on who pays the price for "Taxing Trouble."
    WSVN -- By this time of year, most of us have paid our taxes. Some of us have even had refunds. But what happens if a tax preparer made a mistake on your return? Here's Carmel Cafiero with a special assignment report on who pays the price for "Taxing Trouble."
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 2 charged in dog mauling death of 4-year-old boy

    2 charged in dog mauling death of 4-year-old boy

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:40 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:40:50 GMT
    From left: Javon Dade Sr., Alessandra CarrascoFrom left: Javon Dade Sr., Alessandra Carrasco
    SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE -- Authorities said two people have been charged in the death of a 4-year-old boy who was mauled to death by dogs last week.


    SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE -- Authorities said two people have been charged in the death of a 4-year-old boy who was mauled to death by dogs last week.



  • Miami-Dade mayor calls for body cameras on local police

    Miami-Dade mayor calls for body cameras on local police

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:42:05 GMT
    One of the body cameras used by the Hallandale Beach Police Department.One of the body cameras used by the Hallandale Beach Police Department.
    MIAMI -- Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez is calling for hundreds of the county's police officers to be equipped with video cameras, weeks after after a police involved shooting in the Midwest triggered days of violence.
    MIAMI -- Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez is calling for hundreds of the county's police officers to be equipped with video cameras, weeks after after a police involved shooting in the Midwest triggered days of violence.
  • Local high school football team receives racist letter

    Local high school football team receives racist letter

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:45:14 GMT
    MIAMI -- Trash talking has become common between sports teams, but that all went out the window after one South Florida high school football coach received a racist letter before his team made a trip to face their opponent in Alabama.
    MIAMI -- Trash talking has become common between sports teams, but that all went out the window after one South Florida high school football coach received a racist letter before his team made a trip to face their opponent in Alabama.
  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Ticketed for Riding Bike

    Ticketed for Riding Bike

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:05 AM EDT2014-08-21 15:05:28 GMT
    When his license was suspended he needed to get to work, so he bought a bicycle and then he got five tickets from a police officer. Why? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    When his license was suspended he needed to get to work, so he bought a bicycle and then he got five tickets from a police officer. Why? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • $3.3 Million Lien on House

    $3.3 Million Lien on House

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:39:17 GMT
    The duplex that Victoria Berquist inherited from her parents.The duplex that Victoria Berquist inherited from her parents.
    When her disabled parents died, she inherited their home and a $3.3 million lien they didn't know about. Why? Because they didn't plant some grass and a hedge. Now, is she stuck paying it? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    When her disabled parents died, she inherited their home and a $3.3 million lien they didn't know about. Why? Because they didn't plant some grass and a hedge. Now, is she stuck paying it? It's why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • Palms Cut Down

    Palms Cut Down

    Wednesday, August 13 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-08-14 02:46:27 GMT
    You have probably seen it before. FPL sends its crews out to cut the limbs that are in the power lines, but how about this? Cutting down nine palm trees, some in the yard, not near a power line. Can they do this? It's why one South Florida homeowner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    You have probably seen it before. FPL sends its crews out to cut the limbs that are in the power lines, but how about this? Cutting down nine palm trees, some in the yard, not near a power line. Can they do this? It's why one South Florida homeowner called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.