April 2, 2010

Los Feliz Car Wash Has $8.99 Minimum Charge on Credit Cards; Don't Like It? No Wash for You!

No Car Wash for You!

THEY OFFER a $5.99 express service as Los Feliz Car Wash, 3013 Los Feliz Blvd. Exterior only, no vacuum, no dash, but they hand wash and dry. Seems like a deal. But this Atwater Village establishment insists on cash.

"Is the credit card machine down?" I ask yesterday. No, I'm told, Los Feliz Car Wash enforces a minimum charge of $8.99 for credit-card transactions. I tell the cashier his demand violates credit card merchant policies and would be reported. Then I relented, offered cash. (Hindsight? Should go elsewhere. But my car's in the queue.)

Car Wash Guy takes my $10 bill, gives me change, but then suffers an abrupt about face. He tells me Los Feliz Car Wash would not be honoring my transaction, even with cash. And recognizing the physical manifestations of a man becoming unhinged, I start shooting video. Mostly as protection and eyewitness, though I see how someone might be antagonized by the business end of a cell-phone lens.

He starts to explain:
Car Wash Guy: I just don't want your business, that's all.
Me: How come?
CWG: It's a free world and it's a free business.
Me: You don't want my business because of the credit card policy?
CWG: No sir, I just don't want your business. It's because I don't like your attitude.
Me: You don't like my attitude, you said?
CWG: Yes sir. I'm an entrepreneur. I've got that right.
Indeed he does have a right to refuse service. But it gets more personal. About me. And about my camera phone:
CWG: Get that thing off my head before I knock it off.
Me: Did you just threaten to damage some property of mine?
CWG: All right, so let me get your money back, sir. Go check your head.
Me: What do you mean, like with a psychiatrist or something?
CWG: I don't know, I'm not in psychiatry business. I'm in car wash business.
Debatable. He refunds me $6 on the $5.99 car wash. Then, personal gets weird:
Me: Thanks for the extra penny.
CWG: I know you need it. I can tell.
Me: You can tell?
CWG: Yes sir. Have your car out of here or I'll have it towed.
Me: Are you the owner?
CWG: No. I'm an illegal alien.
Me: Oh, you are?
CWG: Yes. Go report that to immigration.
Beefy SecurityOn it goes, 3 or 4 minutes. CWG calls me a "f***ing son of a bitch." Without seeming to enter a phone number, he reports to his cell that there's a "disturbance" by someone with a "junky" car.

Then some beefy security guy shows up wearing a badge that looks like a toy. He's not employed by Los Feliz Car Wash, just wants to call me a "f***ing idiot." (And let me know my camera doesn't intimidate him; he's been on TMZ!)

Alas, I take my "junky" car a few blocks up to California Car Wash, 3940 San Fernando Road. Express service: $6.99. Credit card: accepted. No questions asked. No obscenities hurled.

ARCHIVE: Back in September 2008, Los Feliz Car Wash charged $1 to run credit-card transactions of $8.99 or less. A practice like that seems to violate merchant policies and possibly California law.

12 comments:

Miguel said...

ha, wtf. i cali carwash over there on san fernando has always been awesome for me, i live across the street from los feliz car wash and never even entertained the idea of goin there. now for sure i know im not missing shit.

Beau said...

Ohmygod! I had a VERY similar experience with that exact same dude (though it wasn't over the credit card thing, it was over them not stamping my frequent customer card) more than a year ago, and I haven't been back since! I literally live across the street from that car wash, and I refuse to go back. I feel so good knowing that I am not alone! That guy is crazy and mean! Boooooo!

I gave them so many chances. One time my car smelled like cigarettes after I got my car back , because someone was taking their smoke break next to my car. I let it slide. Another time, I had a bunch of change in the glove compartment that I forgot I was supposed to take to the bank, and it was missing after a car wash, I figured It was my fault for forgetting about it. But when the dude yelled at me like a crazy person for wanting to use my FREQUENT CUSTOMER card, that was it for me.

Thank you for posting this!!!!

Rod said...

I agree with Miguel, you need to go California Car Wash, right across the street from Vons. I quit coming here when they changed ownership some years ago. California Car Wash has great service, they remember all there repeat customers and appreciate your business.

crocker said...

Los Feliz Car Wash is the worst. Like Miguel and Beau, I live less than a block away and I refuse to go there after so many bad experiences and terrible service. California Car Wash has been such a better experience.

paul bailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AVN said...

Paul, it looks like that article and those charges were about Vermont Hand Wash in Los Feliz, not Los Feliz Car Wash in Atwater Village.

paul bailey said...

my bad, i read that too quickly.

Adam said...

Add me to the list of people who've had a bad experience at Los Feliz Car Wash. Like Beau, I left change in my car -- actually a couple rolls of quarters -- and they were missing after the car wash. I approached them about it, and they said there was nothing they could do about it. How about asking the dude who washed my interior?, I said. He refused to question his employees, but gave me a coupon for a free wash next time. Which, of course, was worth less than two rolls of quarters.

Miles said...

Which is the carwash on los feliz and san fernando, across from the hospital and next to burger king? That's the one I go to and have never had a problem.

c.baires said...

i had my ipod stolen from here over a year and a half ago...never went back

Unknown said...

well hopefully guys give this place a chance when the proper changes are done im sure you'll be happy with the outcome you'll be hearing soon from me thanks again for the considerations

Sebastian Gaydos said...

Woah! I've never been in that situation before, nor in that place. I can't imagine getting entertained by a car wash guy that way. I wouldn't know what to do. But I'm hearing a lot about that car wash service, which makes me think twice about going there myself.

Sebastian Gaydos