AN insurance expert has called for a car valet service in a supermarket car park to be scrapped, claiming there is a risk to shoppers’ vehicles.
The service at the Sainsbury’s store, in Victoria Road, Darlington, is offered to customers wherever they park, rather than in a set area of the car park.
A third-party business, Car Park Valeting, runs the service which includes cleaning and washing.
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David Seymour, of Cleasby, near Darlington is concerned that valet staff could accidentally damage the vehicles of unsuspecting shoppers.
Now retired, 78-year-old Mr Seymour is a former insurance company director.
He fears anyone trying to make a claim for damage arising from an accident during the cleaning of a car in a neighbouring bay would find it unnecessarily complicated.
Sainsbury’s has pledged to take Mr Seymour’s comments on board.
Mr Seymour said: “I went to Sainsbury’s and there was quite a gaggle of people in yellow working uniforms, at first I thought they were security.
“They turned out to be a team of car valeters.
“Apparently, Sainsbury’s has brought this in on a trial basis and has chosen Darlington as one of a number of outlets to offer this service.
“That causes me enormous concern.
“I would describe the parking bays at the store as being at a comfortable minimum, they are not designed to have work done on vehicles parked there.
“In fact, it already requires a certain amount of care even parking there as it is.
“It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to realise that, if there is damage done at some stage, the owner of the vehicle that is damaged is going to have to prove that the car was not damaged before they brought it in.
“There is a general disclaimer by Sainsbury’s that cars are parked there at the owners’ risk, nothing unusual there.
“I just feel there is a certainty that damage will follow, there must be thousands of cars coming into Sainsbury’s each month.
“I feel this venture ought not to be pursued.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “Many of our customers value the service provided by Car Park Valeting and we only ever work with reputable companies to deliver services in our stores.
“We’ll certainly take on board Mr Seymour’s feedback and we’ll share this with Car Park Valeting so it can provide the best possible service to its customers.”