if you want a clean car on sundays, you have to wash it on saturdays. Photo: dpa//christin klose
the operator of a gas station in schorndorf-haubersbronn is said to have violated the ban on car washing on sundays and holidays. The police were unable to detect any violations during checks. Nevertheless, a fine is now imminent.
Schorndorf – ralph lindacher is angry. He and his wife run a car wash in schorndorf, Germany. As is the case everywhere in Baden-Wurttemberg, their car wash must remain closed on Sundays and public holidays. But not everyone adhered to this rule, the two say.
In the fall of 2018, ralph lindacher says, he first heard from a customer that cars were also being washed on Sundays at a service station in the haubersbronn district of the city. "as a result, i drove by there a couple of times on sundays and the washing facility was in operation each time," says lindacher. "i think it’s simply not fair when some people abide by the rules and others don’t."
The management denies everything
That’s why he and his wife called and wrote to the gas station operator to ask him to comply with the legal ban on washing cars on Sundays and public holidays – without success, as ralph lindacher says. "i also asked our joint umbrella organization BTG in minden what we could do, because we really wanted to sort this out without any authorities," he says. "but after the operator did not react, we informed the city in the summer of 2019."
Nevertheless, the washing facility and the self-service boxes at the Haubersbronn service station were still in operation on Sundays until recently, says Lindacher. In response to a telephone inquiry from our newspaper, the management of the service station explains that they "do not wash cars on Sundays".
No complaint received for a long time
Jorn rieg, the acting head of the safety and order department of the city of schorndorf, confirms that in the past the city was "repeatedly informed that the car wash in haubersbronn would be operated illegally on Sundays and holidays". According to the "public holiday law" in force in Baden-Wurttemberg, the "operation of automatic vehicle washing facilities" – i.e. washing bays, washing lines, portal washing facilities, but also the use of high-pressure cleaners on pre-wash bays – is prohibited on Sundays and public holidays.
However, no charges were filed against the service station operator in Haubersbronn for a long time. "we have nevertheless taken the information as an opportunity and informed the operator of the car wash for the last time in a letter dated september 2020 of the ban on operating a car wash on sundays and public holidays," says rieg. "likewise, employees conducted another on-site visit in november 2020, during which the employee of the operator’s company was also made aware of the legal requirements. We were assured several times by the operator that they would adhere to the regulations."
e-mail with evidence photo sent to the police
Also, no violations of the car wash ban were found during random checks in january 2021. Nevertheless, the "tipsters have also been made aware that they are welcome to contact the police enforcement service directly in the event of further violations outside the reach of the police authority," explains rieg. A corresponding notice had been issued on 7. February 2021 also received. But even on this day, the police had not been able to detect any violations of the Sunday washing ban during several checks.
"therefore, no administrative offence proceedings were initiated on the part of the police enforcement service", explains Jorn rieg. However, on the same day, a complaint was filed with the city "with e-mail and with a photo as evidence" against the operator of the car wash and the wash boxes. "this administrative offense will be brought to a conclusion with the issuance of a fine notice," says the head of department.
Fines of between 250 and 1000 euros threatened
In this case, there is no legally stipulated "regular fine". "it is up to the responsible fine authority to determine the amount of the fine at its own discretion," says rieg. "in the case of violations, the range we set is between 250 euros and up to 1000 euros."
It is not known to our newspaper whether the operator concerned intends to appeal against the fine notice. The management would only like to emphasize that no cars are washed there on Sundays. "at least since the announcement of 7. february," says ralph lindacher, "the car wash actually stopped operating on sundays."