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Consumer alert: Watch where you place a popular car air freshener

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Just prior to entering the wash tunnel, Shi McCray says an attendant handed her a square-shaped air freshener made by a company called Wonder Wafers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Just prior to entering the wash tunnel, Shi McCray says an attendant handed her a square-shaped air freshener made by a company called Wonder Wafers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The air freshener stayed on her dash until the next morning when McCray got back into her car. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The air freshener stayed on her dash until the next morning when McCray got back into her car. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The tiny air freshener caused a real big problem. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The tiny air freshener caused a real big problem. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Just before you hit the tunnel at a car wash, you might be handed a little piece of scented cardboard that makes the inside of your car smell good. But as a Prescott woman found out, you’re not supposed to put them on your dashboard.

"This is a Chevy HHR 2006. We do like to keep the car clean," Shi McCray said.

Like many of us, McCray uses her vehicle to run errands basically to get around.

And for this Prescott woman, driving around in the high country can get her car pretty dirty, so she tries to keep her car clean.

But on a recent trip to the car wash, something unexpected happened.

"I bought the least expensive one. It was my first time through," McCray said.

Just prior to entering the wash tunnel, McCray says an attendant handed her a square-shaped air freshener made by a company called Wonder Wafers.

"I hand the air fresheners to my son who was in the passenger seat next to me and I'm like, 'What do we do with these?' He goes, 'I don't know' so he tossed them up on the dashboard," McCray said.

The air freshener stayed on her dash until the next morning when McCray got back into her car.

And that's when she realized, that tiny air freshener caused a real big problem. Underneath the Wonder Wafer deodorizer, her dash bubbled up and started peeling. She shared with 3 On Your Side a picture when she saw it.

"Yeah it was quite a bubble, it was a shocking experience," McCray said.

Upset, McCray contacted the car wash but was told the dashboard damage wasn't their fault and even told her the Wonder Wafer has a warning indicating, "Do not place wafer on dashboards."

Brad Grantham manages the car wash and says he's heard other consumers complain about the problem

"Wonder Wafers, they're definitely designed for under the seat. A lot of people do mistakenly put them on their dash," Grantham said.

If you check out Wonder Wafers website, it clearly states their air fresheners are to be used under the car seat and basically nowhere else. There is also a promotional video on their website that shows the intended proper use of the wafer.

"As a first of its kind, under the seat, no liquid air freshener," the ad said.

"Nobody mentioned that we shouldn't put these on the dashboard and they go, 'Oh well, it's written on the wafer,'" McCray said.

After removing the wafer, McCray says the bubble on her dash did go back down, but as she was showing 3 On Your Side where the wafer was initially placed, the unexpected happened.

"Oh I ripped it, I made it worse," McCray said.

The area was so soft and sensitive, the dash tore just by touching it.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Wonder Wafers International to see if they've heard of similar consumer complaints.

They said they have, which is why they print, "Do not place wafer on dashboards." 

Regardless, the company says they felt bad for what happened and offered to repair McCray's dashboard free of charge.

McCray says she appreciates that, but she also wants other consumers to know the consequences of not reading the fine print on everything.

"The writing is small and if the people who hand them to you aren't going to tell you, hopefully we can," McCray said.

Wonder Wafers was great to work with and we appreciate company paying to fix that dashboard.

Also, the car wash even pitched in more than $60 in free car washes because of what happened to her dash which we think is pretty generous.  

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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