Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Help Me Howard: Dry Cleaners
Odds are you take some clothes to the dry cleaner. Now what would you do if some of your clothes were stained by the cleaner, or legally the question is, what do they have to do for you? It's why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Angela Kutanjac: "I bought a shirt that I was looking at for a year."
Not just any shirt, an $800 shirt to reward herself for graduating and getting a job she loves.
Angela Kutanjac: "I bought myself a Burberry shirt. White beautiful with pleats, with little cuffs. Elegant. Good for work. Good for out. Good for forever to wear forever."
It was a one time splurge. Remember, she is a recent college graduate.
Angela Kutanjac: "When you have student loans and bills to pay you don't get $800 shirt."
Then a few days ago, Angela had to take three shirts to be dry cleaned and came to pick them up.
Angela Kutanjac: "Two shirts out of three were stained completely."
One shirt had several yellow stains then she looked at her favorite Burberry shirt.
Angela Kutanjac: "Gray stained back, like you washed it with something black. I started crying."
Her $800 white shirt had gray stains. Needless to say she was not happy.
Angela Kutanjac: "Then I started asking what are we going to do? What are we going to do? Can you re-do this? Can you re-do this?, Can you re-do this?"
The dry cleaner tried to remove the stains from the shirt. Not once or twice, four times. But Angela was not satisfied.
Angela Kutanjac: "They were washing out the color that was on it, so yeah, they should have handled it differently."
Angela wanted the $800 shirt replaced.
Angela Kutanjac: "And I said 'These shirts cost me a lot of money you guys need to be responsible for something.'"
But an employee at the dry cleaner told her they didn't have to replace the shirts.
Angela Kutanjac: "By law were not responsible for anything. We are only responsible to pay you for 10 percent of what you paid us for our services."
10 percent of what they charged to clean the shirts, meaning they would only give angela $1.50 for the $800 shirt.
Angela Kutanjac: "Upset, angry. Oh, I was so pissed off because they didn't handle it the way they were suppose to handle it."
Well Howard, the dry cleaner damages your clothes do they have to replace them, repair them or do nothing?
Howard Finkelstein: "They are not responsible if the damage is not their fault. In other words, a poorly manufactured piece of clothing. But if they caused the damage, then they have to pay, not the original price, but what it was worth the day it was brought in."
Instead of talking to the employees at the dry cleaner, we contacted the owner who was willing to work this out.
He offered to try to fix the Burberry shirt again. Angela said no. Her shirt was nearly two years old and similar shirts are sold online for $150 dollars. That's what he offered Angela, she said no and decided to keep her shirt.
She did let him try again to fix another cheaper shirt that had stains and she told us she was happy the owner was trying to fix things.
Howard Finkelstein: "Its hard to protect yourself. I mean who keeps receipts for a year or takes a picture of the clothes before you bring them in. And thats why the law presumes its the fault of the dry cleaner when the clothes come back damaged unless they can prove otherwise."
Angela says she would rather have her damaged Burberry shirt than the $150 the dry cleaner offered because of what it means to her.
Angela Kutanjac: "They were special to me those shirts and really special both of them, and it cost me a lot of money and its not something I can afford everyday."
Patrick Fraser: "In this case, the receipt Angela got from the dry cleaner said they were only responsible for a small percentage of the cost of the shirt. Howard says a store can right that but it has to be clear, unambiguous and the customer has to agree to it, which of course most customers don't do. I mean who reads a receipt."
Feel like you have been taken to the cleaners? Pressed to find a solution? Contact us, we wont leave you high and dry and will try to help you wash your hands of the problems.