This week’s Protect Yourself topic comes from Amy in San Diego, California. Amy’s favorite dress was ruined by her dry cleaner and she wants to know her legal options. Here is Amy’s question:
“I brought in my favorite dress to the dry cleaners, as I was in the wedding party for a good friend. When I picked it up there were stains that were not removable and it was impossible to wear. I had to buy another dress. What are my rights against the dry cleaner?” – Amy, San Diego
The bottom line is that the dry cleaner has the obligation to use reasonable prudence – meaning they should use “common sense” and “logic” when addressing your concern. As I often say, make sure you try and work it out between yourselves first. More often than not, a simple discussion can result in a resolution.
However, let’s be honest – common sense and logic often escapes people. So, if the dry cleaner is refusing to acknowledge and fix their error, you have other options.
While researching your delima, I found that there is a national trade organization in Maryland called the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute that can assist in this matter. For a cost of $36, you can send your dress to the DLI and they will run a series of tests to determine if your dress’ fabric is to blame.
If the test results show that the fabric of your dress is to blame, then your dry cleaner may not be at fault. Conversely, if the results show that the fabric can withstand proper dry cleaning, then your dry cleaner may be at fault. This is a good way to solve this problem once and for all. However, you should be prepared to accept blame if the test results favor your dry cleaner.
Often times, dry cleaners will cover the $36 cost.
Amy, before you run to the Drycleaning Laundry Institute or hire a lawyer, try talking with your dry cleaner and see if you guys can work it out. I would say that 9 times out of 10, two parties can generate a resolution if they just have the conversation.
Thank you for your question! Remember, if you have legal questions you want answered live on San Diego 6, please e-mail me at LawyerinBlueJeans@gmail.com.