Dirty Dry Cleaning Issue Aired In Court

Call for changes in law after company loses shirt and resident loses case

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The notion that the customer is always right is all well and good but what happens when the law sides with the company even though they admit they were in the wrong?

This is precisely what happened to one Chiswick resident who wrote to ChiswickW4.com to relay their experience with dry cleaning business Turn'em Clean.

Speaking about a company she had used for a number of years, she said, "In April I took four items there and when I went to collect them, one of them was missing. There were a few phone calls that had to be made to find out what had happened to my top, but eventually they admitted they had lost it.

"I was very disappointed and upset as they didn't offer any formal apology or compensation. I contacted the citizen's advice bureau and received advice on what to do. So I wrote a formal complaint and a reminder letter, hoping to solve this problem by doing so. However, I heard nothing from them so I took further legal action and made an application for a small claim.

"I was quite confident I would get something out of this as it was, in my opinion, a very simple case of "they have lost my garment and they have to replace it"- a breach of contract. I thought that the law should support me."

The case ended up with a hearing at West London County Court where Turn'em Clean claimed that at the time the items were left for cleaning they were not Turn'em Clean but were, in fact, "Green Turn'em Clean" and that they therefore were not liable for the loss of the garment.

Taking the view that the company had been at the same premises, had the same telephone number, shop signs and director, the woman was confident that because she had made her case against Turn'em Clean, as well as Green Turn'em clean, justice would be done.

"My document and statement were perfect, according to the district judge. He said that Green Turn'em owed me the full amount I was claiming for, plus the court fees, but that unfortunately, since Green Turn'em had been dissolved, the director of the business had no liabilities for my loss."

The judge asked the director of the company if he having a 'twinge of conscience' would be be prepared to give the plaintive any compensation to which he responded by offering a £50 credit note for Turn'em Clean. "I was bemused by the idea that he thought I would go back there!"

She continued, "The point I would like to make is that the law failed to protect a citizen, whilst a business exploited a loophole in the law. Businesses would not exist without their customers! I think that the law should be adjusted."

February 23, 2010