Dry cleaners are a valuable service in most suburbs and towns across Australia. All clothing and most textile items sold in Australia must have a label attached detailing the care instructions for the garment.
These instructions should include:
- prohibited treatments and warnings;
- washing instructions;
- drying instructions;
- ironing instructions; and
- dry cleaning instructions.
What can I do to prevent a problem from occurring?
There are a few things that both you and dry cleaner can do to ensure that problems do not occur:
- make sure that cleaning is done in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
- If you insist that cleaning go against the advice of the dry cleaner, the dry cleaner should note on their docket the circumstances and recommendation and, you should acknowledge it.
- prior to dropping in the garment, all pockets should be checked to ensure that there are no foreign objects that may spoil the cleaning process
- the article should be fully examined by you and dry cleaner and any damages, cloth blemishes, fading, tears etc noted on the docket
- keep your dockets and dry cleaners should maintain good records in case a problem occurs in future.
What if my garment is damaged or lost?
If the dry cleaner has damaged your garment or article, subject to the above, they should compensate you for it. The compensation will be based on the age and condition of the article. If the pants are damaged from a set, the dry cleaner might need to replace the full set as a reasonable settlement.
Sometimes the items are lost or incorrectly given to the wrong person. If the item cannot be recovered, the dry cleaner will be responsible to reasonably compensate you on similar terms to the above.
When collecting garments the docket should be produced. If it is not, the dry cleaner should have a process in place in the business to 'sign out' the garment so that there is a record in the event of a future dispute.
There might be a manufacturing fault or failure of a component, for example incorrect stitching, faulty dyes, faulty or broken buttons etc, has caused the dry cleaning process to damage the garment, in which case the garment should be referred to the retailer or manufacturer for help.
If a dispute arises that can’t be fixed with the dry cleaner, contact the Dry Cleaning Institute (DIA) on 1300 134 511. The DIA handles consumer disputes for member companies, and will give advice to all callers. The DIA does not conduct any testing of garments, however will provide contact numbers for garment testing if necessary. If the dry cleaner is not a member of the Institute, or if you’re not happy with the response, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.