Taken to the cleaners

This isn't quite Consumerist worthy, but still ...

Last weekend, I took my suit in to the local, neighbourhood dry cleaners for a regular cleaning - plus I had a stain on a silk tie, so I wanted to get that cleaned, too. I told the woman that the suit was just a normal cleaning, and pointed out the stain on the tie.

(Yes, the stain is still there. But I found that out later after writing the rest of this.)

My wife and I went to pick up the suit a few days later, and noticed that in addition to the $23 cleaning bill, I was charged $5 for "re-hemming."

I asked the clerk why I had been charged $5 for having my pant legs re-hemmed when I had made no mention of it when I took the suit in. (Not to mention, I was unaware that my pants needed re-hemming.)

She said very matter of factly that the suit must have been tagged for re-hemming because they don't do that unless there's a tag on it.

Yes, I explained, but I did not ask for my pants to be re-hemmed.

But they wouldn't have done it unless there was a tag on the suit, she said again, adding that I must have asked for it to be done.

But, I protested yet again, if I had asked for it to be done, why was it not on the claim slip I was presenting, which clearly read "one suit, one tie" and nothing about re-hemming. (There is even a spot on the claim slip for "tailoring" and it was blank.)

She repeated again that I must have asked for this or else it would not have been done.

At my wit's end, and with people waiting behind us in line, I paid the bill, including the extra $5 charge.

But I asked that the manager contact me to discuss this further, because I was unhappy about it. (And what I was unhappy about more than anything was the fact she didn't immediately apologize and remove the $5 from my bill. Instead, she implied I was trying to scam them out of $5.)

Two days later, no phone call from the manager.

So today, while I was at work, my wife went down to talk to the manager. The manager said she had phoned the employee who originally served me when I brought in my suit, and she remembered me asking if they re-hem pants.

My wife said that I had asked for no such thing.

The manager asked how would my wife know that, as she was not there when I dropped off my pants!

My wife then said that if I had asked for the re-hemming, why was it not on the claim slip as a requested service.

Oh, well, the manager said, sometimes those things fall between the cracks.


In the end, we got our $5 back. But we're never using that dry cleaner again.

Lest anyone think I'm making a federal case out of $5 - it's not the $5 that bothers me. It's the fact that in a "he said-she said" where the circumstantial evidence certainly favoured my version of events (i.e., nothing being written down on the claim slip about re-hemming), I found it astonishing that this company, for five measly dollars, would basically call me and my wife liars and cheats.

The proper response would have been an immediate apology from the clerk who processed my pick-up about the mix-up and my $5 removed from the bill.

Failing that, the next best response would have been the manager's prompt response apologizing for the mix-up and giving us the $5 back.
But stonewalling us over a $5 charge and calling us liars is ridiculously bad customer service.


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