Complaining about customer service

How to complain about a dry cleaners

all you need to know to make a complaint about dry cleaners text with pic of rail of clotheseDry cleaning and the law

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers again. If services are not undertaken with reasonable skill and care and your items get damaged or lost then you have the right to claim compensation. This can be the cost of replacing the damaged or lost item although there may be a reduction for wear and tear of the original item.


How to complain to a dry cleaner

Speak to the dry cleaner to get the matter resolved in the first instance. If this does not work, write, following Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

Membership of the Textile Services Association is available to Laundries, Dry Cleaners, Textile Renters and their suppliers. If the company you are using are members then it offers a conciliation service. You may be asked to prove your claim and on a loser pays basis use the association’s testing service. It also offers an arbitration service is the matter still cannot be resolved.

If the firm is not a member of the TSA, then you have the option of taking the matter through the Small Claims Court.

When a dry cleaner tries to shift the  blame

If the dry cleaner tries to blame the manufacturer saying that the item was incorrectly labelled you should put your complaint in writing. Follow the tips in the link above as you will need this claim in writing to take the matter further. Your contract when you bought the item was with the retailer not the manufacturer so you should write to the retailer outlining the issue and enclosing a photograph of the damage.

The retailer will probably want to undertake tests with the supplier or manufacturer. If the retailer finds that the label was incorrect you should claim from the retailer for a full refund of the item.

If the retailer denies responsibility you will need to take this evidence to the dry cleaner and state that it is responsible for not carrying out the service with reasonable skill and care. You have a choice if the dry cleaner is a member of the TSA of going through arbitration and/or threatening the Small Claims Court. (Link explains process and fees).

If you believe that the dry cleaner has deliberately tried to mislead you into thinking that the manufacturer was at fault then you could also say that they are in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. These Regulations prohibit traders from engaging in misleading or aggressive commercial practices that are unfair to consumers.

Dry cleaning complaint example

Earlier this year, I took a suit to a local dry cleaners and picked it up two days later. Luckily I noticed there and then that the mark on the jacket was still there. I complained and said it looked like the jacket hadn’t been done or at the very least the mark hadn’t Helen Dewdney stern face arms foldedcome out and I had expected it to do so. The owner was very apologetic and asked me to come back the next day. Apparently the jacket had not been done! I didn’t even need to complain and assert my legal rights and got the jacket cleaned for free. So either my reputation goes before me or my face must have said it all. Perhaps it was a good dry cleaners? Or at least had a good manager who had words with his son who only cleaned the trousers!

Another time I took in curtains to a different dry cleaners. Condensation had ruined the bottom of them. This did not come out. I complained and received a full refund. They did tell me that those sort of stains do not come out. So please let me know if you know different and you can get a mould stain out! Also, lesson here, check with the dry cleaner if they think the stain will come out before they waste their and your time.

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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

52 replies on “How to complain about a dry cleaners”

My husband took 2 black suits to be cleaned – one of his (a 3 piece) was on one hanger and one of our son in law’s (a 2 piece suit) was on another hanger. They were two different sizes and although they were same make (Jeff Banks) they were different suits (the lining was completely different).

He picked them up and gave the two piece suit to our son in law to take home (30 miles away) However when my husband came to put the suit on a couple of days later the discovered to his horror they had put his waistcoat with our son in law’s suit – as SiL is 6 ft 1in you can imagine the suit did not fit! Cue mad rush to find another suit in his wardrobe to wear to go out that evening and he was not a happy man!

No excuse for this carelessness.

I have recently took in my wedding dress to be dry cleaned, upon getting it returned I noticed a yellow stain on one part of the dress. I contact the dry cleaners as this looks like chemicals to me and the yellow stain was not about before until I collected it. I notified the dry cleaners and they saying its not chemicals, but yet still refuse to try and get the stain removed incase it is the ”chemicals”. I now have taken it to another professional cleaners who have looked and said it does look like a chemical stain and they will try and get this out for me. They told me that the original dry cleaners should have offered to rectify this for me and if not they should have returned my money. Can you advise please?

Hi.I took 2 jackets to drycleaners ,for drycleaning not washing(it is important to mention that)and after i took the items back my fiance’s javket was all ruined,the puffy interior was all in one place and ot at all in others.I tool it back they said it is thhe cleaning company’s fault,they said they fix it ut nothing has been done.The owner tried to “escape”the issue saying that it ia mot hia fault,that the label says this and that(30 degrees washing only!!!) that his daughter tooo my items and i dis not mention dry cleaning to washing(it was him who tok it in and hia daughter whi gave it to me) and I was told to call the cleaning company than the shop where i purchased the jacket than the producer of the jacket.The cleaning company person that answered the phone dis not let me say 1 word except why I am calling,mentioning that it costs herore to dey clean the jacket than the £5 i paid for,however that what he charged me.Bottom line 8 am left with no winter jacket for my fiance,I am £75 down(jacket’s price)and being taken for a fool,stupid and having received arogant and rude treatment.We have a 6 months old baby £75 extra means a lit of dipers and other baby stuff.I wanna make an iffucial complain and get my money back.Any advice?!

Little difficult to follow your post – please see all the links in the post, when you complain in writing please get someone to look over what you write for clarity and typos which will ensure that you are listened to. You mention dipers – this law only covers the UK.

Having left my dress in for dry cleaning, I later received a message stating there had been a fire on the premises and as of yet the haven’t come across the dress, this was two weeks ago. I got in contact with them and they are asking for a receipt as the dress is over a year old I cannot find it. Do I have any redress at all or is all lost. Many thanks in advance.

Any proof of purchase will do a bank statement for example. You might end up arguing about the amount but certainly they have to give you some thing as you have the receipt for them taking it in the first place.

My mum has just lost all of her bedding due to a fire and the cleaners are saying they are not responsible for replacing the items as they have not lost or damaged them and the fire was not their fault.

They should claim on their insurance. They are liable. Follow the advice and links in post, tips etc.

I have picked up my wedding dress this morning and being two years with no sleep with my toddler, I didn’t properly check it. Now at home I see it shrunk by big amount…i Paid cash and didn’t pick up a receipt… What can I do

I took a three week old £249 raincoat into my local dry cleaners to be cleaned and on collecting it, found it was ruined and mottled all over. The dry cleaner said it was a manufacturing defect of webbing inside the coat, causing delamination and refused to refund me for damage. I sent the coat to the seller/manufacturer who confirmed no other complaints had been received. Last week I took the coat to my new dry cleaners who cleaned and pressed it and it is nearly perfect again! I showed it to the original cleaners who continued to state it was still delaminated and would return to this state again in time. Stupidly I didn’t trust my instinct that it was overpressed or overheated by the cleaners and I bought the same coat again as I loved the first one so much. I am now out of pocket and I am extremely cross as I believe the dry cleaner should have refunded the cleaning charge at the very least as this was clearly due to their incompetence. They are an independent and not part of any TSA. What can I do?

Please see first link in the post above. Write to dry cleaners with all evidence threaten legal action. See Tips. You’re welcome.

My son took his school blazer to the drycleaning when it came back ,the colour was changed and also the texture.

I went to complain to them and they told me that it was not their fault but it was the factory who made the blazer, they told me that the factory used the cheaper material.
Said I must go to the shop where I purchased the blazer not them. So I left it at the drycleaning really not knowing what to do.
Please help.


Write to the manufacturer of the blazer – tell them issue, ask to provide details of the blazer take this to dry cleaners and follow advice in the post.

Hi. I drop my evening coat which I paid 245£ to a local dry cleaners and when I took it back I was shocked. I had the feeling that it’s a mistake and that isn’t my coat. The fabric was bubbled and wrinkled. I showed her to the lady and she said that is the manufacturer fault and the fabric. Therefore I went to the shop from where I bought it and they send it to London to Quality Department and they informed me that the mistake is from dry cleaners, and it hasn’t been any issues with this particular model, and they sold hundreds of and no complaints. Will someone please guide me with this matter coz I don’t now what to do and I feel frustrated and furious and no coat and -245 £ in my bank account.
Thank you

Use the evidence from shop where you bought it and follow advice in post above. Put your complaint in writing

Good evening! Regarding my 1st comment I have took the matter further and I have spoken with the manager from the dry cleaners who damaged my jacket. He’s response was ” the defect in your jacket was caused by poor manufacturing techniques and not by anything our processes would do” .
He proposed to send the garment to the Dry Cleaning Technology Institute for an independent testing who will cost me 168£ on top of 245£ the price paid for jacket. The truth is that I am feeling like I heat a wall and I don’t know what to do and when should I stop. I would very much appreciate guidance. Thank you.
Florin Sirbu

Please read the previous response and post above for what you should do. If you went to court you might need to get independent report or use evidence as I have already mentioned and then claim for it as part of your claim.

Good evening. I would like to say thank you Helen for your help regarding my REISS evening jacket. I did fallow your post and advice and I am writing and smiling at the same time relieved that I have covered my loss in full.
You are doing an amazing job, your advice is priceless when most of us have no idea about our right as consumers.
Florin Sirbu

Aw thank you. If this blog has helped please do share on social media etc the more people who know about their consumer rights the better and companies will have to stop fobbing people off! You can buy he book too of course 😉

My wife and I took her wedding dress to a local dry cleaner and asked if it can be dry cleaned as the bottom of the dress had gotten dirty. We were particularly concerned about how delicate the dress was, not to mention the sentimental value, as we had just gotten married 2 weeks ago.The lady said not to worry, she had lots of experience and that she would ‘do a good job’. We left the dry cleaners feeling confident that the dress was in good hands. She had said it would take up to 10 days.

Two days later, we received a text message from the dry cleaners asking us to come in to the shop. On arrival, she immediately said ‘Don’t panic, the dress is ruined.’ The lady witnessed the distress this had caused my wife and she reassured us not to worry, and that the cost of the dress would be reimbursed if we gave her the receipt. My wife stepped out of the shop in tears, to ring her mother and ask for the receipt. I followed her and let her sit in our car as she spoke to her mother. A few minutes later I stepped back in to the shop, and the lady retracted her offer to pay for the dress and said ‘I’ve changed my mind, you can take me to court.’ and asked me to leave the shop.

Please advise.

You can only follow advice above, write and then take her to the Small Claims Court

I paid my a very expensive dress to be dry cleaned unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances I could not get back to pick it up, went today and its gone what are my rights

Please read post above. Would depend on how long you took to go back and pick up and what their terms and conditions are and if you breached them by going over the period for collection. If terms and conditions say something like must return within a day or will be destroyed you could go for unfair contract terms. Legally it would depend on whether a judge believed that they kept it for a fair time or not. You’re welcome.

I took my bridesmaid dress to a local dry cleaners to see if he could take it in as it’s too big now, he suggested taking an inch off each shoulder. However now it don’t fit how it’s ment too and the wedding is at the end of the week now I look completlyebstuood in the dress he refuses to fix it what can I do I have an upset bride and I’m an annoyied bridesmaid!

I have took my a 3 piece suit to a dry cleaners in a plastic bag as it was in a bad condition after a wedding ! The guy at the till was serving another 2 customers so when he asked me how can he help me i said i have a 3 piece suit, he said ok, i did hand him the bag he checked it and give me the receipt without righting the make on mine and that was it ! I was thinking not to keep him to long because he had other customers !
On the collection day surprise, different suit, not mine, 3 piece as well but not mine, 3 sizes larger and different make, etc !
He claims that is the suit that i bringed in the first place wich in not true as that’s not mine and it’s impossible !
I did called the customer support and they are saying the same thing, that’s the suit that i did bringed and it’s the only 3 piece suit in their shop in a long time !
I do have the receipt from it and an extre pair of trousers and pictures with me wearing it !
They advised me to go to court ! If anyone can advise what to do please as i did weared it only once and now i have the second pair of trousers with no jacket !

Thanks, Cristian

Please see post above and links regarding what you should do. Also see tips and ask someone to check your email for good English 🙂

Very helpful, exactly on subject, it was actually about my English, you did figure that out very smart, good job you lovely “COW”

We took a duvet to a well known dry-cleaners and when we collected it just put it into the wardrobe as it was summer and we didn’t need to use it. When I got it out to put it in the duvet cover I thought that it wasn’t mine. The label was completely faded, there were mould marks on it and a small blood spot None of this was on my duvet and the label was legible. I have contacted the dry-cleaners and they say that the company they send duvets away to says that it is my duvet. That response was almost 2 weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing since. I am going in tomorrow again to pursue it. As I don’t have the receipt with the job number on, only the payment receipt where would I stand legally. I have now had to buy a new duvet as it is required due to the change of seasons and the dry-cleaners took back the one I was complaining about.

Please follow advice in post above. Without proof of purchase it will be more difficult and any court would wonder why it took you so long to notice so that will be difficult. If you can prove it is not yours then that is much easier. If not, it is the same as taking any item back to a shop without proof of postage, you’re welcome.

I left a back & cream evening dress into the dry cleaners and when i picked it up the cream have gone a dirty grey colour. The dry cleaners had said it’s not their fault as they cleaned it to the specification on the label to take it back to the shop, which was TKMaxx The retailers have said they can do anything about it as I don’t have the original receipt only a bank statement showing a card purchase at their store and it’s over a year ago. I had only wore the dress once before as its and evening dress. So I’m now left with a dress only fit for the bin, and I have had the luxury of paying £30 for the privilege to bin it as the dry cleaners won’t refund even the cost of cleaning it!!! Any guidance on this one please

Please see post about what to do. When you write ask someone to look over your email/letter for the English/typos etc.

Dear Madam,

I just browsed your website and found you are expert in handling the dry cleaner issues. I took a jacket to a dry cleaner for dry cleaning. At that time a woman examine the jacket she has doubt if it could be dry cleaned as some beads are fixed on it. She then took the jacket to a male dry cleaner master to check and come back to me that he is opined the jacket beads need not be removed and dry cleaning could be done. Two days later they called me telling the beads have come out and asked me go to collect it. It is a big shock that the jacket, as they said, has been ruined and totally lost. They then asked me to take it back to the shop I bought and did not apologise nor make any compensation straight away. They also said even I take this case to the court it is the same bacause they just followed the label saying it is for dry cleaning only. I bought it a few years ago in Hong Komg so cannot trace anything. I wrote a complaint letter claiming I am entitled to a compensation of my belonging is damaged while in their care under consumer right act 2015. They still ignore me and repeated to say I should take it to the place I bought (which cannot be traced) and they deny any responsibility. They repeated threatening that even the case is taken to court they have no liability. What further steps can I do? Write further letter claiming my rights under consumer protection from unfair trade regulation 2008? Does my case justify under this act? Kindly please advise my next steps? With million thanks.

Dear Madam

Thank you for your advice. But the point is I cannot take the jacket back to the shop aa it was bought in Hong Kong long time ago and I am living in UK. They are very unfriendly and rude. They said they have 50 years experience so even take it to the court is no use. What is the justice here!

Appreciate your advice. Thanks

You can only do what is advised above. Follow the tips And write to the CEO. Please get someone to help you write the email so it is in good English.

I am Drycleaner based in SW London with 20 years experience. I have a customer complaining that I have ruined his suit jacket by pinning the cleaning tag on the logo label of his jacket which is stitched on the inside under the pocket. Basically there are to pin holes which have not gone through the jacket but the label only. He is now threatening to complain to trading standards and is asking for a new suit. I have tried to help him but he is not prepared to listen. Has he any right to compensation.

The law is as above. If it is a label which doesn’t show I can’t see his point. If it shows then of course he does. If you can see or it devalues the jacket because it is a high value item perhaps some level of discount. A judge would look at what is reasonable. You’re welcome.

My drycleaner lost my suit trousers. I only put the trousers in for cleaning, the jacket I still have.
The trousers are designer and discontinued. The were hardly worn and bought several months ago.
I cannot get the same pair, I checked with the store.
I would like the value of a whole new comparible suit.
The drycleaner seems to think they just need to replace the trousers value (minus wear time)

How do I prove the trousers were hardly worn, as they were purchased some time ago.
I would have accepted the value of matching trousers, if they are available, but they aren’t.

Gosh that’s a hard one. Legally they do only have to fully refund the trousers. Proving wear time would obviously be hard – you could perhaps use the jacket to demonstrate. You could also argue consequential loss. Consequential loss now can’t wear the suit. Therefore cost of replacing suit. Minus wear time is a bit stupid if less than a year (in my opinion but may have to be tested in court in theory. Follow advice above, write, go for the absolute maximum cost of comparable suit (find one or two and give details) and see what gets offered. Following advice in post and this may get it upped from what has been offered so far. You’re welcome.

The dry cleaners have lost my short £105. They have told me to write a letter confirming the price etc.. and they will send it to their insurers and their insurers will contact me to pay me out. Are they just winding me up or does this feasible to you?


My daughter took her wedding dress to be dry cleaned. Received a phone call from cleaners to say when they checked it in the machine ‘it had gone blue’
On further investigation they discovered (in their words) blue foam bust inserts and said they would provide a letter and photograph and said it is a manufacturer issue which they did.
Wedding dress shop says it is ludicrous to suggest blue foam inserts would be put into an ivory dress. That would never happen.
She collected her dress (they refused to refund any money paid) and on checking the dry cleaning label to show me there was another warning label adjacent to it stating all belts, buckles, fur, BRA PADS etc to be removed before dry cleaning. This had not been done, they had clearly missed that label.
We have written formally to the cleaners including this evidence and they say my daughter accepted ‘owners risk for any damage that may be occurred during the cleaning process’ She did not sign anything. They also added the bra pads were not removable as they were encased in the bone structure of the dress’
On inspection the bra pads were not encased in the bone structure but under the dress lining and loosely attached with a thread.
We are both upset and do not know what to do next. They are an independent cleaners.
I would welcome your advice. Thank you.


My partner took three DKNY suits to our local dry cleaners and they have lost all three suits.
We still have the receipt of the Dry cleaners but not the receipt of the suits ( although they retail at over £300 each)

I have tried to go onto the Valets website to check their terms and conditions but they have taken their website down. They are a large chain and have about 12 shops in the surrounding areas.

He was in verbal contact with the Dry Cleaner MD who initially kept asking my other half for more time to find the suits. After two weeks, my other half got annoyed and went into the shop. The MD then told my partner that all further correspondence has to be by email. We have not heard from him since.

My Partner emailed and sent a letter saying that if they do not refund him or come up with a reasonable offer within 14 days then he will take them to the small claims court, we are nearly at day 12!

Do you think we have a leg to stand on?

Please read above. You will need evidence and should always complain in writing so it is easier to take the matter further should you need to do so.

You should also use the words “Please” and “Thank you” in your correspondence too as you’ll find they go a long way.

Hi Helen,
I wonder if you can help my wife and me?

We have quite an expensive sofa, and so deliberated on how to clean the four removable sofa cushions without them shrinking. The cleaning instructions say it can be washed or dry cleaned but would washing shrink them? So, to be on the safe side I took two of the sofa cushions into Waitrose (they use a national, well know dry cleaning chain) and explicitly asked for them to be dry cleaned. Upon collection, although not as clean as I would have expected, they had not shrunk and fitted back onto the cushion fine. Encouraged by this success, sort of, we then returned to Waitrose with the remaining two cushions, same helpful lady, and asked for DRY CLEANING.
The second lot of covers were duly collected and replaced back on the sofa, with huge difficulty, and yes you guessed it, they had shrunk!
Long story short. Waitrose keep trying to pass us on to the dry cleaning firm (who helpfully suggested they could try stretching them for us) and the dry clean company insist on their return so their ‘expert’ can see them. At this stage we don’t really trust them to not further damage our covers.

Additionally, I saw three different Waitrose staff, all saying different things – one admitting it was their responsibility and asked us to bring the covers in for them to check. I returned to Waitrose with one affected cover and its match that was the normal size so they could ascertain if shrinkage occurred – they decided it had. Still we were passed back to the dry cleaning company.

So, we think:
1. Our contract is with Waitrose and they should honour that and stop trying to insist we deal with the dry cleaners direct.
2. It seems obvious, to us anyway, the first two covers were dry cleaned and the second lot were washed – one of the Waitrose staff admitted this was likely.
3. As Waitrose staff have already determined that shrinkage took place, we don’t see why we should have to send all the covers off to the dry cleaners; how much of an ‘expert’ do you have to be to determine shrinkage?
4. Even though we specified dry cleaning on both occasions, on the second, communication between Waitrose and their cleaners obviously broke down. It is impossible for us to say whether it was Waitrose or the dry cleaning company – but surely that is for them to discuss between themselves.

Would you agree with the above? Are we right to think that Waitrose are responsible as our contract is with them? We were thinking of going to the Store General Manager with a formal letter of complaint.


Only have time to glance through (See Contact page) but your contract is always with whom you gave the money. Please read the post above and see the links within. Use the Tips for putting together your email of complaint.

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