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Dry cleaning disaster

Published: 6:57PM Wednesday March 18, 2009

Dry cleaning disaster
Reporter:  Ruwani Perera

Paula Andrew got married in March 2008 in a wedding dress she got made by a local dressmaker for $2500.

Having spent that much money Paula was determined she wasn't going to wear her dream dress just the once, and entered the Whangarei Bride of the Year competition for another chance, five months on from her wedding, to wear the frock again.

So after the wedding vows were complete, Paula took her dress into local Kerikeri dry cleaners Kleen and Press. 

Paula says she had a two minute conversation with the dry cleaner and was told the dupion silk dress might lose a bit of its natural coating and be a bit softer.  She was also warned that any beadwork may be lost, but since Paula had no beading on the dress she wasn't worried and told them to go ahead with the cleaning.

Dupion silk is a fabric commonly used in evening gowns and wedding dresses.

But Paula didn't get another chance to go bridal because the dress came back from Kleen and Press shrunk, wrinkled and damaged.  The dress looked like it had been washed, not dry cleaned.  Experts have told Fair Go they believe the dress has been laundered.

The owner of Kleen and Press, Richard Williams, sent a letter to Paula in November 2008, saying they had outlined the possible risks involved in the cleaning process.
But they admitted that they too were "disappointed" with the cleaning result and enclosed a cheque for $175 refunding the total cost of the dry cleaning, but nothing to compensate for the damaging the dress.

Richard Williams wouldn't speak to Fair Go on camera but has now offered to pay $1950  in compensation for the dry cleaning disaster. Fair Go believes this is a fair settlement for a second hand dress.

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