DEAN DUNHAM: The dry cleaners shrank my sweater and then went out of business. How do I get a refund?
I took a jumper to the dry cleaners in Sunderland in March, but when I got it back it was shrunken.
I have pursued the company for a refund but have now found out that they have gone bankrupt.
JB, via email.
Dean Dunham responds: The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that services such as dry cleaning must be provided with reasonable care and skill, failing which the consumer will be entitled to redress; The service is normally provided again without charge, a refund or compensation for a loss.
Hanged to dry? A reader is requesting a refund for a damaged sweater from a dry cleaning company that went bankrupt.
In this case you would be entitled to compensation since your jersey has been damaged. This would not be for the amount it cost you to purchase the jersey, but rather for the value of the jersey in used condition.
By the way, you sometimes see signs at dry cleaners that say something like “we are not responsible for items left with us.”
This will never be binding and will therefore not act as a defense to a consumer claim.
Therefore, the law is clearly on your side and you are entitled to a refund and compensation.
However, since the company has gone bankrupt, a significant complication is added as you have no one to file your complaint against.
This leaves you with two potential options. If you paid with a debit or credit card, file a chargeback claim and ask your bank to refund your money on the basis that the dry cleaner violated the Consumer Rights Act and is now unable to remedy the situation.
Or find out who the administrator or liquidator of the company is and file a claim with him; Chances are you won’t get any money, but it’s always worth a try.
Can bailiffs break down my door for someone else’s debt?
I have violated the law by opening a letter delivered to my address in the name of someone who does not live on the property.
I’m glad I opened it because it said that unless I pay £1,185, a law enforcement officer can enter my property “by force” to take control of my assets.
I called the agency and they told me I had to prove who I was by sending a copy of my utility bill.
I particularly don’t want my data with law enforcement agents. Where I am? And what rights do I have if they break down my door?
BC, via email.
Dean Dunham responds: The Postal Services Act 2000 makes it illegal to open another person’s mail.
The law says: “A person commits an offense if, with intent to act to his or her detriment and without reasonable excuse, he or she opens a postal parcel which he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered.”
Therefore, you may not have broken the law if you suspected the letter was from a law enforcement officer, as this would have given you a “reasonable excuse” to investigate and protect your own interests.
If you did not have a reasonable excuse to open the letter, it would be a criminal offense resulting in a fine and a prison sentence of up to two years.
That’s why I always advise you to return letters you have received for someone else to the mailbox marked “unknown at this address, return to sender.”
An enforcement agent is not legally authorized to seize property from a home that is not owned by the debtor.
You must contact enforcement agents to notify them that the debtor does not live at your address, and you will need documentation to prove this, such as a lease, utility bills, and a passport or driver’s license.
- Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email email@example.com. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the responses given.