Tips for good dry cleaning service

Consumers could be paying too much for dry cleaning, according to a new report by Chicago Consumers' Checkbook.

But Checkbook's executive editor Kevin Brasler said dry cleaning bills could be cut by simply comparison shopping.


-Checkbook found substantial differences in levels of customer satisfaction among area drycleaners. Of the 215 area shops Checkbook evaluated, some were rated "superior" for "doing service properly" by 90 percent or more of their surveyed customers, but others were rated "superior" by 50 percent or fewer of their surveyed customers.
-There are many top-rated shops that also charge low prices. So keeping your wardrobe in great shape doesn't have to put a big wrinkle in your budget.

-Size up the shop: Clerks should be attentive and able to answer questions about the feasibility of removing difficult stains; the shop should have an organized system of storing clothes for pick-up.
-Remove everything from pockets before dropping off clothes.
-Check for any stains, and give the clerk complete information about stains and spills, including what caused them, how long they have been there, and any attempts that have been made to remove them. Be sure the clerk notes the information you provide.
-Before leaving the shop, ask about the prices and check the ticket to be sure every item is listed. Don't lose the ticket.

-When picking up clothes, take a few minutes to check that they are fully cleaned, undamaged, and properly pressed (Checkbook often hears complaints about double creases from sloppy pressing).
-Address any concerns immediately.

-If you believe the dry cleaner is responsible for a problem, such as a missed stain or a new one, ask that the work be redone. A reputable shop will be happy to do it over at no cost.
-If the shop admits an error that resulted in permanent damage to a garment, the shop should pay for the garment and waive the cleaning charges.
-Unfortunately, customers can't assume they will be reimbursed for the full replacement cost of the item.
-The "Fair Claims Guide," published by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute and widely used by drycleaners, consumers, and mediators, says a drycleaner is obliged to pay the replacement cost of the garment only after adjustment for its condition, and based on the unused portion of its life expectancy.
-The guide includes life expectancy tables-two years for a tie, for example, and three years for a women's blouse.


Silk blouse - $2.49 to $12.95

Men's dress shirt - $1.15 to $4.77 (to launder, NOT dry clean)

Silk tie - $1 to $13

Wool dress - $2.49 to $26.05

Men's wool sweater - $1.99 to $15.75

Men's cotton slacks - $2.50 to $10.15

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