All Prep Laundry uses extreme care in laundering and dry cleaning your clothing. Please read the following for information regarding lost or damaged items.
Missing or Lost Items
Clothing is rarely lost or misplaced. Usually, someone in the dorm/house has picked it up, or occasionally, it is put in the wrong dorm/house. Often times, items reported missing were never put in the laundry and turn up elsewhere. If you have an item you believe to be missing, please e-mail All Prep Laundry right away. First we will check delivery charts to see if there was an error during delivery. Then we will check the racks at our cleaning plant to see if it is hanging unclaimed. Our third course is to give the item a week to “turn up”. After these avenues are exhausted, we will come to some decision if restitution is necessary. When describing items, please give us as much information as possible; ticket number, description of item including color, manufacturer, size and distinguishing marks. This information will help us track your item faster.
Damage to Items and Responsibility
Broken buttons, imitation trim on coats peeling, suits shrinking, spots and colors fading are all complaints heard by dry cleaners. The damage has happened in the cleaning process, but the overwhelming majority of times the cause lies in the failure of a component of the item to be dry cleanable. In some other cases, the problem develops because of the circumstances of user. Please read all the information below to further understand who shoulders the responsibility.
1. The Law
Wearing apparel is covered by the Federal Trade Commission’s Care Label Rule. Garments sold in the United States must have a permanent, legible care label attached in a conspicuous place, and all parts of the garment must be able to withstand the recommended care procedure. Garment manufacturers and importers of foreign made garments are responsible for seeing that these labels are present and fro having a reasonable basis for the instructions given.
The label is intended to give both the consumer and the dry-cleaner guidance in how to care for the item properly. If a label says “dry-clean”, this should mean that all components including the outer shell, the lining, buttons, interfacing, any fusing material, sewing thread, and trim will be colorfast and will not discolor, melt, or be otherwise altered during cleaning. If any such problem occurs, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer who has not tested the component before labeling.
In the case of missing buttons, they may be made of a plastic such as polystyrene, which dissolves in dry-cleaning solvents. Due to the construction of some buttons and how they are sewn on the item, they may break in use and care.
A normal dry-cleaning process includes steam finishing. Dye used on some buttons bleed during dry-cleaning or steam finishing. The loss of color in buttons or decorative trim, or the transfer of color, is also a result of product failure.
One of the main reasons garments are brought to the dry-cleaner is for the removal of stains. Stain removal is a complex procedure that may require the use of a number of chemicals, many of which are water based. Water is a necessary aid for the removal of water-soluble stains such as fruit juices, mixed drinks and other beverages. But if the dye used on the fabric is water-soluble as well, dye loss and dye transfer may occur. The degree of stain removal is limited by the colorfastness of the dye. Sometimes, even with extreme care, dye transfer cannot be avoided.
Other manufacturing problems that arise during dry-cleaning are:
– Solvent soluble dyes that bleed or fade excessively during dry-cleaning.
– Sizing soluble in solvent or water.
– Shrinkage due to failure to pre-shrink fabric before garment construction.
– Loss or dulling of surface sheen due to decomposition of finish.
– Color loss or change in dyes sensitive to light or to atmospheric gases.
– Shrinkage or separation of fusible interfacing and bonded fabrics.
If the damage to the item during dry-cleaning is our responsibility and not due to pre-existing conditions or defects, we will settle the claim promptly and fairly using the Fair Claims Guide published by the International Fabricare Institute (IFI). If there is doubt about responsibility, the item can be sent to the IFI Garment Analysis Laboratory to determine the cause of the problem.
2. Problems Due to Manufacturing Defect
If the problem arises from manufacturing defect, you could take the article back to the retailer for an adjustment or refund. The retailer, in turn, must go back to the manufacturer. In some cases, the retailers may resist making an adjustment, even if it is a manufacturer’s defect. Ask the retailer for the name of the manufacturer, or obtain the RN number, which is usually found on the care label. Call the Federal Trade Commission at 202-236-3170 and ask for the manufacturer’s name. Send the item registered mail, return receipt with an explanation to them. If the problem stems from a condition of use, such as a particularly stubborn stain or the age or condition of the article, the customer usually has no recourse.
Many garment manufacturers do extensive testing of garments. This is certainly appreciated by consumers and dry-cleaners. Some articles are made with little or no testing, and even if the number is small, it causes considerable frustration to both consumers and dry-cleaners.
Information provided by:
The International Fabricare Institute
12251 Tech Road
Silver Springs, MD 20904