For your further guidance we list some of the questions we are most frequently asked

Q. I have discussed my complaint with the cleaner/retailer but I am getting nowhere.
What should I do?

A. Having no doubt spent a considerable amount of time discussing the complaint with the cleaner/retailer you feel that you are not making progress and so it is at this point that you should take control of the situation by formalising the complaint in writing to whoever you feel is at fault (an example of an initial complaint letter is available on request via d.taylor.2012@btinternet.com ). The advantage of a letter is that the situation is clearly/formally explained and you can impose a deadline for a response (we suggest 10 days) after which you do not have to wait before proceeding to the next stage.

Q. If a report needs to be commissioned then why should I have to pay the fee and not the cleaner?

A. Customers commonly believe that as (in the customer's opinion) the cleaner is responsible for the fault then, if the cleaner wishes to argue the point, they should pay for a report, not the customer. It should be noted, however, that the onus for starting a claim and keeping it going until the matter is resolved is on the consumer i.e. the individual bringing the claim, bearing in mind that the claimant should be entitled to all costs back if the claim proves to be successful.

Q. Why is the Consumer Rights Act 2015 relevant to my complaint?

A. The act requires service providers to use reasonable skill and imposes a duty of care. When a provider such as a dry cleaner accepts an item for processing then the act applies and cannot be easily brushed aside by use of disclaimers/owner's risk.

Q. What does an analysis report include?

A. Reports are based on information received and detailed examination. The expert will examine the item and then compile a signed report which will :- State what has happened Detail the analysis process Give the expert's conclusion/opinion Assign responsibility for the fault Include examiner's comments explaining how the opinion was reached.

Q. What should I do with the report when I receive it?

A. If the report states that the cleaning company is at fault then send them a copy and ask for their comments. If the item is considered to be faulty then it should be returned to the retailer for their comments. At this stage the majority of disputes are resolved i.e. the responsible party compensates you for the loss and also reimburses the cost of the report.

Q. I will have to replace the item so why is compensation based on the amount paid when it was purchased rather than replacement cost i.e. the greater amount I will have to pay today?

A. This is based on what tends to happen at small claims hearings where judges typically take the view that the consumer has had so many years use out of an article and therefore its value has reduced. It should also be borne in mind that the purpose of the small claims procedure is to put you back in the financial position you were in prior to the complaint and therefore the amount paid for an item is relevant, rather than the greater cost you would have to pay now. This is also why you can seek to recover costs because the court recognises that bringing a claim will have a financial impact on the claimant through no fault of their own i.e. fee for a report/court fees etc.

Q. The cleaner cannot find my garment/curtain what should I do?

A. If your complaint concerns a lost item then DCAS does not handle such complaints as this is purely a trading issue between you and your dry cleaner. Generally speaking, however, if an item is lost then a period of two weeks is allowed in the hope that it has been given out to the wrong customer who eventually realises and returns the item back to the cleaner. If the item cannot be located at the end of the two week period, however, then you are entitled to compensation for the loss of your property. Compensation is based on the price you paid for the item, with an adjustment for age if it is over one year old.

Q. What types of fibres are suitable for analysis?

A. We will attempt to identify the fault on any article submitted. common fibres and faults