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The dry cleaners burnt down and we had a dress and suit in there - what are our rights?
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The dry cleaners burnt down and we had a dress and suit in there - what are our rights?

Ok heres the story. I have a suit and dress in at the dry cleaners which I was going to pick up on Wednesday. It burnt down on Tuesday and I need the suit for a wedding on the weekend (which my partner is going to be Best Man). So I just don't know what to do...I've called them, and they said they can't even get in there to get the suit, as the insurance company need to go first. What are our rights? According to the owners, If the suit isn't damaged, they can dry clean it again (to get rid of smoke and water) but it won't be available for the wedding on Saturday. If it is unrepairable will they cover the costs for a new dress and suit? Also, if I go buy a new suit on Friday for the wedding, will they reimburse us afterwards, because our original suit isn't available for us?. (I have a receipt, which states pick-up for Wednesday). Cheers to anyone who was bothered reading ALL this!! :-)

If either or both the dress and suit are unrepairable, their insurance should reimburse you for the value of those items (not the cost to replace, though). As for the wedding this weekend, there is nothing you can do to get reimbursed for the cost of a new dress and suit. Your plans are not their responsibility. They are only responsible for those item they have in their possession when the placed burned down.

Your rights are to have a nice warm suit and dress ;-)

If you buy a new suit, they do not have to reimburse you if they return your original suit. Ask them if they will pay for a suit rental if they don't return yours on time. They only have to return your suit (and it can be late), or pay for it.

They're really only obliged to reimburse you for the damaged suit - they won't be obliged to pay for a new suit for the wedding...but you should certainly bill them for it - you never know, they might cough up in the cause of good customer relations..

Ron Akia
As they are not allowed access to the building there is no chance that you will not get your suit to you prior to the wedding. I would suggest that you purchase a new one. As far as being reimbursed for the cost you can always file a claim and hope for the best. If your old suit was damaged in the fire you'll most likely receive payment for it's value through their insurance carrier. As it's a relatively small amount involved here it would most likely not be to your advantage to seek other legal actions. If you have to purchase a new suit and yours becomes available to you after the wedding you can try filing a claim as you had to purchase a new one due to yours not being available. Possibly you can use your small claims court for this if the claim is denied. It's worth a shot.

If you still have the claim check, they are liable and are probably insured to reimburse you for your loss. I would find out who there insurance agent is and go to them. Knowing insurance companies though, it will take awhile for payment. If they are not insured, I would take them to small claims court and sue for the clothing and all court costs.

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