Wednesday, June 18, 2008

dry cleaning dilemma

I have a dilemma and I'm hoping you kind blog readers will help me figure out what to do.

My dry cleaner has lost one of my items. The item is my raincoat, which I bought about 7 years ago before a trip abroad with my husband. It was not the priciest at the time, but it was/is a nice coat in my favorite color, sky blue. I have no recollection for how much I paid for it. The coat is in very good, if not excellent, condition. I really only wear it when it rains, and really only in the spring. So it hasn't had that much use. Not like a regular, every day winter coat would, for example.

Here's my problem. The dry cleaner says they don't have it and they will most likely never find it. They want to compensate me for the loss. How do I come up with a fair price? There has to be a middle ground between the price of what the coat is worth now and how much it would cost for me to buy a new one.

I would very much appreciate your ideas. Thank you!
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lisagh said...

It might be a bit of work for you, but you could explain this situation to your dry cleaner and then bring them in 3 options for replacement coats, all with different price points. Let them pick which one they think is the most fair. Then they are slightly empowered and don't feel like you're ripping them off. Just make sure you'd be happy with whichever they pick.

Do they have a written policy on lost/stolen items?

Meg said...

that's an interesting idea, Lisagh. From what I understand, they don't have a written policy, but then again, the owner is out of town until the 23rd and his employee today just may not have known it.

five tomatoes said...

I'd ask for the replacement value of the coat today - if you wanted to go buy a comparable coat, what would it cost? That's what you should ask for since but for their losing your coat, you'd still have it!

homedaisy said...

i like lisagh's idea. my cleaner lost some pants and i was surprised how they just let me name my price with no questions. let us know what you buy to replace it :)

J said...

I think you should go for the replacement value of something you'd replace it with. It seems like they are willing to shell out for it so you might as well take advantage of it!

Libby said...

The general remedy for conversion of personal property is the fair market value of the property. Because the coat was seven years old in theory you should recover the value of a seven-year old coat. However, because the coat was so well cared for and hasn't had a lot of use it is essentially "like new". Therefore in this case it is reasonable that you should recover an amount equal to the full value of a new replacement coat.

(Boy I can't wait until the bar exam is over!)

Tres Poshe Preppy said...


This happened to me a few years ago and the DC was very gracious. They lost a much loved item of mine that was expensive (from Neiman Marcus) but since I got an employee discount on it and didn't really remember the $, they just said to go find something similar at NM/Saks or similar store and they would pay, I asked for a limit and they said just let us know what you find. I found a similar item for $250 and they paid. No questions asked. Maybe ask them if you can do some searching and see what you come up with and then see if they are willing to pay. For me, it wasn't the money as much as it was a retail wardrobe staple and I needed it. I was lucky to have found a very similar item.

Good luck!

hqm said...

I like Lisagh's idea! Seems the fariest way to go about it!

jilly said...

I like Lisagh's idea as well and it seems fair. I have not seen a lot of rain coats lately, so this time of year it may even be hard to find "the ONE". I also agree with what Libby said, but that 7 year depreciation also does not factor in sentimental value if you have taken it on a special trip or something.

My dry cleaner lost a button on one of my vintage coats this past winter. That was a tough one because the buttons are irreplaceable and I had to hunt new ones down. I did not look into options or realize how expensive they would be to replace and just took the coat while they comped the cleaning, I wish I wouldn't have done that, it cost me more to replace the buttons.

velvet brick said...

Wow, this is kind of a tough one. I agree with most about lisagh's suggestion being a good one. But make sure that you are looking at equally comparable coats. I am a loyal Target shopper, but let's be honest...a coat from Target is probably not of the same construction, material, workmanship and detail as one from Macy's. Having said that, once you are reimbused, you COULD go get a new coat at Target, and then find a matching umbrella, too, for the same price!!! hehe... Good luck and keep us all posted!

Misplaced Country Girl said...

I say $1,000.00 to include pain and suffering. It was sky blue and you wore it abroad with your husband. It can't be replaced. Definetly $1,000.00!

Merci-Notes said...

My vote goes to replacement value. I wish they could get the real mccoy back! I hope that with the internet you are able to find the new perfect, loyal sky blue raincoat for all of your new adventures both here and afar.

Rosemary said...

My daughter's cleaner lost her favorite pants, and they showed up 6 months later. Some guy had them by mistake, and finally returned them, if you can believe that.
Hope you came up with a price.
I would have just found one like it, and told them the price.

Chris@Cats On My Quilts said...

I don't think you should give your dry cleaner options. You're in the driver's seat-not the dry cleaner. Find a coat you love, buy it and bring it to show him with tags attached. If he refuses you could return it but my guess is he will say yes.

Karla said...

It is typically replacement cost - how much would it cost you to replace that exact coat, or one at least very similar?

Lisa said...

I came across your blog from another and had to leave a comment since this topic peaked my interest. I am a dry cleaner, that is of course when I am not scrapbooking, shopping or thrifting.
I am surprised to hear that your DC has even agreed to comp you because from experience that is rare. In our stores we always pay our claims and are one of the only cleaners in the area who will do so.
So, being that I am not the person in our store dealing with customers, I called my dh to ask what he usually does in the situation.
First he said he does anything to make his customer happy.
I mentioned to him the scenario of replacement value of the coat today. He said that he compares that to- if you buy car and a few yrs later, you wreck it the insurance co. is only going to pay you what the car was worth at the time of the wreck, they are not going to pay you for the value of a brand new car.

At any rate, like I said before, we always pay out whatever allows our customers to walk out our door happy and with a smile on their face.

Hope I gave a little insight to a dry cleaners thinking, lol

Meg said...


Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I appreciate your (and your husband's) perspective, I really do. What you have explained sounds fair to me. I still haven't made it in to the dry cleaner, but I'll be sure to write again how things work out.

Thanks again!