If your clothes have been lost or damaged by a dry cleaner

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

Dry cleaners are legally required to take ‘reasonable’ care of anything left with them. You can claim compensation if your belongings are damaged or lost while in their care.

Even if the dry cleaning company has a sign or notice saying they aren’t responsible for items left with them, this isn’t necessarily true. They can’t opt out of this responsibility just by putting up a sign - it can be considered an ‘unfair term’, which means they’re still liable.

If you’ve had poor service

If you’re unhappy because the dry cleaner hasn’t cleaned your items properly, see our guidance on complaining about a service.

Make a complaint

As soon as you realise there’s a problem, contact them and explain the situation. They might offer you compensation straight away.

If they don’t, you should ask them to either:

  • cover the cost of repairing the item

  • pay to replace the item (if it can’t be repaired)

It might help to say that you’re aware that “traders have a responsibility of care under the Consumer Rights Act 2015”.

If they have to pay the cost of replacing the item, the maximum they’re obliged to offer you is the value of the belongings when they were left, not what they would cost to replace as new.

You’ll probably be asked to provide evidence of how much it originally cost - for example, a receipt. The dry cleaner can then offer you a reduced amount depending on the condition of the item - you’ll have to negotiate the cost with them.

If you make a complaint

If the dry cleaner is part of a national chain, you could get in touch with the customer services department of their head office and make the complaint to them directly.

If you’re unhappy with their response

If the dry cleaner refuses to compensate you or they offer you too little, find out the steps you need to take to solve your problem.

Get help

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also use an online form

If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact Consumerline.

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