Want to get your­self out of tight spots? Try these

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - BUSINESS -

The crime: The spaghetti sauce did it in the din­ing room. The vic­tim: Your fa­vorite suit. And you need to wear it next week. You need a dry cleaner that will re­store your threads, on time, and with­out fleec­ing you. Bay Area Con­sumers’ Checkbook and Checkbook.org col­lected con­sumer rat­ings and com­pared prices at 241 dry clean­ers and found ma­jor dif­fer­ences in qual­ity rat­ings and price. The good news: You don’t have to pay more to get great re­sults.

Many of the dry clean­ers that Checkbook eval­u­ated were rated “su­pe­rior” over­all by 90 per­cent or more of their sur­veyed cus­tomers. On the other hand, some shops re­ceived such fa­vor­able rat­ings from fewer than 50 per­cent of their sur­veyed cus­tomers.

Some things to look out for when you use a dry cleaner:

 When you drop off gar­ments, clerks should care­fully ask about stains and note in­for­ma­tion you pro­vide.

 Staffers should pro­vide clear an­swers to ques­tions about whether a dif­fi­cult stain can be re­moved.

 Does the dry cleaner have an ef­fi­cient sys­tem for find­ing your gar­ments when you re­turn to pick them up?

Checkbook’s eval­u­a­tions also in­clude each shop’s rat­ing for price, which is cal­cu­lated based on prices quoted to its un­der­cover shop­pers who checked costs at each shop to clean 12 items.

Checkbook’s shop­pers found whop­ping shopto-shop price vari­a­tion. For ex­am­ple:

 The av­er­age price to dry clean a women’s cash­mere over­coat was $18.88, the high price was $83.00.

 To dry clean a men’s two-piece wool suit, the

Ed­i­tor’s note:

The Chron­i­cle is part­ner­ing with Bay Area Con­sumers’ Checkbook mag­a­zine and Checkbook.org, a non­profit con­sumer group with a mis­sion to help con­sumers get the best ser­vice and low­est prices. Checkbook is sup­ported by con­sumers and takes no money from the ser­vice providers it eval­u­ates. You can see Checkbook’s eval­u­a­tion of dry clean­ers, in­clud­ing price com­par­isons and ad­vice on how to clean items your­self, un­til Dec. 5, 2018 at https://www.checkbook.org/CHRON­I­CLE/ dryclean­ers. low price was $4.50, the high­est price was $37.50. To dry clean a women’s silk blouse, the range was from $2.95 to $35.

 To laun­der a men’s cot­ton dress shirt, the range was from $1.34 to $4.50.

Be­sides us­ing a shop with low prices, you can save money by clean­ing many gar­ments your­self.

For­tu­nately, Checkbook found no cor­re­la­tion be­tween price and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion with ser­vice qual­ity. Shops that charge low prices are just as likely to do great work as shops that charge high prices.

Be­sides us­ing a shop with low prices, you can save money by clean­ing many gar­ments your­self. If you learn a few tricks, you can do some of your dry clean­ing.

First, a tip: Most cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers are re­quired to list only one way to clean a gar­ment. If the tag reads “Dry clean only,” re­spect that as gospel. But if it says “Dry clean,” that’s the rec­om­mended clean­ing method, but you might be able to clean it your­self. Don’t try to wash ma­te­ri­als that spot or shrink in water. That in­cludes silk, ac­etate, vel­vet, taffeta and many wool items. On the other hand, you usu­ally can hand wash or ma­chine wash cash­mere, linen, cot­ton and polyester. If a gar­ment has a lin­ing or trim, pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to care in­struc­tions. While hand wash­ing a tweed ex­te­rior is prob­a­bly fine, it might not be safe for its ny­lon lin­ing.

When tak­ing in your clothes for clean­ing, check for stains and point them out to the clerk and pro­vide as much in­for­ma­tion about them as you can. The more the cleaner knows about what caused a stain, how long it’s been there, and what, if any­thing, you have used to treat it, the bet­ter the chances of re­mov­ing it. Also in­di­cate any hid­den spots — par­tic­u­larly sug­ary spills (soft drinks, white wine, fruit juice). When you pick up your clothes af­ter clean­ing and you dis­cover a prob­lem that you be­lieve the dry cleaner caused, ask to have the work re­done; a rep­utable shop will be happy to redo it for free. If the shop ad­mits an er­ror that re­sulted in per­ma­nent dam­age to your gar­ment, it should give you the price of the gar­ment and waive clean­ing charges.

Un­for­tu­nately, you can’t count on get­ting the re­place­ment cost for your fa­vorite jacket. Ac­cord­ing to the Fair Claims Guide pub­lished by the Dryclean­ing & Laun­dry In­sti­tute and widely used by dry clean­ers, cus­tomers and me­di­a­tors, a dry cleaner is obliged to cover the re­place­ment cost of the gar­ment only af­ter ad­just­ment for its con­di­tion and based on the un­used por­tion of its life ex­pectancy — for ex­am­ple, two years for a tie or three years for a women’s blouse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.