How to hold a manufacturer liable for an incorrect label regarding how an item should be cleaned?

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How to hold a manufacturer liable for an incorrect label regarding how an item should be cleaned?

I recently purchased a dress that had a “dry-clean only” label on it. I took it to the drycleaners after I wore it and they ruined it. However, I rang the manufacturer and they said the dress should be spot-cleaned only. Therefore am I right in thinking that it is the fault of the manufacturer for not putting “spot-clean only” on the label instead? To my thinking, the drycleaners just did what they would do normally by using perchloroethylene. What is the best way to go about getting my dress replaced?

Asked on October 14, 2010 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should contact the manufacturer and request that the dress be replaced because the incorrect label resulted in drycleaning instead of spot cleaning.  If the manufacturer refuses to replace the dress, you could sue the manufacturer for negligence due to the incorrect label.  Your lawsuit should be filed in Small Claims Court.  Your damages ( the amount you are seeking to recover) would include the cost of replacing the dress and court costs.  Court costs include the court filing fee and process server fee.

As for the drycleaner, if a reasonable drycleaner should have known from the fabric or other material that the dress should have been spot-cleaned instead of dry-cleaned,  the drycleaner would also be liable for negligence and should be included as a defendant in your lawsuit against the manufacturer.  It may be difficult to establish the drycleaner's liability if a reasonable drycleaner could not have known from the fabric or other material that the dress should have been spot-cleaned instead of dry-cleaned.  If a reasonable drycleaner would have tested a small area of the dress for drycleaning before drycleaning the entire dress to determine that drycleaning would not damage the dress, then you would have a stronger argument supporting your negligence claim against the drycleaner.


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