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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am a seamstress and altered a bridal gown. It was delivered

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I am a seamstress and altered a bridal gown. It was delivered back to the client address on 18th December 2014 and I asked her to let me know if there was any problems. The client has called me today (21st february 2015) to say she has only just tried the dress on which is 3 weeks before her wedding to say she isnt happy with the hem alterations. I do not understand this and asked why she has only tried the dress on now. her boyfriend also spoke to me on the phone and threatened with legal action saying the call has been recorded and he will personally ruin my reputation if not sorted. Where do I stand? I have offered to visit tomorrow to see the dress and have asked my husband to come with me as I now feel very threatened. Kind regards Rachel
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Her boyfriend should run for the hills. If he proposes to marry somebody who can't sort her own sale of goods act disputes out without summons him to make unlawful threats then he will fare badly.
Are you asking if you have to visit?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I offered to visit tomorrow evening to see what the situation is but I now feel very threatened with what they have said to me. After over 2 months since I delivered the dress and after I asked her to contact me in thhe event of any query, what is the situation as it is only 3 weeks before the wedding and she has only just let me know?

Yes, I wouldn't even think of visiting. She has two months to try this on. If she left it until the 11th hour then that is down to her.
If the alterations are faulty then you are under a duty to put them right but you can only do what is humanely possible and of course you are not going over there to have her boyfriend who can't see that she is manipulating him shout the odds at you.
Just invite her to attend at your premises without her charming male companion on Monday morning. She has got three weeks to visit you. If she cannot be bothered to do so then that is not really your fault.
In terms of threats he made, I wouldn't worry particularly. The only legal action he can take is for the cost of alterations elsewhere. He is not going to claim 3 million for emotional distress for ruining the wedding.
If he does start to make untruthful complaints about you then sending him a solicitor's letter threatening to sue him for defamation which will make him wake up a bit.
In fairness, if the alterations are incorrect then they do have a right to demand that you put them right. However, that should be done by the party to the contract which is not her boyfriend and it is not really very mature to threaten fire and brimstone. I can't be bothered with women who get their partners to negotiate their disputes for them and, on the whole, the courts cannot either.
Just refuse to speak to him in future. He isn't the party to the contract. You can always quote the data protection act as a reason not to speak to him although the application is not really entirely correct here. Then she will have to sort her own disputes out which should take her outside of her comfort zone.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for that Jo that is really helpful. because I am now worried about the visit tiomorrow, in the event the husband to be is there or that either he or she continue to threaten me do I have a right to walk out and tell them their behaviour is unacceptable? Also, if I look at the dress and feel that either further alterations have been made not by myself do I also have the right to walk out suggesting they approach an alterative seamstress?

I certainly wouldn't put up with them and their childish tantrums. I wouldn't even visit if he was there given the way he has already behaved which is actually for his own good as well because she will only rile him up to commit offences and then he will be prosecuted while she escapes scott free.
The problem with taking your husband along though is that it exposes him to the risk of allegations.
If they have had further alterations made and they are faulty then that is their problem. You will need to prove that though. I don't know whether that is possible from your records.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Jo,

I have now offered to visit with only the bride and me present to simply have a look at the dress and discuss what action to take. I also offered free of charge to carry out anything to help her on the understanding there is no admission of guilt.

I offered 2 dates that I had and offered outside working hours to try and help. She has declined this offer and decided to book an appointment with another seamstress. I have told her as she declined my offer any incurring costs with another seamstress is their own responsibility as I offered to do this free of charge which she has declined. Am I correct? Kind Regards Rachel

Yes. You are.
She can't just refuse you the opportunity to put this right unless she is going to argue that there is no reason to believe that you are capable of putting this right.
Two separate appointments is reasonable.
She may sue of course. You will have a defence. Maybe there is a sale of goods act point and maybe not. Either way, she can't just have tantrums and refuse you the opportunity to put this right.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What is the possible sale of goods act that could be used?

I also ought to mention that she has emailed me stating that a lace hem was the agreed alteration. the dress has a satin hem not a lace one. She also said she paid £75 (which she did) for the split: £50 for the lace hem, £25 for the bustle loops. This was not the case and I have copy receipt and customer index card records to prove the agreed alterations was: £25 satin hem, £40 tulle layers and £10 for addition of bustle loops. She has clearly described a dress that appears not to be the same dress that was presented to me in my shop. Surely my records would stand up in a court to prove my innocence? Kind Regards Rachel

The allegation seems to be that it was not as agreed.
Your records would be helpful evidence.
She would only get the cost of alterations anyway even if she won so it is nothing to worry abut really
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What would be the likelihood of her winning a case that I feel she is falsely trying to get compensation for ?

something that 1. I am not guilty of and 2. A situation that hasnt occurred.

Kind Regards


It is impossible to say. If she raises a proper claim and the judge believes her then she will win. If not she will not. I can't predict how a court would find.
On the face of it you have a good defence.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The lady has now taken her dress into a local bridal shop this morning for their advice. What I am worried is that the dress could well have been tampered with by another person after I delivered it back to the client and the shop would be looking at something I havent done. Where do I stand if she tried to claim for the costs of the alternative seamstress work? I dont want to pay out just to keep her quiet only to find I shouldnt have done this because it could imply I am admitting responsibility. What do I do? Kind Regards Rachel

Yes, it could.
Then you would have to ask her to prove that it was not.
In fairness, the other seamstress is not likely to want to lie to get you in trouble or really even to come to court at all.
If she starts suing on that basis ask for the records of the other seamstress that should show what she found and what she did.