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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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In 2008 I had bespoke curtains made to match furniture that

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In 2008 I had bespoke curtains made to match furniture that I had recovered in the same Sanderson Fabric by an Upholstery and Curtain company here in Elgin. Between Christmas 2012 and New Year 2013 I had my Lounge and Dining Room redecorated, and took the opportunity to have the curtains cleaned. In fact I had only one cleaned because there was some concern that the blackout lining would not clean. That was correct, the lining was ruined. I wrote a letter to the supplier of the bespoke curtains pointing out that as I had paid £541.00 for the curtains to be made plus the cost of the fabric £278.00, that I should be able to have them dried cleaned. I specifically informed him in my letter of the 2 January 2013 that I would not consider washing the curtains.

The supplier of my curtains came to see me on the 8 January 2013 to investigate my complaint, and said he would get back to me by Friday of that week or the following Monday the 14 January 2013.

During the afternoon of the 8 January 2013, a lady called Sonia (who it transpired was the wife of my supplier) telephoned to say that she had been in touch with the company who supplied the curtain lining and they informed her that the curtains could be dry cleaned. My response was that this was clearly not the case as had been proved by one ruined curtain.

I rang my supplier on the 14 January 2013 because he had not contacted me and he agreed to arrange for the curtains to be dry cleaned himself. I took the remaining curtains to him on the 16 January 2013 to enable him to carry this out. Before leaving his premises I again pointed out that I did not want these curtains washed. He said that hopefully I would have curtains hanging back in my home by the weekend, fingers crossed!

I telephoned him again on the 21 January 2013 and he said that I could collect my curtains on Friday 25 January 2013. I went to pick them up on this day as agreed, he was not there and had asked his colleague to collect them for him, and she informed me that he had had the curtains laundered!!!

I was very upset about this because I was concerned that they might have shrunk and it was against my specific wishes. I left them there and returned yet again on Monday to collect them saying that I was not prepared the cost of the laundering because this was carried out against my wishes for the concerns mentioned previously. He said that if I didn't pay for the laundering cost he would not allow me to have the curtains back.
I paid up, and have today rehung the curtains, only to find that they have in fact shrunk, exactly as I feared.

I have previously spoken with Citizens Advice Consumers Helpline and they have informed me about the 1982 Goods and Services Act.

I believe that my supplier has been wholly unprofessional and asked him why he had not had them dry cleaned as he was emphatic that they could be, and why he had had them laundered against my wishes, and why did he not take the word of his lining supplier as he is still emphatic that they can be dry cleaned. His response is that they have been cleaned!

Where do I go from here because I believe that these curtains need to be remade?
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So, in short, you had the curtains cleaned and the lining was damaged?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



I had one of five curtains cleaned and its lining was ruined. Contacted supplier of curtains to inform him of fact. He was exphatic that they could be dry cleaned and he agreed to get them dry cleaned for me. However, he had them laundered at a laundry, against my express wishes, and they have shrunk.


The curtain that was dry cleaned and ruined in the process is going to be relined.


Val Cooksley

Sorry, I've just realised you are in Scotland.

I have moved this to the right category for you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



What more information do you require?

Thank you for your question.

My English colleague has opted out and I will try to help you.

You have two lines of argument here.

1. Under the Sale of Goods Acts 1979 as amended your supplier has to supply goods of satisfactory quality. In the case of curtains that would imply that they could be cleaned in some way and that the materials used in the lining would not react to dry cleaning in the way that your curtain no 1 did. I assume that there was no flaw in the dry cleaning process. He will argue that sale of goods doesn't apply after 4 years. The answer to that is that there is no time limit for a claim until 5 years and it can be argued that that should be 5 years from the date you knew or ought to have known that there was a problem with the lining. Given that one get curtains cleaned rarely, I don't think this argument would succeed.

2. You have a claim for curtains 2-5 which have shrunk and this is a different head of claim. Whilst paragraph 1 would be a claim for breach of contract under sale of goods, the claim for 2-5 is for damages for negligence, in other words your specific instructions were to clean the curtains but not to launder them. As a result of his doing something he was told not to do he has damaged your property and you are entitled to seek damages.

The measure of your total loss is the cost of remaking the curtains and your forum for making a claim is the sheriff court.

Let me know if I can clarify anything for you.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thank you for your response to my question. If my forum is the sheriff court, does that mean the small claims court, and do I personally have to prepare documentation to take this to said court? If this is so, can I be assisted by say the Citizens Advice Bureaux?


Am I understanding that in point 1. Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 that in fact firstly I am within the 5 year limit, and that as the problem has only just arisen, 4 years and 3 months after supply of goods, that in fact I could still have another 5 years?


Your service has been excellent and I look forward to hearing the answer to the above.


Val Cooksley

Whether you are able to use the small claim court depends on the value of the claim.

You can ask the CAB to represent you or you can do so yourself. The forms are here:

Whether a sale of goods act claim is timeous rests on the facts and circumstances of each case and the sheriff has a wide discretion. I have given you what will be his argument and what your answer to that should be. If that argument is sustained then your understanding of the time limits are correct.

Note that you can use the small claim court for actions for £3000 and under, summary cause procedure for actions of £5000 and under and ordinary cause procedure for all actions above that limit.
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



The supplier of my curtains visited on Thursday Morning 31/01/13 he could see quite clearly that washing my curtains had damaged them, and he uplifted them saying he would contact me later that day. No contact yet received. However, if when he returns them, he has let the curtains down using the hem allowance, and or done something to the lining to reduce the puckering, I am still left with curtains that I cannot wash or dry clean, therefore the curtains have become completely unservicable. Does my recourse remain the same?

Yes it does remain the same and my initial answer stands. He can't fix the damage so he can't hope to avoid liability.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thank you for that. During the last month I have always been the one chasing what is happening with my curtains because he does not get back to me. I have decided to leave it with him to this time, the only problem with that is that I don't know what he is doing with my property. Do you think I should keep making the cotact or wait until he gets back to me? How much longer can you and I have these conversations?


Val Cooksley

I think you should give him 14 days notice that if he doesn't present you with a new set of curtains or the cost of replacing them that you will be taking matters further. Don't leave it for him to come back to you, keep the pressure on him.

You can continue this discussion with me.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thank you for the advice I will make contact again with him on Monday

4 February 2013, see what his response is and then give him the 14 days' notice.


Val Cooksley