By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) —  Soon after their fairy-tale wedding, Lisa and Robert Heal were horrified when they say Highland Cleaners in North Highlands returned her wedding dress yellow.

“It was devastating,” Robert said.

Lisa planned to let her daughter wear the same dress on her wedding day, but says the top part of the dress is no longer pure white. She thinks Highland Cleaners owes her the $1300 she says she paid for the dress, but the owner refuses.

The Better Business Bureau’s Gary Almond says even if the dry cleaners is to blame, they probably won’t get the full retail value back. Instead, the business only has to pay to cover the remaining life expectancy. An industry guide says the value of a wedding dress drops by at least half after the big day.

Almond says the BBB has a program set up with the International Textile Analysis Laboratory in Maryland which can analyze a garment and determine who was responsible for the damage. The cost is $36 plus shipping. You must first complain to the BBB.

In 2012, the lab found dry cleaners were to blame 15% of the time. The manufacturer was responsible 29% of the time for the dyes or finishes they used. Consumers were at fault 27% of the time usually for causing stains.

After we got involved, Lisa did have the lab test her dress. The International Textile Analysis report said, “the gown has been improperly washed in a procedure involving alkaline detergent and or an oxidizing-type bleach….the person that performed the washing must accept responsibility.” The report added that the dress cannot be restored.

We brought the findings to the owner of Highland Cleaners, Francis Kwon. He said he, “did nothing wrong and that the dress was brought in that color.”

The couple plans to take the dress and their new evidence as they sue Highland Cleaners in small claims court.

“I don’t know what to do with my dress now the sentimental value is gone,” Lisa said.

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