By Kurtis Ming

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento newlywed Jeanelle Loui says the dry cleaner ruined her wedding dress to the point it was unrepairable.

Loui says she went way over budget on the pricey gown but immediately fell in love with the $7000 designer wedding dress.

“I could just feel it, this was the dress,” she said. “This is what I dreamed of.”

Loui’s mom knew it was the dress too and bought it for her as a gift.

Husband-to-be Myron admits he was breathless when he saw her walk down the aisle.

“He was in tears, he was,” said Loui.

She wanted to preserve the dress so one day her daughter could wear it.

“You dream that your daughter is going to wear your wedding dress it’s like all those dreams are gone,” said Loui.

She says she brought it to a mom-and-pop dry cleaner in her neighborhood after the wedding. Loui says the owner of the cleaners told her they could accommodate the cleaning.

“‘I can take care of your dress, no problem,'” recalled Loui.

She says it took several calls and months to get the dress back.

Loui said when she got home she opened the bag to look at the dress, she says it was destroyed.

“The whole dress is cut to pieces,” she said.

The gown had several holes, including one in the veil. The lower part of the dress appeared to be burned and crinkled.

Loui showed us parts of the dress that had jagged edges where she believes someone cut the material to cover up more severe damages.

She said when she went to the cleaners to pick up the dress; they didn’t say a word about the damage.

“This is a gift from my mother that I was hoping to give my child one day and it’s ruined,” said Loui.

She said when she got ahold of the owner, they claimed a third party company did the job and offered to try and repair it.

Loui was not comfortable with that proposal, “At that point, I’m not ready to have her touch this dress anymore.”

The bridal shop where she bought it said the dress was “un-repairable” and it would end up costing more than the original gown.

So what are you owed if the cleaner destroys your clothes?

The Better Business Bureau says it depends on the item’s life expectancy; they refer to the textile industry’s clothing chart.

LINK: International Fair Claims Guide for Consumer Textiles Products

For example, a cotton shirt life expectancy is 3-years, wool pants 4-years and a casual dress 1-year.

Once you find the clothing item’s life expectancy in the chart, you’ll need to figure out how long you’ve had the article and the replacement cost; using that formula you’ll be entitled to that a prorated amount.

For a wedding dress, the textile industry says it’s substantially fulfilled its intended purpose after the wedding and the value drops in half.

Loui’s say her dress is invaluable and could never really be replaced.

“I would like to salvage what is left of it,” she said.

We repeatedly reached out to the mom and pop cleaners but never heard back.

Many dry cleaners have disclaimers on their receipts saying they can’t guarantee against damage to weak or tender fabrics. They also limit their liability to ten times the cost of the cleaning.

The Better Business Bureau says they have a relationship with the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute which can determine if a dry cleaner is to blame for the damage. If you suspect a dry cleaner ruined an item, file a complaint with the BBB and the California Cleaners Association. You can also take the cleaners to court.


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