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Advice on dealing with tailor screw up

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I recently took a few suits to a well known tailor in nyc for some alterations and to have two pressed (specifically to improve the lapel roll) as I don't trust dry cleaners to do it correctly (yes, irony). I noticed when I got home that one of the suits (a brand new suit btw) was very shiny on the lapels (and even the texture changed). It's absolutely clear that they used too much heat, didn't put a protective cloth over it when pressing, or some other screw up or combination thereof.

I have not been going to this guy for very long and thus don't have much of a relationship with them. In fact, my main interaction so far has been around scheduling difficulties. It was not one of their suits either. But frankly speaking, they kind of ruined it. I can still wear it I guess, but yea they messed it up, and it is a new suit... and btw they charged me $40 to press two suits (just the lapels).

What should I do? I picked the suit up yesterday and just noticed it now when I pulled it out of the closet. They also have two very expensive suits with them now undergoing alterations.

Thanks for any advice
post #2 of 15

I'm not sure how much can be done if a suit is essentially ruined. Would've been best if you noticed it and inspected the clothes at the location as opposed to taking them home. Now anything could have happened.

If you don't trust the pressing, ask them not to press it. If you don't trust the tailoring, ask them to stop working.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Not Imparli. I dont know them and dont want anyone reading this thread and thinking it might be whoever they are.

I do not think a reasonable person could conclude "anything could have happened" when I picked the item up just a day ago. Its not like I accidentally ironed my suit wrong on the way home from picking it up from being pressed.

I *did* trust their pressing because it is something that any competent tailor will do without issue normally. They are well regarded and certainly would seem to be more trustworthy than a random dry cleaner.

This isn't a question of how can they unmelt the fabric, its a question of how do I deal with the screw up. Do I ask for compensation? How much should I argue for? They just destroyed something that cost me $950 that I got zero use out of. I'm sure this isn't the first time a tailor ruined something and had to fix the situation. I have asked other tailors to redo very simple and fixable things before and they have gotten very defensive and irrational, so I can only imagine how they might act if I point out they destroyed something completely. I need to be tactful, and frankly need advice on what I should be asking for and how.
post #4 of 15

There's a good number of New Yorkers on this forum, myself included. At some point (hopefully post resolution) divulging the name would be helpful to the rest of us who are looking for a good tailor. 

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Understood. My goal really is just to resolve it peacefully- I really don't want to blow anyone up- the whole reason I went there was due to forum recommendations anyway.

Does anyone have any advice on what I should be asking for and how?
post #6 of 15

Well I don't see how any tailor (no matter how reputable) would pay up the full value of the suit. But definitely explain the issue matter-of-factly, see what solution they offer you. If they're cooperative, they'd probably offer a multiple of the alterations cost (no more than 10x).


Assuming you no longer value a future relationship, some courses of actions you could pursue (off the top of my head):

1. Did you pay tailor with credit card? If so, initiate chargeback w/ credit card company. Your odds of at least recouping alteration cost are pretty good.

2. Threaten lawsuit. Take ample photographs of damage to accumulate the documentation supporting "tortious act." Get creative in calculating damages. If you play your cards right, and they are sufficiently scared of the hassles/cost of litigation, you could recover a huge chunk of that 1k.

3. Threat of bad reviews, online, BBB, consumer agencies, etc. Not very effective IMO.


Just some thoughts of what I might do if I were really pissed off that someone took $1k from me. Getting back the money lost through tailor incompetence (believing your version of events, of course) will take some work, so look into how badly you want it.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yea, I would rather not go nuclear. Unfortunately, in this case, the "alteration" was pressing which cost $40. And this can't be fixed as its melted. I don't think a refund (or chargeback) of the $40 is acceptable.

What is reasonable to expect from them? I'm afraid I tell them matter of factly and they ask me what I want and I don't know. I'm also worried they offer $100 gift card and I have to threaten something which I most definitely don't want to do. What would you guys ask for?
post #8 of 15

Without knowing the establisment in question, it's hard to say. It seems you dont want to upset the tailor, so I'd be skeptical you'll get anything.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
yes, for the avoidance of doubt, if I am offered nothing, I will in fact go nuclear. I do not want to start off threatening. i think that is reasonable.

what should I be asking for is the question
post #10 of 15

OK, definitely ask for the full cost of the suit (or a replacement suit of equal quality and fit). You got to set the ask high enough so you have some wiggle room. I would

1. Take pictures as early as possible, so you have back up in case of dispute later on

2. Go to him with the suit (hopefully in its original cover) and receipts (for the pressing, and the original suit purchase receipt) and explain the situation courteously. Something like "I took this suit to you on X date, picked it up, and noticed this certain issue here. Unfortunately this issue is very serious, renders suit unwearable etc." At this point I would expect him to push back vigorously. If you want to get anything out of him you'd obviouslu have to stand your ground.


To be honest I don't see a future relationship with said tailor after something like this happens, assuming the business is like a mom-and-pop store setup. I've had experiences, and learned of others' experiences, of going to a highly-recommended tailor, maybe even a period of top-notch work, then a screw up happens, tailor gets hostile and defensive, relationship gets ruined. So I think it's likely he'll get pissed, and you'd have to push hard to get the compensation you think you deserve.


just my $.02

post #11 of 15
Is it fused lapels? Padded?

It might be possible to remove the scorch with a damp rag and iron.

Salts of lemon mixed into a paste and rubbing thoroughly and briskly for a few minutes into the scorched area and exposed to the sun for an hour. Rinse with plenty of water and allow to dry. Repeat if necessary.

Salts of lemon- read about it. But, never done it. And, does it work with fuse?
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the advice.

It's fully canvassed and wool. It's not burnt, just slightly melted- so shiny. Looks like someone spilled oil on it
post #13 of 15
just overpressed.
i am assuming it has some shine?

wool is a very resilient fiber.
take it back.
explain in a calm manner what you see, and give the tailor the opportunity to try to fix it.

Contact the dry cleaners association to see if they have experience in correcting this problem,
i have dealt with them in the past.
they are quite knowledgeable on all sorts of cleaning issues.
post #14 of 15
Shirtmaven gives the best advice here. Personally, I'd take the suit to the best cleaner I could find (searching the Forum will give you clues) and ask for help. My usual miracle-worker cleaner in Philly is Gem Cleaners. I am sure that NYC has experts, too.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
I didn't know it could be fixed (although I'm not optimistic on that). Maybe that can create a satisfactory solution...

Anyway, I called SUPER calmly and the sales guy expressed disbelief stating "I saw him press it myself" as if that makes a difference- as if I'm suggesting he took a flamethrower to it instead of just keeping the heat on a little too long. Anyway, he told me to bring it in. Maybe as you say they can somehow fix it.
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