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Who pays for bespoke if its wrong?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by esquire., Oct 29, 2004.

  1. esquire.

    esquire. Distinguished Member

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    I'm not sure what really happened between Spalla of London Lounge and Darren the Saville Tailor in the askandy forum, but it made me wonder, "Who ends up paying if the item is wrong, or even if the customer is unhappy with it?"

    It seems only fair that the customer would still have to pay for it, because the tailor has already spent so much time and money on fabrics to make it. I can't believe Darren would really mess up a suit that badly. So, what if he did do a good job, but still not what the customer wants ultimately?
     


  2. Alias

    Alias Distinguished Member

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    There probably isn't a hard-and-fast rule to cover all situations. I think it's more on a case-by-case basis. However, I will say that, unless the work is tremendously shoddy, the customer would probably foot the bill. Even Mr. Grayson laid down $4,000 for the "failure" he got from Mr. Logsdail.

    And about that argument you're referring to... I never listen to either side of the issue. Both sides think they're in the right and have been wronged, and it's not my place to arbitrate.
     


  3. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior Member

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  4. stache

    stache Senior Member

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    I have done my share of consignment sewing and I can tell you that the most problems I have encountered is when a client can not explain what they want. Then there are some people who seem to enjoy wasting time demanding changes that they did not initinally request. The latter are usually charged an additional fee. The former get some hand holding while the problem is solved.
     


  5. brescd01

    brescd01 Senior Member

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    I am not a lawyer, but I play one on TV....just kidding, my dad is a lawyer and he explained a lot of things to me over the years. A court would be very unlikely to find in favor of the client in the case of a dispute, because it would look at the receipt, which is a record of a sort of contract, and he would see the goods and exchange of cash, and see that the customer agreed to pay for a good, which was delivered. Courts tend to favor the small merchant (I mean over the customer). I think a customer only has recourse to the merchant's business sense.

    My extreme suspiciousness about what merchants will do in case of problems very frequently prevents my doing business in many stores, and whether the merchants there are making good decisions by making me suspicious, only their ledgers can tell.

    That boutique where I have done very well with the d'Avenza garments, the owner Sam is nice but I recently discussed a MTM DB jacket from d'Avenza with him before I went to Centofanti. My feeling that if there were problems, he would do absolutely nothing to satisfy me, pretty much sunk my ever ordering MTM from him. When the merchant says "We never have problems," that has to be the most lame re-assurance I can hear.

    By the way, in reference to what Stache wrote, I can only share my own experiences: Mrs Harris deliberately ignored me when I asked for MOP buttons, my first shirt was made with plastic, and she would not change them. Centofanti ignored at least three requests I made for my DB jacket, that the sleeves be curtained, that he copy the lining design of my previous coat, and that the pockets be slanted. I could tell he would freak out if I made more than a passing reference to the features he had omitted and I let it drop. If I had insisted, there would have been problems and I probably would have lost a tailor.
     


  6. MPS

    MPS Senior Member

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    I've had problems before at the tailors. I ordered a blazer from Sam's in a nice super 150s wool about 2 years ago. I wanted hacking pockets. It came back at the second fitting with straight pockets. The conversation went something like this:

    Me - "It fits well, but you got the pockets wrong"
    Sam - "That's how you ordered it"
    Me - "No it isn't. I wanted hacking pockets - like the ones on the tweed suit I ordered last time"
    Sam - "But I'd have to re-cut the entire front of the garment to fix it"
    Me - "If you'd written down what I'd asked for, we wouldn't have had this problem. You'd better re-cut it."
    Sam - "OK"

    I've also had problems with the cuffs on one shirt at Jantzen's. I pointed this out at collection. Ricky's sidekick said (in "Canto-English") "I remember what you'd asked for. Sorry the shirt maker got it wrong. We'll have it ready by tomorrow".
     


  7. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Distinguished Member

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    I like that.
     


  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    I don't know about you guys, but my tailor writes about 3 pages of instructions for each suit, and then gives me a copy. It wouldn't dawn on me for a second to pay for something that was "wrong".
     


  9. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    This is a situation that drives those in the industry to drink.

    If honest mistakes happen, and they do all the time. Then it is the responsibility of the Maker to correct the situation. If the Garment has some incorrect details but still fits correctly then sometimes an agrement betwen the seller and the customer can be worked out. Seller does not take a complete beating and the buyer gets something usable at a better cost. Hopefully both parties walk away somewhat satisfied.

    MPS Changing a set of cuffs on a shirt is a simple thing to do.
    Remaking an entire jacket is very costly. Would you have kept the jacket if he had offered you some sort of accomadation?

    MAybe in a court of law the seller might win. If you are paid by credit card then the customer is almost always right.

    My worst nightmare is when a new customer is used to wearing ill fitting garments and feel constricted by a shirt that fits well. This happened yesterday. Hopefully he will come back for a second order. This was after making him a second sample at my expense. At my prices I lose money doing this unless the customer turns out to be a regular client

    The other customer that drives me crazy is the one that picks apart minor stitching flaws. We are not talking about major errors, but start stop operations on a cuff that may be a tiny bit off. My answer is that your garment was made by a person who is not perfect. Not buy a soulless computerized sewing machine.

    It also drives me crazy when I find out a year later when I try to sell my custmer new shirts and find out that there was an order he was disatisfied with. Tell me at the time, that you are unhappy. This way I can correct the error.
    I have several customers who are restauranteurs. Most thrive on repeat business. They would rather know that day or even the next day that there was a problem with food or service, rather then never seeing you again.
     


  10. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I have had two experiences in which garments were simply unacceptable.  In the first, the tailor recut it.  He wasn't happy about it, but he knew that the issues couldn't be fixed any other way.  I still use that firm; everything has gone well ever since.

    In the second, I showed the the tailor the problems.  He apologized profusely and promised to recut.  Weeks later, I was presented with the exact same garment, marred by some disfiguring "fixes."  I pointed this out.  He responded with horror; he had not known; one of his outsource tailors had done the "fixes" without his knowledge; he woud correct the problem; he was so sorry.  Weeks later, I was presented, once again, with THE SAME garment, only more disfigured than before.  I politely asked for my deposit back.  There was an argument, but in the end I got my money back.  I have not used that firm since.

    I think there are really two categories here: 1) Garments that are merely "disappointing" for one reason or another; 2) Garments that are just wrong, either because of fit issues, or because instructions from the customer were not followed.

    Fit issues can by and large be corrected, if customer and tailor are patient enough.  Some garments that I have ordered have fit right from the beginning.  Others have taken any number of corrections.  I have not been shy about insisting (politely) that fit be corrected, and the tailors I have worked with have been obliging.

    Coats that are significantly too short or have some other inherent defect are another matter, as are garments that are simply not what the customer asked for.

    [As an aside: Dr. Bresch, I believe Centofanti did you a favor by not slanting the pockets on your DB jacket.  Those "hacking pockets" area sporting detail that don't quite look right on a sharp, city jacket like your DB.  Of course, he should have talked you out of them, rather than simply acting unilaterally.  I have been to stubborn tailors like this; one has to decide for oneself whether their skills outweigh their stubbornness.  In the case of Centofanti, I believe they do.]

    I don't have a lot sympathy for those who are simply "disappointed" by finished clothes, and who blame the tailor.  If there are recognizable fit issues, ask the tailor to correct them.  Give him a chance.  If you simply don't like a suit, but don't feel confident enough to bring it to the tailor with specific complaints, that's a pretty good sign that he didn't do anything wrong.

    I have even less sympathy for those who get angry at a tailor because they don't like his silhouette.  I think it's incumbent on us as consumers to figure out what we like and what we want BEFORE we order.  Even then, we may not always be entirely happy with the finished product.  I have ordered suits that, when finished, fit perfectly, but whose silhouette I did not entirely care for.  How is that the tailor's fault?
     


  11. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Senior Member

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    As someone unfamiliar with the custom experience, my first time around, I would appreciate being fitted by a tailor who was eager to educate me on the benefits of one fit over another... but ultimately I would hope that they would respect my judgement about what makes me feel most comfortable.  If I'm uncomfortable in the clothes I'm wearing, I'm not likely to return, regardless of whether anyone else is convinced that it is the 'proper' fit.
     


  12. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Distinguished Member

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    Not quite. Legally, you do not have to pay the full price if the suit is not what you contracted for. This would, of coure, be hard to prove. As the attorney, I would produce 1) the three pages of instructions that globetrotter mentions and show how certain conditions were not met and/or 2) expert witnesses to point out areas in which the suit is lacking in quality compared to what every bespoke suit must have. You would not pay, and the tailor would sue you for expectancy damages (seeking to recover the full contract price.) If the court found certain areas of the suit lacking, he would not win. Instead, he would recover based on your "unjust enrichement" - a benefit has been confered on you and you have not paid for it - so the court would make you pay to the extent that you have been enriched: say, $3,000 out of the full $4,000 contract price. Alternatively, if you paid in advance you also could recover based on your own expectation damages - i.e. you paid for a $4,000 suit and did not get one. You would win at trial. Your damages would be based on contract price minus value of goods received. In other words $4,000 minus the $3,000 value of the messed up suit, giving you damages of $1,000. In both cases, you end up paying the same for the suit, i.e. less than full contract price. You are not legally obliged to pay for something if it is not what you bargained for.
     


  13. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    I must say, as one who is admittedly not near the bespoke world at this point, all of this is a bit off-putting. For those without the excess cash to gamble on bespoke, expensive RTW at a discount seems like the much safer way to go.

    Is it any wonder that bespoke has been in decline?
     


  14. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    There is always some risk with bespoke, no doubt about it. The best "insurance" is to learn as much as you can about proper fit; learn what silhouette you like; research the tailors thoroughly; talk to your tailor at the outset and make clear your expectations; and then be patient through the fitting process. Even then, there are no guarantees. But done well, the finished garment will be something that is not achievable in RTW, in my opinion.
     


  15. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    Frankly, I think that part of the problem is "celebrity" tailors and shirtmakers. I have a pretty good shirtmaker and a pretty good tailor. My 3rd of each. My first tailor died, my second was pretty good, my 3rd much better. my first shirtmaker was pretty good, my second bad, my 3rd much better. none of the lot were famous. All recomended to me by people who I thought were in a position to know.

    I pay reasonable prices for what I get, and I think that they have done good work for me. I have a lot of control over the process, and I know what I want. I can't imagine my shirtmaker or tailor trying to change the cut of my pocket because he thought he knew best.

    I wouldn't be intimidated, as long as you are informed about what you want. but I wouldn't go to a tailor who thought he could buly you because he is a "Star".
     


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