December 7 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
A long-running row over a ruined Armani suit was finally settled this week after the wife of a diamond dealer took her dry cleaner to court.
Katie Graff, of Spaniards Road, Hampstead, claimed she was “treated like an idiot” by Look New Dry Cleaners after the white two-piece, which she bought for Royal Ascot in June 2012, was damaged in the firm’s hands.
Mrs Graff, the wife of Graff Diamonds director Raymond Graff and sister-in-law to the firm’s billionaire founder Laurence Graff, took the £600 suit into the shop in West End Lane, West Hampstead, shortly after wearing it at the famous racing event.
She was horrified when it came back dark grey in colour.
Several failed attempts were made to re-clean the outfit, but the firm’s owner Ian Cohen would not pay out for its cost.
After a lengthy dispute that dragged on for 16 months, the matter ended up before a judge at the Central London County Court on Monday.
Mrs Graff told the hearing: “I bought it for Ascot, but I would have got a lot of other use out of it.
“When I returned to pick up the suit, it was wrapped in opaque plastic. It was only when I got home that I was horrified to find it was a dark grey – not my beautiful white suit.
“I was so incensed that they had not said they were sorry there had been an accident.
“I was treated like I was such an idiot, like I wasn’t going to notice.”
Mrs Graff said various attempts were made to re-clean the item, leaving the fabric looking “tired”.
“By then it looked like a dishcloth in my kitchen, all the life had gone out of it,” she said.
She sued the firm at the small claims court only after being told several times that a “cheque was in the post”.
Mr Cohen insisted the correct cleaning processes and chemicals were used, but District Judge Jackson said: “[Mr Cohen] has to accept that he can’t really tell whether someone on site did something wrong causing the damage to the suit.”
The company was found liable and Mrs Graff was awarded £600 compensation and £140 costs.
Mr Cohen said afterwards that it was a fair hearing and he would pay within 24 hours.