18 MAY 1962, Page 30

Clean Linen

By LESLIE ADRIAN THINGS are looking up in di laundry business. I have r cently had personal experien of the improvement that b come about since the formatio of the Guild of Profession Launderers and Cleaners. Th Guild is made up of abo 25 per cent. of the launderers in this coon and mine happens to be a member. Like a nembers, it offers this guarantee: 'As a member )f the Guild of Professional Laundergs and gleaners, we accept full responsibility for every trticle entrusted to our care. We undertake to .e-process free of charge any article considered insatisfactory, and to compensate fairly in any :ase of loss or damage.' This is far and away he most open-handed guarantee I have ever been 3ffered and it looks as if memberl of the Guild Ire living up to it.

A few weeks ago 1 got a sheet back from my aundry (Royal Laundry, 131 Westbridge Road, ;W11) with a covering letter from the manager !xplaining that they had had to repair it after it `had broken down in its centre during the washing stage.' He hoped 1 would find the repair acceptable. I didn't. It seemed to me that the sheet might have been torn in the machine luring the washing stage and the repair was, on lie manager's own admission, not all that it might have been. I explained that the sheet was no more worn than five others bought at the same time, that it was not now likely to Last any length of time, that it was one of a pair (with pillow-slips) costing £9 18s. and that the shop at which I bought the set valued one sheet at £4. 1 asked if there was not a case for my being compensated for my loss.

Without delay I had a letter in reply, en- closing a cheque for £4, apologising for the `mishap which had broken up a set' and ex- plaining that, as a member of the new Guild, It is our policy to deal with matters of this nature in as fast and prompt a way as possible.'

If you don't know whether your laundry is a member of the Guild or not, •you can check at 17 Lancaster Gate, W2 (PADdington 2457). You can also make complaints at this address about service from members of the Guild. I doubt if you'll need to.

Some weeks ago I criticised Swan's travel agency for the size of their cancellation fee for one of their tours : over £17, in spite of the fact that their client had given six weeks' notice of his inability to join the tour, and that they had been able to resell the booking without difficulty. Mr. R. K. Swan, for the agency, agrees with me that this is a matter of opinion, but insists that it was a fair and realistic charge to cover the time, expense and administrative work in- volved—a matter in which, he says, he is surely in a better position to form an accurate opinion than I am. It is open. to Leslie Adrian, Mr. Swan writes, `to say that the charge of £17 is unrealistic, in which case perhaps he would be good enough to do so and give me his reasons.'

Certainly! The client on this occasion had no need to cancel the booking as early as he did. To my knowledge, his doctor advised him that there was quite a good chance that he would be well enough to go on the tour. But by making his decision to cancel so far in advance he en- abled the agency to secure another booking— as they admit. In such circumstances, it seems to me, it is only fair to relax the strict letter of the company's law on deposits, particularly as in this case he had not involved them in much 'time, expense and administrative work.'

Mr. Swan also feels that I implied his com- pany was guilty of 'enforcing rights to which the client's attention has not been fairly and properly drawn. This was certainly nbt my intention: on the contrary, Swan's documentation seems to me to be unusually com- prehensive. On reading it again, in fact, I have rather more sympathy with what normally I dis- like, an array of clauses and sub-clauses, for- midable to master but affording reasonable pro- tection when digested. No : in this case there is no question that the company were within their rights; but I still feel that they might have con- sidered an ex gratia relief.