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Say no to (losing) the dress: A South Philly woman’s crusade against Wash Cycle Laundry

It’s been nearly a month since a laundry service in Philly lost a bag of South Philly resident Levana Layendecker’s clothes that included her wedding dress she’d worn just this past April. Since then, all she’s gotten is a check for $300 and accidentally CC’d on an email about her.

But no dress.

“I’m not interested in the money,” Layendecker, 41, told Billy Penn. “That’s not the point of this. I really want to do more to see if we can find it, because I think somebody has it and probably doesn’t realize it and would probably give it back.”

Layendecker’s monthlong ordeal started at the end of May with Wash Cycle Laundry, a new Center City-based service that sends cyclists to pick up your laundry, do the wash and the dry cleaning, and then bring it back to your home. Since that time, the service has told her they’re no longer looking for the dress and a blog post Layendecker wrote about it has been burning up Facebook.

For their part, Wash Cycle Laundry is apologizing for the error and calling it “an extreme minority case,” adding that an employee was fired over the loss of the dress.

“We understand there’s no amount of a check that would solve the sentimental value,” said Director of Marketing Leigh Goldenberg. “But what we can do is what’s under our terms, and unfortunately that is what it came to after the work we put in to try to find it.”

Here’s what went down:

Layendecker decided to try Wash Cycle Laundry just a few weeks after her wedding in April and her honeymoon. Having her dry cleaning picked up sounded appealing. So she used Wash Cycle for the first time on May 27, receiving a confirmation email that her bag of clothes would be returned May 29.

She got a call that day that they were “running late” and wouldn’t be able to deliver it until the next week. That’s when the company called again to tell her that her laundry was lost, and asked for the inventory of what was inside the bag so she could be reimbursed She told them it was filled with mostly professional work clothes.

Layendecker hung up the phone, and then was “horrified” when she realized she had also put her wedding dress in the bag. She called back.

“It was a casual dress,” she said. “But I was still very upset, and I really wanted them to find it. I was constantly following up, and they weren’t really actively following up with me.”

After two weeks of back-and-forth, the company told her that they would reimburse her $350 for her lost clothes, consistent with company policy. She asked to speak to a supervisor and hung up the phone, getting an email about 20 minutes later that seemed to be talking about her, instead of to her. It read:

“Leigh,

It seems like no matter what we do she will not be satisfied which is totally understandable but now she don’t want to speak to me anymore and is asking for my Supervisor.  My concern of course is social media.

Sandradean S. Barber
Customer Support Manager
Wash Cycle Laundry”

Days later, Layendecker received a long letter from the company explaining that employees had spent some 40 hours reviewing their routes and searching for the dress, to no avail. It said that in accordance with their terms, they would reimburse her. After that, she received a check for $300 — $50 less than what was originally agreed to.

Goldenberg from Wash Cycle said the company reimbursed Layendecker in accordance with their policies, which stipulate that if after six business days a lost item is not found, the company will reimburse up to 10 times the charge per article of clothing (for example, a maximum refund would be $20 for a laundered and pressed shirt or $50 for a skirt). But they do not offer reimbursements based on the worth of what’s in the bag.

“They really screwed up,” Layendecker said, “and they should have to look for the dress, and if they can’t make it right that way, there are a lot of things they could have done to try to win me back as a customer.”

Have the dress (it’s about knee-length) or know someone who does? Contact Levana here. 

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