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Clothes trapped inside closed Jacksonville dry cleaning shop

9:15 AM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some of our viewers are steamed because an area dry cleaner is closed with their clothes still inside.
Some are sounding off saying they want their clothes back. They called the On Your Side team for help.

Sallie Norries is used to dry cleaning. She's used the same place near home in Mandarin since 1985.

"Cause I do not iron," she said "I've been very very pleased. The prices were good."

She went to the San Jose Boulevard store as usual but she says no one has been inside since September 20th. The thing is ... she's got clothes in there.

"All my husband's shirts. I have quite a bit of stuff there," she said.

She's not alone. On the side of the business are handwritten notes from customers. They read "when can we pick up our dry cleaning? you never seem to be here," "where are you?" and "help me get my cleaning." Even a note telling others to call the On Your Side team.

"If they would just post a note on the door and say 'We'll be here such and such a day for you to come by' or just make arrangements for us to be able to  get our belongings," Norries said.

There is a sign next door on the alterations side saying they'll be closed from September 21 until October 16, apologizing for the inconvenience.

"It gives me hope, you know. But I don't know."

On Your Side, First Coast News called the numbers listed of names matching the cleaners' owner and the shopping center owner. FCN also went to the home address of the shopping center owner, but did not reach anyone.

Since Sally's story could happen to anyone one of us patronizing a business, the On Your Side team did some digging. What are your rights if it happens to you ?

We asked to real estate litigation attorney Francis Boyer, who has no connection to the story, what your rights are. Unfortunately they are fairly limited. But here are some tips from Boyer:

1) Keep your receipt. It may determine your damages.

2) The longer your items are kept from you at a business, the stronger your claim.

3) If the place closes permanently, Boyer said you have the right to file a claim with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

These rights also apply to places like car dealerships, repair shops or towing companies.    

FCN tried to reach the owner, but could not. We did not name the owner, as the closure could be due to a reason such as a family emergency. The On Your Side team will keep you posted.     

First Coast News

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