In the case of dry cleaning disputes, the PDA will always attempt to assist in resolving the matter by contacting the member concerned. Unfortunately, as a professional body we are unable to become directly involved in what is a commercial contract between two parties. For the same reason we are unable to compel our members to settle any claims they do not agree with.
While it makes sense for any small business (including dry cleaners) to avoid having unhappy customers, there are unfortunately occasions when both parties are convinced that their points of view are correct, and that the only recourse is to go to litigation.
However in most cases before a Magistrate’s Court, District Court or Supreme Court, an attempt at mediation is a required part of the case management process before going to trial. Also, in the Magistrates Court in Western Australia, costs cannot be claimed without trying to negotiate with the other party first, and in all courts when costs are being awarded, the extent to which each party has tried to negotiate will be taken into consideration.
Accordingly, in the event that you feel you have been unable to achieve a satisfactory outcome, the PDA offers the following mediation process in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau of WA (Inc)
- Complete and submit the Mediation Request Application.
- We will contact the member concerned, obtain their point of view and attempt to bring the two parties to common ground.
- If this is unsuccessful and both parties agree, the dispute will be referred to the Citizens Advice Bureau mediation service.
- Each party will be contacted by the CAB for a pre-mediation assessment appointment, which will ultimately lead to a mediation session.
Although the whole process can take up to six weeks, it is completely free and is still a faster and less traumatic alternative than proceeding immediately to litigation. The CAB mediation team are experienced negotiators, and successful compromises are common.