NY1 For You: Dry Cleaning Customer Steamed Up Over Alleged Gender-Based Pricing
A Manhattan dry cleaner has one customer hot under the collar complaining of gender-based pricing. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.
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Meryl Stein says after years as a loyal customer, she now feels her dry cleaner, Terrace Valet on West 23rd Street, is taking her to the cleaners.
"They said, 'The owners made a business decision and we're going to charge you $6.50, which is what we charge for women's shirts,'" says Stein.
Initially, Terrace Valet was charging $2 to clean and press one of Stein's shirts. Stein says the increase is completely unfair, given that they still charge $2 to clean and press men's shirts that are pretty much the same as her own.
"My shirts, they don't have pleats, they don't have ruffles, they're just plain button-down shirts. Cotton or a cotton-polyester [blend] and some of them, if a man took them down there, they would think they were men's shirts," says Stein.
She contacted NY1 after she says the owner of Terrace Valet refused to return her calls to explain why the store increased the cost of pressing women's shirts and not men's.
NY1 called the National Cleaners Association and a spokeswoman says that New York City law prohibits gender-based pricing.
Stein, who happens to be a judge, says it is about more than just the money.
"It's the principle of the thing," she says.
NY1 called Terrace Valet and the owner said there has been a misunderstanding with Stein. He said the store only charge $6.50 for certain shirts because of detailing and claimed it has nothing to do with gender.
The owner also said he cannot do anything about the pricing because it is what his vendor charges him to hand-press. The owner told NY1 he will contact Stein to clear up the confusion.
NY1 For You will follow this story to see when everything gets ironed out.