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6 March 2013

Curtain cleaning dispute

Curtain cleaner taken to Disputes Tribunal.

Curtain cleaner taken to Disputes Tribunal.

A Wellington trader who advertises blind and curtain cleaning services took the best part of a year to compensate a couple for ruining their curtains. Sean Corrigan, who trades as Blinds Wellington, has featured in Consumer before as a result of complaints about his services.

In the latest saga, Sean has been ordered to pay $928 to Wellington couple Michael Pratt and Suzanne McQuoid after he ruined their curtains. It took nearly a year, two trips to the tribunal and a District Court hearing before they eventually got paid.

Last January, the couple arranged for Sean to clean some mould off the lining of their curtains. The Blinds Wellington website boasts a team of "highly trained professionals" and states: "We can remove even the toughest mould and will have your curtains back to you in near new condition."

Michael and Suzanne's curtains weren't even the same colour when they finally got them back: they looked as if they'd been bleached. Michael says Sean admitted he'd made a mistake and verbally agreed to put things right. But that never happened.

The couple say they made numerous calls to Sean in an effort to resolve the matter. "When we mentioned the Consumer Guarantees Act, he hung up," Michael says.

They eventually lodged a claim in the Disputes Tribunal for the $828 cost of replacing the curtains. At the first hearing in June, they came to an agreement with Sean that he would replace the curtains. But he reneged on the deal.

At a second hearing, Sean was ordered to pay the $828 plus another $100 as the referee accepted the couple may have difficulty getting the curtains re-made in the same fabric. But Sean didn't pay and they had to apply to the District Court for an order for examination, a legal process to determine the debtor's financial situation. Sean finally paid up after the examination hearing

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