Audrey Harle, Table View
I employed the services of Dance Euphoria in Sunningdale to make me a garment to wear to my son’s wedding in Johannesburg on April 25.
I first contacted them on March 25 and they confirmed they could make the garment in time and originally asked me to come to them for measuring and “pattern making” on Saturday March 31.
On April 7, I met with Cynthia and her dressmaker Maggie. They took measurements and we discussed type of garment I wanted made.
They again confirmed they could make it in time and it would cost R1 400, with a R700 deposit, which I paid in cash immediately and got a receipt for.
At the fiitting on Wednesday afternoon April 18 I was amazed at the lack of progress. The material had been bought and the front sections of the jacket, the back and sleeves had been cut out. No sewing had been started.
There was no evidence that the top or the pants had been started.
Cynthia asked me to come the next day (April 19) when they would have something put together for me to fit on.
At the fitting there were several problems with the garment and they asked me to return on April 20 for a further fitting, which I did.
Still there were problems. Among other things, the seam between the legs was too high and very uncomfortable, the breast darts had not been completed and the shoulder straps, although now sewed on, were not in the correct position on the top.
They agreed to fix all the problems and have the garment ready on April 21 at which point I was to pay the final amount of R1 050 before taking delivery. Note the additional amount of R50.
I went to pick up the garment and paid the outstanding amount of R1050 in cash. No receipt was given.
On April 23, I WhatsApped Cynthia: “Hi Cynthia, I picked up the outfit and paid. Unfortunately I have had to come up with alternative plan as the top is totally out of proportion and has multiple problems so has the jacket and pants. I don’t have time for this and will see you on return as I find I have paid a lot for something I cannot even use.”
Cynthia replied: “That’s strange as we fitted it the day before and it was looking lovely. I am so sorry that we don’t have time to fix it before the wedding… but please come in and show us what the problem is so we can fix it.”
Second WhatsApp from Cynthia: “When is the Wedding?”
I replied: “Wednesday JHB.”
She replied: “Can you come in now?”
I replied: “I am in Johannesburg.”
To which she replied: “I am sorry, please come in, and we will fix anything you are unhappy about.”
After my return from Johannesburg, I returned the top only as I had to wear the other items. I pointed out the faults with the top to Maggie who said that is the way the sequence runs. Out of frustration, I asked her whether she knew how to sew and asked her to inform Cynthia that I wanted my money back and left.
On May 3, I received the following message from Cynthia: “I don’t believe that the outfit could have gone so wrong from final fitting to finishing it off. If you would like to bring everything and show us what is wrong we will fix whatever is bothering you.
However it is your choice. I am sorry that you were so unhappy with the outfit.”
Immediately after she sent the following WhatsApp: “I really feel offended that you treated Maggie so badly, shouting at her, and saying she can’t sew… I think you owe her an apology. You could not make the fittings that we asked you to come to, which pushed us to finish off the garment on the 11th hour. Even then, Maggie asked you to put it on to check that it was all correct, and you declined once again saying that you did not have time.”
She sent a third WhatsApp: “I saw the outfit on you at the final fitting, and it was lovely, as far as the lace being uneven, that is the pattern of the lace and is actually perfectly done.”
On May 5, I sent the following WhatsApp to Cynthia: “Please note I did not get my receipt for R1 050 and would like it.”
Cynthia replied: “Anytime.”
As you can see this was an entirely unsatisfactory experience, and I believe that I am being extremely fair in only demanding 50% of the cost back, as I had no option but to wear the rest of the outfit which was the pants and the jacket.
Response from Cynthia Bevan-Walker: Really, people can make things sound really bad. These garments looked lovely on Audrey at the last fitting that she did.
When she says that we cut the garment on her, she is correct — it’s part of doing the fitting.
We made the sleeve longer, and the lace was cut out and placed strategically around the bottom of the sleeve and the jacket. She does not seem to get this.
She also wore the top and the pants to the wedding, so they could not have been as bad as she is making it sound.
Please note, I don’t keep a diary of people’s events, only the dates we need to be completed.
As you see even in her letter, we would do anything to fix any problem she has. She just needs to show us. Surely one cannot expect a refund if the mistakes have not been seen?