Enviro Charge Is Passing the Buck, Class Says

     CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A dry-cleaning chain conceals that it charges customers an environmental surcharge that the law does not require, a class claims in court.



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     Shatonya Green says American Cleaners and Laundry, which operates 26 dry cleaners in Missouri, does not disclose the surcharge on its coupons.
     The surcharge is not imposed for any service other than dry cleaning, according to the complaint in St. Louis County Circuit.
     Green claims tiny signs in the laundries disclose the 25-cent charge per garment, but even that is misleading for customers who bring in two- or three-piece suits. Though these customers pay one dry cleaning charge for the suit as a whole, they must pay the environmental surcharge for each garment, according to the complaint.
     “By using the term ‘Environmental Surcharge,’ defendant intends to convey the false and misleading impression that the ‘Surcharge’ is required by law or is otherwise an official charge for the protection of the environment,” the complaint states. “However, there is no requirement imposed by law that compels a customer of a dry cleaner to pay an ‘Environmental Surcharge,’ nominal or otherwise.”
     Green says the environmental surcharge represents profit for American Cleaners.
     The class consists of all customers who, within the statute of limitations, incurred an environmental surcharge while purchasing dry-cleaning services at American Cleaners stores in Missouri.
     They want American Cleaners to end the surcharge, and pay punitive damages for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and unjust enrichment. Attorney Richard Cornfeld of St. Louis represents the class.

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