Jacket ruined by fresh paint: who pays?

85 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi folks. My child rubbed up against/leaned against a freshly painted wall in the stairwell of the building we live in, with the result that his navy-blue winter coat is now covered in white paint. We took photos of it and then popped it right in the washing machine, hoping we might get some of it out before it dried. No such luck - it's covered in paint all down one side, including the back, sleeve, and hood. There was no painter there working, nor were there any signs posted to indicate that there was fresh paint (though investigation after the fact has shown that three of the four walls of the foyer and part of the stairwell had indeed been freshly painted. Only a faint paint smell, if any.). Had there been a sign, my husband would've certainly prevented my son from touching the walls, let alone leaning against them. My husband rang a couple of neighbor's bells and they came down to have a look -- no, they couldn't find any posted signs or other indications of the fresh paint, either. My question now is, who is responsible for the cost of replacing the jacket? Since my son cycles to and from Kindergarten, we had invested in a really warm down jacket. The full new price would've been 200 Euros, though we bought it on deep discount for about 50 at the end of season sales last winter. I doubt we have the receipt anywhere. Having just finished our Christmas shopping (and shipped gifts off, so we couldn't return them even if we wanted to), we're not in a position to replace that jacket with the same on our own dime. Meanwhile, it's cold and my son needs to wear a coat. (Technically speaking, yes, he can wear the coat with the paint on him - it will still keep him warm, but boy does it look stupid, and he is sensitive to that kind of thing such that he refuses to wear it. I don't blame him. Also, the jacket's stiff and crunchy where the paint is.)

 

We know the name of the Malermeister who did the painting (a call to the landlord confirmed this). Is he liable for the cost of replacing the coat, since he failed to put up signs? Or should we seek replacement/reimbursement for the coat from our Hausratversicherung? I'll make calls on Monday but am wondering where to start, not to mention still steaming from the whole thing. My son couldn't leave the house with the wet-paint jacket on since he'd have gotten it all over the tram and train he was headed for. That meant canceling the trip to a soccer match today for want of a coat he could wear, and thus the tickets he received as a birthday gift were forfeited as well. AAAAARRRgggg!

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Posted

You pay...

 

Chalk it upto another one of those "life" things...

 

Why should someone else pay?

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Posted

Call the Malermeister and see what he says. It might be covered under his Haftpflichtversicherung. Are you absolutely sure there wasn't a "frisch gestrichen" sign somewhere? I've heard that there only needs to be one - hung by the stairway or tacked to a bulletin board etc, to let them get out of any responsibility.

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Posted

Would be good to know what kind of paint it was. At least the Malermeister can tell you that. I wouldn't get my hopes up about being able to completely remove it, though.

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Posted

Thanks for replies, especially the sympathy for me being cheesed off. Sometimes it just helps to get an "I hear ya, sister! That sucks! How frustrating!". Yes, the damage is cosmetic, but it does limit the function of the coat in that the texture of the sleeve is now stiff (though the paint doesn't appear thick enough to crack or to pull/fall off in chunks). Similarly, a scratch to a car is only cosmetic but if I scratch my neighbor's car, s/he will expect me to pony up to have that fixed. And it will certainly limit how long the coat lasts - this is extra weight pulling on the fabric. No adult would wear a coat that had been cosmetically damaged to this extent, and I see no reason why the law would assume something different of a child who is old enough to be aware of and embarrassed by the same.

 

We and the neighbors checked: there is no bulletin board, no sign or notice anywhere on the building, front or back, in the foyer or stairwell, that there will be painting done on any particular date or ever. We received no notice in our mailboxes, nor anywhere else. As you say, I doubt the Malermeister is going to respond to/bother about the fact of the damage, but westvan you're right -- we should get him to tell us what it is that's on there. Joe, I'll give those products a try. It's a big surface that's covered in paint and I wouldn't want to damage the down filling in the process but worth a try!

 

In the meantime I've found the following, which leaves me a bit encouraged, though pursuing these things seems to be a huge time and energy suck if the first instance isn't at all responsive. My link

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Posted

All this fuss and meither for a 30€ or so Jacket..

 

Why not blame your Hubby?? he was the responsible adult!!

-19

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Posted

 

Fully understand your F'd off, but unless the Malermeister is happy to admit liability its unlikely to be worth pursuing I would think.

 

What you can do though is get down to DM markt or Rossmann and get some Dr Beckmann's stain removers (they have different types for different stains)- given that you have washed the coat already it may not work so well but its still worth a try might take a few goes but they do work well, I have used them on sports gear and shirts a lot (sweat, byro, blood, mud, grass etc).

 

http://www.dr-beckmann.de/

 

#firstworldproblems

 

But seriously, I also recently saw a bunch of different removers (depending on the culprit) available at DM. Everything -- various oils, chocolate, blood, ETC... I believe all under 10 euros.

 

And if removers that doesn't work, you might try asking a local dry cleaner's for an opinion on the matter.

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Posted

How can 3 of the 4 walls and part of the stairwell be freshly painted and you not notice?

Normally you can smell the stuff a mile off.

 

 

 

In the meantime I've found the following, which leaves me a bit encouraged, though pursuing these things seems to be a huge time and energy suck if the first instance isn't at all responsive. My link

 

That refers to a business premises and I should imagine the laws are different.

 

 

All this fuss and meither for a 30€ or so Jacket..

 

Why not blame your Hubby?? he was the responsible adult!!

 

€30 is a lot to some of us but yer agree with the rest of what you say.

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Posted

OP, I have no advice, but lots of sympathy. I'd be pretty angry if an almost new coat of mine were ruined by paint. I like to look nice, and I work hard for my money. To be doomed to wear a paint-covered coat for the rest of the season would absolutely kill my sexy. Not so different from your son, who doesn't want to loose his cool kid mojo. I don't blame him at all for not wanting to wear it. Good luck!

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Posted

 

Similarly, a scratch to a car is only cosmetic but if I scratch my neighbor's car, s/he will expect me to pony up to have that fixed.

How about a better analogy.

 

Your son rubbed against a wet wall, the wall didn't rub against him. If your neighbor scratched their car by rubbing against your property, I very much doubt they would expect you to pay.

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Posted

SmittyBoy, I see what you're saying but your version of the analogy doesn't hold. In walking into a building and up a narrow staircase it is within the understanding of normal use that a person touches the wall and/or handrails (so far as these exist) in order to mount the stairs. If these suddenly are able to inflict damage (or injury - is paint safe for children's skin? what if they then put their hand in/near their mouth or eyes?), it's different than if it's "property" which another person isn't normally expected to touch in the course of things. In the meantime we've found out that a neighbor's Kinderwagen has also got paint on its fabric. The painter moved it from the foyer to paint the wall, then put it back -- touching the freshly painted wall. Genius.

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Posted

germans love to insure everything. i will call the company and explain your case. good luck and happy saturday.

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Posted

Bear in mind that if there were signs or if you were pre-warned of the work (signs in the hallway or letter from the management company) and your son "damaged" the wet paint by scoring or scuffing it, then there may be a counter-claim against you. Being realistic, I can't see it likely, if you do shake the wasps nest...

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Posted

Good lord, buy a new jacket!

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