No. 905 April Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order Entered on June 7, 1977 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. 3742 October, 1974.
Robert Rade Stone, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
James H. McConomy, Pittsburgh, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Jacobs, President Judge, and Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, Spaeth and Hester, JJ. Price, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
[ 257 Pa. Super. Page 75]
Appellant contends that  the lower court's verdict is against the weight of the evidence and  the lower court erred in its calculation of damages. We agree with the latter contention and, for the reasons which follow, remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
On September 19, 1974, appellees filed a complaint in trespass and assumpsit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas against appellant, a carpet cleaning establishment
[ 257 Pa. Super. Page 76]
in Pittsburgh. In the complaint, appellees averred that in March of 1974, they delivered certain household wool carpeting to appellant for cleaning. According to appellees, they entrusted the carpets to appellant in reliance on its oral representation that the cleaning process would not cause the carpets to shrink. When appellant returned the carpets after cleaning, appellees discovered that they had shrunk. Because the carpets no longer fit the room dimensions to which they were individually cut, appellees alleged that appellant had rendered their carpets useless. Appellees requested damages of $6500, the cost of new carpeting of equal quality and utility. On December 3, 1975, a panel of arbitrators awarded appellees $2839.29. Appellant filed an appeal to the court below, and on June 4, 1976, a non-jury trial commenced.
Appellee Peter Denby testified that the carpets in question covered the living room, dining room, and front hall. He and his wife, appellee Peggy Denby, had ordered the imported wool carpets in 1970 specially to fit the dimensions of the rooms. After appellant cleaned the carpets "all the rugs were [grossly deformed] except the front hall which was merely shrunk. The living room and dining room each had fireplaces, the rug was cut to fit the hearths. It came no where near the hearths when it was returned . . . . The living room rug was shrunk by as much as two feet lengthwise and all distorted, the corners were rounded rather than square, nothing fit at all."
After being notified of appellees' dissatisfaction, appellant took back the carpets in order to resize or stretch them to their original size. Appellee Peter Denby testified that "they still didn't fit. This time they had rows of nails -- nail holes down all the edges. In places the welting was bent way underneath. . . . [T]hey had sewed a piece of cloth along the edge of the rug when they cut it and it was all deformed. Still round corners where there should have been squares, still not fitting. And the rugs themselves have lost all resilience, the quality of the wool in springiness and feel. . . . It looks terrible and worse after the first stretching than had been when it was first returned."
[ 257 Pa. Super. Page 77]
Appellee Peggy Denby testified as follows:
"Q: Did you rely on that company to clean your carpet properly?
"A: Yes, and I told them it had never been cleaned before, I wanted it blocked, it was all wool imported from Belgium and I wanted it blocked. There was no discussion on the telephone about shrinkage. I didn't say shrink, I just said I wanted it blocked. They assured me it could be done. . . .
"Q: Did anyone from North Side tell you your carpet ...