Thursday, May 16, 2013

Living With Borrowed Furniture

I am not what you call pleased, but I'm not sure I have a lot to complain about either.

We bought comfy new furniture on March 23th. We had only been looking for something to replace our old set with for about two years.  My hubby likes high backs on the furniture, so he can rest his head against it. I just want to sit comfortably on something that is neither too hard, or so deep that I need a multitude of pillows behind me, just to keep from falling backwards.  We also knew the range of colours that would work in the existing space. If we had found something we loved that was some other colour, we would have given it some consideration. Two years is a long time to look, especially when the current set was starting to fall apart.

We happened to be going down a street in Ottawa that we had not been on in quite some time. I remembered there was a furniture store there that we had not tried yet, so we stopped in.  There was a 50% off sale going on and we quickly found just exactly what we were looking for.  With such fantastic luck, we decided to take all three pieces...the couch, the chair and the loveseat. The couch and loveseat each came with two accent pillows as well, at no extra charge.  The salesman tried valiantly to sell us some tables too, but everything they had was too big for our existing space, and the furniture we purchase was already larger than what we had at home.  We did sign up for the protective spray though, to help keep the new furniture clean.

The delivery was made a couple of weeks later, and I was told that we would have 3 days to look it over and report any problems to the store.  I mentioned that our new furniture had arrived on Facebook, and someone asked me what colour it was, etc.  I figured it might be easier to look it up online and show them a picture than to try to describe it.  I found the set easily on the store's website, and discovered that they had a further deal on than what we knew about.  The website indicated that if you purchased all three pieces of this set, you got a further $314 off the purchase price.  I showed that to my hubby, who then phoned the store and asked if this deal was only good if the purchase was made through the website.  He was told that it was also in effect at the store. So this discrepancy was brought to their attention, and we were told to bring in our credit card so they could make the refund.  That was, of course, going to require another trip to the city, but in the meantime, I discovered that there was some damage to report anyway. It appeared as if each piece of this furniture had been taken off the truck, set down on one corner and then pivoted. This scuffed up the fabric on those corners, and definitely weakened the material. While it didn't actually show, we feared that the weakened fabric would let go and the corners of each piece would just curl up.  When we went in for the refund, we were within that 3 day period, so we reported the damage.  There were a couple of other little issues with seams and such as well but it was the shipping damage that most concerned us.

The salesman told us that should never have happened and that we were entitled to new furniture. The customer service department, however, thought they would send us out an assessor first, before making any offers. 

I have been told, by my father while growing up, and others since, that I lack tact.  My hubby, on the other hand, works with the public, and is very good at calmly dealing with problems and often people bent on giving him a problem.  He can stay cool and deal with it.  I decided it would be best if he were at home when the assessor came.  He took the day off, and waited most of the day before finally phoning the store to find out where this guy was. Well, it seems the fellow also does the protective spraying and was off in a totally different direction on this day when he had an appointment to be here.  Hubby explained that he had taken the day off specifically for this purpose, and the customer care person quickly gave him a further $150 refund.  We waited until the next time we were in the city to present the credit card once again.  We also had to wait another two weeks before the fellow could make it out this way.

Well, he came, and quickly assessed that the damage was done moving the furniture off the truck.  We asked if they didn't have one with a hydraulic tailgate, so this sort of thing would not happen. He said it was too difficult to use trucks like that in many of the city situations, but that it was the job of the guys hired to move the furniture to do it safely and without damaging the goods. He took pictures and said that he would submit his report and we would hear back from the store.  That took about another week, and they made three offers from which we could choose. One of them was to replace the furniture. That's what we wanted.

Stock was checked and they had a couch and chair, but no loveseat. The set was being discontinued, but they said they would check their other stores and see if they could find us one.  They found one out west and had it shipped to Toronto. Once all three pieces were together, they would come to us.  Last week we still had not heard anything, so hubby phoned he store, and oh yes, they had them and would send them out "next Thursday"

I suggested to the delivery guys, when they arrived, that they could bring in one piece, and I'd check it to make sure it wasn't worse that what was here (my worst fear at this point), before they removed the damaged one.  They brought me in the couch and took out the original one.  They didn't even bother to bring in the other two pieces as they said they were both scuffed up even worse than what I had.  One guy scrawled this info on the delivery sheet, and had me sign it, and they drove off leaving me with the new couch and the two still "borrowed" pieces.

I call them borrowed because they aren't mine if I'm planning to send them back.  I've left the tags on, the past two months. We put blankets on them if the grandchildren visit, or if we have been doing something that may have added any dirt to our clothing. We don't eat in the livingroom and I didn't feel that I could even invite company for Easter this year.

The store has gone out of it's way to try to make us happy.  They have even apologized and thanked us for being so patient.  They said things like this are not supposed to happen, but sometimes they do.  Today's delivery guy will tell them that this furniture is also damaged and someone will call us.  I'm not sure what will happen next, especially since they had to hunt for that loveseat they didn't leave here with me.  It might mean a further discount if they figure it would cost too much to pay for more delivery guys and gas from the city. I'm not sure they will make anything off of this sale by the time we are through.

Whether the remaining furniture gets replaced or not, it all still has to be sprayed with the protection formula. I understand that will take a few days to dry properly before we can sit on it.  This adventure isn't over yet.  After two months, I still feel like I'm living with borrowed furniture. And, as I said at the beginning, I'm not what you can call pleased yet, but I don't feel that I can complain about the service.  They do seem to be trying.

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