In May 2009 me, my wife and newly diagnosed autistic son moved to our new house in East Anglia. My wife decided it was a new start and we should by everything new. We had always had leather suites before and although not expensive we were always very happy with the way they cleaned up so we decided we would get a good leather suite.
We shopped around for a few weeks and decided to go with the Emperor suite from DFS 1x manual recliner 3 seat sofa 1x electric armchair recliner and 1x pouffe plus a couple of coffee tables it all came to £4050.00 in the sale so we knew we had a good quality leather suite but the colour we see my wife wasn’t keen on so the salesman showed us a swab of leather colours to choose from we choose a dark tan colour. The only downside seemed we had to wait 3 months for delivery, but we managed with the garden furniture.
Our furniture arrived in about 11 weeks the men came in and put it all together I thought it was a bit lighter than I had expected but it looked great and was very comfortable. As soon as my wife came in she said it’s the wrong colour its to light, but we discussed it and I didn’t want another 3 months on a garden chair and it really did look nice so we decided to keep it.
What we did notice after a while the gaps in the sofa didn’t match up, it came as 2 seats and they hook the end on well the end one had a quite a bigger gap so I called them and they promptly sent a an engineer out he pushed and tugged it and assured me it would come together with use as I worked away at the time it wasn’t used that much. Eventually after a while I changed jobs and was now at home more. The gap wasn’t getting any better so I got on to them again and they promptly sent out an engineer who took of the end bit tightened a few screws and put it back together it still had the gap once again he said it would work in with use. It never did and still hasn’t.
After a few years my wife one day phoned me at work and said the leather is peeling I was away for a month and said I would look when I got home thinking it was just the leather cracking a bit. When I got home I couldn’t believe it was starting to peel like a skin and not the cushions that you actually sit on but the back and the arm we were going on holiday the next day so when we got back I got on the phone to them again and explained what had happened and they said they would send someone out the next day I thought I had best give the furniture a wipe over so I used the new set of cloths we had purchased from them but to be honest they were not much good
so I used some Astonish leather cream that we had always used before on our suites and gave it the once over with that I used to do this about twice a year it came up lovely apart from the peeling. As usual they promptly sent out and engineer. As he walked through the door he see the dog locked in the conservatory and before he had even seen the suite he said it was the dog that caused it. Apart from the fact that the dog never was allowed on the furniture it would have to be super dog as the peeling was on the back arm of the sofa his whole manner told me he was not going to take any responsibility for it he felt it and growled you’ve put something on it what have you put on it so I showed him the leather cream and straight away without even looking at it he said that’s what’s caused it by this time I was fed up with his whole attitude and said ill phone the store which I did and the manager said he would speak to him and come out personally. Here are the photos I sent to them. As you can see these are not minor problems.
When the manager turned up a week later as arranged he looked at the sofa and said he agreed with his engineer he offered to have the arm repaired and also said we could have new arms put on but we would have to pay for it I said we had only just finished paying for the suite and he should take responsibility for the rubbish he had sold us he then said there was a test he could do that would turn the leather white if it had been cleaned with the wrong cleaner I said that’s what we want because I knew we had not and we were not responsible for the condition
I also said I was going to go to the ombudsman if nothing was done he just smiled and said they would come down on his side anyway, I felt as if I was being bullied by these people. The next day I phoned trading standards and they said I need to go through the furniture ombudsman and gave me their details. I contacted the ombudsman by email and was asked to email them the photos which I did. After a few days I was sent an email stating they had spoken the company DFS and was in agreement with them I could not believe it they had not even sent anyone to see it. They said that because my wife had said the leather care wipes were not used regally which is nonsense because I used to do it when I came home that that was the reason
but said if I paid £50 they would send an independent inspector down so I paid the £50 . Then one Sunday morning we got a call from the inspector saying would it be convenient to come around today because he was very busy owing to the fact there was only four of them in the country so we agreed a time. AS he came in he said that he was an expert and what he said would stand up in court. He also explained he would not discuss his findings with us that we would get a report in 10 days. He also told us before he started his TESTS how good DFS was and that he had recommended them to his niece we knew then this was not going our way it seemed every way we turned we were hitting a brick wall. Then came his TESTS which were just ridiculous he pulled a tissue from his briefcase licked it rubbed it on a part of the sofa that was not peeling and showed it to us as much to say nothings come of he then pulled a roll of low adhesive tape from his case and stuck it on a piece of the sofa that was not peeling and showed us none had come off.
He asked us what we had cleaned it with and we showed him the box of wipes and a bottle of Astonish leather cream. He then asked did we lay on the sofa I said we did and he mentioned that the arms were only meant to rest your arm on not your head. He said the gaps were ok because it came as 2 parts I said it did not look like that in the show room to which he did not reply. We could not believe what was happening we knew this was not going our way but just had to wait for his report.
I have highlighted the issues in the attached DFS report.
1. We never once complained about the colour to DFS as we had waited 3 months for the suite and was not prepared to wait another 3 months.
2. They did not feel like leather because they were not leather it is a plastic coating (polyurethane) to be precise. This was never mentioned when we bought it and has never been mentioned again either by DFS, the Ombudsman or the inspector we only found out after doing some research. If we had wanted a plastic finished suite we could have bought one at the fraction of the cost so it is my opinion that we were miss sold the furniture in the first place. Yes we used a leather cream that was not from DFS Astonish leather cleaner and restorer have since researched this and have been told that this would not cause our suite to peel.
Astonish Leather Upholstery Restorer 250ml
This leather cleaner from astonish has a unique formulation which gives superb results. It thoroughly cleans and restores it natural look by replacing nutrients and feeding the leather making it supple avoiding cracks and drying out. It has many uses such as cleaning, polishing protecting and restoring. Use on such items as leather sofas, handbags and briefcases.
And this is not a wax
Now my reaction to the ombudsman so called independent decision. Based on the consultant’s report.
1. It does looked distressed as do me and my wife after what DFS and the ombudsman have done to us working in coalition and leading people to believe your independent, and it does look as though it had heavy use.
Please define heavy use What you need to remember is at the time I was working away most of the time my wife works in Canary Wharf and leaves at 5.45 am and returns at about 8.30pm my son more or less lived in his bedroom. And yes I did lay on the sofa as do people in the DFS ads on T.V. As for the pouffe looking as though it had little use he is correct it does not but then when we bought the suite we was not told this suite will last more than a few years if you don’t use it much.
2. The suite was bought in 2008 but the first complaint was not received in 2011 it was received in 2008 they came out twice to fix the gaps in the sofa and just kept promising it will eventually come together well we have had it long enough for all the colour to peel off but obviously not long enough for the gaps to close up. This was 2008.
3. I have already explained why we did not complain about the colour but the consultant seems to have a lot to say about it he trying to make it look that all we do is complain but then he would because although it’s us that had to pay him he obviously works for either DFS or the ombudsman.
4. He then says it is likely on the balance of probabilities that the peeling was caused by acids in our sweat or hair products or abrasion or even leather cream please tell me what is this suite for it can’t be lay on it can’t be used on a regular basis you must not sweat near it the arms it appears shouldn’t have a head put on them or arms and elbows. He also states that I at first said I did not use the arm as a head rest but then said I did a complete pack of lies I never denied laying on the sofa because when purchased I was not told not to lay on it as they do in the adds.
5. The recliner mechanisms it was never the twin recliners it was only one side and apparently we should spray it with ED40 graphite grease well I am afraid I don’t have any of this and I haven’t read anywhere in the care leaflet about ED40 graphite grease.
6. The gaps between the sofas he does not think is excessive well I do I can get my hand down them both but it looks like we will have to disagree on that to.
Finally and more worrying is this report went before a board that agreed that furniture should not be laid on sweated on or used on a regular basis