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  1. Hi - perhaps someone could chime in on our complaint with Furniture Village, and advise what we should do next. They have been a nightmare to deal with so far. I'll try to keep this brief. Lured in by the New Year's TV ads & promotions, we bought a "Rossetti" leather suite from Furniture Village (FV) on 3/01/2010. It was delivered some 10 to 12 weeks later in April 2010. It cost just over £2600.00 My husband is employed full time, and I retired in August 2011. There are only two of us in the house. I sit in another room of the house during most of the day, so the suite only sees use in the evenings (3 to 5 hours max. use per night on most weekday nights). Over this short amount of time, the suite has severely degraded. In 3 and 1/2 years (we first made a formal complaint to FV about the products in September 2013), the stuffing material seats and lower-back area has completely flattened. It has gone from a plump, fully stuffed suite to deflated looking one. It is now possible to "pinch" the stuffing, at the affected area, between two fingers with ease - and the two layers of leather cover make contact with each other. The stuffing has either migrated (we have tried and tried to -"fluff up" the material to no avail) or has simply degraded. The appearance has become disappointing, but worse, it is so now uncomfortable my husband and I can only use it for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. We understand "comfort" is subjective, but is it normal to feel your body-weight being supported by a horizontal piece of wood, protruding right into your lower back? It's agony. You can't relax on it. Unsupportive and painful. So, our complaint was heard by FV and they sent an "independent furniture technician" to our house to inspect our furniture. The inspection consisted of him rolling the sofa/chairs over onto their front & checking the reference numbers printed on a label on the underside. He also brought a PDA/smartphone and took a few snaps of the saggy & deflated affected seat/back areas, which he highlighted with a paper arrow. As he carried this out, my son and I were chatting to him - and describing the problems in detail. He sat down and immediately confirmed our complaints, acknowledging the immediate discomfort & going to on say this was clearly a "design fault". He really liked the sound of his own voice, declaring he would "NEVER buy a sofa from one of these retailers" and only buys handmade furniture. He said we would be essentially seeking a "gesture of goodwill" from FV, and "thank God you didn't buy from DFS - because they're the worst!". He noted all of the findings on his little electronic PDA/smart-phone gizmo (which I didn't get to see) and, at the end, asked me to "Sign this to say I've been here" - which I did. Fast forward to today. I've exchanged several letters with FV, asking for a full or part refund, plus collection of the suite at their cost. They say: 1) The inspector found "no faults" with the suite, only "natural settlement over time" which is fair wear and tear. 2) Their 5 year guarantee does NOT cover stuffing problems with their furniture. 3) If we did take this to a small claims court (we said we would, in our last letter) - we would basically be wasting our time as the Sales of Goods Act 1979 is "not in keeping" with our request. 4) We asked if the "independent technician" was from, or his company was backed by, FIRA. They said no - the company he works for is called "Furniture Care Network", and was not affiliated with FIRA. His company, according to their website, is contracted by FV to repair, clean, etc. problem furniture. It doesn't appear the company is in the business of Alternative Dispute Resolution services. I seriously question the impartiality of all of this. 5) FV kindly "offer" to commission another "independent technician" to visit us. They say we can choose from one of two companies - "Homeserve" or "Ecomaster". These companies are all the same, i.e not affiliated with FIRA, contracted by Furniture Village, specialize in repairs/cleaning, etc. We need your advice on this! We're sure that a £2600.00 leather suite should last longer than 3 1/2 years, with very light domestic use by 2 people (we're not obese or anything, either!) in the evenings. It is not fit for the intended purpose. I would say such a suite should "last" 8-10 years, minimum. The thing is, we're not sure how to proceed. In our last letter, we clearly stated we are prepared to take this to the small claims court if they denied our request for a refund. Their last letter offered to send out yet another dodgy "technician" to basically collude with them, so we wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Do we reply to this last letter? Should we employ FIRA technicians to carry out an inspection - or could this go against us? I have read some very suspicious things regarding the impartiality of FIRA/Furniture Ombudsman ADR services. For example, in 2012 their ADR service decided in favour of the customer in just 53% of cases. Shockingly low for such a service. Also, an article in the Guardian rings true with many customer reviews of the FIRA services (can't post the link - search for "Complaint about your new furniture? Expect a bed of nails" on Google) Or, should I just ignore their last letter, stick to my guns and proceed with a small claims court case as I originally stated to FV. I have never used the small claims court, so this is all new to me. Any help is appreciated. Thank you!
  2. Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here - and I think I may have made a dreadful mistake today... I'm sorry if the following sounds really flaky - we've not slept for a few days (newborn baby) and I think I've learnt a valuable lesson about shopping when sleep-deprived and not on the ball! I bought a bed in FV today, originally having just gone in to look at the model (they are very good salespeople, aren't they?). As part of the deal, I was told I had to buy 2 items to get the 15% discount. I bought a mattress protector but was a bit surprised to see that it was £119. I thought that might be what they cost and thought I could look up prices to check when I got home (I thought - perhaps erroneously - that I could take it back if it was overpriced). We ordered a bed this afternoon (Saturday) and took the 0% credit option. But as we've recently had account problems (phishing) there is a stop on our credit - and told FV this before we ordered (the bed is made to order). They said it would be fine - they'd take our deposit and if the stop was on, we could get it lifted and then they'd go ahead with the order. We signed the agreement, they haven't yet and it will only go through when the stop is lifted. I came home an googled mattress protectors and saw just how overpriced our was and to make matters worse the bed is overpriced by £££ too. Obviously, we wouldn't want to pay over the odds for the bed. Can we cancel the bed tomorrow (Sunday) and get our deposit back, as the agreement hasn't been activated - or does our signing it activate it? (We'd take the mattress protector back as well) Obviously if the bed had been made and the order was underway, we'd just mark it down to bad luck but can we cancel if we do it asap? I'm really sorry if this sounds like a really stupid thing to have done. But I'd be very grateful for any advice you could give me. And apologies if this post rambles a bit. Thank you v much Mme Cholet
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