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Furniture Village - 3 piece "Rossetti" leather suite now too uncomfortable to use

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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!

Edited by fpeeped

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Sounds like you have the dreaded hollow fibre' filled cushions. I have posted this a few time's as I think this may the case.

 

I'm guessing the seat cushions the back cushions and arms are filled with hollow fibres same sort of stuff pillows are filled with pumped with air so when you see them on show or in pictures the sofas look big and chunky but after time with use the air is slowly squeezed out and you end up with cushions that look like flat baggy pan cakes.

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Hi, your #1 point 2 "Gtee". What the hell does it cover then because most of the suite materials are listed in their "not covered" section.

Have you checked that Gtee? I'm thinking that if the Gtee is proved as "worth less" then take SOGA route.

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Furniture Village's "Best Quality Guarantee" only covers the following:

"Upholstery

 

Items covered under Structural Integrity (5 years) are frames, springs and webbing.

Other Components (2 years) are recliner mechanisms, Sofa Bed actions, motors, ratchet headrests and armrests, adjustable seats, covers and stitching."

 

So, basically, if the frame, springs or webbing fail in the first 5 years - you're covered. Anything else and you're on your own. Stuffing is NOT covered at all, as confirmed in the last letter from FV.

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Would one expect a £2600.00 sofas to be filled with hollow fibre's I wonder !

you see it in the cheap end of the market.

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Would one expect a £2600.00 sofas to be filled with hollow fibre's I wonder !

you see it in the cheap end of the market.

 

I had a good sniff around the internet but can't find much about different furniture stuffing materials and their expected lifespans. If I could say, definitely, my relatively expensive suite is filled with cheap cr*p, this would be great for us in the small claims court...

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I had a good sniff around the internet but can't find much about different furniture stuffing materials and their expected lifespans. If I could say, definitely, my relatively expensive suite is filled with cheap cr*p, this would be great for us in the small claims court...

 

Yes I agree.

I have read posts where the solution was to send someone to add more filling Point 1 that tells me the product was under filled in the first place ! Point 2 the relatively expensive suite is filled with cheap hollow fibre's ! Is there a Re upholstery shop near you drop in and ask them regarding hollow fibre' filling.

 

Could you take pictures upload here!.

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Just to update -

 

I called a local upholstery repairer/restoration specialist. He said exactly what you said - there is simply not enough filling in the seats/backs. He said the filling was comprised of a foam core, encased in fabric - and around this, there was the hollow fibre filling material. I recorded a video of the entire visit, with all of his comments, and he said he would write me a letter outlining all of his conclusions, and his recommended method of repair (involves dismantling the units, ripping the seams, adding more fibre filling and sewing it all back up.

 

He also brought along a professionally made fibre filled cushion - the difference between this, and our suite's cushions, was like night and day.

 

So, now i'm looking into having a FIRA technician visit us for an inspection & report. I'm having some doubts, as FIRA doesn't seem to be as impartial as they say they are.

 

Yes I agree.

I have read posts where the solution was to send someone to add more filling Point 1 that tells me the product was under filled in the first place ! Point 2 the relatively expensive suite is filled with cheap hollow fibre's ! Is there a Re upholstery shop near you drop in and ask them regarding hollow fibre' filling.

 

Could you take pictures upload here!.

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Well done:-). It will be interesting to hear what rubbish the FIRA come out with.

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Just to add had a look at the "Rossetti" leather suite. on line do yo have a link to the one you have at home!

 

I must agree with your upholsterer.

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