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Thread: Fabric Protection

  1. #1
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    Default Fabric Protection

    Article in the March 15, 2010 Furniture Today (trade magazine) by Gary Evans "Fabric Protection Suppliers Eyeing Growth".

    This article addresses the high profitability of fabric and leather protection programs for retail stores and how many stores (such as mine) do not sell it, thereby opening the door for market expansion. One reason I have never sold it is because I don't believe in it. A can of Scotchguard you can buy at the store for $ 7 is as good as any product these sellers have.

    Warranty? Well a lot of these fabric protection companies go bust (like the old automotive rust coating companies of the 70's and 80's) such as the massive failure of StainSafe (Global Solutions) in 2009. When they go under... !POOF!...there is no place to turn to for a warranty claim.

    Traditionally, there has always been a 'wet warranty' where an actual product is applied to the fabric or leather by the store. Now the article states there is a move to a 'dry warranty' where nothing is applied at all. Imagine that. A protection warranty where there is no actual top-coating applied. Basically at that point its a game of claims and percentages at that point, though I guess not unlike what Best Buy offers on electronics purchases (buy a 2 or 3 year extended protection plan on your computer, etc.) So what does everyone think of that? Would you want to buy a protection warranty on your fabric or leather covering as added insurance, knowing there is nothing applied to it?
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    For fabric I like this stuff http://www.303products.com/shop303/i...bric-guard.cfm It is like Scotchguard on steroids

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    I just read thru the 303 website and it appears that product is used mostly on outdoor fabrics and has no furniture mfg's recommendations.
    Sounds like a great product but I dont think I would use it on anything indoors.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    lol It sounds like a “No Protection Warranty” instead.

    I think the retailers have just discovered how to increase they’re bottom line as far as extended protection goes for their coverings. One hundred percent profit without any outlay, not a bad gig!

    Duane, would you apply Scotchguard to leather (I guess we would be talking about a grade 3 leather or higher here)?

    I haven’t heard of anyone applying Scotchguard to leather, and wouldn’t you be removing some of the features of a “nice” leather by applying a topical protection.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    I would not apply Scotchguard to leather without clearing it with the maker. Finished leathers don't need it and pure anilines need to be tested in a concealed area to see how it interacts with the leather (may darken it). Better to use recommended care products made for a specific leather type.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    Welcome back Duane, Am I correct in saying your opinion of buying a "fabric protection plan" is a no. We ordered a fabric couch "Smith Brothers of Berne" and the salesman talked my wife into the "Crypton Fabric protection Plan" I believe it is offered thru Guardian but I'm not positive since we were not given any type of paperwork or details of what is or isnt covered.
    I believe I will cancel that option. Arent most fabrics covered for a year in general by the furniture MFG??.
    I had read some very negative stories on the Furniture
    World magazine forum concerning such "protection plans".
    Thanks,
    Paul

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    Thanks Paul!

    Yes, you are correct. I don't believe in the fabric or leather or furniture protections plans in any way, shape or form. My morals preclude me from selling it just to earn a few more farthings (I'm old school - if I don't believe in a product or service, then I don't sell it).

    No coverings of any kind are covered by the maker, so to my knowledge there is not even a 1 year warranty on them. However, I will say this - when there is a defect in a cover, which is really very, very rare - the store knows it, the upholstery maker knows it, and the fabric or tannery knows it. Now, when everyone is on the same page then its taken care of for the customer, written warranty or not. Its the 'right thing to do' and in the same way I won't sell a product I don't believe in, I also won't do business with ANY supplier who doesn't repair or replace defective product and I don't really care whats on their written documentation. I'll call their CEO and tell him to fix it or lose my account, and its done. I like to think most other stores would do the same in the case of an obviously defective outer cover. It happens occasionally, but probably not more than to one piece every five years.

    What you are really buying however, is not a protection plan against defects, but as a guarantee that your lifestyle doesn't wreck the upholstery with a spill, ink problem, improper use, etc. So, if it makes you feel good to buy that (just like some folks like to take out 2 extra years coverage on a new electronic device for a price) then certainly you can do so....BUT....

    1) Keep the paperwork. You have to have the contract and staple it to your sales receipt. "No tickie - no laundry". Without proof of buying the policy and a dated receipt then you're out of luck.

    2) Read the fine print in the protection contract. In most all these plans, they don't pay to have your sofa repaired or recovered. Rather they pro-rate the value of your sofa based on how long you've owned it, and offer you the 'opportunity' to buy a new sofa at a reduced rate based on your pro-rated value. So in order to redeem your warranty you have to buy a new piece of furniture. Many people get disgusted when they hear this and toss their 'warranty' in the trash at that point.

    What companies like Guardian do when they get a claim is this:

    * They will pro-rate your sofa and say (EXAMPLE) 40% of the retail value you paid for it five years ago. If you paid $ 2K for it, then you get an $ 800 allowance off a new one from a dealer that will honor it.

    * They call a store such as mine and ask me if I want to sell you a sofa that is under a plan. Its does not need to be the same make or model. They will give me $ 800 worth of Guardian products to sell in my store (but not cash). I can make the sofa you buy whatever price I want it to be if so inclined. If I agree to the deal, then you as the customer comes in and buys/orders something for the difference and then I get the 'free' guardian product to sell in my store. Of course, they are counting their $ 800 of 'free' product at full wholesale value, and it probably costs them $ 400 to make it.

    See how it works? The customer gets screwed in the end. Even the store isn't faring all that well because they have to sell the product to get paid. Guardian comes out smelling like a rose, because they collected the initial premium several years earlier and payout is not in dollars, but product.

    Yes, I think its a sham. And no, I will never sell it. Everyone in the trade tells me I'm leaving 'money on the table' by not doing so, and they're right. I bet I could talk half my customers into buying it if I wanted to do that, and earn an extra $ 10K a year or more. But I don't like the way they operate these plans and in addition I think a $ 8 can of Scotchguard works just as good (leather doesn't need it) so I can't do so and remain loyal to my business ethics.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  8. #8
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    Duane, Thank you for the "inside scoop" on these protection plans. I did make contact yesterday and canceled the plan and surprisingly the salesman never questioned me.
    Hopefully the fabric we ordered will hold up for us its a 42-58 rayon/polyester blend. I dont have a problem with a misting of Scotchguard.

    Since it is a cleaning code "S-solvent clean" is there a product you can recommend for spot cleaning if the need arises?
    Thanks again for being an upfront guy and helping to educate all of us.
    Paul

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    'S' cleaning code means dry cleaning solvents only. Usually you can find a small bottle of 'Carbona' in the grocery store household cleaning aisle that will meet these requirements.

    Two important rules when going after upholstery stains:

    1) ALWAYS - and I mean ALWAYS - test first in an inconspicuous spot such as the decking under the seat cushion to see if the cleaning agent itself will set a stain ring.

    2) Blot, never rub. Rubbing a spot can have disasterous consequences and spread the stain around.

    Don't use steam cleaners on upholstery. Even thought the steam cleaner guys says "Its OK, I know what I'm doing". In truth, unless he knows the exact content of the material and then can assure it won't ruin the piece, then he's taking a crap shoot on your upholstery. 50/50 chance his steam cleaner will shrink the fabric (though it will probably work to remove the stain), and you won't see the damage until a week later when its fully dried and you notice that fabric is 'buckling' on the piece, or the skirt seems to be curling up, etc.

    As always, glad to be of any help.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Fabric Protection

    Bravo Duane. Your type of sales person is sorely missing from the retail game.

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