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Thread: Let's discuss furniture warranties

  1. #1
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    Default Let's discuss furniture warranties

    There seems to be a lot of general confusion on warranties in regard to furniture. I think most folks tend to think about warranties in the same way they view their car warranty, and that's a mistake. The Furniture Industry definitely does not operate like a car warranty. Let's explore some details as to how they differ - as it applies to the majority of furniture suppliers (there are exceptions, like forum member Jeff's Simplicity Sofas):

    * With an automobile, you can take it to any dealership in the country for warranty repair, not so in the furniture business, where ONLY the selling dealer can handle your warranty claim. That means if you live in Indiana as an example, and have a failed chair from a maker who has a dealership in Indianapolis, but you purchased from a store in South Carolina, the dealer in Indiana, nor the factory rep for that are will assist you. You must go back to the selling dealer in South Carolina.

    * Warranties are much more limited in scope on furniture than they are on cars. Basically on a vehicle, everything is covered bumper to bumper for "XX" amount of months or miles. In furniture world, only specific items are addressed, and it has to do with workmanship defects rather than performance. What do I mean by that? Well, a defect in workmanship would be an unraveled stitch on a seam, or a broken frame member, or a popped spring. A performance issue would be a sofa that sinks down too much, a cover that doesn't wear as you expected it would. Big difference. Performance issues are typically not covered by any kind of warranty.

    * Every maker has a printed warranty, that is usually in the Dealer Master Sales Catalog or Price Book. Ask for a copy if you want to know what is and isn't covered. (I have the current Hancock & Moore as well as Bradington-Young warranty scanned and available in the LEATHER forum, for example). Anything not covered on that warranty statement is something you and your selling dealer must try to work out. Sometimes a dealer can negotiate a repair that's not covered by the warranty, but in most cases it will be a repair and not a replacement.

    * In the furniture industry, on warranty issues most times a piece will be returned to the maker for evaluation and a fix, rarely is anything replaced with a new item. Often this means your furniture will be absent from your home for a period of time while in transit to the maker for repair, and then transit time back as well. There are no 'loaner' pieces to give you while yours is gone, sorry.

    * On new furniture, there may be a warranty issue (workmanship defect) or a damage issue (caused by the shipping company). While the selling dealer is your contact point for all warranty issues, the shipping company is your contact point for things broken or damaged in transit. All the selling dealer is going to do on the latter is either refer you to the shipping company or make a call on your behalf. In general, if you have shipping damage you are better contacting them yourself rather than having the selling dealer pass along back and forth messages.

    * Covers on upholstery are never covered under warranty, either leather or fabric. This is the most oft-confused aspect on fabric and leather furniture. The reason being is the maker does not know how you are using the furniture or what kind of thinks the customer is allowing to come into contact with the cover surface.

    * Bedding warranties in particular are not worth the paper they're written on. Most mattresses and box spring fail on performance issues, not manufacturers defects. That ridge in the middle of the bed? Performance. That edge that crushed down when you sit on the bed edge? Performance. Loss of support and comfort? Performance. A bedding warranty covers broken stitches in the swing and broken springs in the internals and not much else. So don't wall for the 20-year mattress warranty, the bed will most likely used up in 7 years due to performance degradation rather than workmanship defects.
    Last edited by drcollie; 12-23-2010 at 11:44 AM.
    Duane Collie
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

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    As an addition to this thread, be sure to READ the warranty carefully. There's sections that all but negate a repair because of conditions in the warranty.

    As an example, I recently had a customer who observed that the arm panel of his year and a half old Bradington Young recliner was 'listing' and at an angle to the chair of a few degrees and wanted to begin a warranty claim. A look at that section of the Bradington Young warranty states (edited for brevity):

    FRAME PARTS: Lifetime warranty against defects for the useful life of the product as ling as it stays in the original cover. BY will replace the part that is defective. After the First Year of Use, the warranty covers parts only and no labor or shipping costs.

    OK, this means that they may send a $ 5.00 piece of wood crossmember that needs to be replaced, but no labor to repair it and no shipping charges to the factory on a 2-way trip. In effect, the 'lifetime' warranty is really a 1-year warranty for all practical aspects. This is important to know these things before you purchase. On something like a loose arm panel section, its always about labor and shipping. As a dealer, I sure hate to say "Sorry, can't do anything for you" on that, but the reality is the written warranty is what we have to work with. While I personally may not agree with the 'fine print' language in these warranties, no dealer cannot authorize repairs over and above what is stated.

    Note that Hancock & Moore, another line I represent, does not have the time limitations on its motion frame warranty and would cover this as warranty claim. H&M recliners cost more, so there's that aspect of it as well but they offer a stronger warranty. It should be noted that H&M does reserve the right to refuse warranty claims is the product was mis-used in their determination.
    Last edited by drcollie; 12-23-2010 at 12:19 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Please Ask ALL Questions in the Forum
    Private Messages (PM's) are for Sample Requests and Placing Orders
    No written Quotes are given on Hancock& Moore, Jessica Charles or Councill - you must call the store for pricing.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    Thanks Duane for the mention in your first paragraph.

    Simplicity Sofas has a warranty program unlike any other furniture company. The entire warranty is If you do not like our furniture for any reason whatsoever you may return it to us for a full refund including shipping costs for a period of one year.

    Actually in the two cases where we received warranty claims after the one year period we still acted as though the warranty still applied. For example a woman purchased a sofa and slipcovers from us. 18 months later she called to say that she had never used the slipcover and wanted to know if she could return it for a refund. Our answer was "yes," even though the fabric was discontinued and no longer in our line.

    This would be a good place to brag that Simplicity Sofas has recently been awarded a "Beloved Company" designation by Jeanne Bliss, a nationally known consultant and author specializing in the field of customer service. There are fewer than 50 companies nationwide who have received this designation. Some of the others include Zappos, Harley Davidson, Southwest Airlines and Wegmans. Simplicity Sofas is the first furniture company to ever receive this award.

    A word about warranties - I want to back up Duane in emphasizing that long warranties do not necessarily guaranty quality. For example, although Simplicity Sofas has a far stronger warranty than H&M, that does not indicate that the quality of its furniture is superior. A typical Simplicity Sofa in fabric sells for around $1000, less than half of an H&M sofa. Yes, it is built to last 10-20 years, but there are many other areas where it can not compare with a company like H&M. Some of these areas include tailoring, comfort, fabric and cushion quality and there are many others as well.

    Simplicity Sofas products are designed for a very specialized market niche - people with narrow doors or stairways who cannot fit a normal sofa or sectional. In our little niche we are the top of the line. When you add to that a customer service philosophy that encourages frequent communication between the factory and the customers, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to correct a problem, and there are very few reasons for our customers to invoke their warranty and return their furniture.

    Jeff Frank
    Simplicity Sofas

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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    I enjoyed the videos on your site, Jeff. Is that your son who put together the sofa in less than 4 minutes? He looks so purposeful.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    Quote Originally Posted by organic_smallhome View Post
    I enjoyed the videos on your site, Jeff. Is that your son who put together the sofa in less than 4 minutes? He looks so purposeful.
    No. The Assembler is Skyler Miller, age 8, the son of one of my employees. I have to confess that Skyler did practice for the video. He put the sofa together and took it apart 5 or 6 times before we shot the video (which was done in one take.)

    My son (age 13 at the time) held the previous speed record of just under 6 minutes. That was his first time assembling one of our sofas.

    Jeff Frank
    Simplicity Sofas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    * With an automobile, you can take it to any dealership in the country for warranty repair, not so in the furniture business, where ONLY the selling dealer can handle your warranty claim. That means if you live in Indiana as an example, and have a failed chair from a maker who has a dealership in Indianapolis, but you purchased from a store in South Carolina, the dealer in Indiana, nor the factory rep for that are will assist you. You must go back to the selling dealer in South Carolina.
    What happens if the dealer goes out of business and is no longer around?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    If the selling dealer has closed down, then it gets into a gray area. You can work through the factory (tends to be slow and cumbersome) or find a benevolent dealer that will help you out.

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks is customers not keeping a copy of their receipt that shows model, cover and date of purchase. If the selling dealer is out of business, and the customer has no paperwork, you're not going to get any warranty claim unless the customer was smart enough to register their product when new (most do not do that, either). No one at the factory is going to attempt to pour through the records of the defunct selling dealer trying to find your order...not going to happen. So keep your paperwork, and if nothing else tape it to the bottom of the chair/sofa/sectional, etc.
    Duane Collie
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    One other note on various warranties when selecting a piece or maker. CUSHION CORES! They are one of the primary wear items over time, and break down with use. Of the makers I carry here are three distinct cushion core policies:

    Hancock and Moore: Free replacements to the original owner, seats and backs. No charge for shipping.

    Bradington Young: Seat Cushions only free replacement lifetime. After the first year, customer pays UPS charges. Back Cushions always have a charge plus the freight.

    Leathercraft: 1 year only, seats and backs free replacement with shipping. After 1 year, regular retail costs plus shipping.
    Duane Collie
    Please Ask ALL Questions in the Forum
    Private Messages (PM's) are for Sample Requests and Placing Orders
    No written Quotes are given on Hancock& Moore, Jessica Charles or Councill - you must call the store for pricing.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    How often do back cushion cores usually need to be replaced?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Let's discuss furniture warranties

    Back cushions? Almost never....very rare to have to do that except in some very heavily used bustle backs.
    Duane Collie
    Please Ask ALL Questions in the Forum
    Private Messages (PM's) are for Sample Requests and Placing Orders
    No written Quotes are given on Hancock& Moore, Jessica Charles or Councill - you must call the store for pricing.

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