I have been awaiting the correct legs for a sofa I purchased from Furniture Village for more than a year.
It was delivered in January 2022, but the company keeps sending the wrong ones, making it unusable.
Part of my frustration is the total lack of communication plus the company’s inability to acknowledge this is unacceptable customer service.
I must have spent days in total waiting on the phone to talk to them.
G. G-K., New Malden, Surrey.
Communication breakdown: Furniture Village kept sending out the wrong replacement sofa legs to a customer who reports a customer services nightmare on the phone
Sally Hamilton replies: Your sofa saga has dragged on. You first ordered two sofas and an electric recliner armchair from Furniture Village, New Malden, in August 2021 — and paid £4,752 up front.
There was a promise the items would be delivered in early December that year.
But when all went quiet, in mid-January 2022, you rang the branch and were told delivery would be on January 27.
When the furniture finally arrived, the order was incomplete, with no back rests and only one seat for one of the sofas, plus a set of sofa legs was missing.
Two days later some more items arrived, but you were still lacking a set of all-important legs. The head recliner on the chair also did not work. Other items were missing, including a leather care kit.
You complained, and a week later someone came to sort the chair’s electrics.
But the missing sofa legs were causing you increased irritation as their absence meant you couldn’t sit on the settee.
This annoyance was compounded by the fact that your many emails of complaint seemed to disappear into a black hole.
In early April, you contacted customer services again, once more demanding the legs be delivered. You were told they would appear at the end of the month.
Some legs finally arrived on May 19, three and a half months after your sofa had been delivered. Only there were just four corner legs and no central supporting legs — meaning your couch was still unusable.
On May 31, the two middle legs arrived — but they did not fit.
Meanwhile, I was saddened to learn that tragedy had struck. Your husband died in early June, and you were not in the right place mentally or physically to deal with the relatively trivial matter of chasing Furniture Village.
Your niece took up the cudgels and contacted the retailer on your behalf. Despite her best attempts, she hit a brick wall.
By this time, more than a year had passed since you placed your order and, unbelievably, you still were not in possession of a fully functioning set of furniture.
The legs finally arrived on September 5, but with no indication given of when, and how, they would be fitted.
This time, your sister headed to the store to battle it out with staff because you were recovering from a knee replacement operation.
This knee procedure went more smoothly than the sofa leg replacement, I’m pleased to say.
Frustration: Our reader says she has spent ‘days in total’ on the phone to Furniture Village (stock image, posed by model)
A date was set for a month later for the sofa legs to be fitted. Only, it emerged the pieces ordered were the wrong ones, yet again.
By late November, you had had enough of your Groundhog Day relationship with Furniture Village and so contacted me.
I was dumbfounded by the treatment you had received and the threadbare customer service that you endured. I demanded that the company stop dragging its feet over your problem and sort out your nightmare once and for all.
I also insisted on a generous discount on the cost of your purchase — along with a suitable apology.
The company investigated your case, agreed its service had fallen short and offered a reimbursement of 10 pc of your original bill. I thought this paltry and asked it to think again.
It reconsidered and came back with a more acceptable 20 per cent refund — £950. This, it said, would be paid once the appropriate legs had finally been delivered.
At the end of January, you contacted me to say, ‘miracles do happen’. The correct legs were delivered and fitted, and compensation paid.
If buyers reach an impasse with a retailer, they can take a complaint to the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman
I do hope the latter has cushioned the blow you have suffered with these unacceptable delays.
A spokesman says: ‘We would like to apologise profusely to G. G-K. The frustration and ongoing disappointment she has been through is the last thing we would ever want for any of our customers.
‘This is not the Furniture Village way, and we want her to feel assured that her experience has been listened to, learnt from and is something we can only apologise for and try to put right.’
Anyone who has a poor experience with a furniture company has protection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
If an item is damaged or not fit for purpose, you can arrange to send it back within 30 days of delivery.
If buyers reach an impasse with a retailer, they can take a complaint to the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman.
This is only possible if the company is registered with the ombudsman — and the consumer has reached deadlock with the retailer.
Straight to the point
My husband and I visited Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre in Solihull, West Midlands, with our grandchildren and stayed 23 minutes.
As blue badge holders, we thought the parking was free, but Local Parking Security has fined us £100.
M. P., Birmingham.
Visitors have ten minutes before they are charged for parking at this venue. Local Parking Security Ltd agrees your mobility issues meant it took you longer than others to return to your car and has cancelled the charge.
I ordered a cooker from Argos but on the delivery day no one turned up. I have rescheduled my order four times but I am still waiting.
My son and I are both diabetic and have had to resort to eating microwave meals. Please help.
P. A., Harlow.
Argos apologises for the experience you had, which it says does not meet its usually high standards of customer service.
You have since received your cooker and a gesture of goodwill.
My brother received a £200 John Lewis gift card before the pandemic. When he eventually tried to use it in store he was told it was out of date, despite there being no end date on the card.
M. W., Worcestershire.
A John Lewis spokesman says: ‘We’re sorry to hear you are unhappy.
‘However, as the gift card is well past its 24-month expiry date, we’re unable to refund it. Information on expiry dates can be found on the receipt and online.’
Where’s our Warm Home Discount?
My wife and I moved to a new home in December 2015. From 2016 we received a letter each year from the Government regarding the Warm Home Discount, which this year is £150.
I can’t see this amount mentioned on our British Gas statements and have phoned and written to the company to find out more but to no avail.
F. P., Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
The Warm Home Discount is a one-off reduction — £150 for this year — on a household electricity bill that is given to those who receive the guarantee element of pension credit or are on a low income and have high energy costs.
The discount is applied automatically and those eligible do not need to apply for it.
It’s available in England, Wales and Scotland but not in Northern Ireland.
I asked British Gas to look back at your account and it confirmed that from 2016 you received the discount.
It was itemised on your statement under the ‘adjustments before VAT’ section.
Last year’s discount was applied on November 21.
However, it was a good job you contacted me, as British Gas discovered when checking over your old statements that 2018’s discount — at that time set at £140 — was missed.
A British Gas spokesperson says: ‘We have since applied this as a credit to his account and are attempting to contact him to apologise.’
It’s a pity British Gas couldn’t have answered your queries directly when you got in touch as your concerns could have been sorted out weeks ago.
Your experience is also a lesson to us all to be switched on when checking any statements to ensure payments or discounts due are actually applied.
- Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.
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