About a year ago, my wife and I bought an expensive sleeper sofa from Jordan’s Furniture. Well, actually, our parents bought it for us. We paid a lot of money for it because we wanted the American Leather sleeper sofa, which has a rather unusual design. The mattress is actually several separate foam cushions mounted on a solid, segmented, folding platform. When the bed is opened, the platform is flat and the edges of the cushions push together to form a continuous sleep surface.
The American Leather sleeper sofa is more comfortable than “regular” sleepers because it doesn’t have the awful spring-mounted fabric platform that always sags intolerably, and because its foam mattress lasts long and is firmer than the awful folding inner-spring mattresses in most sleepers.
A few months after the sofa arrived, two manufacturing defects became apparent. First of all, the seams on one of the cushions began to separate. Second, the zipper that holds that same cushion to the sofa back was installed incorrectly, such that when the zipper is pulled all the way closed, the tab comes off and has to be laboriously threaded back onto the zipper. This means that the cushion can’t be zipped all the way and is always loose. We called Jordan’s and asked them to send a repair technician to look at the problems.
The technician addressed the first problem with a sloppy attempt to sew the seam back together with some invisible nylon thread. The minute I saw it upon my return from work that day, I knew that it was just a matter of time before the seam split again. As for the zipper problem, the technician claimed that he couldn’t reproduce it (an odd claim, since it happened for me every time I tried to close the zipper firmly) and therefore couldn’t do anything about it.
Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the cushion split again, I figured that I would just wait until then and then call Jordan’s and ask them to send out another technician (I also didn’t call right away to get them to send someone back because I didn’t want my wife to have to waste another half day waiting for them to show up, and because it was a rather busy period for me as well). Finally, a month or two before the warranty on the sofa wore out, I called and told them to send someone out. Not only had the seam split once again, and not only was the zipper tab still coming off whenever the zipper was closed all the way, but there was now a third problem: the same, problematic zipper was starting to come loose from the sofa.
Jordan’s sent another technician, who announced that the zipper could not be repaired, so all they could do was replace the entire sofa, but since that particular sofa model had been discontinued, they would instead give me a store credit for the full purchase price and I could visit the store to pick out a replacement.
I thought this was reasonable at the time. I assumed that American Leather had simply made minor tweaks to their line and I would be able to pick out a replacement very similar to my own for a similar price. Bad assumption.
I went to Jordan’s a few weeks later and picked out essentially exactly the same sofa. Same size (queen), same fabric (the cheapest they sell), even the same fabric color. And yet, even after the saleslady waived the delivery charge for the replacement sofa, it was still going to end up costing me $420 more than the first one did! I never could have imagined until I saw it with my own eyes that the price of a sofa could go up by $420 (that’s like 20% of the original cost) in less than a year.
I sent Jordan’s an email message telling them that I thought this was completely unacceptable. I pointed out to them that the first time we called them about the problems was only a few months after we bought the sofa, so surely it was still available for replacement at that time, and yet their technician failed to fix the problems. I pointed out to them that under their supposed warranty I was being forced to pay $420 to get a replacement for essentially exactly the same sofa I had bought a year ago. I told them I didn’t think I should be penalized for the fact that the manufacturer had discontinued the model, and finally, I pointed out that it wasn’t like I had the option to select a cheaper replacement, since the sofa I bought was literally the only one of its kind in their entire merchandise line.
One of their customer service representatives called me back a few days later and offered to split the difference with me, i.e., to give me an additional credit of $210, so that the replacement sofa would cost us only $210 instead of $420.
I accepted their offer with reservations. I told them that I still felt that the only reason I was being forced to pay for a new sofa was because they had mishandled my previous reports about the problem, and that I didn’t think it was fair or appropriate to penalize a customer because a manufacturer discontinued the customer’s item while it was still under warranty. I reminded them that there was literally not even one other sofa in their entire store that I could have selected as a replacement that had the same features as the one I had originally purchased. And finally, I pointed out that if I were to laptop computer, it broke whiole under warranty, and my original model was no longer available, the manufacturer would provide me with a newer model even if it was more expensive (and, indeed, exactly this has happened to me before).
Nothing doing — the rep. insisted that splitting the difference was the best he could do.
Now, I’m glad they did that much. I have to admit that they were probably legally entitled not to do even that. This certainly isn’t the worst customer-service experience I’ve ever had. Still, I can’t help but feel that they should have and could have done better.
P.S. When we bought the sofa, they gave us a handful of tokens for the candy machines in their business office, and we didn’t them all. I learned when I returned to pick out the replacement that the candy machines are gone. Does anybody have any creative suggestions for what to do with the tokens? 🙂