You may have heard that 3M changed the formula for its Scotchgard products a number of years ago after it was revealed that they were causing significant environmental damage (well, it’s actually much worse than that, but that’s the basic idea). The new Scotchgard doesn’t work as well as the old one did. Apparently, none of the anti-stain treatments currently on the market that aren’t bad for the environment work as well as the old, toxic ones did.
For a relatively small fee, Jordan’s Furniture used to apply an anti-stain treatment to new upholstered furniture and warranty that if the furniture got stained, they would get the stain out or replace the item at the expense. Well, actually, it was at the expense of Stainsafe, the company that provided the anti-stain treatment and administered the warranty.
However, in a recent visit to Jordan’s, my wife and I learned that Jordan’s no longer offers anti-stain treatments on new furniture. This is supposedly motivated by three factors: (1) Jordan’s wants to be an environmentally conscious company, and the anti-stain treatments are bad for the environment; (2) the anti-stain treatments that aren’t bad for the environment don’t work well; and (3) the microfibers used to cover a lot of the furniture sold at Jordan’s have some intrinsic stain resistance. I suspect there are two more factors that the Jordan’s associate didn’t share with us: (1) there were a lot of complaints about the Stainsafe warranty (google for “Stainsafe” and you’ll see what I mean); and (2) oh, by the way, Stainsafe is bankrupt. Of course, it’s not clear whether Jordan’s stopped offering Stainsafe because they went bankrupt, or Stainsafe went bankrupt because Jordan’s stopped offering it.
What Jordan’s will sell you, instead of anti-stain treatment, is a five-year limited warranty under an Extended Protection Program (EPP) administered by a third-party company. If you buy the EPP warranty, and your furniture is damaged, and you file the program’s rules exactly, then the company that administers the warranty will supposedly either repair or replace the damaged item at their expense. It is essentially an insurance policy for your furniture.
It is also much more expensive than the old Stainsafe warranty. The cost of Stainsafe was relatively low and was based on the size of the furniture. The EPP cost, on the other hand, is a percentage of the purchase price of the furniture, and some items could cost several times more to insure under the EPP than they would have to treat with Stainsafe.
This is not surprising. Since the furniture is no longer being given an anti-stain treatment, stains are more likely, which means it is more likely that the insurer will have to replace it. Also, it appears that Stainsafe tried to improve its bottom line by going out of its way to avoid paying claims; if the company administering the EPP operates in a more consumer-friendly way, then it must pay out claims more often. In short, more claims are being paid out under the new warranty, so the fees must be higher to cover the cost of the claims.
This change is not necessarily good or bad. It’s just different, and I felt it was noteworthy enough to post about. If you’ve had any experience with getting Jordan’s to honor a Stainsafe warranty they sold you now that Stainsafe is bankrupt, or with getting furniture repaired or replaced under the new EPP warranty, I’d love to hear about it, so please post a comment or email me.