NBC10 Responds has recently seen a trend in complaints from consumers with the same problem: furniture that’s peeling, cracking, and flaking. All of the complaints stem from the same material: bonded leather, which typically costs less than genuine leather. The ‘peeling’ problem is not limited to one store. NBC10 Responds has heard complaints from companies like Aaron’s, Ashley Furniture, Boscov’s, Raymour and Flanigan, and SofasandSectionals.com.
Each company provided a statement to NBC10 Responds:
“Bonded leather is a widely-used material across the furniture industry. Over the last five years, Aaron’s has leased tens of thousands of products manufactured with bonded leather and is aware of a relatively small number of issues. Products manufactured with bonded leather should not be cleaned with abrasive cleaners or leather cleaning solutions which could potentially cause the glue to disengage from the product.
Aaron’s carries a wide range of products to meet every customer’s budget, including top grain Italian leather sofa sets with matching vinyl sides which are popular choices with our customers.
Aaron’s cares about our customers and associates. That’s the value we’ve built the business on for 61 years. When a concern is raised with us, Aaron’s fully reviews the matter and works diligently with our customers in an attempt to keep them as fully satisfied customers.”
Ashley Furniture Industries designs our products to provide superior value. We continuously seek to improve our products, and Durablend® is no exception. Incremental improvements made to the Durablend® line since 2008 have made it a value-driven furniture option. Although not common, it has come to our attention that some of our customers are reporting that, over time, certain Durablend® products have experienced cracking, peeling and flaking. Because customer satisfaction is of the upmost importance to Ashley, we encourage any customers who are experiencing problems with our products to work with the store where they purchased the product or to contact Ashley’s customer care team (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will work closely with you to better understand the problem you are experiencing, and where appropriate, explore possible solutions.
“We sincerely apologize for any frustration Ms. Gilford has experienced as a result of this situation. As a company Boscov’s values all of our customers and it is never our intent to disappoint anyone.
Ms. Gilford purchased her furniture on February 25, 2014. The pieces were covered by the manufacturer warranty, which is upheld by Boscov’s, for 1 year for manufacturer defects. The additional Guardian warranty purchased by Ms. Gilford, managed by Guardian, covers the furniture for 5 years for accidental stains caused by any food or beverage normally consumed by humans; mold and mildew stains caused by food or beverage spills; stains caused by human or pet bodily fluids; grass, grease, ball¬point pen ink, nail polish, cosmetics, lipstick, crayon, and shoe polish; rips, cuts, punctures or burns from a single relatable occurrence. Lipstick, crayon and ballpoint pen ink marks totaling more than 6 inches in length are considered preventable and will not be covered.
Ms. Gilford contacted Boscov’s on August 23, 2016 and stated that she had already been in contact with Guardian regarding the damage to her furniture, but her claim was denied because they do not cover buckling or peeling of the leather. Upon request, the customer provided Boscov’s with photographs of the furniture. After reviewing the photographs, it was determined that the damage was not covered by either of the warranties due to timing and the type of damage. The customer disconnected the call and we did not hear from her again.
In the interest of customer service, we contacted Ms. Gilford on October 11, 2016 and offered her a refund for the purchase price of the furniture. Ms. Gilford was happy with this and accepted the resolution.”
– In terms of Boscov’s sale of bonded leather furniture – would the one-year factory warranty have covered the peeling problem (if it wasn’t expired)? Yes, any defects with the leather that are not caused by customer misuse would be covered.
– Also – this is a couch that had problems within two years of use. Have you noticed these trend with bonded leather products? Is it disclosed to customers when it is sold? We have no record of the same conditions reported by Ms. Garza resulting in damage to bonded leather furniture. If there was a known issue, we would not continue to sell the product.
RAYMOUR AND FLANIGAN
“The two customers are individual incidents. There is no trend with this type of product. Any customer that purchases with Raymour & Flanigan should reach out to us directly with any issues or concerns.”
SOFAS AND SECTIONALS
“Bonded leather is great for getting the look and feel of leather, at a lower price point. Any furniture cover that contains a percentage of leather can be marketed as “Bonded Leather”. Bonded Leather consists of a combination of leather, polyurethane, and polyester. The higher the percentage of leather, the higher quality the bonded leather is. By using the word leather it can make shopping difficult for the uninformed customer. When a customer asks us about bonded leather, we make sure that they understand that there is a difference between bonded leather and top grain leather. If the customer will be putting the furniture in a high traffic area and/or especially with pets, we always recommend a treated, top grain leather as it has the best durability. Bonded leather from a respected manufacturer can still be a great choice, but the customer needs to know that they are not purchasing a real leather and it will not wear the same. If a low quality bonded leather is used in high traffic areas, it can start to fail, and can lead to the ugly peeling of the cover, as this is how bonded leather usually fails. Sofas and Sectionals only sells bonded leather to customers who have been fully informed as to the difference between bonded and top grain leather and what they feel will work for their home.”