Hundreds of consumers have sent in complaints to NBC stations across the country and now the nationwide problem has made its way to North Texas.
Cleaning up after their furniture was not exactly a routine North Texas couple Carolyn and Joe Latour expected when they bought a matching couch and love seat from Ashley Furniture Homestore.
“Mornings I sweep up the couch because there’s pieces of it laying on the floor,” Carolyn said.
The Latours only had the furniture for five years, and it’s not the investment they’d hoped for. They spent more than $1,400 on the set, they say it started bubbling and then peeling away two years in.
“At our age we thought it would take us through the rest of our life,” Joe said.
The furniture is made of bonded leather, but it’s actually called Durablend. The material is made of 57 percent polyurethane, 26 percent poly/cotton and 17 percent leather.
It’s causing major problems across the nation. Consumers in Chicago, San Diego, Philadelphia and New York all have similar stories. And now it’s arrived in North Texas.
The Leather Industries of America Trade Group accuses some retailers of misleading consumers by not disclosing that bonded leather is not real leather, and that it is made up of leather scraps, fiber and plastic bonding material. The industry group says it all comes from China and is subject to few U.S. Rules.
This couple paid $149 for a five year warranty, but says the problem keeps getting swept under the rug.
“They came out and did replace the material. Three times on this corner, once on the other side and once over on the love seat,” Joe said. “It just kept happening and kept happening.”
In the same places, crumbling before their eyes.
“Obviously, they replaced it with more inferior material,” Joe said.
An Ashley Furniture official told NBC 5 Responds in part:
“We continuously seek to improve our products, and Durablend® is no exception….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.”
The company then reached out the Latours.
“They called and said you’re getting a full credit for what you purchased your couch and love seat for, minus the taxes,” Carolyn said.
A store credit worth more than $1,300.
Ashley is not the only furniture store selling products made with bonded leather, and it’s not the only company getting calls about peeling products. Federal guidelines say bonded leather items must disclose the percentage of leather and non-leather materials used. Consumers should check the label before buying their next piece of furniture.