Grace Gausden helps a reader who is angered by apologies from the company he asked to fix his furniture
The warranty had expired so we were told by the retailer to contact Homeserve Furniture Repair, which we did. After paying £50 they sent a man to inspect and we were offered £570 plus VAT for the repair with 50 per cent prepaid. In mid-January a man came by and collected the cushions and left us the rest of the sofa. The driver said it would be two weeks before they would be returned.
We bought a 3 piece leather suite in 2016 and in the summer of 2021 the 2 seater sofa showed signs of wear on the seat cushion and a hole developed in one seam.
After two weeks I contacted the company and was told it would actually be another three weeks, but again we heard nothing. To make a long story short, we have been repeatedly told longer delivery times with us having been without sofa cushions for over six months now. We are at the end of our tether and have canceled the order but this still puts us in an awkward position. What can we do?
Mr H., by email
Grace says: This has been over half a year of back and forth, so I totally understand your frustration. The cushions were repaired by Homeserve Repairs with another furniture brand, Parker Knoll, who actually completed the work — or should have.
When initially told it would be two weeks, you accepted that was a reasonable amount of time and felt the same way when told five weeks, although annoyed that you had to contact them directly after not finding any correspondence had .
They had to pursue them again after five weeks and were told that the footage received from Parker Knoll was substandard and they could not use it. Instead, the company said it would take 12 more weeks, which they were trading down to 9, although it was still far too long.
Parker Knoll said they can’t go into detail due to privacy concerns, but they keep Homeserve informed with regular order updates. However, Homeserve denied that this ever happened. At the end of April they were told that the material was due within 10 days and delivery would be in the first or second week of May. That didn’t happen.
In mid-May, Parker Knoll said Homeserve had failed them badly, never responded to their contact and added they had no idea when they would receive the material. They submitted a written complaint and gave them a deadline by which to expect the repaired cushions or a replacement sofa of the right specifications and a refund of the £324.
The deadline is mid-July and while you’ve received a lengthy apology, you still haven’t had any pillows, a replacement sofa, or a refund. Finally, after you and I contacted Homeserve to find out what was going on, they apologized and said they would have the sofa fixed no later than your deadline.
It added that once the customization is complete, it will refund any monies paid for your order, so it will be customized for free and give you £50 in compensation.
While this is in some ways a good result, you are now concerned that your mid-July deadline is still not being met.
In this case, and for other people in similar circumstances, I would recommend trying to recover your money under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which gives you the ability to recover money through your bank should you suffer from a breach of contract or misrepresentation when making a purchase of goods. The goods or services you have purchased must have cost over £100 and no more than £30,000.
Luckily there is no time limit but there is a six year statute of limitations so it is advisable to file the claim sooner rather than later. There are other steps you can take to resolve your issue, including using “alternative dispute resolution,” which is a way to resolve disagreements without going to court.
Although going to court is always an option, it is a lengthy and expensive process with no guarantee of good results. A Parker Knoll spokesman said: “All of our customers are extremely important to us here at Parker Knoll and we apologize for any inconvenience caused to Mr H.
Our senior management team works directly with our contractor, Homeserve, to ensure the customer receives their pillows as quickly as possible.” I reached out to Homeserve for comment but have not received a response.
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