Frustrated Sofology customers are taking the firm to task over ‘poor-quality’ products and sub-standard service.
Several people who have used the furniture firm told This is Money that their sofas soon developed marks and other damage – but that the firm refused to help unless they stumped up hundreds of pounds.
The consumers got in touch after This is Money revealed one readers exasperation after he was bizarrely told he should have sat on his chair unclothed or with a white sheet.
Sofology is facing complaints from customers who have criticised the quality of their sofas
One reader, Steve, said a large white mark appeared on his burgundy sofa that cost nearly £3,000.
According to Steve, Sofology said it was ‘accidental damage’ and so wouldn’t be covered by their guarantee.
He added: ‘They even explicitly said that if it had happened outside the house, their response might have been different but I don’t tend to keep my sofas outside in the garden or take them for walks.’
At the time Steve observed the damage, he had been reclining on it, wearing a pair of chino trousers with a fabric belt.
He said that there were no metal parts or external labels on the trousers or belt – yet the surface had still been damaged.
He contacted Sofology who sent a technician to do a ‘rub test,’ which involved rubbing a cloth with some fluid over an unaffected area for 30 seconds to see if the cloth stained, which it didn’t.
Then, Steve said the company told him he would have to spend £200 to get the seating area replaced.
A Sofology spokesperson replied: ‘Sofology always looks at any issues raised very seriously and on an individual basis.
‘In this instance the customer stated that his complaint was caused by accidental damage with a cloth belt in a localised area, which was later confirmed via Homeserve, an independent party, on a home visit.
‘Our warranty cover consists of 20 years for structural damage and a two-year guarantee for fabric, leather and any component parts.
‘This type of accidental damage is not covered by our warranty; it would be a chargeable replacement, as per our terms and conditions.’
It added there was no implication made of any outcome being different if the sofa was used by the customer outside of the home.
Both Steve’s Sofology sofa (left) and Kelly’s (right) have large obvious marks on the fabric
Steve has now been referred to the Furniture Ombudsman should he wish to take his complaint further.
Another customer, Kelly, had a similar issue with her corner sofa that she bought from Sofology about 18 months ago.
She said: ‘After about nine months the leather started to wear. I was told that Sofology would resurface the leather but at my expense.
‘I am not keen to do this, as it would be the second time we have had it done and clearly it does not work.’
In response to this, a Sofology spokesperson said: ‘It is our policy to provide care advice at the time of purchase depending on the fabric type of the chosen sofa or chair. Our visits and evidence indicate the erosion is a cause of incorrect care.
‘We are in contact with the customer to ensure that a fair resolution is reached for all parties.’
Kelly said Sofology has now contacted her to say she should have been offered to have her sofa re-covered at its expense.
In both circumstances, the sofa company initially asked the customer to pay out for repair, deeming both incidents to be ‘accidental damage’ despite the wearing away of fabric happening after a short amount of time – and within the guarantee period.
Others have noted similar experiences. Another customer, Sue, told This is Money she bought a sofa from Sofology last November, but noticed in February that one of the legs had chipped.
She said she asked if the leg could be replaced under guarantee, but was told it could not as it was ‘wear and tear’.
Another reader, Geoff, said he bought sofas worth £2,300 from the company including a four-seater that recently broke in the middle.
Again, he was told this was accidental damage and could only be repaired at cost.
Other disgruntled customers have taken to social media to share their poor experiences.
This Twitter user said he had multiple problems with a chair he bought from Sofology
Another customer said she had been waiting a year for a new cushion seat cover
This Sofology customer said all of the feet of a three-piece suite had broken in two years
How can I get my money back?
Under the Consumer Rights Act, customers who are sold items that are not fit for purpose, as described or of a satisfactory quality should be able to get a refund or a return.
However, those looking to reject their goods under this act only have 30 days to do so.
If you are outside the 30 day right to reject, you have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace any goods which are not as they should be.
If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product, according to Which?
You have a further right to receive a refund of up to 100 per cent of the price you paid, or to reject the goods for a full refund, if a repair or replacement is not possible; the attempt at repair fails; or the first replacement also turns out to be defective.
If a retailer refuses to help, you can contact Trading Standards or the consumer Ombudsman.
It is also possible to take a claim to court, but this should be a last resort as it can be costly and time-consuming.
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