Sofology said white leather chair stained as we sat on it clothed

In August, I purchased a white recliner armchair from Sofology in Brent Cross.

I paid an extra £200 to have it in leather and another £38 for a leather cleaning kit bringing the total to £1,100.

It was delivered in November and all was well. However, the leather quickly turned a dark colour in the seat area so we complained to Sofology who sent a technician some weeks later.

He said it was transfer from clothing and the cleaning kit would do nothing. He also added the only way to avoid transference was to sit in the chair unclothed.

A Sofology customers recliner chair darkened soon after purchase as dye transferred over

I was told Sofology would replace the piece of leather but this would cost me £171 as it constituted as ‘accidental damage’.

I don’t believe that is a reasonable response. Can you help me get a resolution? M.R., via email

Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: When you were told you would have to pay for the damage to your recliner by Sofology – which has an advert campaign fronted by US actor Owen Wilson, famous for films like Starsky & Hutch – you knew you weren’t going to take this sitting down.

You had purchased the white sofa chair in a Sofology store in August of last year before having it delivered in November.

At first, everything was fine, however, it wasn’t long before the white chair started to turn a dark colour. 


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Initially, after you told Sofology, the firm sent around a technician who, although kind and sympathetic, said the only way to avoid transference of colour was to sit on the seat unclothed or if a white sheet had been placed down first.

Some clothes will transfer colour onto furniture, especially new jeans – but to suggest sitting on it naked or on a sheet seems like quite stretch, as you explained. 

You replied that you and your wife only sat on the chair later in the day and always wore pyjamas that had been washed many times – even though this shouldn’t matter. 

The technician said this made no difference and added the £38 cleaning kit you had been sold by the sofa company would not be able to sort the issue out.

Instead, you were advised the damaged piece of leather could be replaced but at a cost of £171 as it was considered ‘accidental damage’ – something you did not agree with and does seem unfair.

The £171 included £87 for the cost of the seat cover, £15 for the courier and £69 for the technician visit.

Unhappy with this quote, you complained to Sofology saying the chair was not fit for purpose – as the purpose was to sit on it and you could not without it becoming discoloured.

The white recliner chair became discoloured

The white recliner chair became discoloured

Images of the recliner chair from Sofology show the discolouration to the white leather

You added if you had visitors, after the lockdown, would you have to stipulate they could not wear clothes when sitting down?

However, a customer service advisor simply said: ‘It has accidental damage on it the same as if you had spilled a drink on it or torn it. This is not a product fault and we unfortunately cannot warn customers of every possible eventuality.’

You added if you had visitors, after the lockdown, would you have to stipulate they could not wear clothes when sitting down? 

This is when you turned to me for help. I contacted Sofology to see why it thought it was acceptable to suggest to customers they had to sit naked on a chair for it to be fit for purpose.

A Sofology spokesperson said: ‘Sofology policy is to provide care advice depending on the fabric type of the chosen sofa or chair. This includes references to care tips to prevent dye transfer as these incidents that happen in the home are outside of our warranty.

‘There is categorically no mention of the need for white sheets in order to relax on our furniture. 

‘We have arranged for one of our senior technicians to visit this customer’s home to conduct a second investigation into this particular customer’s claim to ensure that there is a fair resolution for all parties.’

Sofology initially said it would charge a customer £171 to replace damaged leather on a chair

Sofology initially said it would charge a customer £171 to replace damaged leather on a chair

A day or so after, it sent around a second technician who had another look at your recliner. 

Fortunately, later that day, it agreed to replace the chair entirely due to the stained fabric, at no cost to yourself.

Getting a new chair has cushioned the blow of the customer service you previously received and you are happy with the result. 

Let’s hope this time you can sit on it without having to worry about stains and you won’t need the help of Wilson’s undercover cop character Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson to investigate.

A Travel Planners customer is waiting for his £6k refund after his trip to Florida was cancelled

A Travel Planners customer is waiting for his £6k refund after his trip to Florida was cancelled

Hit and miss: This week’s naughty and nice list

Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.

Miss: This week, reader Phil got in touch to say he was disappointed with holiday firm, Travel Planners.

He said: ‘In 2019 I booked a family holiday to Florida which included my stepson and his partner getting married out there, paying a total of £5,710.

‘This was to take place in May 2020. The deposit was paid and then in February the balance. However, the holiday was cancelled due to the pandemic.

‘The holiday was rescheduled for October 2020 and a further amount paid due to additional costs. But this holiday was cancelled once again. I asked for a refund as there was no way I could see this holiday ever taking place within the immediate future.

‘I have various emails from Travel Planners stating all third parties had refunded the monies and I would receive the refund within 28 days. It is now nearly 6 months later and still no refund.’

Being nearly £6,000 out of pocket for a holiday that is unlikely to happen in the near future is very frustrating – especially when the firm has promised you a full refund multiple times.

I contacted Travel Planners to find out why it had taken so long to return the promised funds.

The firm told me it was unable to discuss individual bookings.

However, the same day I contacted the firm, you found the money had been returned to your account.

While it is not quite a holiday in Florida, I hope having your funds safely back in your account will put you in a sunny mood.

Hit: In better news, a reader this week praised Naked Wines.

He said: ‘In my last order I chose six bottles of wine but one of the bottles that arrived wasn’t what I had ordered.

‘I called them up and the lady apologised that they couldn’t send out a single bottle of wine as a replacement, but refunded me the entire cost of the bottle – I could keep the one I was sent too – and gave me a £12 credit to buy another bottle of wine.’

No wine-ing here – excellent customer service.

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