AUSTIN, Texas — Better Business Bureau advises consumers to do their research before purchasing furniture online.
BBB has received more than 2,600 complaints nationwide about retail furniture stores so far in 2013. Common consumer complaints allege furniture was not as advertised, not delivered in a timely manner or arrived with damage.
Consumers also allege customer service issues including refusal to repair damage, unsatisfactory repairs and problems with installation.
Austin resident Maher Alhakim found what he thought was a nice faux marble dining set on an online retail website. He said he received a much lower-quality version that did not match the advertisement.
“I ordered the item from the company,” he said. “They claim it is artificial marble or some other name that sounds like the same product. It turned out to be a peel and stick image of marble. You can scratch it by hand.”
Alhakim said he returned the furniture and received a refund, but had to pay half of the dining set’s total cost as a shipping fee. He said he is still unhappy with the company, which he claimed misled him about the furniture he ordered.
“The images and description do not match the product,” he said. “I bought the product in good faith.”
Corpus Christi resident Rae Kane purchased a new leather sofa online. She said the sofa arrived several months late and was damaged during shipping. The company agreed to repair the damage, but she said the repairs were not satisfactory and the tears were still visible.
“They sent someone to patch it,but who wants patched, new furniture?” Kane said. “There were four spots in the back that were torn in shipping.“
She said she called the company on numerous occasions, requesting a new sofa, but has not received a response.
“They always say they are going to get back to you, but you never hear from them,” she said. “You can’t get anywhere with them. I’ve never had customer service this bad. All they have to do is replace the sofa.”
When shopping for furniture online, BBB offers the following tips:
- Do your research. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before making a purchase to see its BBB rating, complaint history and more.
- Read the fine print. Many stores offer discounts or give-a-ways with purchase, but make sure you know the terms of any deals, as well as the company’s refund policies and warranties before committing to a purchase.
- Get it in writing. Ask about the company’s return policy and who to contact if your merchandise is delivered late or damaged. Make sure those details, any guarantees and the delivery date are in the paperwork.
- Understand the terms of financing. When possible, pay in full with a credit card that offers purchase protections. If the store offers a special financing deal or you decide to finance for other reasons, read the contract carefully. Know how long special interest rates last, what happens if you miss a payment and what to do if you are unhappy with the purchase once it arrives.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
About Better BusinessBureau:
BBB's mission is to be theleader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission bycreating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards formarketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebratingmarketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBBAccreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's highstandards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turnto for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.
Contact BBB servingCentral, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.