We have had a frustrating and just plain awful experience trying to buy furniture from La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Silverdale.
We ordered our furniture on Dec 1, 2007. While we ordered it in one of the available fabrics for the furniture, it wasn’t the standard color, so they jacked the price up and called it a special order. Understand that La-Z-Boy (and all local vendors) keeps no furniture in stock locally, and all furniture has to be ordered. In fact, the standard fabrics were backordered and we were advised they were not readily available, so, voila… ‘special order’. I stupidly agreed to this, because I wanted it in that color, even though it made no sense and seemed like bait and switch.
La-Z-Boy wanted all their money up front. Uh, I don’t think so! We agreed on half at purchase and half upon delivery.
Estimated delivery time on our ticket was 6-8 weeks, with a clause saying “special orders may take a little more time”.
At the end of January, we called our salesperson to request a status. The furniture was ‘still awaiting production’ but she reminded me of that ‘little longer’ clause.
As a tangential comparison note, we ordered the MINI on Dec 24. We received immediate online updates from the factory and shipping organization, as well as regular updates from the dealership. It was custom-built from scratch for us and shipped to San Francisco on a car carrier via the Panama canal. It was available for pickup on Feb 20 – in eight weeks.
I called La-Z-Boy again at the end of February, after we’d picked up our MINI. The clerk answering the phone indicated that she wouldn’t be able to schedule for delivery until March 6. Hold on a minute… you mean it had arrived? No, but it should arrive the next week and they’d deliver on March 6. Got to love their follow-through.
Yesterday, March 4, their delivery coordinator called me and told me that we still had a balance owing on the furniture and they would not deliver until it was paid in full.
I asked to speak to a manager, explaining that we we were very unhappy with the delivery time frame, and per the original agreement with the manager, did not intend to pay for the furniture until it was delivered. The delivery coordinator gave me a number for the manager; the receptionist at that number transferred me directly back to the coordinator again, who indicated she’d talk to the manager and call me back. I did not receive a call.
I called again this morning, only to find that the coordinator was out today and tomorrow. I finally was transferred to the store manager.
I explained the situation to the manager, and he indicated that he would never have made such a deal, that all furniture must be paid for before delivery. At this point, I got pretty cranky. I explained that we were NOT going to pay before delivery, because given the present horrible delivery experience we did not trust them to deliver on time or at all. Given the frequency & severity of BBB and Consumer Affairs delivery and quality complaints, we also wanted to inspect the furniture before accepting and providing payment. I feel those are reasonable requests.
The manager said no deal. In fact, since the order was a ‘special order’, he added that they would not be refunding the initial amount paid if we refused the order.
At that point the call fell apart. We were at an impasse – they were not going to deliver until we paid, and we were not going to pay until they delivered. I raised my voice a bit at that point… told him that we’d be disputing the initial credit card charge, filing BBB and Consumer Affairs complaints, and taking them to court for the initial payment. I also mentioned that my husband is an attorney and well qualified to address issues related to contract law. I believe, somewhere during the course of the rapidly disintegrating conversation, I called them a ‘freaking shady organization’. I also hung up on him with undue force.
It’s a lot of money to risk on principle – the principle of “no payment until delivery of an acceptable product”. I was questioning my own judgment in holding that line until I started researching La-Z-Boy in the BBB and Consumer Affairs databases. After reading the complaints – about broken delivery promises, perpetually delayed delivery, damaged or substandard items, and the near-impossibility of getting any kind of repair or replacement, I’m very sure that this is the right course of action.
I just wish I’d done the complaint research before ordering. Silly me, I assumed that a well-regarded national brand name would do business in a reputable and straightforward manner. It’s an expensive and high-blood-pressure inducing lesson.
Bryan spoke with the store manager a couple of times this morning. The manager’s first statement was an apology. Hey, there’s a concept!
They agreed to the following:
- deliver to the store first, for our inspection & acceptance prior to payment
- 5% discount on the furniture pieces, plus a waiver of the delivery fee
- a written apology
We felt this was adequate, and accepted it. The smug husband is a good attorney, I’d hire him again anytime.