Buyer Beware: La-Z-Boy

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.

Update 5/5/08

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. ;)

12 Responses to “Buyer Beware: La-Z-Boy”

  1. Michelle K Says:

    GO KICK BUTT AND TAKE NAMES!

  2. Tom Says:

    I think you’re right to do what you’re doing. The brand isn’t what it used to be. I also remember something about Ethan Allen furniture. It was excellent when I was growing up, but it was sold, and isn’t near what it used to be.

    Don’t let them intimidate you. Disputing the CC charge should be good help. The CC companies will stand behind you, as far as I know.

  3. MWT Says:

    *echoes Michelle*

    Sounds similar to a fight I recently had with some health insurance. Basically I was silly enough to try to get a blood test done while the insurance company was bickering with the lab, resulting in the lab going out of network without telling anyone, me being sent to a rival lab, and then somehow all the paperwork coming back as if the first lab had done it – with a hefty bill because they were out of network. I was so not going to pay that $94 they claimed I owed. -.-

  4. Janiece Says:

    Go, Jeri! Go Smug Lawyer!

    Businesses treat consumers like crap because we let them.

  5. Rebecca Says:

    I cannot believe the way that they treated you. I think that you did good, but trust me, I would not be doing business with them. And we have been thinking of new livingroom furniture. Crappy service from retail? In this economy? No way.

  6. Brian Says:

    Several months ago I communicated with Bryan and Jeri about my little episode with the Silverdale La-Z-Boy store. To make a long story short…

    I run a local delivery company. A manager at La-Z-Boy asked me to pick up a sectional at the La-Z-Boy warehouse in Kent and deliver it to the Silverdale store. A customer was threatening to cancel his order after his delivery date kept getting extended. The job was to bring the furniture from Kent to Silverdale, where the customer would pick it up himself.

    Did the job on 4 January, filed an invoice, and waited thirty days. Ummmm…I guess the invoice has been lost the manager told me. Okay, I submitted another. Still no payment. Tried to speak with the manager(s) at Silverdale but was met with lies, excuses, and no results. Tried to speak with their bookkeeper in Kent. Not one of my approximately 15 phone calls were returned.

    These people are sleazy. I asked one receptionist for the franchise owner’s name. She wouldn’t give me any information and stated “I’ve worked here for three years and I don’t even know who I work for.” I was told the checks in the mail. Then the guy who can sign checks isn’t available. The next excuse was we’re going to pay the invoice but for a lessor amount. Then it was that my invoice needed to be approved. Yea? By whom for goodness sake!! Eventually, I was reported to the Kitsap Sheriff’s Office for trespassing by being in the store trying to collect on my invoice.

    I eventually filed a small claims suit in Kitsap County. We went to court on June 26th and I was awarded the initial invoice amount and court costs. I finally received a check a week or so ago, six months after the delivery.

    The personnel at the Silverdale La-Z-Boy and their warehouse in Kent are the most dishonest people I’ve come in contact with in five years of operating my delivery business. Bar none.

  7. Jeri Says:

    I’m really glad you finally got awarded your invoice & costs – but gosh, what a painful experience for you, in both lost time and expense! I will never do business with them again, and neither will anyone in our families.

  8. Ed Says:

    It is a shame that there is so much negativity about la-z-boy. I would highly recommend that the consumer work with with a corporate store rather than a franchise. I worked for La-z-boy for over 20 years and I am shocked at the complaints. As a store manager I have experienced a few legitamate complaints,which were resolved in a timely manner, but I have to say alot of problems are caused by the consumer. I had a customer complain about scratches on a sofa only to visit her home and find out she had 4 cats and the sofa was covered in cat hair. So don’t believe all that you read.

  9. Jeri Says:

    Ed, my post is not based on what I’ve read. It’s what happened to me, personally, my first hand experience. I have store receipts and delivery invoices with the relevant dates on them to back it up. And as a side note – the store manager never did write that promised letter of apology.

    The furniture has been here for six months now. It’s ok – the reclining mechanisms are not very well adjusted – but we’re living with that rather than dealing with the store ever again.

  10. Steve Says:

    I only own lazboy and very happy with lazboy, I had what they call a kick-out because somebody there wasnt doing their homework, but things can happen. I was mad at first but the manager gave me $200 back and Free delivery when I was going to pick-up the furniture, anyways it took 10 weeks instead of 8, big deal! i’m glad it happened, I paid less then I planned, also they still make the best furniture, I also know there are a lot a stuck up people out there, that are used to getting everything their way! so they forget major details to make a situation sound even worse, I will always recommend Lazboy!

  11. Nicole Says:

    My la-z-boy recliner has an unknown substance on the fabric that gave me a rash and possibly killed my cat.
    Has anyone here had any skin or eye problems since purchasing from la-z-boy?
    Please contact me:
    ramtuff007@yahoo.com

  12. Tom Says:

    First of all the post before mine is halarious(please read). Second of all “This is furniture” is it really that serious. I can understand if it was food, a vehicle, or maybe a house but its furniture. You really need to find a hobby.