Consumer feature: Relief as ScS in Waterlooville makes amends for bad service over new furniture

The SCS store at the Gallagher retail park in Waterlooville ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160120-6364)
The SCS store at the Gallagher retail park in Waterlooville ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160120-6364)

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Tina Place thought she’d made the right choice when she ordered her dream lounge furniture from sofa specialists ScS, but was left sitting around for a year trying to get defects with it sorted.

The family moved into their new Portsmouth home in October 2014.

It needed quite a bit of work done to bring it up to scratch so in the meantime they decided to shop around for replacement furniture.

At first Tina couldn’t find what they were looking for, but while window shopping in Waterlooville, ventured into the ScS store and was impressed by the comfort of a suite from the La-Z-Boy range.

ScS has almost 100 stores nationwide.

Its brand name stands for Sofa Carpet Specialists so the 53-year-old teaching assistant had no qualms about forking out more than £2,200 in cash for a two-seater recliner and settee.

She was confident she could rely on its promise of first-class service and the best experience possible. But little did she know her expectations about the product and the service was to count for nothing.

Tina explained: ‘We told them we were renovating the house and could we leave it as long as possible to deliver the three-piece suite, which eventually turned up at the end of October.

‘As we were nowhere near ready to sit on it, it was stored in the front room until December.

‘We never looked at it until the whole house was finished when I ended up with pneumonia. But lying on what should have been a really comfortable La-Z-Boy suite it promptly sank in the middle.’

After her husband examined the rest of the furniture he discovered that the recliner wasn’t much better either.

It rocked uncontrollably, leaned to the right, and had so many defects it was virtually unusable.

But a furious Tina was to discover that was only the start of their problems. She rang the firm countless times to complain but found herself on a merry-go-round. Calls were not returned and her patience was tested to its limits ringing back to try to get a technician organised to fix the faults.

Incredibly it wasn’t until the following March, some three months later and only after Tina finally lost her rag, a firm’s ‘engineer’ finally turned up and attempted to rectify the defects.

Two visits later after he tried re-stuffing the suite, and tightening bolts, ScS had to admit he couldn’t fix the faulty furniture.

Relations between a cheesed-off Tina and the firm’s Waterlooville store nose-dived even further when she insisted on a refund.

Despite being legally entitled to it ScS adamantly refused to budge and would only consider replacement furniture to the value of the original order.

Once again she was left in limbo. Now into October and after 15 abortive visits to the store to try to choose alternatives, she finally agreed to settle for a corner unit, recliner chair, and a dining room suite. Delivery was scheduled for four to five weeks.

Tina also explained that in the meantime replacement windows had been fitted to her home but obtained an assurance that getting the original faulty furniture out wouldn’t be a problem because it could be dismantled.

Six weeks later the replacement furniture still hadn’t been delivered, so once again Tina was back on the phone asking for answers. She says she was abruptly told that delivery would be sometime before Christmas.

After waiting a few days she went to the store, only to uncover another staff blunder. The dining room suite hadn’t been ordered.

Yet another promise was made to deliver everything by the December 14. Five days later than promised the delivery men turned up and were unable to off-load the replacements because they hadn’t been provided with tools to dismantle the original defective furniture.

At breaking point and as a last resort, Tina decided to email Streetwise for help.

We forwarded her plea to top management and the issues were soon brought to a conclusion.

A ScS director apologised profusely. He agreed with her that inexplicably she had been put through an experience with the company that had violated all its business ethics.

She should have received an immediate refund and he gave her an assurance he would deal with everything until she was completely satisfied. To make amends he promptly made an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Tina could keep the furniture she’d ordered, and ScS would cover the re-delivery and dismantling costs. He also offered to write off £111 outstanding on the dining room suite, and pop a compensation cheque for £250 in the post.

Tina was delighted the year-long bickering and frustrating ordeal with the firm was finally over.

She said: ‘His apology was sincere, and restored my faith in humanity. Thank you.’