Sub-standard sofa row ends in a win, thanks to Streetwise

Fred Bright is missing a sofa
Fred Bright is missing a sofa

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There’s nothing worse than shelling out your hard-earned cash on an expensive item of home furnishing only to discover on delivery it’s faulty.

That’s where Portsmouth reader Fred Bright found himself after ordering a £1,257 suite from the SCS store in Waterlooville.

The disabled 55-year-old told Streetwise he decided to give them a whirl after he’d researched and found that a number of people he’d spoken to rate the national carpet and furnishing chain to be the tops for value and service.

Last April Fred went into the store with his wife and sister-in-law and found a suite that they all agreed would look really nice in their lounge.

They decided to place an order and paid up front, and to their delight the suite turned up a couple of months later.

But their elation soon turned to disappointment when they discovered there was a tear in the seat fabric, and depending where you sat on the settee the corner swivel chair would noticeably dip down and touch the floor.

They went back to the store to complain and within a couple of weeks an SCS inspector came to have a look at it. To Fred’s astonishment he gave the suite a clean bill of health and pronounced that as far as he could see there was nothing wrong with it.

Determined not to be fobbed off he contacted an upholsterer friend, who confirmed it was a ‘Friday’ model precisely because it was damaged and the sofa fabric didn’t remotely begin to match the chair.

Fred was understandably brassed off with his sub-standard suite and revisited the store to have a showdown with the management and request a refund.

‘We tried hard to get them to give us our money back,’ he said, ‘but all they were prepared do was send out an upholsterer to have a look at it. The staff virtually told us to go away.

‘When the SCS guy came out he wasn’t rude or anything like that but he must have known it was damaged as he tried to tell us the tilting chair was normal.

‘He said the suite had to have sufficient give in it or it would break.’

Fred quickly decided the explanation was pushing the bounds of credibility just a bit too far and again insisted he wanted his money back – a request which was adamantly ruled out.

Over the following weeks the war of words between Fred and SCS began to hot up. He wrote, phoned, and called into the store to demand a refund on countless occasions.

His determined stand finally led to another SCS home visit, and although the upholster was more understanding the outcome was still the same – accept a repair or put up and shut up.

Fred decided it was time to get in touch with Streetwise to see if we could bring the long-running row to an end.

We reminded SCS that it wasn’t up to Fred to prove the settee was faulty. That was down to them. As they’d agreed it was and he’d reported the defects within 30 days, he was entitled to his money back if that’s what he wanted.

SCS sales director Keven Royal said: ‘I have now had an opportunity to review the reports carried out on Mr Bright’s furniture.

‘The goods were delivered on the April 11 and Mr Bright raised concerns resulting in an upholsterer’s visit. While the report confirms a number of Mr Bright’s issues were merely the design of the product, there was a minor manufacturing fault on the three-seater, whereby repair was offered.

‘Given Mr Bright’s rejection of repair, we will arrange to contact him direct to discuss collection or re-selection.’

Fred was delighted when a few days later he got a call from the store to take the suite back and organise a refund.

‘I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for us,’ he said.