TWINSBURG, Ohio — Elise Lohr and Greg Safarz of Twinsburg purchased what they thought would be the perfect sectional couch for their home, but said several months of furniture delivery delays have left them with nothing but furniture frustrations.
Lohr told News 5 the couple paid more than $2,300 in advance for the sectional back in early February and said they were told by the sales representative at the store their furniture would be ready for delivery in less than a month.
“I am so upset, I fell in love with this sectional," Lohr said “I was like beyond happy, I was so excited.”
“Now after all this time I’m devastated that I’m not, probably not going to have this sectional. She told us we would have our furniture in three weeks, by the end of February. My family has nowhere to sit, trying to watch TV or watch movies, my kids have to go down the basement if they want to sit somewhere. We haven’t had anybody over to entertain, because we don’t have anywhere to sit, so the whole thing has just been disheartening.”
“And every time we called the store it was different excuse, 'we’re getting delivery trucks, oh wait a minute, I haven’t heard from my delivery person, oh well we’re getting a delivery truck next week, oh wait a minute, I don’t know what’s going on.'”
Safarz told News 5 he and Elise kept holding out, hoping the furniture would finally be delivered, and said when he finally asked the store for a refund in June, he was hit with a 25% restocking fee that totaled nearly $600.
The sales representative said, "If your furniture is not on this truck in June, we’ll process a refund, even then there was no mention of the 25%,” Safarz said.
News 5 has chosen not to name the furniture store involved in the delivery delays as yet, after the company agreed to further work with Elise and Greg in the search for a solution. News 5 will follow-up on this developing story.
Ericka Dilworth, Cleveland Better Business Bureau Director of Operations, told News 5 consumers should shy away from buying special order furniture until COVID-19-related supply chain issues further subside.
Dilworth said consumers should get all delivery and purchase terms in writing on their purchase invoice before handing out any money, and said consumers should use a credit card, and not their debit card or cash to make the purchase. Dilworth said a credit card will give consumers more refund and purchase dispute options if they experience long term delivery delays.
Dilworth added consumers also need to lower their delivery expectations, because the vast majority of furniture outlets are at the mercy of second and third party suppliers and have no control over fulfillment and inventory issues in most cases.
“We have to keep in mind that the businesses are struggling and consumers are frustrated and there’s no perfect answer for this question," Dilworth said. "We need to understand both sides of the equation, and to work with both parties, so the business is happy and the consumer is happy.”
“Folks can not find enough staff and so that is further causing delay today. 2020 and 2021 have been like nothing we’ve seen.”
“Pay with your credit card, because you do have some additional protection if you pay with your credit card, not your debit card, but your credit card. Make sure you get the details of your transaction, what is important to you in writing. If the furniture store is promising that you’ll have it in two weeks, make sure that that is on the contract. Make sure it clearly spells out what will happen if you don’t get it in two weeks. Don’t just rely on the sales persons word.”
Meanwhile, Safarz had some advice for consumers who are on the market for new furniture this summer.
“My advice is buy it if you can sit on it, if you can’t sit on it, don’t buy it." Safarz said. "If you can’t touch what you’re getting and what they’re going to deliver into your house, don’t buy it.”