Chain reaction of events lead to longer than ever wait times for furniture, mattresses

Customers, furniture stores both express frustration
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Posted at 7:58 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 09:32:57-04

CLEVELAND — Unprecedented demand coupled with COVID-related issues have led to furniture delivery times stretching out upwards of six months, sometimes longer — and customers are getting frustrated with the long waits.

We put out a call on our News 5 Facebook page to see what your experiences have been and received hundreds of responses on Facebook and by email.

Furniture stores locally and nationally are saying it’s been frustrating for them, too.

Kelly Williams, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, said one furniture took her money quickly, but she has nothing to show for it.

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Customers upset over furniture delivery delays.

Back in December, she and her daughter Katherine decided to get a Christmas gift for themselves — new living room furniture.

They picked out a loveseat and oversized chair from Ashley Furniture and were told it would take about 6 to 12 weeks for delivery.

Well, 12 weeks came and went without an update.

“Fast forward now 17 weeks out, hey what is going on? We paid for the furniture in full, it was $2,000, what is going on?” Katherine said. After calling, they said they were told: “Well, I don’t know, it’s COVID, ya know, we’re all delayed, probably going to be end of May before you get anything.”

Now, the family has been told it’ll be closer to July before their furniture is delivered — about 7 months since they ordered and paid for it.

“We disposed of our furniture, we donated it to another family who needed it so now there’s no furniture in the home,” Kelly said. The family said they're most frustrated with the lack of accountability and communication.

We reached out to Ashley Furniture and were told they would contact the Williams directly to make this right.

They also said they’ve started a process to update waiting customers every two weeks. In the interim, customers can contact them via phone or text message at (716) 296-4334. They also have instituted a policy that allows customers to cancel their order and receive a full refund without any penalties or fees, for undelivered orders.

But check with most furniture stores and you’ll see the same thing — long delays and shipping times stemming from COVID.

“It’s kind of kicked off a chain reaction of events,” said Matthew Schultz, co-CEO of Levin Furniture.

“What happened was, they didn’t have enough workers at a lot of the factories and didn’t anticipate a sometimes 40 to 50 percent increase in demand,” Schultz explained.

Increased demand, plus truck driver shortages, shipping docks and ports being packed, supply chain logistics issues, and storms in Texas and the southeast impacting factories that make a chemical needed in sofas and mattresses — well, it’s all caused longer than ever lead times.

We asked Schultz how they’re dealing with customer frustrations for folks who ordered last year who are still waiting?

“That’s a challenge and we apologize to our customers that haven’t received their furniture or are waiting longer than normal,” he said. “We’re trying to stay in touch, constant communication, and give updates that when furniture will arrive and ensure once they do get the furniture that they’re happy.”

Levin’s said they’ve been ordering more stock over the last six months and are now seeing those pieces come into their warehouses, so there are options you can take home today or within a week.

"So you just kind of have to balance between the two - how quickly do you want it for your home or are you willing to wait longer for something that’s perfect for your house?" Schultz said.

Schultz said he expects things to be back to normal hopefully by November or December.

We also spoke to Wayside Furniture in Akron, who say in normal times, most furniture usually had about a 4 to 10 week lead time.

Now, most is up to 3 to 6 months, with some even out six to ten months.

They’re encouraging folks to consider compromising and getting items they do have in stock for quicker delivery, or using their free furniture loan program while they wait for that perfect piece.

“Remember that most people keep bedrooms and dining rooms a lifetime, so even if you wait six months it may be worth it. Most upholstery is kept 5-15 years, so again maybe waiting a little bit up front will be worth it. Wayside is one of the biggest single, independent furniture stores in the country. We are getting a pretty good product flow from our vendors because we have a huge warehouse and ability to order deep and started to do it in February 2020 and never stopped; most of what we show on our floor is in stock and can be picked up the same day,” according to John Ferrato, owner of Wayside.