What should Jackie Easley do about her new furniture? The reclining love seat, which she bought after her wedding, smells.
It smells so bad, she can’t use it.
She wants a refund. Can this furniture purchase be saved?
Here are a few details: Easley purchased a La-Z-Boy reclining love seat from one of the company’s stores in Milford, Conn.
“The sofa looks beautiful,” she says. “However, there is an irritating smell being emitted from it. Both my husband and I can’t sit on it or be in the room with it without having eye, throat, nose and lung irritation.”
She asked La-Z-Boy to take the $1,333 sofa back. It refused.
Easley checked the terms of her purchase on her receipt. It didn’t address malodorous returns.
Actually, La-Z-Boy has a return policy. But it doesn’t specifically address smells.
Easley tried to work this out with La-Z-Boy.
The representative who came to the house reported a “new product smell,” not a toxic chemical smell.
The store says some people are more sensitive and it might take a long time to dissipate. They claim it is either the polyurethane cushions or the glue used in the particle board.
However, they claim there is no formaldehyde or any other toxic chemical. They can’t provide me with documentation of all materials and chemicals in the product.
They said, if it gets to a point where you need medical attention, move it to another room. Everyone is different.
They initially said the smell will dissipate in one week. It’s been three weeks.
Only, this time, I’m not sure if this is customer who is just a little sensitive or if the sofa is, indeed, toxic. Our advocacy team asked La-Z-Boy about the smell problem and here’s what it had to say:
Our records show that we did have a technician visit the home in April and reported that the odor was a new product smell (sort of when you get a brand new car).
It does dissipate and we did encourage her to air the room out a bit to help if she was more sensitive. The style and fabric line have been in our product line since 2008 and we haven’t had any issues. In addition, they did not purchase our fabric protection, so there was nothing sprayed on the unit.
In regards to our return policy, I am attaching documentation that includes information on custom orders and was also signed by the customer. La-Z-Boy has a 90 year heritage of product quality products and because we haven’t identified any defects with the unit, we do stand behind our policy.
Maybe there’s a lesson here for all of us. Before you buy something, give it a good sniff. If you feel a little light-headed, skip it. (This obviously doesn’t work if you’re ordering from a catalog.) But you can do a little due diligence online and find plenty of warnings about furniture and smells.
Once furniture leaves the warehouse and is delivered to a home, it loses much of its value. So La-Z-Boy will almost certainly lose money on this transaction if it lets this couple return its purchase. On the other hand, is it fair for the Easleys to keep this foul-smelling loveseat in their living room?