Consumer Publications List
Buying Furniture and
The furniture was supposed to be delivered a month ago, and they still can't
give me a delivery date.”“ My bedroom set arrived with chips in the
headboard and the nightstand is missing.”“ The sectional sofa was too big
for our living room. We returned it immediately, but the store would only refund
75% of the price.”
Purchases of furniture and
mattresses frequently generate consumer complaints. Common complaints are that
the items are not delivered when promised, are not what was ordered, or are
defective or damaged. Other complaints involve difficulties in getting a refund
when consumers have decided they don't like an item after all or it doesn't fit
in the home. Sometimes furniture stores go out of business, leaving customers
without the merchandise they ordered and unable to get their money back.
you do to try to avoid problems with a furniture purchase, or to deal with
problems that have occurred?
StorePay the smallest deposit acceptable. If you are ordering
furniture and paying in full is not required, put only a small deposit down.
That way, less of your money is at risk if the store should go out of business.
Paying the deposit by credit card also gives you some protection.
out the return policy. Under what circumstances are refunds given, and is the
total amount refunded? Refunds may be given in store credit only. Furniture
stores often charge a “re-stocking fee” (which can be as much as 20 to 25
percent of the item's price) for items that are returned due to the consumer's
change of heart. Also, many stores do not take returns of custom-made furniture,
as when you order a sofa in a special fabric–so be sure you can live with your
about financing offers carefully. “0% financing/no payments for a year” type
offers are only a good deal if you are absolutely certain you will be able to
pay off the total amount before the year is up. If you don't, you are usually
charged interest that is applied retroactively from the day of the
estimated delivery date in writing (if you are not taking the furniture home
upon purchase). What happens if the store estimates six to eight weeks for
delivery, but 12 weeks go by with no furniture?
Maryland law, if a dealer fails to give you an estimated delivery date, or if it
fails to deliver your item within two weeks of the latest estimated delivery
date, you have the right to:
these provisions don't apply if the delay in delivery is caused by a work
stoppage, an “act of God,” or a failure of the manufacturer to deliver the item
to the dealer. In these cases, the dealer must promptly inform you of the delay
and give you written notice of a new estimated delivery date.
for DeliveryWhen your furniture is ready, the store will arrange a
delivery date with you. You may be given a window of a few hours in which to
expect the delivery, or you may have to wait at home the entire day. If you are
not home when the delivery truck arrives, you may be charged a “missed delivery”
fee. There may also be extra delivery charges for flights of stairs, so be sure
to ask ahead of time if this will be a factor. Also ask if the delivery team
will assemble or set up the furniture for you.
the MerchandiseDon't sign for acceptance of the delivery until you
have made sure that all the items are there and you have inspected them. If an
item is not what you ordered, is defective or has been damaged, don't sign the
acceptance. Refuse delivery and call the store to let them know that you have
done this and why.
The delivery person
may urge you to accept the item, saying that the store will send someone to
repair the item in your home, or will send someone later to pick it up. If the
damage is minor you may want to do this, but be sure to note the damage on the
acceptance sheet. If the item is seriously damaged or defective it may be better
to refuse to accept delivery, because you may wait weeks or months for the
Some consumers have
complained that the mattress that was delivered to them did not look like the
one at the store. If you have any doubts, lie on the mattress to see if you are
happy with it–but don't remove the plastic covering until you are sure you want
to accept it. The store will be more likely to accept it as a return if it is
still in the plastic.
after DeliveryWhat if you didn't notice a stain, dent or missing
handle until the delivery truck drove away, or even a day or two later? Report
it to the store promptly, to avoid any controversy about when the damage
For defects that
show up later: Your furniture may have come with a manufacturer's warranty. For
example, it may warrant the frame and springs of a sofa for two years from date
of purchase, under normal household use. However, even if the manufacturer
didn't offer an explicit warranty, all goods purchased in Maryland are covered
by an “implied warranty” that they will perform for a reasonable period. A chair
should not fall apart within a month, for example. You can ask the store from
which you bought the furniture for a refund or replacement under the implied
Floor models and
closeout items are often sold on as "as is, all sales final" basis. That means
you are accepting the visible condition and any disclosed defects. However,
hidden defects are still covered by the implied warranty.
If you are not
successful in getting satisfaction from the store, you may file a complaint with
the Consumer Protection Division, which may be able to resolve the dispute
Maryland Attorney General's Consumer Protection
DivisionConsumer hotline: (410) 528-8662 or 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TDD: 410-576-6372