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31 October 2001

Some 7 years ago we purchased a suite from DFS (then Northern Upholstery), and after less than a 18 months the suite material split and the stuffing began to fall out. I took one of the cushions back to the Hull store, and basically they were simply not interested.

Cutting a long, long story short, after contacting head office (who also were not interested) I entered into litigation. Eventually, litigation forced a settlement, whereupon I was able to choose another suite for a similar amount, LESS an amount for three years wear and tear on the original suite. Why three years? because it took me another 18 months to force the situation (which cost me some £600).

However, I did learn an awful of stuff, which you are NEVER told by DFS, so my personal advice is.

1. DFS have sales every day of every year, the hypothetical prices or invented prices are reduced, giving the illusion of a bargain. Generally you pay for what you get, but I question this ethic with DFS.

2. The salespeople, generally are 'sales target' driven and do not seem to care about the customer - there primary aim is to sell, not to satisfy.

3. In the event of a dispute you are requested to arbitrate via 'Qualitas' purported to be the 'watchdog' of the upholstery world - again i would question their independence, as they are funded by the very people who sell the furniture !

4. It is essential that you always check the relevant British Standard which is BS4875, and always question the salesperson on his knowledge of this.

5. There are four grades - occasional, light, general and heavy. the product should be labelled as such and carry all the relevant information, as well as meet all the lastest fire regs etc. As a guide, for 'family' use - do not buy anything that is occasional or light.

6. I am buying another suite at the moment, and now only use reputable, privately run furniture stores, who are more willing to satisfy, have a greater product knowledge, and have more to loose if things go wrong, and as such are more than willing to put them right.

7. If I can be of help to anyone you can email me
M Pugh

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