I purchased $9,000 in furniture from Baers Furniture. The merchandise arrived damaged/defective,
and it got worse from there. The sales manager of the West Palm Beach store blew me off. Their customer service representative has been dragging her feet and no help whatsoever. Lastly, the repairman they sent to my home on 12/27/12 assaulted me. I shot video of the repairman and torn/crumbled work order. Here's a link to the youtube video:
Baers refuses to pick up their merchandise and refund my money, so Ive disputed the charges with my
credit card companies. Im sending Baers a letter giving them one last opportunity to refund my money and pick up their furniture. If they refuse or do not reply, Im going to hire movers to drop the furniture at the front door of the Baers Furniture West Palm Beach store in broad day light on Saturday, 1/19/13.
Ill be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I also intend to make a formal complaint to the State District Attorneys office, and ask them to investigate Baers business practices.
If you'd care to read it, here's the whole story:
On 5/26/12 I purchased a bedroom set and Natuzzi sectional sofa from Baers Furniture in West Palm Beach. They only stock the sofa in white; I wanted black, so thats what I ordered, and they told me it would take 4-5 months. The total cost (including warranty,tax, and delivery) of the bedroom set was $3,432.28. The total cost (including warranty, tax, and delivery) of the sofa was 5,438.28.
The bedroom furniture was delivered on 6/2/12. I live in a second floor apartment. The first piece they brought up was the tall chest. The deliverymen banged it on about every concrete step on their way upstairs. After they got to the top, I inspected it, and it was damaged. I told them to take it back downstairs. They asked if I was refusing it, and I said, Yes. Im also going to refuse every other
piece of furniture you damage, so you may want to be more careful. They brought up the headboard and side rails, and one of the deliveryman started assembling it. He stripped every head on every screw
on the entire bed with the drill. I heard the other guy at the front door struggling with the footboard,
so I went to help. By the time I got there, he got himself through the door, and I watched as the front door,
which has a self-closing spring, repeatedly bounced on the footboard as he brought the rest of it through.
It took Baers only 1 week to deliver my bedroom furniture, but it took them 3 weeks to deliver the tall chest to replace the one their deliverymen damaged. It was finally delivered on 6/23/12. I requested that they didnt send the same deliverymen.
Over the course of using the furniture over the next few months I noticed that the top left corner of the headboard was damaged (edge was rounded, not squared), and the dresser had a defect going across the front top area (looked cracked where the top meets the drawers). I also had several issues with the tall
chest they delivered; the jewelry drawer was scraping against something when opening and closing, the drawer concealing the jewelry drawer was wobbly, and the second drawer from the bottom was crooked.
The sofa was delivered on 10/13/12. When the deliverymen had 3 out of the 5 pieces upstairs, I noticed through the plastic wrap that the sofa had white stitching; I ordered black. I was furious! Its not like this was replacing another sofa. I had just moved into the apartment in May; I had been sitting in uncomfortable office chairs for the past 5 months while waiting for this sofa. I stopped the deliverymen and called the store manager, Robert Berkwits. He was out to lunch when I called. I let the receptionist know the situation. She told me to refuse delivery. I told her I wasnt giving them any opportunity or excuse to keep my deposit, and I was neither accepting nor refusing delivery until Robert called me back. He called me back about 15 minutes later and told me that my receipt reads, self stitching not black stitching. I said when my salesperson, Gail, showed me the leather sample it had white stitching. I asked her if it came in black stitching, and she said yes. I asked her and my mother (who accompanied me when I made my selection and purchase) what they thought, and they both said the white stitching looked tacky. I agreed and told Gail to go with black stitching. Robert informed me that Gail had died in a car accident in between the time I ordered the sofa and the time it was delivered. Therefore, theres no way to verify what she meant by self stitching. I told him I thought it was an industry term, and he said no. He offered to discount the sofa $1,400. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. I didnt want to wait another 5 months for a sofa with black stitching, and Robert made it clear that he was not going to refund my money, so I reluctantly accepted. The deliverymen brought the last 2 pieces upstairs and assembled the unit.
I noticed the right arm was damaged; it had been smushed in and the leather looked and felt like it had been dragged. I also noticed a damaged area toward the bottom of one of the armless recliners where the leather was also smushed. The left arm recliner didnt work, and the left arm had a bulge. Wrong colored stitching is one thing; damage is another. I called Robert Berkwits back, and he assured me everything would be fixed or replaced. When the deliverymen finished up, they called customer service and put me on the phone. We made an appointment for a tech to come out the following Saturday, 10/20/12. I asked if the same tech could take care of the bedroom furniture, but they said that it needed to be a different person, so I scheduled an appointment for a different tech to come out and look at the bedroom furniture on 10/27/12.
The technician (3rd party) came out on 10/20/12 for the sofa. After 1 week of using the sofa, my girlfriend and I noticed the leather was already starting to sag. The sofa looked several years old after only 1 week of use. The reason the left arm recliner didnt work is because the deliverymen failed to remove one of the locks, which the tech removed. He took pictures of the damaged areas of the sofa, as well as where it was sagging, and told us he would file his report on Monday, 10/22/12. I didnt hear from anyone that week.
A different technician (also 3rd party) came out on 10/27/12 for the bedroom furniture. In the process of trying to determine what was scratching the jewelry drawer, he mustve opened and closed it more times than I wouldve in a 2-3 year period, scuffing and scratching it in the process. He determined the liner between the shelves was the culprit and it couldnt be repaired; he said the tall chest had to be replaced. In fact, he determined that all three pieces (the dresser, headboard, and tall chest) were all defective, could not be repaired, and needed to be replaced. My girlfriend witnessed the conversation.
After 2 weeks, no one contacted me, so I went to the Baers Furniture West Palm Beach store on 11/3/12 to talk to Robert Berkwits. I notified him that no one had contacted me regarding the status of the sofa or bedroom set. We sat down in his office, and I showed him pictures of the sofa. I also told him that since the tech had been there, the motor in the right arm recliner started to make a strange noise. Robert looked up the techs reports on his computer. He told me that both the technician for the sofa and the technician for the bedroom furniture are sighting manufacturer defect in their reports, which is good news. Robert told me to forward the pictures I took to his email, so he could forward them to Karen Hansen in customer service. He told me not to worry, everything would be resolved to my satisfaction, and customer service would contact me soon. In fact, he said he would follow up with Karen Hansen that Monday, 11/5/12.
The week of 11/5/12 came and went, and no one contacted me. I called and left a message for Robert Berkwits on (or about) 11/14/12; the message went unreturned. I called Robert again on (or about)
11/19/12; he denied ever getting the message the week before. He was surprised that no one, particularly Karen Hansen, had contacted me from customer service. Then again, I was equally surprised that he didnt follow up with Ms. Hansen or me. I let him know that my patience was wearing thin. He started to put me off, insisting its a customer relations issue. I was disappointed with his disregard. He was more than happy to accept my money, and reassure me during the delivery everything would be repaired or replaced, but once he had my money and the furniture was in my home, he could not have cared less.
After 1 month of use, not only was the leather sagging even worse than before, now the padding was starting to give. When you sat down, you sank in. When you leaned back, there felt like there was no cushion/support, and when you reclined the seat, it felt like your legs and heals were resting against wood.
I started to suspect that the reason the leather was sagging so terribly was because the sofa was heavily under padded. The one in the Baers showroom felt nice and firm; you didnt sink in. The sofa I received is a total lemon.
I was blown away. I had purchased a Natuzzi couch recliner from Baers in North Miami
about 11 years ago. It wasnt a custom order like this one, but I had no problems with the delivery, the sofa, or Baers. In fact, that couch was still in pretty decent condition when I gave it away to a friend in 2011 after I decided to move in with my girlfriend. I digress.
By the end of the week of 11/19/12, I still had not been contacted by Baers customer service.
My mother visited on Saturday, 11/24/12, and saw the sofa for the first time. She had accompanied me
during the initial purchase and was also disappointed with the condition of the sofa and the poor customer service following. My mother was so upset that she felt compelled to call Robert Berkwits. When she called
Robert, once again he seemed annoyed at our phone call. He kept saying over and over again that it is a customer relations issue and dismissed us. I was so furious I threatened to have the sofa dropped at
the front door of his store. It was at that point that he finally gave me the phone number for Karen Hansen in customer relations. I mean this was ridiculous already; it had been 5 weeks since the tech was there and 6 weeks since the sofa was delivered no one had contacted me, and no one could tell me what was going on.
I called Baers customer service on 11/26/12. The gentlemen I spoke with (I believe his name is Antwon) told me Karen wasnt in, but was expected in a little later that day. I told him that I was more than just a little upset, and that she needed to call me back as soon as possible. He assured me he was going to leave a message on her desk. My message went unreturned. I called again on 11/28/12. When I asked for Karen Hansen, the person asked me if she was expecting my call. (In fact, I was asked that question each time I called and asked to speak to her.) I said, She should be. I left a message for her on Monday, and she didnt return my call. After several minutes of being put on hold I was transferred to her voicemail. I left a message, and Karen returned my call a few hours later. When I spoke to her, she told me she had no idea that I was expecting her call. I communicated the damage and defects with the sofa, and mentioned that I sent pictures to Robert Berkwits. She told me to email the pictures to her and give her a day or two to work on it. Again, I was blown away a technician took pictures, which she shouldve received, and Robert supposedly forwarded the pictures to her that I previously e-mailed to him yet she no idea I was expecting her call and still needs me to send her pictures? After I agreed to send her the pictures, I brought up my bedroom furniture. She actually had the audacity to say to me, One thing at a time. Send me the pictures of the couch, give me a day or two to work on it. Again, I was blown away. This was the worst customer service I have ever experienced.
I was driving when I spoke with Karen, and I emailed the pictures to her as soon as I got home. I sent her 5 emails with a total of 9 pictures, and asked that she confirm receipt. She did not, so the next day, 11/29/12, I sent her a follow up email asking if she received all 9 pictures. I then followed up with a phone call. I called twice; both times I was hung up on while on hold. I sent Karen an email letting her know I was just hung up on twice, and asked again if she received my pictures. I didnt receive a reply from Karen until the following morning; she sent me an email saying she was out of the office all day, confirmed she received the pictures, and was working on it with her quality control manager. I inquired as to when I could expect a resolution, and she replied, Please give me til Monday so sorry for the delay I am working on it, leave a message I will return your call
Karen didnt call me on 12/3/12 as promised. She did call me on 12/5/12 to tell me she was working with her quality control manager to try to get Natuzzi to allow me to return the sofa. More run around; its the same thing she said the week before.
I emailed Karen a week later on 12/12/12 asking for an update. She didnt reply to my email. Later that week or the beginning of the following week, I got a phone call from a gentleman in customer service. He told me that he was the one who is actually working on my Natuzzi sofa, not Karen. (Seriously???) He still didnt have a resolution. I told him if I didnt get a response soon, I would dispute the charges with my credit card companies.
Karen Hansen finally called me on 12/19/12. She stated that I can either choose to have Natuzzi make another sofa, or I can come to the store for a reselect. I asked her what happens if I select something that is less expensive? She stated that Baers was not going to refund any of my money. I told her that this had been the worst purchase experience and customer service experience that Ive ever had. I told her that I wasnt willing to wait 5 more months for another Natuzzi sofa, and that Im not going to have a gun to my head as to how much I have to spend on a re-select. I told her that I do not want to do business with her company. I told her that I wanted Baers to come pick up the sofa and refund 100% of my money. She refused. I told her my credit card companies would allow me to dispute the charges if I returned the merchandise. I said, If you wont come pick it up, then give me and address and Ill have it delivered. Karen refused to give me the address for the warehouse. I stated that I would have it dropped off at the front door of their West Palm Beach store, and she said, Do what you gotta do. Then, she insisted that
she is trying to help me. Shes not trying to help me; shes trying to help herself and Baers. I wouldve gladly have delivered the furniture to their front door, except that I it wouldve cost me a few hundred dollars, I wouldnt have been able to obtain written proof with a signature showing the return, and I
was worried if the credit card disputes were not found in my favor, Id be out both the money and the furniture.
I told her I had to think about what I was going to do regarding the sofa; in the meantime, I wanted to know what she was doing about the bedroom furniture. Karen pulls up a report on the bedroom furniture and I could hear her scanning it over (reading to herself); I heard her say that the manufacturer was refusing to replace the pieces because they had been in the home for several months. Well, 2 months had passed between the time the tech was at my apartment and Karen finally got around to doing something
about it. Then, Karen tells me the tech report from 10/27/12 reads that the furniture was repairable, but I
declined and insisted that it be replaced. I told her that was absolutely not the case. She said, Let me send one of my technicians out to take a look. (The technicians who had been there previously were from 3rd party warranty companies). We made an appointment for 12/26/12; she told me the technician would call me on 12/21/12 to let me know what time hed be there.
I did not receive a call on 12/21/12. At 3 pm on 12/26/12, I finally called Baers to find out the technicians status. They called him, and he said hed be there in about an hour. He also said he called my office number on Friday. Why he would call my office number instead of my cell (listed as my primary number) is
beyond me. If he called my office, he wouldve heard my outgoing message that I was on vacation (and therefore not in the office) from 12/21/12 1/2/13. By the way, when I got back to work on 1/2/13, there was no message from him.
The repairman, also named Robert, arrived around 4 pm on 12/26/12. Despite my frustration, I was hospitable; I offered him a bottle of water. He examined the furniture and told me he could repair the
headboard and the dresser, but not the tall chest. As he was repairing the headboard and dresser, we were
making small talk. Robert told me about some of his numerous screw-ups over the years, but how he learns from his mistakes. (What a relief.) I started to voice some of my grievances about Baers. Robert told me that Baers employees, who handle incoming inventory, as well as, the deliverymen, handle the furniture with no care whatsoever. He said theres an army of repairmen working in the warehouse and going to peoples homes to repair the stuff they damage. I asked him why Baers doesnt do something about it. Robert said, If they came down on the guys for how they handled the merchandise, theyd quit. It became cheaper and easier for Baers to hire a bunch of techs to fix the damages than to keep going through warehouse & delivery staff.
Well, these guys arent FIXING the damages and defects; theyre just trying to COVER THEM UP. The furniture that Robert attempted to repair looks worse than before he touched it. He tried to build up the corner of the headboard with an epoxy. Not only does it look terrible, the surface is uneven and rough to the touch. He used a sand sealant to try to conceal the defect along the front of the dresser near the top center. When I commented that it looked obvious where the sealant is and where the sealant isnt along the edge, he decided to put the sand sealant across the whole front. It basically looks like someone took Elmers glue and ran it across the front; you can see little uneven bubbles going across. He also screwed up on the right side and had to repaint it, but it doesnt show up well in a photograph.
I got a pen and pad and asked Robert to document that he was unable to repair the tall chest, and that he said it needed to be replaced. Robert said he wasnt allowed to do that. I explained to Robert that the last time a tech came out and said a piece couldnt be fixed and had to be replaced, Baers accused me of insisting it had to be replaced even though it could be repaired. I didnt want that to happen again. Robert said he still couldnt write it down. Then, he asked me to sign his work order; I refused.
Robert lost his composure. He raised his voice and said, Itll be in my report. Here, Ill even write it on the d**n paper. He placed the paper on the tall chest and started to write on it. I walked over with the pad and asked him to press on that instead of the furniture. He replied that he knows what hes doing. Robert finished writing, handed me the paper, and said, Here. Write your little complaint on that. So I took the paper, put it down on the vanity counter, and started writing.
Robert called the office to update his status and began to pace around the bed. I finished writing down that the 2 pieces of furniture he attempted to repair look worse than before he touched them, and that Robert said the tall chest couldnt be fixed and had to be replaced. Then, I signed the paper. I told Robert, Excuse me, Im going to make a copy. Ill be right back. I exited the bedroom and walked to my desk in the dining area. Robert followed me out the bedroom and said, Youre not allowed to make a copy of that. I communicated that it had my notes and signature on it, and I was entitled to a copy. I lined up the paper on the scanner/copier and began to close the lid. I noticed through my peripheral vision that Robert was coming up behind me on my right side. Robert grabbed my right hand, pulled my arm back, and ripped the paper out of my hand (paper ripped in 2 pieces). Then, he snatched the other piece out of my hand, and crumbled them up as he walked back into the bedroom. I stood there in total shock, and said, What the hell is wrong with you?
I absolutely couldnt believe that a stranger, let alone a repairman, would have the nerve to lay hands on me in my own home. I ran into the bedroom, grabbed my iPhone, turned on the video camera, and recorded the aftermath of the assault. I got Robert on camera; he was back on the phone with the office, and he never denies grabbing me. I have the receipt on video; you can see its been torn in half and crumbled.
Theres also a bunch of stuff on theres thats been blacked out hmmm, wonder what that said that they didnt want me to see? I also ask Robert for his last name on camera, and he refuses. I shot video of the repairman and torn/crumbled work order. Here's a link to the youtube video:
After about a minute of shooting video, I stopped and told Robert my next call was to the police. He told the office he had to get out of there and hung up. He grabbed his tools, etc. and vacated the apartment as quickly as he could. My heart was racing a mile a minute I was literally having a panic attack. I dialed 911 on my cell phone and was about to hit the send button when Baers customer service called. The woman was asking me about the furniture repairs, and I said, What about the fact that your guy just laid his hands on me? She said, What? I told her the story, and she hung up on me. I was furious! I called back and spoke to someone else. They told me the manager was gone for the day and would call me back the next day. I asked if Karen Hansen was the manager, and the person said no, someone named Sudane (or something) is the manager. No one from Baers has called or emailed me since.
I felt compelled to file a police report about the assault, and did so the next day with Officer Damian Izquierdo of the Village of North Palm Beach Police Department.
All I wanted to do was to make a nice, relaxing environment to come home to after a long, stressful day of work, and I was even willing to pay good money for it. Instead, I got the exact opposite; I come home everyday to an uncomfortable sofa and visual reminders of stress, anxiety, incompetence, and assault.
Baers had every opportunity to do the right thing in a timely fashion, and failed to do so. Their incompetence has caused me great stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights. My girlfriend and I have had aching backs from the poorly padded Natuzzi sofa. I cant finish decorating my living room (end tables, floor lamp, throw pillows, etc.) until the sofa is gone, and Ive purchased a new one elsewhere. I just want to get on
with my life.
It occurred to me in total I received 3 deliveries from Baers and each time I was given a copy of the document I signed. It also occurred to me that in total I had 3 repairman come to my home each time I signed a document, and each time I DID NOT receive a copy. And when I tried to make one, I was assaulted. Baers is clearly trying to hide their terrible business practices. People try to decorate their homes with their hard earned money, and instead get damaged/defective merchandise and a customer relations nightmare. This has been the worst purchase/customer service experience of my life.