When I bought a wood dining room set (table and six chairs) from Levitz in 2000, the salesman strongly urged me to purchase the long-term, 7-year warranty that was available. He emphasized that the warranty, from Stainsafe, promised to replace or restore to original condition ANY accidental damage to the furniture, either structural or to the fabric, in normal residential use, even if it didn't result from an inherent flaw in the furniture but for any reason, such as a child's banging it or through a guest's carelessness.
No misfortunes occurred to the dining set and it remained in perfect condition until early December 2004, when, while we were wrapping Christmas gifts on it, one of the four flared arms on the base that supported the heavy glass top) suddenly snapped completely off, and we had to catch the glass top before it crashed to the floor.
I phoned the number on my warranty certificate within a day or two and learned that number was no longer valid. I then phoned the Levitz store manager in San Carlos and was referred by the manager to an employee(Rocky) in their Santa Clara store, saying she was their acting customer service person. When I phoned her, she told me she had previously worked in Customer Service but no longer did, although she was helpful in advising me on how to contact Stainsafe to file a claim. However, she acknowledged that they'd been having a lot of problems with Stainsafe and that Levitz management was in the process of meeting to address the issue. She also told me that Levitz had revamped its computer system and that records of furniture purchases dating back to 2000 and before had been lost, so she could find no record of my purchase.
I then phoned Stainsafe and, after a long wait, was given a claim number to use when submitting my claim as well as all the information necessary to do it; they recommended faxing the information for the quickest resolution. At my local UPS store it cost $5 to send copies of the warranty certificate and original invoice to the fax number they'd given me. After waiting several days, as I'd been advised, I phoned to ask the status of the claim I'd sent. Stainsafe denied having received it -- although the fax transmission had been successful, according to the status report received at the time it was sent. Stainsafe said I should resend all the information. When I objected, they said I could ask Levitz to do it for me or try resending it by mail to the address they gave me; I chose to resend the information by mail.
At this point I again phoned Rocky at Levitz and explained my difficulty with Stainsafe. She apologized and offered to have a Levitz furniture repairman come to my home and attempt to fix the broken table while I waited for a response from Stainsafe.
In early January, the Levitz repairman attempted a repair by inserting a metal bolt and gluing the broken arm. The repaired piece allows the table to be usable, in helping to support the glass top, but the joint doesn't line up properly nor does the repaired area match the furniture's painted finish. The table has certainly not been restored to its original condition, and I am not happy with its appearance. When I phoned Rocky to tell her that, she said she was sorry but there was nothing more Levitz could do, that I must "take it up with Stainsafe."
After waiting about a month without a response from Stainsaf, I phoned them to ask the status of my claim. After a half-hour's wait I was finally able to talk to a representative who informed me that my claim had been denied and that a letter to that effect had been sent to me a couple of weeks before. In asking where they'd sent the letter, I learned that it had been mailed to my physical, rather than my mailing, address, although the mailing address was clearly indicated on the information I'd sent them. The representative said they'd resend the denial to the correct address, and that I wasn't allowed to dispute it until I received the written denial and then could do so only in writing. Shortly thereafter I received the denial of claim, dated February 1, 2005, which stated,"as per the store receipt provided, the damage is to a metal base. Metal, chrome, brass, or faux stone and marble are not covered under this warranty."
Per Stainsafe's instructions for disputing a claim that were included in their denial letter (which demanded again all the original copies of invoice, warranty, already provided), I immediately responded with a letter of dispute and required copies, pointing out to them that the color of the finish is 'pewter silver' but the furniture itself is wood. Although their letter promised that denial dispute letters would be reviewed and responded to in writing within 30 days, I have received nothing so far, despite several phone calls and emails.
Half Moon Bay, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Stainsafe