After spending weeks looking for a Goetz style sofa to go with my Eames Lounge Chair (Room & Board) I decided to go with NJ Modern
. I chose this company mainly due to the fact that their cost was more
than reasonable for my purpose. I paid $1275 for the sofa versus the
$4,000 to $9,000 at a more reputable business. I fully understood that
it was most likely not going to be the best reproduction, but felt that
its use in my temporary housing justified not bouncing a $4,000+ sofa up
and then down the 4 levels of my townhouse.
Upon receiving the sofa, I gave it a quick once over and made note of a
few things with regard to quality, but again, it was nothing that I did
not expect from a Chinese made reproduction that cost less than $1300.
The wood veneer was paper thin and you could see all of the lines where
the veneer was cut and pasted. The sofa was advertised as 100% top-grade
leather but actually only the parts that touch skin are leather and the
rest was vinyl. [continued below]....
..... Those are minor problems for the cost and you really
shouldnt expect much more from Chinese construction. However, this is
not why I have a complaint with NJ Modern.
The sofa shipped with the legs unattached which I was aware of before
the purchase. When I received the sofa, I found that there were no
instructions available in the container and no markings on the bottom to
direct where the legs should be attached. I contact Brian at NJ Modern
and asked for the instructions. The instructions were very basic and
anyone that can hang a picture could easily follow them. Upon following
the instructions, I realized that there were gaps on either side of the
center of the corner brace. I decided to cut the felt and take a look
at what was going on. The first thing that I noticed was that the wood
used was scrap wood at best. Imagine a standard 2x4 laid on edge but
missing an entire corner so that it no longer formed a 45 degree angle.
Where the corner joint should have been flush and neat against each
other there were inch or more gaps on either side. Where the wooden
corner brace should have been flush against the two sides of the corner
joint, there were also very noticeable gaps and the corner brace floated
in between them and was held in place by staples. The corner brace
looked like a scrap piece of wood as well. I measured the circumference
of the sofa leg and took the dimensions of the corner brace and found
that there was a inch overhang present where two of the three drill
points needed to be. For those without a background in wood work, this
means that where I would have needed to drill starter holes for the legs
was at the very edge of the corner brace which guarantees 100% that
when screwing in the legs the inferior wood would split.
I sent Brian an email with photos of the issue and attempted to call but
I received no response for two days. I finally received a response from
Sebastian, who is the owner of NJ Modern. His response was that I
should pay a handyman to attach the legs if I was not capable of doing
it myself. I sent another email explaining that I have degree in
Engineering and didnt appreciate the tone of his email. I also again
explained that the problem was being able to properly install the legs
which could not be done due to the shoddy construction of the sofa. I
sent additional photos specifically pointing out all of the problem
areas using colored arrows with detailed explanations as to why I was
pointing it out.
Days later I again received a response from Sebastian which was more
condescending and rude than the first email. He even went so far as to
suggest that I got what I paid for and if I had a problem then I should
have paid the $4,000+ to purchase it from Herman miller, if I was even
capable of purchasing it from Herman Miller. Talk about customer
service. At this point, I was more than furious with his response and
contacted Ebay about the problem. I again sent Sebastian an email
responding to his personal attack and again sending more photos of the
problem. I was later contacted by Ebay and escalated the case to
receive a final decision. Ebay agreed that I would be able to return
the sofa for a full refund, but that I would have to pay for the return
packaging and shipping of the sofa, as they have no way to retrieve the
funds from the NJ Modern for return shipping.
So, now I am faced with being out of pocket $200+ dollars to have the
sofa shipped back, meaning I could have just lit that money on fire, or
keep the defective sofa and fix the framing myself. I knew well before I
purchased the sofa that it would be in my possession for a year or less
before it was sold or dropped off at the local Salvation Army. I am
more upset about being out $200+ through no fault of my own than I am
about just keeping the sofa, taking a $1275 hit and taking the time to
fix it myself. My company paid for the sofa to begin with, so I guess I
dont have much to complain about when it comes to the money. However,
no one spending their hard earned money should have to deal with such
The moral of this story is that you should beware when purchasing
anything from NJ Modern. The construction will be shoddy at best and
the customer service is nonexistent or condescending, even when dealing
directly with the owner. So, if someone else is not footing the bill and
you expect to keep it and use it regularly, I would find a much more
reputable place to buy your furniture.
Im happy to share my full correspondence and photos with anyone that requests them.