• Report: #314108

Complaint Review: Thomasville Furniture

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  • Submitted: Sun, March 02, 2008
  • Updated: Thu, June 24, 2010

  • Reported By:Allentown Pennsylvania
Thomasville Furniture
401 E. Main Street Thomasville, North Carolina U.S.A.

Thomasville Furniture Problems with Thomasville Thomasville North Carolina

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: FBN in Dire Straits: Nothing for Money

*Consumer Comment: Horrors of Thomasville Plasticizer - they DO use it!

*Author of original report: Thomasville Furniture: Facts (Not Fiction) from a "Real" Thomasville Furniture Customer

*Consumer Comment: Facts and Fiction in the World of Case Goods

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My wife and I recently purchased a Felicity Sunlit Cherry Bedroom Suite from Thomasville Furniture. Our Thomasville saleswoman had led us to believe that our Thomasville furniture would be made in North Carolina, but when it was delivered we discovered that it was all made in China. Thomasville had built its reputation on delivering high quality American-made furniture from North Carolina -- but it appears that those days are now long gone.

The fit & finish of our Thomasville made-in-China furniture was poor. There's really no other way to describe it. Our bedroom suite has a total of 28 drawers. Many drawers weren't centered in their openings; some drawers were recessed in too far, and other drawers extended out too far. After 2 visits from Thomasville's repair people, we still have: 8 drawers not centered in their openings; 13 that extend out too far; and 7 that are recessed in too far. Thomasville's repair people told us that our remaining problems were non-repairable. So I guess we'll just have to learn to live with this poor quality.

When we purchased our furniture, we specifically asked our Thomasville saleswoman what kind of wood was used in its construction. She told us it was "entirely cherry". When we later asked Thomasville's repair people that same question, they looked at our furniture and readily identified over 5 different species of wood -- just one was cherry, and at least 2 were obscure, unidentifiable Chinese hardwoods. What we actually received was quite different from what we paid for. When we brought this to the attention of the management of our Thomasville dealer, they completely ignored our complaint.

At first glance, Thomasville's construction quality appeared to us to be quite good (i.e., dovetail drawers, etc.). But in places where it wouldn't be quite as obvious to a customer, some of the furniture's joints are held together with staples. That doesn't instill much confidence that the furniture will last for more than a few years. We would have expected to find that kind of cheap construction in bedroom suites that cost under $1,500 -- but not in a Thomasville bedroom suite that cost us over $5,000!

My wife's dresser arrived with a large 10" circular hole in the back of the cabinet. Rather than repairing this damage "before" the furniture was shipped, Thomasville's factory instead tried to conceal the damage by screwing a large Masonite panel over the hole. While Thomasville repaired the damaged back panel "after" we discovered it, the point is that Thomasville deliberately shipped severely damaged furniture to a customer with the hope that the damage would never be discovered. That's not what one would expect from a quality "world class" furniture brand.

Thomasville's furniture is shipped with a Chinese "plasticized" finish. In our experience, it attracts dust like a magnet and unlike a quality lacquered or varnished finish it's relatively soft and easily damaged. According to Thomasville's "printed furniture care instructions" my wife and I are not suppose to allow synthetics, rubber, or plastics to rest on the wood finish as they may damage the finish. That, of course, prohibits placing most lamps, clocks, radios, TVs, pens, etc. on top of your Thomasville furniture unless you first modify the bottoms of those products.

Everything at Thomasville seems to now be focused on charging its customers as much as possible, while at the same time cutting its costs as much possible. Even the screws that hold the knobs to the drawers have been cost-cut. Rather than extending the screws into the knobs by at least 3/8", they just barely touch the knob. The cost savings across an entire bedroom set has to be less than a dollar -- and yet amazingly Thomasville still went for it.

After contacting our local Thomasville dealer several times about many of these problems and receiving no satisfaction, my wife and I wrote to Ed Teplitz, president of Thomasville Furniture Industries -- and also to Ralph Scozzafava, CEO of Furniture Brands International. Furniture Brands International owns Thomasville, along with Broyhill, Lane, Drexel Heritage, Henredon, and Maitland-Smith. Neither of them ever responded to us. That pretty much sums-up our Thomasville customer satisfaction experience.

Thomasville customer
Allentown, Pennsylvania
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/02/2008 09:07 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Thomasville-Furniture/Thomasville-North-Carolina-27360/Thomasville-Furniture-Problems-with-Thomasville-Thomasville-North-Carolina-314108. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

FBN in Dire Straits: Nothing for Money

AUTHOR: BA - ()

Furniture Brands International (FBN) is a company in big trouble. Those brands include Thomasville Furniture, Broyhill, Lane, LaneVenture, Drexel and Henreand others.

I doubt product quality is remotely on their radar right now.Fraught with internal political battles, middle manager syndrome, and a descructive combination of old-timer employees and high turnover, they appear willing to cut any corners to boost their stock price.  

All in vain -- there stock price has crashed dramatically at current price, over $12/share in or around September 2012, to 1 and change now. 

They've received multiple de-listing warnings from NYSE:

http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/2013/07/furniture-brands-gets-another.html

They have an internal problem with racial and cultural intolerance...

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/archive/1-24-08.html

I'm aware of at least one EEOC case on their books right now with multiple charges.  I'm fairly sure many other employees are simply too afraid to speak out, fearing retaliation, which seems to be their approach.

In june, they received an inquiry from Wall Street, regarding "unusual market activity".  They said their policy was not to comment.

http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2013/06/04/552063/10035263/en/Furniture-Brands-Per-Policy-Does-Not-Comment-on-Unusual-Market-Activity.html

 They managed a spot on the "5 dumbest things on wall street":

http://www.thestreet.com/story/11989849/2/the-5-dumbest-things-on-wall-street-this-week-july-26.html

A recent massive u-turn on their IT infrastructure technology shows they are in panic mode internally.Ralph is quick to talk about "Market Chop" -- blaming their poor performance on market forces.  Well, when the market gets bad, do more with less, and do it more efficiently.  Interestingly, His Ralphness got a raise, regardless of relatively recent massive layoffs.

 The Rosen Law Firm of NJ did announce yesterday that they would be purusing a class action against them

However, this is for purchasers of FBN stock, not consumers.

http://markets.ibtimes.com/ibtimes/news/read?Symbol=321%3A21445797&GUID=24832226

If you've invested, find out more here...

http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-184.html

As an ex-employee myself, I see a company that's like an old tree, rotten in the middle and unable -- or unwilling - to do anything about it. Without a sweeping management change, from the top to the middle managers, that tree is going to fall.

It's very sad for the 8000 employees (or at least those subject to middle manager syndrome) and the investors, but if ever a company has lost its way, Furniture Brands has.

Could they recover? It's conceivable, but unlikely without a massive management change, culling of the 'anything-to-keep-my-job' old-timers, the intolerant, and a rebuild  of of mission, values, and corporate culture from the ground up.  Most likely, the various brands will be sold off.

 

 

 

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#2 Consumer Comment

Horrors of Thomasville Plasticizer - they DO use it!

AUTHOR: will never be the heirloom I paid f - (United States of America)

My Thomasville Queen Ann cherry bedroom, living room dining room sets - I furnished my whole home with it - also came with the caution note about plastics/rubber and their plasticer. It had been necessary for me to start over furnishing my home, and I chose Thomasville because it had such a good reputation. My intent was to invest in furniture that would become an heirloom for my daughter some day. Although the style and workmanship were good quality, the plasticized finish will prevent this furniture from ever becoming the heirlooms I paid the high price for.

Although the sales person never breathed a word about it, the plasticiser caution notes - several of which I still have - were attached to each of the 25 pieces: queen bed, headboard, large dresser, mirror, 2 tall bedside chests, amoire, bombay chest, secretary and hutch, coffee table, sofaback table and 2 stools, large china buffet and hutch, oval dining table with 2 leaves and 6 chairs (2 with armrests), totaling exactly $10,000.

To quote the notes exactly:  Headline: "CONSUMER INFORMATION, Plasticizer Migration." Text: "Plasticisers are an important part of the furniture finish. They are added to the nitrocellulose lacquer to provide flexibility which enables it to shrink and swell with change in temperature. If not added, the finish can crack. Since the plasticizer is part of the finish and can migrate to plastic placemats, rubber feet on appliances, lamps, camera cases notebooks, etc., it is important that non-plastic trivets, placemats, coasters, etc. be placed between these items and the finish. If the above precautions are not taken, the finish can darken, be stained, or permanent blemishes can be created. #239 12/03"

Please consider this quoted note to be an additional rebuttal to the gentleman from Thomasville's denial of the use of plasticizers.

The gravity of the problem is hardly described by the notes. Anything with plastic, vinyl, or rubber sitting on the finish brings the finish into a gelatinous solution which pools on the surface!!! and re-solidifies three-dimensionally to permanently mark it. Here are some examples from my experience: 1. A visitor to my home moved a chair from my oval dining room table. She placed a stack of table linens that had been on the chair onto the table. At the bottom of the stack was a tablecloth still in a plastic envelope. When I discovered it and picked it up several days later, there was a pool of lacquer about the consistency of pancake syrup between the package and the wood.

2. A vinyl briefcase inadvertently fell over to lean against the bedroom bureau so there is now a permanent imprint of the case and its handle on the side of the bureau. 3. I laid a Christmas linen napkin on the bombay chest with the point forward to "protect" the wood from the popular brand resin Christmas building decoration I placed on it. Instead the polyester THREAD!!! used to hem the napkin left permanent diagonal lines toward the point at the front on the surface of the chest! 4. I can't even display silk flower arrangements on my dining room table! I put several long stem silk dogwood branches on the table ON TOP OF a light-weight cotton voile runner. The plastic stems reacted even THROUGH the fabric to mark the whole length of the table!! 5. Some book jackets - especially on pricey "coffee-table" books - are imprinted with an ultra-violet coating imbedded in a printed-on, plastic-like layer. Those destroy the surface of the coffee table, too. So you can't even put a "coffee-table" book on a Thomasville coffee table!!

6. When the furniture was delivered, it was covered with sheets of construction plastic, and my coffee table had an odd, large matte marking on it. It turns out, it had been damaged ALREADY before delivery(!) by the protective plastic! 7. I have to use doilies and runners on every surface, and even they can cause problems (polyester thread, too light weight). If anything rolls past the edge of a doily or runner onto the wood, it mars the surface - SEVERELY MARS THE SURFACE, not just stains or "marks" it.

I can never relax and just lay anything onto any surface in my home without hesitating to ask myself if it's one of the Thomasville pieces. I have to educate (which insults) my guests about putting anything on a surface. I have to check after visitors leave to be sure they have NOT. Recently, I received an ad from Thomasville claiming that buying Thomasville would give me "peace of mind." Buying Thomasville has created constant worry and tension for me.

Why will it never be an heirloom? Here's how they fix the finish: Thomasville sells an aerosol spray to furniture repair people (NOT to customers). The repair person wipes the table to remove any oils from fingerprints, etc. then sprays the entire surface. Again it goes into solution, but is smooth and wet and shiny. When it dries, you have a glassy smooth perfect surface again - until, of course, you commit the sin of USING the furniture!

Thomasville has apparently quit using this plasticizer now - THEY KNOW it's a disaster of a mistake that they ever used it! According to the law, manufacturers must make "spare parts," etc. for ten years for cars, so I'm assuming those laws MAY apply to the spray that refinishes this awful furniture. But how long after that - certainly not by the time my furniture is old enough to be an heirloom - will they continue to make it?

I have a houseful of useless, expensive, trashy furniture sold to me by a supposedly reputable company, Thomasville. I will not waste the money to move it to my next destination. There is nothing I can do with it because my conscience will not allow me to sell it to anyone. Thomasville, where is YOUR conscience?

I found this site hoping to contact Thomasville in hopes they would make this situation right and replace this junk, but reading the accounts of other customers, I suspect that won't happen. If there is a class action pending out there, please contact me to join it!!
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#3 Author of original report

Thomasville Furniture: Facts (Not Fiction) from a "Real" Thomasville Furniture Customer

AUTHOR: Thomasville Customer - (U.S.A.)

Thanks much for your thoughtful response.

Regarding cracks forming in our Thomasville Furniture in less than a year of ownership: We have 12 rooms of fine quality furniture (like we thought we were buying from Thomasville). All of that furniture is submitted to the same heat/air conditioning that we have throughout our house, but we're NOT noticing any cracks in woodworking joinery other than in Thomasville. Quite possibly, the humidity levels from the Chinese factory might be quite different than other furniture that we purchased that was made in the U.S. How many Chinese furniture factories have you ever actually visited? Probably none. According to what I read on the Web many of the Chinese factories are sweatshops, often employing children in the manufacturing processes, and the quality of the manufactured products is often determined by the frequency of the visits of government inspectors which is, more often than not, quite infrequent. Just take a look at http://www.pulitzercenter.org/openitem.cfm?id=701. Does this sound like Chinese factories have carefully-controlled working environments?

The staples in our Thomasville furniture were "deliberately" used in places where customers would NOT likely look. In the more obvious places, where a prospective customer might actually look, Thomasville doesn't use "stapled & glued" construction and does indeed display much better joinery & construction.

The Thomasville furniture tech that came over to our house was the owner of an independent company that Thomasville hired to do their repairs. In addition to working for Thomasville, his company also builds reproduction antiques as well as doing repairs on expensive antique furniture. He said he had over 40 years of experience doing this kind of work -- and yes he definitely did identify over 5 different types of wood species on the "exterior" of our Thomasville furniture -- including 2 Chinese hardwoods that he was unfamiliar with. He pointed to each of the species and didn't hesitate even for a second to identify them. He told us that very little of our Thomasville furniture was actually Cherry, although Thomasville did tell us that our furniture was "entirely made of Cherry". Yes, their sales staff did lie to us!

Thomasville's sales staff also misrepresented their furniture as coming from North Carolina -- when, in fact, it was actually made in China. Another major Thomasville lie. All of the Thomasville product literature that we received concealed the origin of manufacture. In fact, there's no mention of where it's made. If you go to any of Thomasville dealer's Web sites you'll also see the same thing. They never mention where their furniture is manufactured. They apparently have gone out of their way to conceal that their furniture is now made in China.

I did speak with Thomasville's VP of sales and he "denied" that Thomasville ever used a "plasticized" finish on their furniture. That said, when our Thomasville furniture was delivered there was a printed piece inside or attached to every single piece of furniture that said that the finish was plasticized and that it required "very special care" and was easily subject to damage. I don't know if Thomasville still distributes that printed literature with their Chinese-made furniture. We haven't bought any more Thomasville furniture, so I can't really say.

You're right that the fit of the drawers could have been corrected by Thomasville by taking the back of the cabinets off. It is relatively easy -- but, as you mentioned, it's also time consuming. It shouldn't have never been shipped from the factory that way. Thomasville did spend a few hours correcting "some" of our problems -- but they didn't want to take the time needed to fix "all" of them. Instead, they just walked away. Contacting Thomasville's corporate headquarters didn't fix the problems either. In fact, I did contact the president of Thomasville on "several" occasions via mail and email and also their boss. Neither of them ever even acknowledged my correspondence. Have you ever heard the expression "shit flows down stream" -- when the people at the top don't really care about customer satisfaction, then you can't expect much more from any of their employees.

I also wrote to Thomasville's customer service, and they forwarded my complaint to our local Thomasville dealer. Our local Thomasville furniture refused to do anything further. At this point in time, it was a few months "after" our furniture had been delivered and paid for via VISA so we had no further recourse with our credit card company.

To sum up -- Thomasville mispresented the country of manufacture: they lied about the wood species used in the furniture's construction, they "deliberately" tried to conceal a very large 10" hole in the back of one of our bedroom dressers; they literally walked away from the "fit & finish" problems apparent throughout our Thomasville furniture; and yes, we're still having problems with our Thomasville furniture (i.e., furniture joints starting to separate, etc.) that will likely forever remain unresolved.

Are you a Thomasville dealer? From many of your comments, it sure sounds like you might be. Besides trying your best to defend Thomasville's shortcomings, you also apparently have an intimate knowledge of Thomasville's sales brochures. Hey, it was a valiant effort on your part -- but it's sure hard to defend lies and poor quality.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Facts and Fiction in the World of Case Goods

AUTHOR: Kenbuddha - (U.S.A.)




Open joints on furniture will happen within the first four seasons of the yuoung piece of furtniture's life, not after twenty years. More then likely, the open joint problem is your and not the manufacturer's. It's the climate in your house that makes it happen. At factory level the moisture content of the woods are closely contolled and constantly measured and metered.

As for solid wood, many brands of furniture are combinations of wood solids and veneers over whatever kinds of substrates. Those substrates are much better candidates for veneering than are solid wood blsnks and infinately more stable. Comparing all solids to other types of constructions is apples and oranges, at best. To me it's immature the the thinking of the great unwashed. I've been fixing and finishing retail furniture since 1984.

As for staples, the staples are in place to hold the woods together while the glues cure. Stapling firniture has been around for a long time. I ripped the scalp on my head andf they shot three staples into me. I'm glad they didn't use screws. G-d did the rest and the doctors took the staples out when H- was done.

I doubt that any firniture tech was able to ID more than one species of hardwood, let alone five different species. I mixture of woods indicates nothing other thn a mixture of woods. It is not at all a sign of quality. Your concern should be only on the show woods/veneers.

On "plastic" finishes, no manufacturer uses varnishes. Lacquers are used (on dinette sets often plural component finishes are used). All film forming finishes are plastic, in a sense. And all plastics attract dust. No lacquers like exposure to sun or rubbers, vinyls or many other types of plastics. The reponse with "plasticizer migration" is 100% correct.

The redo drawer fits, it's easy and time consuming. The back panel of the furniture has to come off. Then, from the back each individual drawer is reset, front or back of the drawer guide.

Your furniture is described in the Thomasville brichure that lists that suite of furtniture. No lies.

If you don't recieve the right kind of service to resolve your problem, what happened when you called Thomasville customer service in Thomasville, NC? Did you contact your Visa or MC credit card company to get their involvement?

Generally, it follows that when a customer finds one complaint, real or perceived, they become "furniture neurotic", acting like Felix Unger.

After your drawers are fixed properly, start enjoying your furniture. It's Thomasville, afterall. And like everything in this world, if you look closely enough or long enough you will find some wart or blemish.
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