Seven year warranty worthless; Levitz and Stainsafe will not honor!
At the Mesa Levitz, (225 S. Dobson Road, Phone: 480-834-5983), we purchased a gray and black lacquer seven piece bedroom set consisting of pier bed unit, six drawer dresser and two-drawer, two-door chest. In discussion with Levitz sales person, Rosie Castro, I told her of a problem with a gray set purchased from Levitz about 11 years earlier: the lacquer finish tarnished presenting a yellow/greenish appearance. She was confident such a thing would not happen to this new set but urged us to buy the Levitz Furniture Assurance Plan to protect our investment. We did so, getting the seven year plan. Our total cost was $2237.36. I do not know why the certificate is dated 4/5/99.
Furniture was delivered and placed into service.
While preparing to move I noticed the two doors on the chest and four of the six drawers in the dresser had tarnished, the lacquer turning a sort of yellowish green just as the previous set had done. The rest of the set is the original color.
I called the number I'd been given for my warranty, was given several other numbers to try and finally reached a person.. I was told they primarily cover upholstered furniture, not my bedroom set. I insisted on their compliance with the terms of the warranty, which states as covered items in paragraph four, item 5:
"Checking, lifting, cracking, peeling, tarnishing or pitting of veneers, laminate, other wood, lacquer, engraved photo finish, or solid brass furniture"
Raymond Flores (623-215-3007) inspector came to look at the defect; he agreed it was a real problem and that it was not due to sun damage or misuse on our part, that other than the tarnish the set was in perfect condition. He also believed the delineation between the drawers and doors that tarnished was due to different batches of lacquer. He said he'd recommend they replace the doors on the chest and the four drawers on the dresser.
Received a call from Audry, 800-392-3177, Ext: 4521. She said they were looking for replacement pieces because the manufacturer, in Italy, was no longer making the set I purchased.
Marisa, identifying herself as a Levitz representative, phoned to ask that I fax her the original sales sheets, which I did. Her phone number was given as 888-538-2558, the fax number as 516-682-4969.
Received a Merchandise Certificate from Levitz, dated 1/14/04 (the same day I sent the fax) in the amount of $828.97. That amount doesn't even cover the two pieces that are defective at the price paid four and a half years earlier. That amount does not cover the full cost of those pieces, which in 1999 totaled $899.99, nor does it cover the tax paid for those pieces (7.2% at that time: $64.79) or the delivery fee. I have not used the certificate because it does not resolve the problem.
Realizing I couldn't find matching pieces if restricted only to Levitz and only to $828.97 I attempted to contact the company at the phone number given on the merchandise certificate: 800-445-2503. When calling that number I would be put on "hold" music for a while, the phone would ring after 20 or so minutes and then I'd get a busy signal. This happened four times. I tried another number I found on my paperwork, 800-445-2503 and was given a choice of Semans or Levitz. The same results when I selected Levitz.
I kept trying, frustration mounting, and finally reached someone named Toyin, who put my phone number in the computer system and found no record of this problem. She put me on hold and transferred me to Chris, who said I should call the store. I did so, speaking with a manager, Kevin, who said he'd look into it and have someone get back to me. He gave me the number of the executive office VIP "presidential" service, 800-543-7754. Nicole took the call. I told her of my problem, pointed out that the warranty contract clearly defines "product" as: "The home furnishings which You purchased concurrently with and is covered by this contract." She then told me they'd done all they were willing to do, leaving me with a bedroom set that is no longer a set due to pieces that no longer match and a worthless Levitz Furniture Assurance Plan.
That same day I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. In filing that report I was asked what remedy or remedies I would find acceptable. I wrote as follows:
Desired outcomes, in diminishing order of preference:
1. A similar set consisting of the same 6 piece pier unit, 6 drawer dresser and 2 door/2 drawer chest.
2. Bedroom set refinished so all the pieces match.
3. Full monetary refund, not an in-store credit, of payment for a set that has not even lasted 5 years.
4. Monetary refund, not an in-store credit, for the two pieces PLUS the cost of the warranty which is not as good as I was lead to believe.
The day of my husband's second surgery I received a notice from the BBB with a letter they'd been sent by Levitz. In effect Levitz is removing themselves from this problem, saying it should be taken up with Stainsafe. I don't know Stainsafe; I did not purchase my furniture or my warranty from them. I was sold, I bought, and I paid for a warranty plan on my entire bedroom set from Levitz, a Levitz Furniture Assurance Plan. At no time during the sales process was I ever told the warranty would not be honored by Levitz, that it would not cover the set as a whole, or that I would have to deal with anyone but Levitz. I expect Levitz to fully stand behind the warranty they sold me.
By now, 4/2/04, another answer from Levitz was sent to the BBB. In this letter they didn't even address the problem, going on about no longer having sales records -- I do have all my sales receipts -- but ending with a refusal to correct the problem. The BBB is having their arbitrator look at the file while our local TV station, Channel 12, is pursuing this matter for their 12 On Your Side consumer feature. I will forward information on this site to both BBB and Channel 12. I have sent both organizations photocopies of the warranty certificate, which clearly states it is a Levitz Furniture Assurance Plan. I also managed to get a hold of what Levitz uses to get their sales personnel to sell the warranty, again, it states it is a Levitz Furniture Assurance Plan. I have also sent copies of all the warranty pages, one for each piece of the set in question. These documents came to me after the purchase but nowhere on them does it say Stainsafe.
I am incredibly frustrated at this point. This particular bedroom set is important in several ways. First, the color, gray. My decor is based on it but I suppose, if I had to, I could live with some other color or even a wood. The second, and most important of all, is the configuration. Our recent move from a very large house into one half the size has made storage space imperative. The pier unit, with end pieces consisting of armoires and drawers gives us storage space I need badly. I will not let this matter drop and will, if necessary, take the matter to court.
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