Things They Won't Tell You At The Furniture Store

Furniture shopping can be a daunting, and often expensive, process. But, unless you like the feel of sleeping, sitting and eating off your floor, it’s a process we all must endure.

Over at SmartMoney.com, they’ve talked to some retail furniture insiders to get some info that many customers aren’t aware of. Among the items on their list of 10 Things Furniture Stores Won’t Say:

1) No matter what I say, your furniture might not arrive anytime soon.
“Once a purchase is made, there’s little guarantee the furniture will arrive in the time frame that the store claims… Even major retailers, like Crate & Barrel and Macy’s, sometimes deliver weeks after the date they promise. A Macy’s spokesman says late deliveries are rare but occur if the store learns the furniture is damaged or if the furniture manufacturer doesn’t ship the right order to the store’s distribution center…
Before purchasing an item, confirm that the order can be canceled in case of delay.”

2) Our financing plans may do damage to your credit score.
“[M]iss a payment and the interest rate spikes to 20% or more and it’s retroactive to the original balance… These plans, and others that feature deferred interest for a year, often wreck havoc on consumers’ credit scores. When a shopper buys, say, $3,000 of furniture, their line of credit could be for the same amount – leaving them maxed out on that credit line, skewing their credit utilization ratio (size of debt compared to overall line of credit), which contributes to 30% of a FICO credit score. And that line of credit often drops in tandem with payments to remain maxed out until the account is paid in full.”

3) You should never pay the full sticker price.
“Most furniture retailers mark up their prices by about 80% (and in some cases more) to maximize profits… In general, retailers typically make a gross margin, the difference between the sale and operational expenses, between 38% and 46%…

Often, consumers who pay with cash have more bargaining room, and the biggest discounts that follow from haggling usually occur at independent mom-and-pop shops where the person on the sales floor is usually an owner who doesn’t have to ask for permission to discount.”

10 Things Furniture Stores Won’t Say [SmartMoney.com]