Wickes Furniture’s Stupid Warranty

Reader Dustin writes in with a slimy customer service experience at Wickes furniture. The upshot of the story is that the salesman tacked on a 3-year extended warranty without asking Dustin if he felt the need to insure his furniture against “manufacturing defects” to the tune of $89.99.

Aside from shady sales people, well, talk about your stupid warranties. We clicked on over to Wickes’ website and read all about their little policy.

Wickes Furniture warrants to the original purchaser that the furniture you purchase from us will be free from factory defects in construction and workmanship for three years from the date of delivery. This warranty does not apply to, and Wickes Furniture will not be responsible for: 1) wearability or color fastness of fabrics or covers unless separately warranted by the manufacturer; 2) damages resulting from negligence, pets, misuse, fire, accidents such as glass breakage due to overloading, the elements, acts of nature; 3) wear and tear under normal usage, such as cushion cores; 4) furniture used in commercial settings or rental basis; 5) any repairs not specifically performed or approved by our service department or authorized dealer; or 6) merchandise sold as is or clearance.

Um. So basically, they’re saying you should give them an extra $90 to guarantee that the furniture is not so shitty it won’t even last 3 years under ideal conditions. As Dustin so astutely pointed out in all caps at the end of his email, “AND WHO THE HELL BUYS 3 YEARS OF FURNITURE INSURANCE?” We don’t know, Dustin. We just don’t know.—MEGHANN MARCO

Read Dustin’s email inside.


    I had a feeling I would have a bad customer experience at Wickes
    but I went anyway. I saw an ad for dining set I wanted in a newspaper
    ad. The ad didn t show the measurements. so I hopped on the Internet
    and tried Wickes.com but something else comes us. I googled
    Wickes Furniture and, except for wickesfurniture.com, all the search
    results were nothing but complaints from sites like Complaint.com.
    I couldn t find the set from the ad on their web site.

    Despite these warning signs I got in the car drove thirty minutes
    to the local Wickes Furniture to make sure it was the right size, and
    possibly buy it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice showroom and
    the dining set I wanted set up in the middle of the store. The store
    was busy, too. Salespeople were around but no one was hounding me so
    I had to seek one out for myself which I don t mind at all. Once I
    found a salesman, I told him I wanted that dinette set. I think the
    ad said $599 but the tags on the pieces were all different prices.
    They seemed to add up. The quality looked great for the price and
    today only, the store was having a Veterans Day sale — Free Delivery
    and No Sales Tax.

    The salesman took me back to one of the sales desks scattered
    around the store. He asked me for my driver s license. Hmmm, I
    thought. Well, he just wants something easy to get my address into
    his computer. No problem. I gave it to him. He entered my name and
    address into his green screen and I watched to make sure he got it
    right. I noticed the total was $686.89 or something like that. In my
    haste, I wasn t concerned with the fact that it was over $600
    because to tell you the truth I couldn t remember whether the set
    was $599 or $699. I was focused on the -86.89 because there is not
    supposed to be sales tax that day. When a company offers No Sales
    Tax what they mean is that they reduce their price enough so that
    the price + sales tax ends up the same as the advertised price. In
    other words, they are paying the sales tax.

    He explained that since I was in Orange County (7.75% sales tax) I
    pay less than someone in Los Angeles County (8.25%) because the
    Wickes computer system can only hold one price. If I was in LA County
    my price would have been $X99.99 including sales tax. Sounded right to
    me, so I gave him my credit card and off he went to the main sales
    desk to make the charge. I met him over there (just to keep a visual
    on my card and to help things along so I could get out of there). I
    signed the receipt for $686.89 and headed out the door. He said the
    furniture would be delivered this Thursday and shook my hand.

    Driving home, I called my wife to say I bought the set and to tell
    her the good news about getting an even greater discount because we
    were in Orange County. My enthusiasm ended when she said But the
    ad says the set is $599. You paid $686? I told her I would call
    her back and turned around to head back to Wickes and telephoned the
    sales rep.

    He said, You know what that is I know what that is. It’s for
    the 3 year warranty.

    The what ? I said

    The three year warranty. It’s $89.99 and covers the furniture
    for three years. If something happens we take care of it. Are you
    sure you don t want it It might come in handy if something happens
    to the surface of the table. If you don t, don t worry, I can take
    it off.

    I ll be right there, I said.

    I walked back into the store, which didn t feel so nice anymore.
    I found the sales rep and he turned around immediately and I followed
    him to the sales desk. I gave him my paperwork.

    I m sorry about that. I thought you wanted the warranty, he
    said as he called over a manager to handle the refund of the $89.99.

    I ve never even heard of a warranty for furniture. If you
    would ve asked me if I wanted it I would ve said no.

    Oh, I asked you. he said, nonchalantly probably because
    his boss was standing in front of him handling the refund.

    No. You didn t. I said, equally nonchalantly. I don t get
    mad, I just don t come back to a store that lets its salespeople
    slam customers.

    He handed me back my paperwork and I left.

    Wickes missed on opportunity to provide an excellent customer
    experience on only one point the slimy salesman automatically
    adding a worthless insurance policy to my order. On every other
    point, (value of the product, showroom, location, speed of
    transaction) they did great. That one person destroyed an otherwise
    good experience.