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.




Edit Your Comment

  1. homerjay says:

    Oh how lame. EVERYONE warranties against SOME level of accidental damage or spillage. Its ALL ball bearings now-a-days! Maybe you guys at Wicke’s need a refresher course.

  2. Mike_ says:

    We paid $110 for a fabric protection plan on on our $2,000 sofa & love seat set. It covers food, beverage and pet stains for 7 years. We’ve already used it once. Manufacturing defects are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty (obviously).

    Not paying attention to what you’re being charged is bad, but if you ask me, your biggest mistake was paying the advertised price. Never buy furniture without haggling, even if it’s on sale.

  3. humphrmi says:

    This is juicy, but it’s still 2nd hand innuendo anyway, so YMMV/FYI/IANAL. ‘Bout 12 years ago I worked with a guy, a credit manager at a company (not Wickes) but he had worked at Wickes as an assistant c.m. for years. He said that when he was there, his staff was larger than the company’s sales staff because, quote, Wickes primary business was credit, not selling furniture.

  4. homerjay says:

    at least their primary business wasn’t service plans like every other retailer is now.

  5. He said that when he was there, his staff was larger than the company’s sales staff because, quote, Wickes primary business was credit, not selling furniture.

    Never buy furniture without haggling, even if it’s on sale.

    So, the furniture industry is following the auto industry’s model? Can’t anyone just make an honest living anymore?

  6. Triteon says:

    Dustin, the first time you fry your motherboard you’ll be wishin’ you bought the warranty!:)

  7. misskaz says:

    I had a similar experience at Harlem Furniture Room Place (not sure if that’s a local Chicago chain or what) about 4 years ago. They had a couch for about $300 in one of their ads. This is one of those places that tries to get you to buy the whole living room set, including ugly coffee tables and lamps and shit. They claim you’re getting a great deal because look at everything you get for $1,000 or whatever, but in truth the extra accessories are crap and not worth paying for.

    Anyway, I knew what I wanted. Walked into the store, saw the couch, measured it, and told a sales person I wanted it. We walked to one of the sales terminals and he began to ring me up. He asked if I wanted the fabric protection. I said no. He did the sales shpiel on me. I said no thanks. Then he said the computer wouldn’t let him sell it to me without the fabric protection. What?!? He said because I wasn’t buying the whole room set, that they don’t make any money just selling the one piece and he has to include the fabric protection. I was so flabbergasted I started thinking that maybe I could use it, after all I have a dog and a cat, etc. So I said okay, fine, if you have to.

    Then I started taking the paperwork to the back counter to arrange for pickup/delivery. And as I’m walking back I’m replaying this conversation in my mind and realizing how absolutely ridiculous it was. I complained to the woman at the desk and she took the fabric protection off – in fact, she looked at me like I was crazy when I said the salesperson said I had no choice and had to get it. In retrospect, I should have cancelled the whole order and just walked out of there, and sent a letter about the treatment I got. But I had been hunting for a couch for weeks and was tired of sitting on lawn furniture in my new apartment.

  8. circadianswing says:

    My wife and I had a similar experience at Wickes. I specifically asked the salesman to tell us everything about the sofa’s warranty. He thoroughly explained it covered everything, all I have to do was call. They also give us as much leather conditioner as we need for free. After we agreed on a price, he ran our credit, and as the sale was finishing, I noticed a line item for a warranty. It was roughly $500 on a $2000 sofa purchase. When I told the salesman he never mentioned there was an additioinal cost for the warranty, he replied while shoving the sales slip towards me for signature, “well you asked about the warranty, so I thought you knew.” I then asked him if the sofa came without an additional fee warranty. He explained it’s a 1 year warranty, but should something happen, it would be my responsibility to ship the sofa back to the manfacturer. He seemed shocked that we tore up the sales receipt.. do most people fall for that high pressure tactic after an underhanded attempt to tack on 25%? Good Luck Wickes, your business is going the way of travelling elixir salesmen.

  9. taipan01 says:

    @Triteon: I somewhat agree. I’ve bought warrantees for electronics and have been thrilled to discover how accomodating they are..just don’t forget you have one or lose the paper work. But the warrantees for furniture aren’t worth the paper they’re written on and have a lot of exclusions & ambiguities. If I’m dropping a lot of money I’d expect to be purchaseing quality. Rips or stains…I think I could handle. trouble is that I think these warantees prey on human nature; namely the fact that you’ll forget that you hve a warantee etc. Buyer Beware!!!

  10. jaynelux says:

    This is from a former Marshall Fiels Furniture salesperson and because this will be a negitive responce to the above bashing of the warrenties that are provided from all furniture stores, this will probably never get put on this site. 80% of customers purchase the furniture protection program and it is to there benefit, especialy when there are children or sloppy adults involved. The cost of refinishing the top of a table or having a rip or stain repaired or any repairs taken care of are far more expensive than a warrenty could ever cost. Every store gives the comsumer a list of what this program covers and I can`t stand a comsumer that has the list and does not read it and then complains that the salesperson or the store is trying to rip off the customer. READ WHAT THE WARRENTY COVERS AND WHAT IT DOES NOT COVER!!!!!Of course normal wear and tear is not covered, are you stubid? Anything you purchase,(clothing for example) if it is defective, yes you can take it back, and exchange it or get your money back, but if you have worn it a few times , no. Normal wear and tear.Just so you know , I am no longer in sales or with any department store but it burns me up when a customer has a bad experience and now all of a sudden all furniture stores are the bad guys and are trying to pull a fast one on the comsumers. Just remember, there are far more satisfied customers than disatisfied customers!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      this is an old post I am replying to, but to the salesperson “jaynelux”, the Warranty itself is not what this thread is about, Many would argue the warranty could be of use, but not the point here. this thread is discussing the scheming, under-handed ways in which the warranty is tacked on w/o the consent of the purchaser..