Reader Tries In Vain For 16 Months To Get Stainsafe To Honor Couch's Warranty

Adam’s mother has been trying for 16 months to get Stainsafe to honor its warranty for her ripped couch. SIXTEEN MONTHS. She’s documented the series in a time-line of ineptitude. She definitely deserves the warranty repair, but then some part of us is like, ductape?

We would never want to be the ones to dissuade someone from pursuing a rightful consumer complaint, but after a certain point you have to figure out what your hourly “wage” is (whether or not you have a job) and compare it to the expected outcome value. If the former exceeds the latter, an economist would tell you it’s time to move on. Or, cut to the chase and haul them into small claims court.

That said, Adam’s mother’s story inside is pretty crazy in terms of how utterly incompetent these warranty jokers are. Either that, or they’re entirely competent, in terms of avoiding doing any actual repair work.

i Consumerist! The story below is from my Mother, I helped her type it up (and prodded her to get all the information together so we could send this) I really am hoping that you can help out, i’ve personally tried every avenue even calling Macys corporate and playing the “I know that it’s Stainsafe’s (the warranty company) responsibility but do you really want a company like this representing you. I am literally at my wits end (as is my Mother) with trying to get this fixed. It’s become an almost comical 16-month ordeal at this point. Anything you can do to help is appreciated!

I’m attaching some pictures of the damage (which we have patched together a bit out of necessity), a brief synopsis and a history of the past 16 months with trying to get this fixed.

– Adam

In 2002 I purchased a new leather couch from Macys in New Jersey along with a Stainsafe 5-year “comprehensive furniture protection plan”, shortly after the couch was delivered, while vacuuming behind it, we noticed a large gash in the leather and that part of the frame of the couch was broken. It seemed that while unloading the couch and bringing it into our home the movers had dropped the couch, and silently continued to install it in our home. While it was obscured to us for a while by the fact that it was up against a wall, even if the movers who brought it into our home did not cause the damage it should have been apparent while moving it. After going back to Macys, the store was gracious and replaced the couch.

In February of 2006, I noticed a small tear in the decking under the cushion of the couch. I immediately notified Macys and opened a work order. Through a comedy of errors and a multitude of phone calls, which are documented below, 16 months later what was a small rip has evolved to structural damage to the couch and now a cavernous hole in the decking.

The structure of the Stainsafe claims process is like a rebate, wearing you down by promising that parts are “in the mail”. When they don’t arrive, weeks later, they must be re-shipped and when they finally arrive (by the slowest shipping method possible) you still need to schedule an appointment with a technician to come install them who may or may not show up. Once the parts and the technician finally arrive, that technician decides that the parts that were ordered were the wrong ones in the first place and the process restarts all over again.

DATE Stainsafe 1-800-521-0555
Macy’s 516-536-4287 / 1-800-526-1202
J.Sechko Furniture Services, 516-536-4287
2/2/06 Opened claim # 1138888, small rip in couch decking area. Per Christina, she will order the decking and send a technician
2/23/06 Received letter, decking ordered
3/15/06 Received a postcard from Stainsafe, claim #113888 is closed. Called Stainsafe, per Simone, disregard the letter, just an error.
3/23/06 Scheduled for repair-should be contacted by technician in 7 business days
4/6/06 No call from technician, called Stainsafe, spoke with Heather at Stainsafe, invoice was not attached so the system closed the claim. New claim #1174212. Will hear by Friday 4/14 on technician.
4/21/06 No call from technician, called Stainsafe. Maria says no work order was set up- she sets up a new work order and the tech will call me by next week Notified Maria, the rip has gotten larger, additional
5/2/06 No call from technician, called Stainsafe. Adrian says call the technician at J.Sechko Furniture Services, 516-536-4287, work order #1356244
5/22/06 Technician says decking too small-will re-order and reschedule. Says be sure to tell them he needs webbing when it is rescheduled.
6/8/06 Sent email to Satinsafe requesting an update, no response
6/12/06 Called Stainsafe- per Shanika, the received the technicians info on 6/8/06 requesting back cushions and decking- decision will be made in 72 hours
6/22/06 Called Stainsafe- per Marsha, cal back on 6/28
6/29/06 Called Stainsafe, per Taryn, the decking was ordered, when it’s received, call and schedule. Per Mgr. Samantha, tech says webbing needed
6/30/06 Received letter, deck area ordered
9/15/06 Still no decking, called Stainsafe. Per Tamika, she will follow up with the parts department and, they have 5-7 business days to respond to me by mail
10/2/06 Still no decking, no correspondence by mail, called Stainsafe. John says he will send a follow up email, they are not getting a response from Macy’s, suggests I call Macy’s 1-800-526-1202 Called Macy’s as per above, Tammy will contact Macys Stainsafe liaison Terry Stapleton @ Macy’s 1-800-526-1202 x 32519 and follow up
10/23/06 Still no decking, no mail, no calls, called Stainsafe. Greg transfers me Terry, the supervisor (no answer, left a voicemail). Called back, per Jeff, the files are locked transfers me to Linda who promises to call me within 72 hours
12/12/06 New decking is received
12/15/06 Called Stainsafe. Decking received, Told Lashon the technician said to make a note on the workorder that he needs to bring webbing and supports for the decking. She says the technician from J.Sechko Furniture Services should call us in 5-7 days to schedule
12/28/06 Received a postcard from Stainsafe, says technician from J.Sechko Furniture Services should call us in 5 days to schedule or call them so I called and left a message
1/19/2007 Technician scheduled, arrives w/o webbing and support for the decking, says he cannot make the repairs. Scott heard him make 2 calls from here and explained to the parts guy what he needed but there was confusion over what to order as the necessary parts. (2″ wide, one strap broken and serveral are ready to go) 3/5/07 Nothing by mail or phone, called Stainsafe. Per Mary, an email request for the straps was sent to the manufacturer – no response. Spoke with Shadell, consumer advocate, she will call the manufacturer and walk over to the parts dept and follow-up Consider sending a letter to Consumer Affairs 561-622-4260 CEO Stainsafe Steve Freidman ATTENTION: complaints
3/19/07 Nothing by mail or phone, called Stainsafe. Per Andrew, something’s been ordered, he’s guessing its what is needed
4/30/07 Received 6 metal clips with 6 rings on a thin piece of black elastic.
5/3/07 Called Stainsafe, (AJM) Lauren says that 6 elastic straps were supposed to ordered and says she will order the correct part.
5/5/07 Another letter saying decking area ordered?
5/30/07 No parts or correspondence, called Stainsafe, per Tammy, on May 11th, someone from Stainsafe spoke with Janet @ Macy’s and the part had shipped 5/11/07
6/25/07 Called Stainsafe, no parts yet. Per R.T. Shur, part order #3092295 was ordered (5/11) and uggested I call the retail store at 973-785-0407 who said call Macy’s customer service 1-800-526-1202, Bertha called Macy’s Ohio office and left a message, said it was part order #146864. Bertha Williams x 66003 from Macy’s says she will call me back today.
6/25/07 Late afternoon, no call from Bertha, call Macy’s and Melissa x24218 calls Stainsafe and speaks with Nancy who says she is sending the claim back to parts to follow-up and authorize the webbing. Suggests I call back in a week. I ask to speak with a supervisor, Nancy transfers me to the customer supervisor Monica Richardson who says the part shipped 5/11 and calls the store, says they ordered the webbing and it was shipped 5/11 via FedEx or UPS but there is no way of tracking it. She will email the vendor and find out the status of the parts shipped on 5/11 and call me back as soon as they get back to her.
6/25/07 Bertha left a message to say she followed up and called me back
6/27/07 Monica Richardson called-pls call her (Scott forgot to get name and #) 6/29/07 Received a letter from Stainsafe, decking area ordered??
7/5/07 Received stainless clips and elastic AGAIN NO WEBBING!!!
7/6/07 1-800-521-0555 Stainsafe Monica Richardson not available. Spoke w/ Tamar, she put in the request for J. Sacco Technicians come and evaluate the couch and the tech will tell them if what is ordered is what was needed (7-10 days) . Be sure to get the details, part name and number that are needed and have the tech take pictures!!!


Edit Your Comment

  1. tvh2k says:

    16 months later! It may just be time for small claims court…

  2. banned says:

    I would take it to get repaired on my own, keep the receipt, and take it up in small claims court. I guess the question is whats more important, getting it fixed, or forcing Macy’s to honour their warranty?

  3. beyond says:

    I understand their frustration with customer service, but this is what happens when people are incapable of doing anything themselves. This isn’t a complex machine or electronic device requiring special training to repair, this is a piece of hidden fabric on a couch.

    After the first round of difficulties I would have just demanded my warranty money back (not that I ever would have wasted money on an extra warranty in the first place), gone to a fabric store and patched the thing myself for 30 cents.

    Knowing how to sew rips and patches is one of those basic necessities, like knowing how to cook your own food and pump your own gas.

    So to sum up: Demand money back for a warranty they can’t honor, fix your own freaking couch.

  4. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    This actually IS Macy’s responsibility.

    Macy uses this vendor to warranty their products, sells their warranties and must insure the vendor is responding to customers in good faith.

    I suggest that you write a letter for your mother to the CEO of Macy’s. Someone from their executive offices will call you and help resolve the matter.

  5. joeblevins says:

    Beyond is right. Get the refund.

  6. royal72 says:

    get a video camera and record ploping the couch just inside macy’s door with a note attached on where to send a refund. edit your video together with the whole story, some recorded phone conversations may be nice to mix in, add some nice music, and post it on the internet… macy’s p.r. will be calling within approximately 4-6 weeks, possibly sooner.

  7. Mr. Chip says:

    I’m in the middle of my own two-year odyssey with Stainsafe. When the furniture company I bought my warranty through filed chapter 11 and re-organized, Stainsafe took this as an excuse to no longer honor claims against the warranty I purchased through them. Then, some months later, they sent me a buyout offer for my warranty that was ridiculously low. Months of navigating tightly documented telephone trees, trying to contact the Florida AG about an open investigation into their business practices, and hours of frustration later, I just gave up. They ripped me off, but I can’t put any more effort into trying to make it right. My sofa remains stained, my case with them remains opened, my complaint to the Florida AG remains ignored.

    Stainsafe are lying, cheating, evil people. If Consumerist can come up with the necessary names & numbers for an executive carpet bomb on these jerks, it would be a great service. I’ve had zero luck trying to organize one myself, since they’re privately held and they don’t advertise their executive staff.

  8. abaz says:

    I had the same issue with stain safe. We had a stain seep through the (protected) cushion and onto the decking area. The CSR tried to tell me that the decking area was not covered. After several angry phone calls and letters Stainsafe decided that “due to the fact that the stained decking area had been stained only because of seepage through protected fabric” they finally replaced the couch. I am not kidding when I say I called every day for 2 months.

  9. levenhopper says:

    Does anyone notice there are a couple gaps in the timeline of more than two months?

  10. bohemian says:

    “after a certain point you have to figure out what your hourly “wage” is (whether or not you have a job) and compare it to the expected outcome value.”

    Don’t most companies do this in figuring out the sales of such plans? It is like the warranty on the CFL light bulbs I bought that is totally worthless. Sure they are guaranteed, but I would spend more to ship them back than I paid for the bulbs.

    I think many companies make things as difficult as possible on purpose knowing most people are time crunched. If it takes 20 hours to solve a problem, or of that effort has to be done during business hours only most people just give up. Many people do not have the luxury to leave work or make lots of personal calls during the day. They also don’t have a spare 20 hours if they work 40+ hours and have a house and kids.

    You could take the service company to court but could you collect on it? If you can’t collect on it why bother?

  11. CapitalC says:

    Talk about corporate ineptitude. I hope more than anything that this story discourages people from buying that product. Nothing travels faster than bad news.

    @levenhopper: I’m sure that she has a normal life outside of calling the 1-800 number to get updates on her couch. ;)

  12. Kos says:

    Ben, I meant to write about Stainsafe some time ago. In fact, I think I got into Consumerist around the same time m problem arouse. I got the same damn runaround as well. My couch set was purchased from Levitz and it was a damaged ottoman (worth only $200). Stainsafe said they no longer did business with Levitz and vice versa so neither would honor the warranty. Technically, Stainsafe had to honor it. Levitz didn’t want to touch it and lost a future customer. Screw ’em. Each company is a POS and after several weeks of trying, it just wasn’t worth it to get so pissed off over a $200 ottoman.

    Separately, I believe Levitz was sued over this in small claims court and lost under NY’s unfair and deceptive business practices law.

  13. obbie says:

    Small Claims Court… go there get the couch fixed. Then, add up all the time you have spend on this whole issue and multiply it by the minimum wage. Bring this figure to the court and demand that you be compensated for the absurd amount of time you have spent being too patient with this issue.

  14. mathew says:

    “…after a certain point you have to figure out what your hourly “wage” is … and compare it to the expected outcome value. If the former exceeds the latter, an economist would tell you it’s time to move on.”

    Yeah, but economists are full of crap. Should we let people get away with breaking the law so long as it’s more expensive to catch them than their crime costs us? You know, like the end of THX-1138?

  15. mermaidshoes says:

    while the company should surely live up to any ‘warranty’ it offers, i’ve never even pondered the idea of getting a warranty on furniture. isn’t some wear & tear simply a given for furniture that’s used with any kind of frequency? it may not look perfect, but it’ll still be completely functional. granted, i’m not really the type to buy a $1000 sofa, so i guess i can’t really relate. thank god for craigslist.

  16. metapede says:

    Um… better business bureau anyone? How about small claims court. There are better avenues for resolving an issue than the Consumerist (which is for “heads-up” information and, possibly, catharsis/revenge).