"We Do Not State That The Wood For This Chair Is Black"

One problem with ordering furniture online: you may not get what you saw on the website. Then, when you contact the store to explain that the light wood sitting in your living room is nothing remotely like what you ordered, you might get this response: “I would like to inform you though that we do not state that the wood for this chair is black, although the photo we do have shows that the wood is dark we do not state that it is black.”

Fortunately, David was able to get modernfurniture.com to see reason, by writing a couple of reasonable, professional letters, and by sending photographs of the obviously not “black” chair:

While this is true, you do not say it is “black”, the wood in your picture is not even close in color to what I received. The wood in your picture may not be “black,” maybe it’s “cappuccino” or some other very dark color, but your picture definitely does not show a chair with light brown wood…

It seems that the wood may be detachable. If that is the case and I’m sent instructions on how to remove them, I will be happy to perform a wood exchange. If I must return the entire product to you for a refund or an exchange for the correct item, I hope we can do that as easily as possible as well.

Except for the wood, the chair itself is beautiful and I trust that we can resolve this in a quick and friendly manner.

The side-by-side photos, and the sweet-talk, seemed to do the trick:

After reviewing the photos and speaking with my supervisor we are going to be able to issue a call tag for this particular item at our expense… Once we receive confirmation that FedEx has picked up the item we will be able to issue back credit or send out a replacement, which ever you prefer.

We hope you enjoy your new, closer-to-black chair, David (provided you ever receive it).

(Thanks to David!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. MercuryPDX says:

    This reminds me of the couch that woman bought with the Non-pc name for Brown.

    Looked up the chair and CHA-CHING, but it looks nice and comfy. I think they may have sent him this one instead.

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    P.S. It looks like it COULD be a very dark Walnut or Ebony.

  3. ct03 says:

    @Mercurypdx: Intern Alex here–something David mentioned in his email, but that didn’t make it into the post, was that the shipping order or receipt listed the item as something like “Eggplant/Mahogany.” I guess in retrospect that could have been a signal that it was the wrong color, as mahogany is more red than black, but the company’s website doesn’t appear to let customers choose wood, just fabric.

  4. XianZhuXuande says:

    This is a good reason for online credit card purchases. Chargeback.
    (And if someone found themselves in this situation after having purchased it on a card — especially backed by a customer-sided company like American Express — it is the thing to turn to after negotiations with the company break down).

  5. darkclawsofchaos says:

    so… was it really that ugly, or they just wanted the one in the picture… I mean so colors are just horrendous that making a fuss is worth the effort, or is it just one of those feng shui perfectionists/bored housewives/angry male interior decorators. I know sometimes its warranted, but if its a real headache and your wife doesn’t care as long as it is comfty and functional, why bother?

  6. KogeLiz says:

    Email was great!

    The color is wayyyy off. I wonder if all the customers who buy the same chair get the same incorrect color.

  7. BlinkyGuy says:

    @darkclawsofchaos: You will have to forgive me for discounting the interior decorating opinion of someone with the word “chaos” in their screen name. :-)

  8. Imaginary_Friend says:


    If David wanted a hokey-looking, two-toned chair, I’m sure he could’ve easily procured one at a nearby Ikea. People shop for furniture online because the selection is better. The all black chair looks sweet; the lighter wood version? Not so much.

  9. dantsea says:

    The term “wood exchange” is making my inner 13-year-old boy snicker.

  10. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I worked for an internet furniture store at one point (a year ago). Its all a sham.

    Heres how it most likely works (at least how we did it):

    1) Get catalog from furniture manufacturer such as Ashley, Kathy Ireland Home, or anything else you would find at Target or a store like Staples or Office Depot.

    2) If picture is not on CD that came with catalog, go on the internet and copy from someone elses website. If that doesn’t work then scan picture from catalog.

    3) Copy text description text from catalog. If no text on catalog, go on website and copy from someone else. If unable to find any descriptive text then make something up using the same few terms (luxurious, vibrant, soft, rich) etc…

    4) Figure out price and round to some form of 9.99 (49.99, 139.99, 1099.99 etc) because people feel more comfortable buying cheap crap if it is in some form of 99 at the end. (Not kidding on this one this is what we were told)

    5) Upload to website even though we dont have product in stock and have never seen the product in person.

    What would happen is a person will order the product and pay for it. We will see if its in stock. If its not we will call and offer a different product or refund (customers choice) and apologize. This is why alot of times you hear of people buying furniture or other goods online from a 3rd party only to not have them in stock (Amazon sales come to mind which we also sold on).

    Our drivers would go and pick up the furniture and bring it to our warehouse. We would check it out, wrap it back up and send it out to the customer. This stuff was cheap, made often of pressed board and laminate, but sold for expensive prices.

    Don’t buy furniture online if you can help it. Trust me, I’ve been there worked for the man… its crap, waste of money… just all around not worth it.

  11. Electroqueen says:

    Why the heck would anyone really want to buy furniture online? Is it really that hard to go to a store and check out the merchandise before buying?

  12. Maude Buttons says:

    @Electroqueen: Your words of wisdom came none too soon. One finds oneself deeply indebted to your trenchant analysis of the situation, providing, as always, a workable solution. “Is it really that hard…” is almost always the beginning of reasoned advice.

  13. Falconfire says:

    @Electroqueen: You realize that for some its nearly impossible to purchase certain items in their area, even if they drove 3-4 hours outside of it to find a place that MIGHT carry said item.

    And for some stuff it IS impossible as they only sell online or via catalog.

    I do realize Im asking a lot of the fact you where not posting a snarky comment and where actually being serious about your confusion.

  14. UCLAJason says:

    The law roughly states that if it is in the picture then the ad is saying that the item will be like the picture. This works even for lesser items than furniture. If you go to a fast food place and it shows a value meal with a drink then the meal includes a drink.

  15. Asvetic says:

    Maybe they sent him the Servine Push Back Microsuede Recliner:[www.modernfurniture.com] instead of the Marlon Push Back Microsuede Recliner: [www.modernfurniture.com]

  16. InsertPhotoHere says:

    I am the person who submitted this story to Consumerist.

    The reason that I bought a piece of furniture online, against my better judgment, is that I simply could not find a chair that fits my requirements at any of my local stores (and I live in a relatively large metro area.) I could not find what I wanted at any of my local stores: Ikea, Ashley Furniture, Rooms To Go, American Signature Furniture, etc.

    I wanted a reclining chair with clean modern lines that would match the rest of my dark furniture, with a fabric of a complimentary color to my green accent wall (color wheel anyone?), that would not look like the standard “puffy” recliner and that is not made of leather.

    This chair fit the bill perfectly.

    If any of you who ask why did I choose to buy it from that specific online store can find me a chair that fits those requirements at a real brick and mortar store in Florida, I’ll be happy to purchase it and send you a finders fee.

  17. freshyill says:

    This chair is NOT BLACK!

  18. RagingBoehner says:

    The chair is black pause not

  19. CommenterKeen says:

    “It’s like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.”

  20. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    Because it isn’t what they ordered. Why do they need another reason?

  21. picardia says:

    @Electroqueen: I buy furniture online — several bookshelves, a desk chair, an ottoman and a sofa, so far. And I live in New York, so I COULD find pretty much anything — if I wanted to spend 97 hours on various subway rides/transfers, going from store to store, to comparison-shop the prices on bookshelves that look exactly like bookshelves, or in desperate search of the Pottery Barn that actually has my sofa in my chosen upholstery, which is to say, none of them. Also, like most New Yorkers, I don’t have a car, so I’ve got to pay delivery charges no matter what.

    I did go to PB to sit down on my sofa (in different upholstery) just to get a feel for it, and I checked out the chosen upholstery sample in person. That I wanted to be sure of. The rest I did totally online, and I’ve been very happy with the results.

  22. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    Exactly. The problem isn’t the site’s description. They sent the wrong thing. This really shouldn’t be so difficult.

  23. Mr. Guy says:

    this chair is blacknot

  24. Imaginary_Friend says:


  25. Paul D says:

    In other news, I’m calling my next band “Wood Exchange.”

    Watch for us on MTV…

  26. Jasmo says:

    Damn, that is an ugly chair.

  27. DXDawg says:


    Greatest response ever.

  28. clickertrainer says:

    Yawn. Get some paint. Move on with your life.

  29. vanilla-fro says:

    @picardia: I bet it’s also tons of fun getting furniture back to your place that way.

    Yeah, people sometimes need to order stuff online to get what they really want and when it comes to furniture…..you really want what you really want you don’t want to look at something you hate for as long as most keep their furniture.

  30. vanilla-fro says:

    @clickertrainer: right, good job.

  31. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @clickertrainer: Seems to me like sending a letter and a couple of photos is easier than taking the chair apart and painting it yourself.

  32. timsgm1418 says:

    when I bought a house last year I bought furniture online so I could get upromise credit. I bought from JC Penney though because they had a better selection online than in the store@Electroqueen:

  33. darkclawsofchaos says:

    @BlinkyGuy: fair enough, I do admit I don’t really stylize my place like others do

  34. kbarrett says:

    If you would just poke your eyes out, all furniture would be black.