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Slippery Sales Technique, Unsatisfactory Sofa & Inadequate Customer Service

(23 Posts)
NormanSteward Wed 21-Feb-18 17:03:13

When we were first married in 1960 we bought G Plan furniture which served us well for many years.
After almost 58 years of marriage we did not want to spend a lot of money on replacing furniture. Nevertheless, after an unfortunate flirtation with a far-eastern product which lasted only a few years we decided to return to our first love - G Plan. Our requirement was for a leather two-seater sofa and a leather three-seater sofa.
We went to SCS Milton Keynes on 15th November 2017 to evaluate the G Plan range and were taken with a G Plan two-seat in Regent Plaster leather from the Nettleton range. However, there was not a three-seat on display but we assumed the quality and comfort would be similar to the two-seat which we sat on for almost an hour.
The sales procedure was protracted and confusing with the salesman producing various payment terms written on the back of an A4 piece of paper. Not being able to agree with some of the calculations I was told that the figure I queried was for a maintenance agreement! I took issue with this automatic inclusion without discussion and was told it was not compulsory.
As I am coming up to 85 later this year I began to wonder whether this was an attempt to pull a fast one over an older customer. A further niggle arose with the pricing of the sofas. One was priced at £1.499 and the other £1,299. In common with other furniture they were shown as "two years free credit." Towards the end of the discussion the salesman then offered £300 discount for cash.
This just confirmed my feeling that the sales procedures with SCS are, at best, ambiguous or perhaps somewhat slippery.
Delivery was promised for delivery on the 18th December 2017 - Both sofas arrived within the scheduled time and without any apparent external defects.
After sitting on the three-seat sofa it at once became apparent that the left hand seat sloped towards the arm; conversely the right hand seat sloped towards the middle seat.
However, the major problem is that after 30 minutes or so the padding or foam over the springs sinks and there appears to be something solid sticking into the backside of the seated person. This makes it quite impossible to stay seated and be comfortable for any length of time. Similarly, the right hand seat.
Consequently we now have a three seat sofa which we cannot sit on for any length of time.
I emailed SCS Sofas with my complaint on 15th January 2018 outlining my dissatisfaction and pointing out that "The Consumer Rights Act 2015 makes it an implied term of the contract I have with SCS that goods be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. As you are in breach of contract and I've owned the product for less than 30 days I am within my statutory rights to ask for a full refund of the original cost paid."
I had a telephone call a few days later from someone called Keith who said he would send a technician on the following Friday 26th January 2018.
The technician arrived and took photographs of the sofa inside and outside but, crucially, was not keen to sit on the offending seats. He pronounced that there was no obvious manufacturing fault that he could see. Nonetheless, as I was of average height and build, he could not explain the problem that occurs when the sofa is sat upon for any length of time.
Without a formal response from SCS Sofas within the following week I was compelled to email Keith on the 2nd February 2018 pointing out their obligations under The Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Keith replied as follows:
Thank you for your email to ScS Customer Executive Department

Please be assured that we will investigate your concerns and will be in contact with you in the next 24-48 hours using the contact details you have provided

Please do not reply to this message
making it plain that my complaint was completely new and it was obvious he had little idea as to the substance of my complaint.

A few days later I had a telephone call from an unnamed woman at SCS Sofa which was well nigh unintelligible presumably because of the telephone she was using. The gist of the call seemed to be that SCS Sofas were not prepared to do anything and were not prepared to accept any liability under The Consumer Rights Act 2015.

There the matter rests, I have not heard from SCS Sofas for ten days nor have I ever received a formal letter answering the complaint.

I would never, ever buy anything from SCS Sofas nor would I recommend them. Evidently, SCSC Sofas do not think statutory legislation applies to them.
It is worthwhile pointing out that the modern G Plan company is not the same company I knew in 1960 and which had an enviable reputation for product reliability.

The current G Plan brand, in common with many old-established quality UK brands, has gone through various owners and is far-removed from the well-respected name of E Gomme of High Wycombe.

M0nica Wed 21-Feb-18 17:10:28

This is appalling. I would speak to your local Trading Standards people, or write to a national newspaper with a financial advise line. Alternatively contact your local paper and flog the SCS tries to palm substandard good on to OAP, very grating I know, but it is the kind of line a local newspaper will run with.

If you, or anybody you know uses Facebook I would post your story as told above on the SCS facebook page. They are bound to have one, then 100s of people will see it and it usually leads to a very quick and satisfactory resolution of any problems.

What SCS do not want is publicity about a case like yours, so go out to get as much publicity for your story as you can.

Jalima1108 Wed 21-Feb-18 17:17:55

We bought a G plan suite a couple of years ago to replace one which we had had for years. I must say that the quality is nowhere near as good as our old suite and DH's reclining chair is hard and the footrest fairly useless. We did call them back to rectify a defect; in fact the G plan rep who came agreed there was a defect but there was nothing much they could do about it (it was a fabric fault rather than a fault in the seating) so we moved the furniture around so that it can't be seen and they gave us a reduction.
We didn't buy from SCS though.

I would recommend the Trading Standards office too.
Keep a note of all phone calls and any communications.

suzied Thu 22-Feb-18 04:09:00

I would try Facebook and Twitter, maybe even the small claims court?
I’m a fan of mid century furniture and it is worth checking out the companies which trade under the well respected names such as G Plan, Parker Knoll, as they are no longer the same companies and their products are not made in the UK. Ercol is still the original company and does still make many of the original designs in the UK, however, some new and cheaper ranges sold under licence through the likes of John Lewis are branded as Ercol but are made in China and Eastern Europe, so worth checking the origins of new furniture, if you are interested in quality. Good luck with your claim and don’t let them get away with it!

cornergran Thu 22-Feb-18 06:53:12

Yes, don’t let them get away with it norman. SCS are badly mishandling your genuine complaint. As others have said, Trading Standards, newspapers, the CAB for support and social media if it can be accessed. We don’t use Facebook but family do and have posted a kitchen complaint on our behalf which got immediate attention.

We also bought G Plan, five years ago, to replace older furniture but from a local independent store where there was no hard sell. Ours came with a 10 year frame and spring warranty and a registered address in Melksham, Wiltshire. Your issue sounds to be about both frames and springs. Although I believe you are exactly right to take up your complaint with SCS you could try a complaint direct to G Plan suggesting SCS attitude is harming their business.

Please keep going, let us know how you get on.

annsixty Thu 22-Feb-18 08:03:52

Coincidentally, my friend is going through a similar problem with g-plan furniture .
The 3 seater settles is hard and uncomfortable after a short while.
They have 3 reclining chairs which are fine.
They have complained to the retailer who visited and said no problem.
They now just use the chairs.
They are the type who replace furniture frequently so I expect it to be changed within the year.
I think it was from Furniture Village, I suspect all these stores are owned by the same group.

Greyduster Thu 22-Feb-18 08:09:49

Some years ago we got rid of a very good GPlan sofa as DH wanted a leather suite, which we bought from a good local retailer. We were told they were made in Italy. On delivery, one of the chairs seemed to wobble. We rang the store who said it was probably a defect in our floor! DH went all over the floor with a spirit level and it was perfectly straight, so the store sent their upholsterer out to have a look at the chair. He said from what he could see, the frame looked as if it had been put together in a second year woodwork class and was warped, hence the wobble. It also turned out to have been made in the Far East. He reported back to the store. They offered to replace the chair. We insisted that they replace the suite. After a protracted interchange and threats of legal action they agreed to take the suite back and let us choose another, which has been perfectly serviceable. Stick to your guns and don’t let them soft soap you.

Auntieflo Thu 22-Feb-18 08:56:34

Norman, could you try going down the Resolver route? I think the Martin Lewis Money website may help with the address.

Jalima1108 Thu 22-Feb-18 18:29:30

Although I believe you are exactly right to take up your complaint with SCS you could try a complaint direct to G Plan suggesting SCS attitude is harming their business.
That's a good idea cornergran

I wish that we had had our old G plan suite recovered as it was much more comfortable than the new one.

Fisher147 Thu 07-Jun-18 06:52:40

Norman accurately describes the same situation that I am experiencing

You complain
They send a technician
Then the technician declares “ no manufacturing defect”
Complaint not upheld

Slippery is the word
AVOID SCS and do not buy G-Plan furniture
Like Norman we had G-Plan 40+ years ago
And now when we can afford it we went back
£3000 we spent
And have been treated disgracefully
Avoid avoid avoid

Willow500 Thu 07-Jun-18 07:28:06

What a disgraceful way to be treated! They're probably hoping you will just give up but definitely put this information out on SCS's website review page as well as their FB page - they do have one and contact CAB to see what your legal rights are, Martin Lewis's site also has a lot of helpful information re consumer rights.

My granddaughter and her boyfriend purchased two new sofas from SCS when they moved last year - when they were finally delivered they were 2 completely different colours! How could they not have noticed is beyond us. It took many calls and a seriously worded letter by my son to their customer service department threatening legal action before they finally acknowledged their error and eventually delivered the correct one.

Don't give up Norman and let us know how you get on!

MawBroon Thu 07-Jun-18 07:33:48

For what it is worth I recently took delivery of 2 new sofas from a company in Wales called SofaSofa.
Friendly service, great value, comfy sofas (grumpy delivery men but I was their last call and it was 9.45)

M0nica Thu 07-Jun-18 07:53:57

We are replacing our 20 year old Multiyork sofa and, as with many products these days, we are likely to go to a small local company.

I am going right off using major retailers for buying almost anything. They are big, they are indifferent , their staff are poorly paid and worked into the ground and I am just one of 1,000s of customers. Why should they care a toss about me and my complaints. To a small company my money matters and so does my satisfaction with the product they receive so they make an effort.

Welshwife Thu 07-Jun-18 08:04:34

We always had great service from Sofa Sofa - the furniture is locally made too which is why I said we should buy from them. South Wales used to make a great deal of upholstered furniture but unfortunately most of the companies folded in the 90s.

janeainsworth Thu 07-Jun-18 08:19:34

I agree with jalima, Trading Standards would be my first port of call.
I would also consider the Small Claims Court. I don’t know how much it costs these days but the fee used to be fairly modest.

Smileless2012 Fri 08-Jun-18 20:08:22

SCS are breaking the law Norman if they offer a discounted price on an item which has 'interest free credit'.

Of course there's no such thing as interest free, the cost of the interest has already been calculated and is included in the price.

Smileless2012 Fri 08-Jun-18 20:09:28

I should have posted a discounted price for cash on an item which has 'interest free credit'.

Belgravian Fri 08-Jun-18 20:21:45

SCS CEO - drop him a line
Mr David KnightChief Executive

[email protected]

Belgravian Fri 08-Jun-18 20:22:11

[email protected]

Belgravian Fri 08-Jun-18 20:24:59

David Knight
45-49 Villiers Street, Sunderland,

Company Number00323778C

blossom14 Fri 08-Jun-18 22:10:20

We have a G plan sofa that we bought in 1966. It seats 5 in great comfort, has been recovered twice and reupholstered once and still looks stunning. Even my DGDS keep hinting about inheriting it.
It has probably cost us in the region of £4500.00 over those years so I think it was good value.

janeainsworth Sat 09-Jun-18 08:53:09

Blossom we have G-plan dining room furniture from the same era that we bought on eBay about 6 years ago.
The whole lot cost about £600 including hiring vans to collect it from various parts of the country and to get the chairs recovered with some lovely fabric that my Sis-in-law had in her loft!
I wouldn’t part with it now!

Auntieflo Sat 09-Jun-18 10:12:14

We have a G-plan dining room suite, table, sideboard and four chairs, bought from The Ideal Home Show in 1961. We love it. The chairs have been recovered a couple if times, but apart from that it's still in excellent condition. From the same vintage, we have a wardrobe with three sliding doors, the central one being a full length mirror. It is such a clever design, as you only have to turn a couple of catches,and it can be taken apart and easily moved. This year, while on holiday, we ordered two new G-Plan sofas, and I do so hope we have done the right thing now after reading some of these posts. They will be delivered in approx 6 weeks. Fingers crossed.