Harlem Furniture Complaint - Damage to my floor and the Better Business Bureau

Review by JD W. on 2007-05-17
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I bought an Entertainment Center from Harlem Furniture. It is a large piece and had to be delivered. The delivery guys arrived and through carelessness and inexperience they left large scratches in my new hardwood floors. I contacted Harlem Furniture; they told me that they hire 3rd party movers and are not responsible for the damage done. I filed a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau in Chicago. Harlem Furniture changed their mind and said they would make the movers pay for the damage. The movers did nothing so I continued my complaint through the BBB. Harlem Furniture told me that to get two professional estimates of the damage done to my floor in the delivery of their product. I contacted two companies who sent out representatives and made estimates on the damage. I faxed this information to Harlem Furniture who claimed they would pay me the lessor estimate for fixing my floor. They did nothing. I continued the complaint through the Chicago BBB. Harlem Furniture finally stated that they were going to issue me credit for the damage done to my floor. I received nothing. The Chicago Better Business Bureau assessed the situation and stated that Harlem Furniture had acted "responsibly" and had addressed all my complaints. I never received any credit from Harlem Furniture. My floor still has a deep long scratch from their movers, something which I will have to pay to fix. The BBB has come off as pro-business. Look on their website. They only note when a business has lived up to its responsibilities and when the consumer has not accepted a reasonable offer. It's unfortunate that a company can damage property, lie and get a pat on the back from a consumer watch group like the Better Business Bureau. I expect sleazy tactics from operators like Harlem Furniture, an extremely dishonest company, but my real disappointment/disillusionment was in the Better Business Bureau. They don't protect consumers, they protect and enable the companies that swindle consumers.
Comments:6 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-05-17
Posted by S on 2007-05-17:
Our carpet installers banged up our walls a few weeks back...
When I complained about it to the lead installer, he said we could contact Empire and they would take care of it... That is the response I would expect from any company that uses 3rd party installers... They should either fix it themselves, or work with the 3rd party installer company to fix it.

The BBB will often rule in favor of the company if they have buried in their "fine" print a clause avoiding the responsibility. Which is probably the case here...
Posted by Sarah May on 2007-05-17:
I agree with you 100% about the BBB. Read their requirements for a business to become a member. Number one - Pay our fee. And when a business is a member, all of their complaints are covered by the BBB with statements like "Despite a good faith effort on the part of the business, the consumer remained dissatisfied."
The only way the BBB works is if you're working with a company that still fears them and doesn't understand that if they just respond to your complaints, the BBB will recongize that as "effort to resolve".
I say sue them. Sue the furniture company and the delivery company. Whatever you have in writing, keep it close to you and take pictures of the damage.
I'm sorry for your bad experience.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-17:
Take photos and always get written responses. An oral promise is worthless. Take photos of the damage and try to get them to be in the picture pointing to the damage.
Posted by Gannon_banned on 2007-05-17:
Legally speaking, your contract was not with the 3rd party company; therefore, any damages that were done as a result of what the 3rd party company did, will have to be resolved through the company you purchased the furniture from. You can sue that company for damages, and then it is there job to recover that cost from the 3rd party company, not yours.
Posted by Slimjim on 2007-05-17:
You're expecting way too much from the BBB. They simply are a private charter that takes complaints from consumers and forwards them to companies. They have absolutely no power. The attorney general or consumer affairs division of your state are the ones who can investigate and possibly enforce consumer fraud. Honestly, your situation doesn't sound like one that they can help with much either though. Your only recourse very well be small claims court.
Posted by dfields on 2007-05-17:
i hope the contract you signed doesn't have a 'not responsible for damage(s)' clause. if so, ur screwed!

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