Sofa Express Informative - Sofa Express and More (or less)
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- I guess it's true that the service mantra, "the customer is always right" has actually gone by the wayside. In this day and age the new mantra is "we have your money so screw you," or at least this is what a store manager and regional manager for Sofa Express both recently told me in so many words during two different phone conversations.
My husband and I recently ordered a custom sofa from Sofa Express. There were some positive aspects to this experience. Our sales person was friendly; our sofa arrived as we ordered it 5 weeks ahead of time (we were expecting a 9 week waiting period due to the fabric we chose); the delivery was right on schedule; and the delivery men were polite and respectful of our home when they brought the new piece in. Unfortunately, the negative aspects of this experience far outweigh the positives. We were not greeted initially on entering the store and after browsing for quite a while (being seen by several sales people) had to seek out someone to help us. Our salesperson albeit nice was completely uneducated on the products and policies of Sofa Express. We had to wait a lengthy period of time while our sales person searched frantically for the specification sheet on the sofa we were interested in purchasing. The ordering process did go smoothly, and we were told repeatedly (after we asked specifically) that custom orders could be returned, but that we would loose 30% of the purchase price.
Well, the sofa came today and it clashes with the rest of our living room furniture. We did take swatches of our existing furniture, rug, and paint samples with us to help determine which fabric to choose for the sofa - in the store it all looked great. In my living room right now - it looks like crap.
I promptly called the store to inquire about returning the sofa (because we were told by our sales person repeatedly that this was an option, but that we would forfeit 30% of the purchase price). I was told by the store manager "it's your property now" and that he could not make the decision on whether or not we could return the sofa (even though our sales person told us at purchase that was the policy). We would have to take it up with customer service. I asked him directly for the regional manager's name and number, but was directed to their customer service center. After explaining the situation once and being entered into the black hole of "muzak" on customer service lines, I was picked up by another customer service rep who told me that the individual stores can make the decision to accept returns. She was unable to assist me any further because the customer service line is only for damages and repairs (which after reading several other message boards, it seems that Sofa
Express has a lot of those to deal with), but she did forward me to the regional manager's voice mail. I left a detailed message with all of my contact information. I waited an hour - no response. I persistently called the local store again and asked for the regional manager's number directly (I had already asked the store manager once who directed me to customer service instead). Finally, I was speaking to the regional manager. We had a civil yet condescending conversation - the gist being that he was sorry despite the fact their sales person falsely led us to believe that custom orders were returnable, they had delivered the product we ordered, they had our money and the sofa was now our property - won't consider a return and won't entertain any sort of compromise. "We have your money so screw you." He did inform me that the customer service rep I spoke with who told me the individual stores could make decisions on whether or not to accept returns was mistaken - only he could make that decision (yet another employee uneducated on company policy). I promptly asked for his superior, but was told that the buck stopped with him. He informed me that he covered a three state region for the company and handled the majority of their business.
So - we have the sofa for now. I don't think I have given up trying to return it. I understand that some people do take advantage of businesses that bend over backwards to offer 'customer service.' Customer service has almost become ridiculous in some industries such as food service where the slightest complaint will often get you a free meal. I am not one to take advantage of businesses in that way. I just want Sofa Express to acknowledge that despite that fact that I have a decent product sitting in my living room, I am a dissatisfied customer.