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Common problems when buying furniture Jul 12, 2017

Complaints related to the purchase of furniture rank among the top five most common complaints lodged with the Office for Consumer Affairs. Problems encountered by consumers usually concern non-honoured delivery dates, deposits and damaged or missing furniture. When these problems crop up, consumers should remember that they have legal rights protecting their financial interests.

Consumers have the right to expect the seller to abide by the agreed delivery date. If not, they may opt to terminate the sales agreement and get reimbursed of the deposit paid.

To safeguard this legal right, consumers should ensure that the agreed delivery date is clearly written on the contract of sale. Before concluding the sale, consumers may also request the seller to include a clause stating that if the ordered furniture is not delivered by the agreed date, the trader will be charged a daily penalty until the goods ordered are delivered. If, however, this clause is not included in the sales agreement, a penalty charge cannot be applied if the delivery is delayed.

The deposit paid when ordering furniture is another common issue consumers encounter. Since a deposit is usually paid weeks before the ordered furniture is delivered, consumers should negotiate a reasonable deposit amount.

As various problems may crop up before the ordered furniture is delivered, consumers should remember that they stand a higher chance to a quick solution if the seller still needs to be paid a big chunk of the amount due.

Consumers should also make sure that a percentage of the total amount is paid after the delivered furniture is installed and checked out for any defects.

This agreement should be clearly written in the contract of sale. In case of a problem, such a clause will give consumers bargaining power to obtain a remedy or compensation without unnecessary hassle and waste of time.

Consumers should remember that if the ordered furniture arrives damaged or with missing components, the seller has the responsibility to fix the problem, or if this is not possible, then the consumer may cancel the contract of sale and claim a refund. It is important that consumers report any damages or defects as soon as they become aware of them. This is especially so in case of apparent defects. With regards to hidden defects consumers may request a remedy within two years from the date of delivery. It is, however, important that as soon as they notice the defect they inform the seller in writing and ask for a remedy.

The right for a remedy does not apply if the problem is due to a wrong buying decision or if the damage has been caused by misuse or by not following the product’s instructions.

Since there is the possibility that ordered furniture arrives in a different way than what was agreed in the original sales agreement, it is important that consumers have proof of the original agreement. They must make sure that everything agreed upon is clearly written, black on white, on the sales contract. This should include a clear and detailed description of the furniture ordered and whenever possible also images.

Before making a sales agreement, consumers should remember that a sales contract is binding and that after concluding the sale they cannot change their mind. Furthermore, before signing any document, consumers should carefully read and understand what they are signing.

If they do not agree with the contract terms, they should try to re-negotiate them.

If the seller refuses they should shop around as other sellers may be willing to grant them the sales conditions they are looking for.