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The phrase “let the buyer beware” could have been invented with warranty companies in mind. As leather technicians we are the front line in solving all kinds of problems with leather furniture in the home. Dozens of people call us each week seeking solutions to their leather furniture problem. In that process, we have spoken with countless consumers who have complained to us about the ineffectiveness of the extended warranty they purchased for their leather furniture. We have repeatedly been told by consumers that a warranty company denied their claim, typically on a technicality. For example, many leather furniture warranty companies require the claim be made within five (5) days of the incidental damage event. If you even hint that the damage may have happened more than 5 days ago, your claim will probably be denied.

On one web-site, www.ripoffreport.com, there are almost 200 complaints against Stainsafe, a Florida-based warranty company. Another site full of similar stories is www.consumeraffairs.com. Stainsafe sells their leather furniture warranty program nationally through big-name leather furniture retailers, as well as regional concerns. The complaints found on these web-sites are the tiniest tip of the iceberg. There are no doubt thousands of consumers who haven’t taken the time to document their frustration.

If you have a warranty for your leather furniture, our advice is to read the warranty very carefully before you call in a claim. Furthermore, as the customer service representative goes through their “20 questions” technique, be sure to respond to each question with the exact words that are in the warranty documentation. For example, if the warranty covers a “rip,” call it a “rip,” don’t call it a cut, or tear. Be very careful not to say or imply anything that would jeopardize your rightful claim.

If you haven’t purchased an extended warranty, remember that most manufacturers offer a one year warranty against defects. The extended warranty typically only deals with very specifically defined incidental damage, not normal usage related issues. The real value of a warranty is peace of mind in the event that your leather furniture suffers some damage. In the end, for many consumers, that peace of mind is nothing more than a frustrating illusion. So, “caveat emptor.” Let the buyer beware.

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