ADR Ombudsman Case studies complaints resolved for people Complaining about faulty goods Laws

How to complain about furniture and gain redress

The Complaining Cow doesn’t sit around when solving a recliner sofa problem

Lorraine’s complaint against DFSsofa showing huge gap in the middle between the two seats at the front

In November last year Lorraine bought two recliner sofas from DFS. When they arrived she discovered that one of the recliners didn’t work, the sofas moved and separated and didn’t match. One recliner tipped right over while people were on it. It did it again when her grandson was on it and when her friend’s large dog jumped up onto it too!

Lorraine contacted DFS on the day of delivery regarding the broken recliner. She was told that it could take up to 8-12 weeks for a replacement if the broken one couldn’t be fixed.

sofa woman with baby on one side with hand down the middle showing the gap

Days later she called again about the dangerous tipping of the other sofa and asked for it to be removed. DFS refused to do this. Oddly she was told that the movement was normal and that once reclined you weren’t supposed to move! Not moving when sitting down? Really? In any case, in addition to this absurdity she had been told in store that it was safe for the children if they climbed on it, even when in the reclined position. Lorraine said that DFS staff “didn’t seem bothered that it had tipped with people in it”.

Continuing complaint against DFS

Over the next few days she spoke to a number of people from DFS. She dealt with different people from various departments as she was sent from pillar to post. One of the reasons I always advocate writing not phoning is to avoid this situation. It also ensures that you have your evidence trail. Eventually she spoke to the manager of the store who, when she asked for a refund, told her “that’s not going to happen”. She explained about all the problems with the sofas, in particular the issues with children’s arms getting trapped. The photos and even a video showing the tipping were still not enough to get a refund, according to DFS.

DFS said they would send out a representative to come out assess the sofa.

Then Lorraine got in touch with me….

The Complaining Cow resolves DFS customer complaint

Lorraine had already agreed that DFS could inspect the sofas the following day. So I advised her to write, stating that she reserved her rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. (CRA). The CRA states that if the item is not of satisfactory quality that the customer is entitled to a full refund up to 30 days from point of purchase. Having reported one issue on the day of delivery and another days later, she was entitled to a full refund on both. If you reserve your rights it means that you can still claim a full refund at a later point if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction.

After 30 days you are entitled to a repair or replacement. A sofa should last a reasonable length of time.

In the meantime… I advised Lorraine to write to the CEO. (Find contact details for CEOs at And refer to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and her right to reject the goods for a full refund. I also advised threatening to take the matter to the Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman. It costs companies to be a member and for each case to go to an Ombudsman so it is in their interests to resolve issues to avoid Ombudsman involvement. The company needs to be a member of the scheme and DFS is a member.

You can threaten court if the retailer is not a member of an Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme (usually an Ombudsman). It is part of the court protocol, see (The Small Claims Court process made simple) to attempt ADR first. So if the retailer is a member of an ADR scheme the Judge would not look favourably at the case if it has not been tried.

DFS complaint resolved to the full satisfaction of the customer

Within 24 hours, the head of DFS Group Customer Services telephoned. He apologised most profusely and confirmed her sofas would be collected. Lorraine received a full refund of £2,225.

More help for complaining effectively about furniture.

Rip Off Britain talking getting redress with independent reports and ombudsmen

Download Rejecting faulty furniture from a Furniture and Home Improvement member template. (At point of publishing DFS is a member but check on the website

Download rejecting faulty goods template.

For more help on complaining effectively see Top 20 Tips How to Complain!

The Complaining Cow logo download templates


You can purchase templates to download for complaining about furniture. See Goods, services & delivery complaint templates.



5 Ombudsman myths busted for more information about Alternative Dispute Resolution and how to best prepare and what to avoid.


Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Lorraine’s review of the book is here.



101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo


101 Habits of an Effective Complainer has been designed to improve the way you look at and make complaints. Each page gives you a complaining habit to consider and an example of how and why it empowers you to become more effective in getting the results you want.




Sofa with gap in middle



By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

20 replies on “How to complain about furniture and gain redress”

Dfs are gangsters of the sofa world. They use bully boy tactics and the need to be shamed for the way they treat people.
I was in tears yesterday on the phone to them. Practically begging to speak to someone higher.
I was called a liar numerous times, even though I have the phone calls to prove it.
It is not acceptable that they are allowed to treat people in this way. Something needs to be done and I will make it my mission to publicly shame them

Always complain in writing. Always have a papertrail. Always put “Without Prejudice” at the top of your letter. Always reserve your rights. Always research properly on sites like this.

If you have a valid complaint you will always win following the above – I work in the furniture trade and I know that well.

“Without prejudice” only needed when talking amounts. I can’t put all the tips you need when writing your complaint in every post but there are loads more on Top 20 Tips.

Iv been in shocking experience in dfs to, i did my complaint in a email with attached photos to so i could save it as proof that I’d done it, my sofas are 7month old and paid for so called “premium leather ” well already leather is peeling off not cracking just peeling. The first guy they sent out said its the laqure but could tell it was the leather, he they said do you use air freshener i said yes he then said air freshners damages leather. I then said this is supposedly premium leather our last leather sofas from Harveys didnt peel Once in the 6yr we had it, he then said do any of you take medication for high blood pressure or heart or other health issues, we said no he then said ohh OK just that people on medication sweat in arms and head and medications come through sweat and damage leather sofas….. what a joke I said well your must not use real leather as again out sofa from harveys no faults at all and only meds I take is to prevent seizures from the anurism I had, theses tabs had no effect on the old sofa at all, he then turned round and said dont put arms on arm rests and dont lay down on sofa with head on it what a joke, I then said well if these are a genuine issue with dfs leather sofas shouldn’t it be on your website before people purchase sofas to cover your own back for these situations were he didnt know what to say back.

I have just read your complaint about Dfs and your leather suite. Dfs are getting away with taking customers money for premium leather. What they are doing is substituting it with a man made fibre. We ordered and paid for a real premium leather suite that started peeling after 3 years. I have had an independent furniture inspector who confirmed our suite is made up of 20% real leather and 80% man made fibre and Dfs won’t do anything the service manager still insists it is real leather what planet are they on. As our suite is 6 years old we are to late to take them to court and our suite has peeled so bad now it looks awful. But how do they get away with this to me it is an act of fraud. I have been in touch with watchdog but I don’t know whether they will do anything unless a lot of people complain about their peeling leather or should I say fake leather.

On June 29 i visited DFS Bolton store to place an order for a new sofa. Prior to this visit, i measured meticulously the width and clearance and knew the maximum height of any new sofa had to be 195cm with a 95cm depth – i did this because i had issues a few years ago with a corner sofa, which required DFS to part build in our lounge.

Following an extensive search on their website, i decided on the Aphrodite 3 seater sofa. Armed with our measurements, i visited the Bolton store and met with a salesman called Derek, throughout the conversation I discussed the previous issues we had with DFS and that before placing the order I wanted to check the sofa measurements against those we had done at home to ensure it would fit. Derek was privi to these measurements, and checked them against the product on the website and confirmed it would fit, and in worst case the arms can be removed so it would be well under the 195cm clearance. On this basis we went ahead placed the order.

On September 7, 2020 DFS attempted delivery of the sofa, however, it wouldn’t fit upstairs, so it was taken away and the following day I had a call from Derek who sold the sofa. During this call I expressed concern that the sofa wouldn’t fit, reiterating to him the conversation I’d had with him in store when it was purchased. He openly agreed during this call with the version of events and advised that he would need to arrange a second delivery, and was certain that this second crew could get the sofa to fit.

On September 22, 2020 a second DFS crew arrived to attempt delivery of the sofa. Once again they couldn’t get the sofa , even with the arms removed, upstairs to our lounge. When I asked the delivery guys what would happen next, he said I would need to contact the store and possibly select a three seater sofa instead.

At this point the penny dropped as to why the sofa wouldn’t fit, i had decided to purchase three sofa based on the measurements we had taken pre visiting the store to place the order, what Derek had actually ordered was a four seater, which wasn’t what i had selected based on the measurements!

Today I visited store to explain the situation and seek a resolution, however I was horrified to learn that Derek had told his manager a completely different version of events, which basically are lies – I can only assume he has done to protect his own backside. I was also horrified that not only was Derek telling lies, I would also have to pay a further £200 on top of the price of an alternative sofa!

Unfortunately for Derek (and indeed DFS) I had a witness to the original transaction and this individual is prepared to produce a statement in evidence, furthermore I have a recording of the call with Derek following the first failed delivery. I’ve emailed their CEO but suspect I won’t get a reply.

We took receipt of a sofa bed 6 months ago. It sinks in the centre as there is no support going across the length of the sofa just on the ends. They say this is not a manufacturers fault as its how they are designed and three advisors later promising calls from management they have given us 2 x layers of blue foam as a sloltuion to prop it up but now the cusions buldge? It may not be a manufacturer fault but certainly a fault by design, is there anything I can do?

Please see post above and links within. See Tips for Complaining. In particular you would be well advised to use the words “Please” and Thank you” when asking them for something. Manners will go a long way.

I have a new suite ? Just delivered but 2frames are broken and got an odd chair doesn’t match no communication with store or customer services

See the advice in the links in the above post. template letters in the book.

Furniture icon ordered a sofa due to be delivered 2nd June. We are now on 19th July. Contacted them approx 30times. Was told again and again and again will call u back… its not happening and am not getting a refund either or any closer to getting a date for sofa delivery

I purchased a three piece suite from DFS during lockdown and it was delivered in April 2021 nine months later the headrest of one of the chairs was pealing. After contacting DFS a number of times they sent an engineer out that said I had used the wrong cleaning product, I used a Harvey leather cleaning product that was suitable for all leather. Dfs blame me so I am now in the process of taking them to the small claims court.

See post above – DFS is a member of the Furniture and home Improvement Ombudsman and is free to use take the matter there first as they will also likely give you an independent report. If you go to court you will need to get one to help your case.

I am having a problem with Sofology and albeit I didn’t know it at the time but they are also DFS. If I had known I would never have bought from them in the first place. Everybody I know who has bought settees from them have had trouble. When they send technicians out they always say there is nothing wrong

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