Problem Solver: Care kit for furniture ruins leather, negates warranty

Deerfield resident says she can relax after company agrees to replacement

The protection plan Julie Conway bought for her Macy's leather furniture set is called WorryNoMore.

Drop the "no" from the middle and, Conway says, you've got a description of the warranty's effect on her.

The Deerfield resident bought a sofa, matching love seat, chair and ottoman from the Macy's at Old Orchard in October 2006, paying almost $2,900 for the set.

The salesman asked if she wanted the seven-year WorryNoMore warranty, which he pitched as an all-encompassing plan that would provide cleaning and repair services for her furniture under almost any circumstance, Conway said.

Better yet, the warranty program would pay for a replacement of the furniture if it was damaged and could not be repaired, Conway said. The salesman even threw in a furniture care kit that included bottles of leather cleaner, a liquid called "leather protection," wood polish, a sponge and a cloth.

To sweeten the deal, the Macy's employee said that if Conway did not file a claim during the seven-year warranty period, she would receive a store credit for the $209 warranty cost, which could be used toward the purchase of new furniture, bedding or area rugs at any location in the Federated Department Stores chain nationwide, Conway said.

"I said: 'OK, we can't lose, so let's do it,'" Conway recalled.

For a while, all was fine with the furniture, but years ago she noticed that the leather had started to peel and crack. After renovating her living room this year, Conway noticed the damage had worsened, so she called the manufacturer.

A representative from that company asked if she had treated the leather with anything. She said yes, with the products from her furniture care kit.

"He said: 'You're not supposed to use those on our couches,'" Conway said. "I said: 'The Macy's guy sold it to me.'"

Her next call was to Macy's, which instructed her to call WorryNoMore.

A WorryNoMore technician went out last week and declared the damage was unfixable, Conway said. The technician also confirmed that the peeling and cracking was caused by the furniture care kit, she said.

"I thought: 'This is so nice,'" Conway said. "I gave him a cookie and some water."

The technician called someone at WorryNoMore, then gave the phone to Conway. To her surprise, the WorryNoMore representative told her the warranty would not cover the damage.

"I have bi-cast leather," Conway said she told the representative. "She said: 'We won't cover that kind of leather.'"

In the days that followed, Conway called Macy's and WorryNoMore to complain, but neither returned her calls.

So she emailed What's Your Problem?

"(The furniture is) peeling because of the product they sold me," she said. "Macy's has always taken a back seat on this, even though they sold us the product, which they shouldn't have."

Conway said the warranty is worthless.

"I'm so frustrated by it," she said. "I think it's a big scam, I really do."

The Problem Solver contacted Macy's and forwarded Conway's information.

On Friday, a representative from WorryNoMore called Conway and said the company would, in fact, replace the couch and love seat, as well as the chair and ottoman.

"She said the only reason they're giving it to me is because something in the technician's report was contradictory," Conway said.

Beth Charlton, a spokeswoman for Macy's, told the Problem Solver in an email that it wasn't necessarily the furniture care products that caused the couches to deteriorate.

"The furniture she purchased was bi-cast leather which is known for these types of problems with or without care products after several years of use," Charlton wrote.

The representative who spoke to Conway told her she will receive a letter from Macy's within 10 days authorizing a credit for the furniture. She can then go to the department store and pick out replacement furniture.

"It's incredible," Conway said. "I'm so happy."

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